Mobiles, sunglasses and a ‘lost well’ at the bottom of Delhi’s Purana Qila lake
Labourers engaged in dredging at the dried-up Purana Qila Lake have dup up a well that the archaeologists say is at least 400 years old. Among other things that have been found are over a 100 mobile phones, sunglasses and sandals.delhi Updated: Jul 05, 2017 10:17 IST
Labourers have dug up more than 100 mobile phones, dozens of sunglasses, sandals and a ‘forgotten well’ that archaeologists say is at least 400 years old if not more, from the dried-up bed of one of the city’s iconic water bodies — the Purana Qila Lake.
Officials of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) claimed that they were aware about the existence of a well but it had been almost forgotten, as it had been under water for several decades.
It was only after the moat dried up nearly eight months ago and boating stopped that the ASI engaged labourers to dredge and desilt the water body. The well resurfaced a month ago, when labourers were digging the bed of the dried-up lake in Delhi.
“The uppermost layer of the well’s boundary wall is built with Lakhori bricks while the lower portion has been built with stone rubble. The well has a diameter of nearly two metres. We have to dig deeper and study the layers of construction material used to say for sure when it was actually built,” a senior ASI official said.
The ASI is now planning to go for further with excavation as their earlier attempts (in 1955, 1969 and 2014) revealed evidence of settlement dating back to nearly 1000 BC at this site. Excavations in the Qila revealed painted grey ware with a continuous cultural sequence from Mauryan to Mughal through Sunga, Kushana, Gupta, Rajput and Sultanate periods.
“There was no point in digging or building a well when the moat surrounding the fort was full of water. We believe that the well was built either before the moat was built or after it went dry. It is at least 400 years old if not more,” said a senior official of the ASI.
The excavations at Purana Qila were carried out by the Archaeological Survey of India in 1955 and again from 1969 to 1973. The exhibits in this museum are largely based on the excavated materials.
In 2014, the ASI had discovered a ring well 4.4 metres below the earth. The well was lined with earthen rings which was a characteristic of the Mauryan period. Fragments of northern black earthenware and grey ware were also unearthed.
“Earlier excavations have revealed a Vishnu Idol, terracotta seals, stamped pottery, beads and gems among others,” said a senior official.
Labourers engaged in dredging the water body claimed that they have found more than 100 mobile phones from the water body’s dried bed. These mobile phones belonged to visitors and had accidentally fallen in the water.
“We found more than 100 mobile phones among other items such as sunglasses, money bags and sandals. All were damaged and were of no use. We just had to throw them away,” said a labourer.