A 22-DAY excavation of a site near the Ayodhya Hostel of Institute of Engineering and Rural Technology (IERT) by an Allahabad University (AU) History professor has yielded rare pottery, terra-cotta toys, animal bones and a yet-to-be-identified stone sculpture— believed to be of the early Medieval period of 700-1200 AD.
The finds have convinced Prof JN Pandey of AU's Ancient History, Culture and Archaeology Department— the man behind the dig— that this spot would be a key site for the archaeology of the early Medieval period in the days to come. Impressed with the excavation finds, AU Vice-Chancellor Prof Rajen Harshe has now decided to visit the site and look at the excavated 'treasures' early on Monday morning.
Informing about the excavation, Prof JN Pandey said that he had found two ancient oil presses at the site on April 10, 2004. "I had wanted to start an excavation then itself but could not do so because of scarcity of time and funds. One of my students, Amit Mishra, recently found another oil press that had been carried away by the local villagers from the spot and broken into two in search of valuable inside the oil press. This convinced me that an excavation should now immediately be started," Prof Pandey said.
He said that with funds being made available by the varsity, the excavation finally started on April 2. "Within 20 days we found pottery of early medieval period that includes some typical Muslim glazed pottery of the time, remains of some spouted vessels, terra-cotta toys, animal bones as well as a stone sculpture," he added.
Prof Pandey said that he now plans to take these artifacts to the department and start a detailed analysis for better understanding the significance of the find. "The sculpture found at the site needs a close and detailed study which would be my next mission," he said.
Prof Pandey said that he believes that further excavation of the site will reveal more artifacts and throw a new light over the life of people who resided here years back.
"The site is also important due to its location being right in the heart of the city and just two kilometres from the AU's Senate hall campus. If developed properly and maintained, this could become a great spot for the students as well as the archaeology buffs to visit and see an excavation site from close quarters," Prof Pandey added.