The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has dismissed reports of stopping the excavation at Daundia Kheda in Unnao, where a seer has claimed a hidden treasure of 1,000 tonnes of gold lies buried in the ruins of Buxar fort.
The agency, which has dug up more than five metres till Tuesday, said on Tuesday it would continue its work in the coming days.
"The excavation will continue till we are convinced that we may not find any historically important artifacts here," said PK Mishra, superintending archaeologist, ASI Lucknow circle.
However, digging will be halted on Wednesday on account of weekly off of the ASI.
Till Tuesday, 11 days since the digging began, the ASI has unearthed many artifacts of archaeological importance, including a brick wall, pottery shards, pieces of glass bangles and a toy.
“There is no point in stopping the project mid way. The workers may have left the venue for some time when some TV channels reached there,” Mishra added.
The artifacts found so far belong to the Kushan period, which dates back to the first century AD, almost 2000 years ago.
This, the ASI says, is certainly a success story for the agency, which has been dismissing gold theory from the very beginning.
Significantly, the period to which these artifacts belong is nearly 1850 years before the time of Raja Ram Baksh Rao, who is believed to have buried the gold under the fort. He was executed in 1857 during the First War of Independence.
“It is a big success for us. We had not expected that we would strike these artifacts at this depth,” Mishra added.
District magistrate of Unnao Vijay Kiran Anand also denied any reports of winding up the excavation work.
“The work is on at the same site. The ASI has not stopped the excavation neither has the site been changed,” said VS Dubey SDM Bheegapur, who is present at the excavation site since the work began.
The excavation had begun on October 18 after a seer, Shobhan Sarkar, reportedly saw in his dreams that 1,000 tonnes of gold was buried under the ruins of the 19th century fort.
Even experts ruled out any chances of winding up the excavation mid-way.
“Once the digging has begun, it would be taken up to the conclusion --that is when the natural soil is found. They would announce the closure officially and then submit a report,” CB Mishra, former superintending archaeologist, ASI Lucknow circle, said
"On Tuesday, the workers dug up another ten centimetres taking the final depth to 5.2 metres in eleven days. The excavation will resume on Thursday," SDM VS Dubey said.