For all practical reasons, the hunt for hidden gold in Unnao district came to an end on Wednesday with the archaeologists hitting natural soil in the second trench.
The Lucknow circle of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is, however, waiting for an official permission from their ‘bosses’ in Delhi for a formal pack up.
“We could not find anything of archaeological significance today,” said an ASI official supervising the digging at a 19th century fort ruins in Daundia Kheda village, nearly 100 kms from the state capital. The ASI will not move beyond the second trench.
“Once natural soil is found, there is no point in digging deeper and the same has been communicated to the headquarters in Delhi. They would take a final call now,” he added.
From October 18 till Wednesday (November 13)-three weeks after the digging prompted by seer’s dream began- the excavators had reached to a depth of 5.75 metres in the second trench.
The digging in first trench was stopped after the workers hit natural soil (of no archaeological importance) at a depth of 5.93 metres on October 31.
The yield so far is some pieces of pottery; a few animal bones, several mud beads, toys, and pieces of bangles and bricks-forget 1,000 tonnes of gold.
Once the ASI finally decides to call it quits, it would mark an end to one of the most widely watched wild goose chase for hidden gold that lasted for more than three weeks.
Superintendent archaeologist of ASI’s Lucknow circle PK Mishra, however, said” “the dig would continue.”
Interestingly, villagers still have their eyes set on a windfall.
“You never know, anything can happen last minute,” said Ajay Pal Singh, the village head’s husband. “The morale in the village is low, but we will not give up hope until the very last minute,” he added.