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Saturday, Aug 24, 2019

Research to shed new light on old burial practice in BSIP Lucknow

A pot burial site, quite rare in the north-east, was recently found at a construction site in Muallungthu village, 20km from Mizoram’s capital Aizawal.

education Updated: Feb 26, 2019 12:23 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Two skulls and bones placed in a pot were found in a Mizo village
Two skulls and bones placed in a pot were found in a Mizo village(Sourced)

Pot burial and ‘strange’ burial practices of megalithic culture that dates way back to 1500 Bc all set to be unleashed. City’s prime Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeobotony (BSIP) is going to decode the mysteries of megalithic culture by extracting DNA from the skulls, it discovered recently during an construction work in Mizoram.

Pot burial site that is quite a rare in North East India, was recently found during a construction site in village Muallungthu, 20km from Mizoram capital Aizawal. On the rare discovery, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) Aizawal, sought expertise from the scientists from city based BSIP institute, helping them in unleashing pot burial culture, quite common practice during megalithic culture.

“We found two skulls and bones, placed in a pot. We are studying the skulls that were found more than 10 feet below the ground. Besides we are also trying to study the femur bones that were also recovered from the burial pot,” said Dr Niraj Rai, senior scientist with Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeobotony (BSIP) while talking to HT.

Though they are yet to assess the age of the skulls, but Rai said from the pattern of soil deposition on the skulls and archaeological findings, it could be said that the skulls may be around 2000 year old. However, now the institute is going to extract the DNA from the remains, which they say will unleash many untold mysteries related to this particular tribe that has such strange burial practices.

“DNA extraction from the remains would help us in understanding the cultural continuity of these tribes, which so far is unknown. The DNA extraction exercise would be carried out early next month after which the DNA would be matched to our modern population DNA data base of more than 400 population group, from different ethnic backgrounds and different linguistic families. We would try to match the DNA to assess the cultural continuity of this community,” he added.

Such burial practices he said was quite a common in Asian counties and in India, it is common in south India and North East India.

He said the findings would further help in understanding the migration and mixing pattern of this community and also the population of this community at that time.

Dr Sujeet Nayan, deputy superintending archaeologist Aizawal circle, the search is on, there are more than three burials there. “We are now planning to go for carbon dating. The research and excavation is on. It’s a rare discovery,”

First Published: Feb 26, 2019 11:05 IST

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