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5 artefacts to check out at an archaeology exhibition in Mumbai

Head over to Mumbai University’s Kalina campus this weekend.

HT48HRS_Special Updated: Dec 14, 2016 14:54 IST
As told to Poorva Joshi
As told to Poorva Joshi
Hindustan Times
Archaeology-Geology Exhibition,HT48Hours,University of Mumbai
6th century AD Gandhara Janapada coins. (Photo courtesy:

1) An ancient scripture: This inscription, which dates back to October 23, 1368, is a decree issued by the Mauryan emperor, Bimbisara. He ruled the stretches of current-day Thane and Konkan, in the 14th century. It highlights Mumbai’s history as a city, way before the Portuguese invasion in the 18th century. Additionally, the discovery of the inscription supports the theory of Mumbai being originally called Bombay, as a tribute to Bimbisara. The carved inscription was found at the BARC grounds in Chembur.

A 14th century inscription by Mauryan emperor, Bimbisara. (Photos courtesy: Extra Mural Studies department)

2) Purple gems: The exhibition will display an amethyst geode, a purple crystallised rock formed due to the cooling down of volcanic lava. This type of rock has been spotted in Brazil, and in the Aurangabad belt of Maharashtra.

An amethyst geode stone from Brazil. (Photos courtesy: Extra Mural Studies department)

3) History of currency: Over 20 artefacts will be displayed, including some of the oldest coins found in India. Case in point: the 6th century AD Gandhara Janapada coins, also known as silver bent bar punch-marked coins, from the capital of the kingdom - Takshashila.

Silver bent bar punch-marked coins, from the capital of the kingdom - Takshashila. (Photo courtesy:

4) Discoveries during construction: Courtesy the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation, the exhibition will display a 15ft-long basalt rock extracted from 35m underground, which was extracted during the Metro Rail construction. The top 5m of the city’s ground surface comprises clay and soil. Further below, the islands of Mumbai are solid basalt rock. These rocks are extracted using machinery similar to the one used to extract groundwater.

Rocks extracted from 35m underground. (Photos courtesy: Extra Mural Studies department)

5) Graphic curses: A graphic inscription of a donkey fornicating with a woman is called a Gadhegal. The scriptures accompanying the Gadhegal refer to a punishment for having violated a land grant, and the copulation between a woman and a donkey is seen as a curse on the culprit. Gadhegals have been discovered across Mumbai, including at Gorai, Parel, and Chakala.

- As told by Mugdha Karnik (director, Extra Mural Studies department at the University of Mumbai).

A Gadhegal found in Parel, showcased at CSMVS, Mumbai. (Photo courtesy: CSMVS. )

Don’t miss: The Archaeology-Geology Exhibition will be held from December 15 to 18, 10am to 7pm, at Sports Complex, University of Mumbai, Kalina. Entry is free.

First Published: Dec 14, 2016 00:00 IST