ASI finds ancient items, coins at Purana Quila

Plans to keep 14 dug-up trenches open for visitors

The Archaeological Survey of India has discovered a terracotta human figurine from the early Gupta period and 15 copper coins near the Kushana period structure at the Purana Quila excavation site in the past two days.

“This 5th century terracotta human figurine was made from mould. It also has a perforation on top, which shows that it was used as a wall hanging artefact. The copper coins will be deciphered soon,” Chief Superintending Archaeologist Vasant Kumar Swarankar said.

Also, in a first-of-its-kind initiative, the ASI is planning to keep the 14 dug-up trenches open for visitors at Purana Quila. “We will make a pathway of glass on which visitors can walk around and see the sculptures. This will not only help us preserve heritage but also promote it,” Swarankar added.

Among the other major findings of the ASI are a 12th-century AD Vishnu sculpture and a sealing with four letters of Brahmi script on it, which dates back to the Gupta period.

“The sculpture of Vishnu is a rare one. It has a conch, lotus and chakra, which makes it a distinct piece of archaeological finding. The sealing, which is from the 5th century AD, is yet to be deciphered,” Swarankar said. Miniature pots, semi-precious stones, miniature sculpture of Ganesh, micro-beads, aricanut-shaped beads, sling balls, block-printing stamp, pieces of glass bangles and terracotta animal figurines have also been discovered from the trenches.

“We have also found charred grains of wheat and rice, glazed pottery and other decorative items from the Sultunate period and bowls dating back to the Kushana period,” Assistant Archaeologist Vijimol said.

Eighteen students from the Institute of Archaeology are assisting the ASI team in this excavation project.

“This is a hands-on training for students who are passionately working six days a week. This site is especially interesting as it has seen continuous cultural deposits from the Mauryan to the Mughal period,” Swarankar said.

Satarupa Bal, a student, said, “Bones of animals, copper coins and six-course bricks from the Rajput period have been discovered in my quadrant. It feels amazing to chance upon these deposits.” 

The excavation, which was started by the ASI, Delhi Circle, in February is likely to go on till April-end.

It intends to find out ‘painted grey wares’, which will historically help establish that Indraprastha, which is linked to the Mahabharata, existed here.

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