Visitors to be part of excavation

On World Heritage Day, visitors at Purana Quila will be able to be part of an exciting excavation process. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has planned to open the ongoing excavation site at the Old Fort from 10.30 am on Friday for public viewing. Besides, the antiquities acquired so far during the excavation will be on display too. 

Former Director General of ASI, K N Dixit will inaugurate the exhibition. The excavation, which was started by the ASI in February, intends to find out painted grey wares (PGW). 
These antiquities will historically help establish that Indraprastha, which is linked to the Mahabharata, existed in the Purana Quila complex.

“People are always curious about excavations. We thought it would be a good idea to let visitors experience what archaeology is all about on World Heritage Day,” said Vasant Kumar Swarankar, chief superintending archaeologist.

“Wouldn’t it be a delight to see 14 dug-up trenches, archaeologists working at the site and stumbling upon antiquities from Mauryan era? It would also raise people’s general awareness about archaeology and give them a first-hand knowledge of the process,” added Swarankar.

A tent slightly away from the site will display the antiquities that ASI has discovered so far in this excavation. “Usually, antiquities are on display after an excavation is over. However, this time it will be different,” added Swarankar.

Recently, a Ganesh figurine from the Mughal period and a Gajalakhsmi tablet from the Gupta period were discovered by the ASI team. According to Swarankar, both are of significant archaeological importance. 

A terracotta human figurine from early-Gupta period, a 12th-century AD Vishnu sculpture and a sealing with four letters of Brahmi script on it, which dates back to the Gupta period are among the other major findings. The sculpture of Vishnu, which has a conch, lotus and chakra, is a rare archaeological artefact.

Miniature pots, semi-precious stones, micro-beads, aricanut-shaped beads, sling balls, block-printing stamp, pieces of glass bangles and terracotta animal figurines have also been will also be on display inside glass showcases on Friday.

After the excavation ends in April, the ASI plans to build glass pathways on the dug-up trenches. Visitors can walk around and see the artefacts discovered at the site.

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