A recent excavation in Vadnagar, Prime Minister Modi’s hometown, unearthed evidence of unbroken cultural continuity spanning centuries. This challenges the long-held belief of a “Dark Age” following the Harappan civilization’s collapse, suggesting a more nuanced picture of the region’s history.
Led by experts from IIT Kharagpur, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), and Deccan College, the study has found evidence of a human settlement that is as old as 800 BCE (before the Christian Era) at Vadnagar in Gujarat.
#WATCH | Gujarat: On remains of a 2800-year-old settlement found in PM Narendra Modi’s village, Vadnagar, Professor of Geology and Geophysics at IIT Kharagpur, Dr Anindya Sarkar says, “We have been working in Vadnagar with the ASI for the last 4-5 years… A very old Buddhist… pic.twitter.com/ybPPEDwdYc
— ANI (@ANI) January 16, 2024
In a statement released by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur, the results of a comprehensive study on deep archaeological excavation in Vadnagar shed light on the intricate dynamics of the region.
The study suggests a correlation between the rise and fall of various kingdoms over a 3,000-year period and recurrent invasions by Central Asian warriors. The driving force behind these historical events, according to the study, appears to be significant changes in climate, such as fluctuations in rainfall or periods of drought.
The findings have just been published in a paper titled “Climate, human settlement, and migration in South Asia from early historic to medieval period: Evidence from new archaeological excavation at Vadnagar, Western India” in the prestigious Elsevier journal ‘Quaternary Science Reviews’.
While the excavation was led by ASI, the study was funded by the Directorate of Archaeology & Museums, Government of Gujarat, which is entrusted with building India’s first experiential digital museum (experiential means the process of learning through experience) at Vadnagar.
Incidentally, Vadnagar is also the native village of Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India.
Vadnagar has been a multi-cultural and multi-religious (Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, and Islamic) settlement.
“Excavation in its several deep trenches revealed the presence of seven cultural stages (periods), namely, Mauryan, Indo-Greek, Indo-Scythian or Shaka-Kshatrapas, Hindu-Solankis, Sultanate-Mughal (Islamic), and Gaekwad-British colonial rule, and the city is continuing even today. One of the oldest Buddhist monasteries has been discovered during our excavation.We found characteristic archaeological artefacts, potteries, copper, gold, silver, and iron objects, and intricately designed bangles. We also found coin moulds of Greek king Appollodatus during the Indo-Greek rule at Vadnagar,” said ASI archaeologist Abhijit Ambekar, co-author of the paper who led the excavation in 2016.
(With inputs from PTI)