BHUBANESWAR: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has drawn a roadmap to explore the cultural and material history of Odisha starting from the Palaeolithic age and continuing up to the medieval archaeology period, by excavating many sites across the state in the next 12 years.
However, this time ASI does not plan to do the excavation alone. The premier organisation for archaeological research and protection of sites under the Ministry of Culture plans to rope in state archaeology and Archaeology departments of various public universities and colleges for the job.
This was revealed by DG ASI Ashok Basa on Monday at the concluding session of the two-day workshop ‘Looking Beyond - Vision Statement for Excavations By 2035’ which was organised in the city by the ASI. The aim of the initiative, he said, is to reconstruct the archaeological history and antiquity of human culture across ages, of the country at large and the state in particular. The universities and the State Archaeology can take up the work independently or in collaboration with the ASI, Basa informed.
The project will be implemented across eight ASI directorates in the country and in Odisha, close to 20 sites have been shortlisted based on their importance and antiquity value. For the paleolithic age, also known as the Old Stone Age, Radharamanpur in Brahmani valley, Torajunga and Gopalpur in Bhatli; Danta river valley; Kundakhai-Anga in Padampur; Nebedi in Budhabalanga river valley; Kuliana-Kalabadia; and Rushikulya river valley have been shortlisted to find out the beginning of human movement.
Similarly for Mesolithic or the Middle Stone Age, the experts have shortlisted Lekharmoda rock shelters in Sundargarh, Landimal rock shelter in Sambalpur, Barabhakhra and Jhoh inside Debrigarh of Bargarh district, Rairangpur, Pahadpur in Bahalda, Mayurbhanj.
And for Neolithic or New Stone Age which is the final stage of cultural evolution or technological development among prehistoric humans, the experts will dig Sulabdihi in Sundargarh, Rairangpur, Banabasa in Mayurbhanj. More sites in other parts of the state have also been identified to find deposits from early Iron Age, chalcolithic age and also trace the history of early Odisha from Kharavela period to 6th century CE.
Since universities and colleges do not have funds to take up excavation work, ASI will provide them with financial grants for the work. Earlier, ASI used to provide just the labour cost of the excavations. Similar grants will be extended to the State Archaeology if required.
“After this workshop, the universities, colleges and State Archaeology will send in their applications to take up excavations in the shortlisted sites, depending on the merit of the application and the importance of the site, ASI will provide them financial grants to carry out the excavations,” the DG ASI informed.
Study of history