NEW DELHI: An ancient camping site that existed 10500 years ago has been discovered in the rarefied region of Ladakh, a first such early antiquity in the region.
As investigations revealed repeated human activity at this camping site for about eight hundred years, archeological survey of india will be carrying out further investigations into the site.
Sources said that the research so far carried out has proved the antiquity and nature of human activities to an extent, but their camping patterns, extent of camping area, tools and other cultural aspects are yet to be traced.
Interestingly, the site was also discovered by chance. Dr SB Ota, joint director deneral in ASI, who was travelling in Ladhak, last year, along the Saser stream. After covering a distance of about 22 km, he noticed a section, exposed due to road construction, showing successive layers comprising burning residue and immediately stopped to explore the area.
The area offered a perfect site for camping. “It was a small flat area with snow-covered peaks on one extreme, dry barren land with loose rocks all around and gushing stream within the deep western gorges, an ideal place for camping in a picturesque setting,” officials said.
Ota collected a charcoal sample from the site and sent to Beta Lab, Florida, USA, for radiocarbon date determination. The lab report stunned the Archaeologists. It said the sample showed it could be dated 8500 BC (10500 years before present).
Soon, another team of senior ASI officials including the director general travelled to Ladhak last month. “During this visit, more charcoal samples and associated bones were collected. Two of the charcoal samples from lower and upper deposits sent for dating have provided new radiocarbon dates of c. 8500 BC and c. 7300 BC (c. 10500 and 9300 years before present) respectively. These dates have indeed confirmed the earlier date,” the culture ministry official statement said.
Apart from that, new dates also indicate repeated human activity at this camping site for about eight hundred years. Preliminary studies of charred bones collected from here, carried out by Prof P.P. Joglekar of Deccan Collage, Pune, have shown the presence of Gorel and Yak.
To carry out further investigations in the camping and people who could have used it, proper archaeological excavations and explorations are being planned by the ASI.
“It will not be an easy task to undertake these works in such a rugged terrain at an altitude around 14000 feet, with low oxygen and no habitation. However, these are the added attractions for those who work with passion.” the ASI said.