Times of India
Rashmi Drolia, TNN | Jun 30, 2015, 02.55AM IST
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DAMROO, BALODA BAZAAR (Chhattisgarh): Rare ceramic pieces of northern black polished ware (NBPW) dating back to second century BC was unearthed from a 2000-year-old mud fort site at Damroo in Baloda Bazaar-Bhatapara district of Chhattisgarh.
These artefacts are usually found in Taxila in Pakistan, Hastinapura, Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, Patna and Champa in Bihar, Saurashtra in Gujarat, Tilorakot in Nepal and Koraikal near Pondicherry, said state archaeology department officials. Excavation of rarest of rare ceramic has now included the 40-acre Damroo site into the elite club.
The pottery is considered unique as it’s moulded and well navigated with fine clay. That it has not been found in abundance indicates it was among precious pottery found in ancient period which was used mainly by the royals or Buddhist monks.
Talking to TOI, Shivakant Bajpai, excavation director, Damroo and archaeologist Rahul Singh said, “This is the first finding of precious ceramic in Chhattisgarh and has been found in at least 254 archaeological sites in the sub-continent. Mud paste was properly baked and potted in a fast-spinning wheel. Mat-finish shine gives a metallic sound when clinked or broken.”
“Such ceramic is manufactured between 6th century BC to 2nd century BC right from Buddha period and Mauryan period. While terracotta seals from 1st century AD were found, hopes for NBPW has surfaced,” he said.
Now, associated material would be sent for carbon dating at expert labs for authentication of dates.
Preliminary findings suggest that seven pieces of NBPW have been found. Purushottam Sahu, excavation assistant, said chances of more findings in the ancient mud-fort can’t be ruled out.
Dr BR Mani, additional director general, ASI (retd), Delhi told TOI: “NBPW dates back to 2nd century BC period when Buddhism was spreading. The ceramic ware might have come through monks who may have stayed during migration and brought these potteries from north India. Mani, who conducted excavations in Ayodhya during 2002-03 was the first to unearth NBPW of 1200-1300 BC.
Director, Chhattisgarh culture and archaeology department, Rakesh Chaturvedi said, “History of Chhattisgarh begins from 4-5 century AD with few dotted evidence of early periods. But pottery of 2nd century BC will help connect chronology of state’s history and archaeology in continuous era.
Where is Damroo archaeological site? 96 km from state capital, Damroo has yielded rich pottery with black and red ware, slipware, lustre ware, mica ware, stemmed or decorated pottery and miniature pots. Hundreds of potteries were found intact during excavation which indicated huge urbanization at the site. There’s also evidence that Damroo was a Buddhist site with more than a dozen Votive stupas and other important artefacts are found.