Category Archives: Archaeology

Buddhist remains unearthed in A.P.

INTERESTING FIND: A fragment unearthed at Ghantasala in Krishna district. Photo: Special Arrangement

INTERESTING FIND: A fragment unearthed at Ghantasala in Krishna district. Photo: Special Arrangement

The Hindu. VIJAYAWADA, August 1, 2016
J. R. SRIDHARAN

These periodical surveys are conducted under the campaign ‘Preserve Heritage for Posterity’.

Buddhist remains on a mound called ‘Ernamma Pallu Dibba’ behind the Zilla Parishad High School at Ghantasala in Krishna district were unearthed on Sunday.

Speaking to the media, archaeologist E. SivaNagi Reddy said that limestone pillars carved with half-lotus medallions, two limestone panels and a fragment of a Buddha image were visible, after a close examination. “These remains, basing on the style of art and architecture are datable to the 3rd Century AD — i.e., Ikshwaku times,” according to Mr. Reddy, who works as the chief executive officer of the Cultural Centre of Vijayawada and Amaravati. The inscription issued by Upasika Bodhisiri, wife of a mariner, mentioned that she built a stone-pillared pavilion at Ghantasala for the benefit of the devotees visiting the mahastupa. He said these remains of the pillars and the fragment of the Buddha image might belong to the above pavilion.

Mr. Reddy appealed to the officials of the Archaeological Survey of India to shift these remains to the local site museum at Ghantasala, for safety and security.

These periodical surveys are conducted under the campaign ‘Preserve Heritage for Posterity’.

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Buddhism in stone

Stupa 3 which contained the relics of the Buddha's disciples Sariputta and Mahamogalana. Photo:Shashank Shekhar Sinha

Stupa 3 which contained the relics of the Buddha’s disciples Sariputta and Mahamogalana. Photo:Shashank Shekhar Sinha

Frontline, August 19, 2016

The remains of Buddhist architecture and sculpture at Sanchi in Madhya Pradesh tell the story of the rise, flowering and gradual decline of Buddhism in India. Text & photographs by

SHASHANK SHEKHAR SINHA
Located on a hill in Raisen district, around 50 kilometres from Bhopal and 10 km from the ancient trading, religious and art hub Vidisa (Vidisha in modern times) is Sanchi, a site known for its stupas, pillars, temples, monasteries and sculptural wealth. It is a great place to see the beginnings, efflorescence and decay of Buddhist art and architecture from the third century BCE to the 12th century C.E. In a way, Sanchi covers the entire period of Buddhism in India. As the historian Upinder Singh says, it provides a remarkable history of Buddhism in stone spanning some 15 centuries.

Sanchi, a World Heritage Site, has an ancient past. Prehistoric paintings and tools have been found at the well-known Bhimbetka Caves, another World Heritage Site nearby. Recent archaeological and hydrological studies by Julia Shaw and John Sutcliffe have brought to light ancient irrigation works belonging to second or first century BCE. The presence of mud dams and reservoirs indicates the prevalence of rainwater harvesting for drinking water requirements and for irrigation, possibly in rice cultivation. During the Buddha’s time, this area formed a part of the mahajanapada (one of the great states) of Akara in the western Malwa region. Sanchi is referred to as Kakanava or Kakanaya in early Brahmi inscriptions found in the site. In the fourth century, it was known as Kakanadabota, while a late seventh century inscription refers to it as Bota-Shriparvata.

An early Buddhist text, Mahaparinibbhanasutta, says that when the Buddha was breathing his last, he called in his favourite disciples Ananda, Sariputta and Mahamogalana and told them that after his death his body should be cremated, the ashes distributed, and stupas erected over them at crossroads. Following his death (mahaparinirvana), the Buddha’s relics were divided into eight portions and stupas were built over them.

Meanwhile, the powerful Mauryan emperor Asoka was establishing his political supremacy across the subcontinent. However, after the Battle of Kalinga, in which many lives were lost, Asoka decided to transform himself and soon became a devout Buddhist. It is said that out of his zeal to spread Buddhism, he opened seven of the eight original stupas and got the Buddha’s relics redistributed. Stupas were built over the places where the relics were kept. According to legend, he built around 84,000 (some say 64,000) stupas all over northern India and in areas now in Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Continue reading

Buddha idols found in temple tank debris

Archaeologist E. Sivanagi Reddy and his discovery at Motupalli village of Prakasam district.THE HINDU

Archaeologist E. Sivanagi Reddy and his discovery at Motupalli village of Prakasam district.THE HINDU

The Hindu
P. SUJATHA VARMA

Idols date back to 9th-10th centuries AD

Two stone idols of Buddha have been found in the debris of a Veerabhadra Swamy temple tank at Motupalli village in Prakasam district.

The idols date back to 9th-10th centuries AD. The discovery was made by E. Sivanagi Reddy, a Buddhist archaeologist and CEO of The Cultural Centre of Vijayawada as part of his survey of the area on Saturday.

Assisted by Govind, sarpanch of Rudramambapuram, a hamlet in Motupalli, a local resident Dhararatha Reddy Raju and Tenali-based amateur archaeologist K. Venkateswara Rao, Mr. Nagireddy pored over the area and identified a few pot shreds, Chinese enamel ware and fragments of shell bangles, all dated to the Chola period.

In the vicinity, a huge red colour earthenware (a jar) and three terracotta rings with a din of 4-0 ft and 1-ft-high also dating back to the Chola era were found.

The left palm of the Buddha idol has a motif of a Dharmachakra, similar to an idol found in Amaravati earlier, also belonging to the 9th-10th centuries AD. Another Buddha idol carved in black basalt stone was also found in the debris. Mr. Nagireddy said the articles discovered were of great historic significance.

He said that excavations taken up by the Department of Archaeology in the 1970s yielded Chinese ware and copper coins of the Ming dynasty, coins belonging to the Chola era and bronze articles and pottery at the port area confirming that Motupalli had served as an international port town during the medieval period.

Mr. Nagireddy explained to the local residents the historical significance of Motupalli and Rudramambapuram village. Instead of waiting for Government officials they could enlighten others in the village about the need to preserve heritage for posterity and contribute their mite in achieving the same. He said a scientific probe would bring to the fore the cultural significance of the place.

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Excavated item is perhaps from the tallest Buddhist pagoda in Japan

Fragment-from-tallest-pagoda-in-Japan-1-477x338

The fragment was found at Kinkakuji temple and is probably from a part placed atop of a pagoda. Photo Credit: The Yomiuri Shimbun/Asia News Network.

from Archaeology & Arts

The pagoda was legendary but no traces had been found so far

A fragment discovered in Kinkakuji temple at Kyoto, Japan, is thought to be of the tallest pagoda ever built in Japan. The announcement was made last week by the Kyoto City Archaeological Research Institute.

The fragment is part of a sorin, a decorative part placed at the kurin, a circular part at the top of a pagoda. The item is made of bronze, it is 37.4 cm wide, 24.6 cm long, 1.5 cm thick and weighs 8.2 kilos. It is therefore estimated that the diameter of the kurin was about 2.4 metres.

The pagoda that experts believe the fragment belonged to was called Kitayama Daito, and it was found during excavations at a parking area. It is from the Muromachi period and the pagoda is thought to have been built by Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, the third shogun of the Muromachi shogunate. He is said to have built two huge pagodas, one 109 metres tall, at Shokokuji, and another one, Kitayamaoto, where later Kinkakuji temple was built. Both structures were burnt by lightning.

This is the first fragment of the structure found, and researchers hope it will yield useful information regarding the size and appearance of the pagoda. Three bronze fragments were found in total that seem to have broken off from a circular objects, but the one described here is the largest. It is made of copper with gold leafing.

According to Yoshiaki Maeda, deputy director of the Kyoto City Archaeological Research Institute, Kitayama Daito was perhaps the tallest Buddhist pagoda ever built in Japan.

According to a document from the Muromachi period, the tallest known pagoda built in Japan was about 110 metres. The new fragments suggest that Kitayama Daito was about the same size. However, no remains of its foundation have been found, and it is not known where it was located. So, according to Yoshiyuki Tomishima, associate professor of architectural history at the Kyoto University Graduate School of Engineering, it is necessary to uncover the location of the tower before we can say for sure that the fragments are from Kitayam Daito.

The parts will be on special exhibition at Kyoto City Archaeological Museum from July 9 through November 27.

NOTES
1. Asia One, http://www.newsjs.com/url.php?p=http://news.asiaone.com/news/asia/discovery-fragment-hints-japans-legendary-100m-tall-pagoda (10/07/2016)
2. The Asahi Shimbun, http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/photo/AS20160709002342.html (09/07/2016)
3. The Japan News, http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0003067900 (14/07/2016)

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Buddhist Relics Discovered in A Hindu Shrine in Andhra Pradesh

Buddhist-Relics-Discovered-in-A-Hindu-Shrine-in-AP-IndialivetodayIndia Live Today

Published by : Ruchira Ghosh

Andhra Pradesh, July 14: Here is some news for lovers of history and archaeology. A slice of history has come alive –on the banks of Krishna River at Pondugula in Andhra Pradesh’s Guntur district.

Buddhist relics pertaining to the 3rd century have been unearthed here recently. The relics may be ascribed to the Ikshvaku dynasty and its regime. All the pillars are adorned with half lotus medallions and floral designs These were later used as plinths of the Jalapeshwar temple erected by Vengi Chalukyas in the 8th century AD.

Well known archaeologist and CEO of Vijaywada’s cultural centre E Sivangi Reddy teamed up with Dr M Ravi Krishna a prominent literary historian based in Guntur , for this project.

The duo surveyed the site of the relics and were amazed to find pillars with Buddhist carvings being used as plinth for the Hindu temple. Reddy disclosed that similar Buddhist relics again hailing from Ikshvaku period had been unearthed at Manchikallu, Goli Rentala, Gurazala,Kadambapadu and Modugula et al.

These areas are located not too far from the site discovered lately. The collectively comprise what is known as Buddhist belt of the Ikshvaku era. Reddy went on to add, as per inscriptions on one of the pillars, the entire temple and its carvings were conceptualized and executed by a sculptor named Kalagarabharanacharya (literal: gem among sculptors) unfortunately one of the pillars has suffered damages owing to vagaries of weather.

Currently the site is under the protection of the Archaeological survey of India. Reddy urged that the ASI must take good care of the temple as well as the precious pillars which are now a part and parcel of the shrine in question.

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Archaeologists discover layers of Indo-Greek city in Swat

Archaeologists excavate Indo-Greek and Saka-Parthian structures at Bazira, Swat. — Dawn photo

Archaeologists excavate Indo-Greek and Saka-Parthian structures at Bazira, Swat. — Dawn photo

Published in Dawn, June 26th, 2016

FAZAL KHALIQ

MINGORA: Archaeologists in their fresh excavations here at Bazira, Barikot, have discovered large layers of the Indo-Greek city with weapons and coins as well as important pottery forms imported from Greek Bactria and from the Mediterranean area in second century BCE.

Indo-Greek coins discovered during the recent excavation at Bazira, Barikot, Swat. ─ Courtesy Italian Archaeological Mission in Swat

Indo-Greek coins discovered during the recent excavation at Bazira, Barikot, Swat. ─ Courtesy Italian Archaeological Mission in Swat

Dr Luca Maria Olivieri, head of the Italian Archeological Mission in Pakistan, told Dawn that during their recent excavation in April-June his team unearthed some very important discoveries in Bazira, Swat.

The team was formed by Italian and Pakistani archaeologists, including Elisa Iori of Bologna University, Cristiano Moscatelli of Naples University and Amanullah Afridi and Syed Niaz Ali Shah of the KP Directorate of Archaeology And Museums. Excavation trainings at Barikot are funded by the Pakistan-Italian Debt Swap Programme.

Weapons, coins and pottery also found in fresh excavations
“Very little is known in the archaeology of the sub-continent about the material culture of the Indo-Greek. However, this time we discovered at Barikot ample layers associated not only to the Indo-Greek city (when the settlement was encompassed by the Defensive Wall, 2nd BCE), but also to the pre-Greek city, the Mauryan settlement (3rd BCE),” he said, adding that outside the Indo-Greek defensive wall extensive evidence of the proto-historic village (Gandhara Grave Culture; 7th-8th century BCE) were also found. Continue reading

Archaeologists discover Indo-Greek city in Swat, Pakistan

Mon, Jul 4th, 2016
New Delhi Times

Archaeologists in their fresh excavations at Bazira, Barikot, Pakistan discovered large layers of the Indo-Greek civilisation. The excavated city revealed weapons and coins as well as important pottery forms that used to be imported from Greek Bactria and from the Mediterranean area in second century BC. The archaeological team consisting of Italian and Pakistani archaeologists included Elisa Iori of Bologna University, Cristiano Moscatelli of Naples University and Amanullah Afridi and Syed Niaz Ali Shah of the KP Directorate of Archaeology and Museums.

Dr Luca Maria Olivieri, head of the Italian Archaeological Mission in Pakistan, revealed that the team unearthed some very important discoveries in Bazira, Swat during their recent excavation in April-June. Excavation trainings at Barikot are funded by the Pakistan-Italian Debt Swap Programme. “Very little is known in the archaeology of the sub-continent about the material culture of the Indo-Greek. However, this time we discovered at Barikot ample layers associated not only to the Indo-Greek city (when the settlement was encompassed by the Defensive Wall, 2nd BC), but also to the pre-Greek city, the Mauryan settlement (3rd BC),” Olivieri said. Extensive evidence of the proto-historic village (Gandhara Grave Culture; 7th-8th century BC) were also found outside the Indo-Greek defensive wall.

The recent excavations unearthed a large Temple with four pillars on the northern part of the excavated area belonging to late-Kushana era (3rd century AD). “This is the third coeval public cultic space found in the late city, and it is confirming the existence of Buddhist architecture, not connected to the mainstream stupa-cum-viharas layout of the contemporary Buddhist complexes. On the contrary, these new architecture have more in common with Central Asian coeval examples and antecedents,” Olivieri added. The pre-Greek layers were found to be artificially destroyed and obliterated along the Defensive Wall at the time of its construction, to make space to the fortification, revealing conspicuous traces of the Iron Age village (7th BC). Olivieri’s team was currently excavating one hectare with a stratigraphy from 7th BC to 3rd AD in Bazira. The area corresponded to circa 1/12 of the entire city.

“The KP government is about to acquire all the excavated areas and a large buffer area around them. We are really grateful to the efforts of the provincial department of archaeology and the government,” he said. The archaeological site of Barikot is currently one of the largest and most important sites that is set to become one of the largest and long-lasting excavation projects in Pakistan 30 years down the line. It is the only Indo-Greek city excavated at that scale, and one of the few examples of a Kushan urban settlement scientifically excavated in South Asia.”Olivieri added.

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