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EXPLORATIONS AND EXCUVATIONS BY ARCHAEOLOGIST P.P.PANDYA


      INDIAN ARCHAEOLOGY – A REVIEW

 PUBLISHED BY : DIRECTOR OF ARCHAEOLOGY

     GOVERNMENT OF INDIA, NEW DELHI


1955-56


EXCAVATIONS OF OTHER HARAPPA SITES IN SAURASHTRA – Trial-excavations were carried out at three places jointly by the Department of Archaeology, Saurashtra and M.S. University of Baroda, under Shri P. P. Pandya and Dr. B. Subbarao respectively, to find out the culture-sequence in Saurashtra in general and the characteristics of the Harappa culture in the region in particular.

Lakhabaval, District Halar, situated about 9 miles north-east of Jamnagar, was one of the fourteen small Harappan settlements in the District. Excavation revealed three periods of occupation here. Period I, the earliest period, was characterized by pottery of thick fabric, like that of Period I of Rangpur, with an admixture of buff-slipped greenish sherds, the prominent forms in which were bowls and dishes-on-stand. Period II contained red polished ware and considerable quantities of coarse black-and red painted pottery. The distinctive shape in the painted pottery was a large vessel with flared rim and with painted designs of net-pattern. An ornament of gold with exquisite filigree work, either an ear-ring or a head-ornament, was among the interesting antiquities of the Period. Period III represented a very late occupation on the mound, with crude rubble structures and late medieval coins. A few cores with typical crested ridges and marks of previous preparation were found on the surface of the mound.



Amra, District Halar, had a low mound, situated on the bank of a small stream, 3 miles away from Lakhabaval, in which three periods of occupation corresponding to those at Lakhabaval were noticed. Period I yielded Harappan pottery in profusion, besides typical red-and-black bowls, the result of inverted firing, showing that the technique was known to the Harappans.


At Somanth, District Sorath, about 2 miles from the south-east of Prabhas Patan, a group of five mounds, collectively known as Nagar, was found to extend along the river Hiranya, for a distance of about 3000 ft. Excavation revealed five continuous and successive periods of occupation at the site. Period I contained the lustrous red ware of Rangpur II, together with typical carinated bowls and a large admixture of earlier wares of the transitional culture, coarse grey ware, a thick cream-slipped ware and the usual red and brown wares. The most interesting shapes in coarse grey ware were bowls with rounded sides and incurved and beveled rims. Painted designs on the lustrous red ware consisted of a combination of criss-crosses, dots-and-dashes, wavy lines, hatched triangles, lozenges, etc. Dish-on-stand was a popular shape in this ware. The black-and-red ware was also noticed though in smaller quantities, in association with a cruder variety with gritty texture. The other finds consisted of nearly ten thousand minute beads of steatite, found in a single pot, and a copper celt, besides blades, flakes and cores of the microlithic order. Period II was characterized by the lustrous red ware, mostly with a bright red slip, though in a somewhat coarser fabric and with a marked decline in the volume of decoration. The black-and-red ware persisted. The pottery of Period III was marked by the domination of a very finely burnished black-and-red ware in a wide variety of bowls and dished known in central and southern India, besides a plain red ware, which was a connecting link with the earlier Period, suggesting a continuity of occupation. The characteristic pottery of Period IV consisted of plain red ware and coarse black-and-red ware, though the latter declined in quantity. Period V contained extensive structures of rubble. Its distinctive poetry was the Red Polished Ware, which, together with nearly two thousand Gupta and Valabhi coins of copper and silver, helped in dating the period.


CAVES IN SAURASHTRA – A cave in Uparkot at Junagadh and three caves at Ranapara in Baroda hills were discovered by the Superintendent of Archaeology in Saurashtra.


The Superintendent of Archaeology in Saurashtra discovered the Red Polished Ware at Talala, Divrana, Kadvar, Khalej and Una in Sorath District.


1956-57

EXCAVATIONS AT PRABHAS PATAN, DISTRICT SORATH – The Department of Archeology, Government of Bombay, continued, under Shri P.P. Pandya, the excavation at Prabhas Patan, Somnath (1955-56, p.7), on a larger scale, opening up four mounds and thus obtaining further evidence about the culture-sequence in the area.


Of the six Periods identified this year, the first and last, viz. Periods I and VI, dated prior and posterior respectively to the initial and the ultimate Periods observed here in the previous season.


Period I had two Sub-periods, of which the first, A, was represented by a single stratum of sand and gravel containing small quantities of crude sherds differently slipped in grey or red. The shapes and incised patterns, wherever they occurred, agreed with the shapes and painted patterns on the late Harappan pottery in Gujarat. The Sub-period was further associated with a microlithic blade-industry of the chalcolithic facies and segmented faience beads.


Period IB marked the appearance of painted pottery in profuse quantities (pl. XVII). The shapes and painted patterns comprised tow distinct traditions – the one represented by the late Harappan ceramics of Gujarat consisting of the dish-on-stand, saucepan-handle, etc., and the other by the round bowl with an incurved and bevelled rim, distinctively painted with panelled patterns somewhat similar to the motifs on the chalcolithic painted pottery of central India. A commingling of the two was, therefore, indicated, resulting in hybrids, though the late Harappan shapes and patterns dominated the ceramics, the patterns of the other tradition were often found overlapping the former. Further, a few sherds with paintings in brown on a white or creamy slip suggested some resemblance with the material found in the lower levels at Ahar.


Period II again has two Sub-periods, of which the earlier was represented by the lustrous red ware in the form of the carinated bowl, dish-on-stand and saucepan-handle, which, together with some painted designs, showed their derivation from the late Harappa. The other decorative motifs were more sophisticated and included loops with hatched diamonds, hatched columns with volutes, etc. Two sherds were painted with the antelope. The pottery tended to be heavy. The only structure of the Sub-period was a rubble pavement.


A progressive decline in the lustrous red ware, signified by the dwindling of the carinated bowl and the simplification of decorative motifs to horizontal bands only, finally resulting in the emergence of a plain red-slipped ware, marked the second Sub-period. There was an increasing tendency for graffiti. Microlithic blades occurred in small quantities. The Sub-period was separated from the preceding one by a rubble pavement.


Period III, with its four Sub-periods, was sharply differentiated from the preceding one by the use of iron and the black-and-red ware in large quantities, represented by the rounded and carinated bowl and dish, which, however, gradually degenerated towards the end of the Period into a thick and gritty ware of poor finish. The associated pottery included the pot with a high and ledged neck, basin with loop-handles and bowl with an everted rim, with a characteristic slip in varied tones of cream, grey and brown. The Northern Black Polished Ware made its appearance in the second Sub-period. Ivory hair-pins and plaques resembling female figures, beads and ear-studs of semi-precious stones (pl. XVIII), a pulley-shaped jasper ear-stud having a gold plate with a repousse pattern and a flesh-rubber inscribed with characters of the second century B.C. were among the notable finds of the Period. Rubble pavements with post-holes were encountered at all levels.


In Period IV the black-and-red ware completely disappeared, but the gritty ware of Period III continued. Ivory and bone points, iron spear-heads and arrow-heads, terracotta gamesmen and beads, including one of gold, constituted the main bulk of other small finds. A rubble pavement occurred.


Period V was heralded by the well-known Red Polished Ware in all its typical forms. A unique spouted vessel with a loop-handle, painted, polished and moulded after the shape perhaps of a cow, was noteworthy. The associated finds consisted of finely-moulded terracotta human and animal figurines, carved shell bangles, ear-studs, beads, including areca-nut ones of terracotta, and Kshatrapa and Gupta coins.


The mounds were abandoned thereafter, except one which was re-utilized in medieval times for a temple, representing Period VI.


1957-58

9. EXPLORATION IN DISTRICTS GOHILWAD, HALAR, JHALAWAR, MADHYA SAURASHTRA AND SORATH – In continuation of his previous work (1955-56, p. 70; 1956-57, p. 16), Shri P.P. Pandya carried out further explorations in these Districts and brought to light three Stone Age, thirtyone Harappan, fiftyfive early historical and forty medieval sites. Of the Harappan sites, three had been also occupied by the people using the Lustrous Red, Prabhas and black-and-red wares.


Tools of Series II, comprising scrapers, borers, points and large flakes of agate and chert (fig. 9), were collected from Rojdi, Sejakpur and Fala, respectively in Districts Madhya Saurashtra, Jhalawar and Halar.


The distribution of the Harappa and other wares is shown in the Table on p. 19 while the main types in the Harappa Ware are illustrated in figs. 10-12 and pl. XXIV. Microliths comprising parallel-sided blades, sometimes showing the crested ridge, and fluted cores were found in association with the Harappa Ware at Adkot, Rojdi, Mandal and Jhanjmer, all in District Madhya Saurashtra.


The exploration included trial-excavations at Rojdi, Pithadia and Adkot in District Madhya Saurashtra and Motidharai in District Gohilwad.


The mound at Rojdi, situated on the bank of the Bhadar river, 34 miles south of Rajkot, was scraped at several places, and revealed the remains of a protection-wall made of big boulders. A small trench at the eastern end of the mound brought to light a fragmentary bowl with four Harappan characters. The occupational deposits were divisible into two Sub-periods.


Sub-period IA was distinguished by the typical Harappa Ware, associated with a crude corrugated ware of the type found in Period IA at Prabhas. The more important types of the Harappa Ware comprised the convex, straight-sided, carinated, or handled bowl, pot with round belly and beaded rim, perforated or ledge-necked jar, dish with flared or beaded rim, dish-on-stand, beaker, etc. The ceramic industries revealed two main traditions, viz. those of red and buff wares. The proportion of the former was found to be more than that of the latter. A few sherds of green fabric were also found. The designs, painted in black over red, buff or chocolate slip, included fish, leaves, hatched triangles and diamonds, roundels, wavy lines, vertical bands, loops, prancing bull, etc. The pottery was associated with microliths, of which crested-ridge flakes may be particularly mentioned.


Sub-period IB was characterized by a red ware, in which the beaker, perforated jar, ledge-necked vessel and square-rimmed jar were absent. The convex-sided bowl with typical panelled designs comprising vertical bands between two horizontal lines in the Prabhas fabric emerged in the upper levels. The two Sub-periods of Rojdi may be correlated with the corresponding Sub-periods of Prabhas.


The excavation at Adkot, on the bank of Bhadar, 30 miles sout-east of Rajkot, exposed 5 ft. of occupational deposits representing the Harappa culture. The pottery consisted of the convex-sided and short-handled bowl, perforated jar, ledge-necked vessel, dish-on-stand, beaker, etc. Red and buff wares were found almost in equal proportions. The designs, painted in black, comprised a human figure feeding a pet, fish, leaves, suspended loops, hatched diamonds, wavy lines, etc. In addition to the above wares, a crude grey ware, represented by the trough, jar and dish, was also found.


At Pithadia, nearly 44 miles south of Rajkot, the excavation revealed two periods of occupation. Period I was characterized by the Harappa ware in association with a crude grey ware. Amongst the other finds, mention may be made of conch bangles, terracotta beads and spindle-whorls. Period II was distinguished by the Lustrous Red Ware, in which the dish with or without stand was common.


At Motidharai, 10 miles nort-east of Valabhipur, two periods of occupation, with a considerable hiatus in between, were brought to light. Period I was characterized by the Harappa were, while period II was distinguished by crude grey and painted red wares of the early historical times.


1958-59

15. EXPLORATION IN DISTRICT MADHYA SAURASHTRA – The Department of Archaeology of the Government of Bombay, under Shri P.P. Pandya discovered in the Bhadar valley a site with tools of Series II near Rojdi, a microlithic site, twelve Harappan sites and seventeen early historical sites, in addition to the ones recorded last year (1957-58, p. 18). The Harappan sites were characterized by the convex-sided bowl, handled bowl, dish with flared rim, dish-on-stand, square-rimmed jar and perforated jar. Both red and buff wares were present. The painted designs consisted of roundels, wavy lines, hatched triangles, intersecting loops, leaves, etc.


One of the Harappan sites, near Randal Dadwa, was found to contain a cemetery : one of the graves was excavated and an extended skeleton, its head supported on a dressed stone, exposed. Fragments of Harappan bowls and dishes were recovered from the v cinity of the skelton.


A I st of Harappan and early historical sites, with the names (in brackets) of the nearest villages, where necessary, are given below.

Harappan sites : Bodiyo (Motadevlia); Dhankanio-2 (Motasagapar); Dhutarpur (Vasawad); Dumiani; Ghorwada (Dhurasia); Kerali; Lukhela (Vasawad); Randaliyo (Randal Dadwa); Taraghada (Rayadi); Tetariyo (Motadevalia); Vadasada; and Vegadi.


Early historical sites : Ardoi; Devalka (Sultanpur); Gadhiyo (Navagadh); Garbo (Sanali); Goriya (Bhimora); Gundai-ni-dhar (Khokharr); Hanuman-valo, two sites (Kerali); Kotharia; Madhi (Sultanpur); Mochiwadar (Jhanjhmer); Pipalia; Rajkot; Roghada; Satapar; Simoi (Sultanpur); and Vadia.


16. EXCAVATION AT ROJDI, DISTRICT MADHYA SAURASHTRA – In continuation of last year’s work (1957-58, p. 18) , Shri P.P. Pandya further excavated the mound at Rojdi.


The Harappan occupation of the site (Period I) fell into three Phases, A, B and C. The first settlers on the site, in Phase A, built a 2-ft. high mud plattorm, capped by rammed earth and lime, to carry their mud and mud-brick houses. Their pottery (fig. 9) consisted of the convex-sided bowl, carinated bowl, handled bowl, perforated jar, square-rimmed jar, vase with a beaded rim and round belly, dish-on-stand, trough, etc. The pots were generally made of well-levigated clay and were uniformly fired. They were treated with a red, and rarely with a chocolate, slip and were mostly unpainted except for a few horizontal bands in black. Crude and ill-burnt pottery was, however, not absent; it was sometimes treated with a grayish slip and was decorated with wavy incised lines or concentric corrugations.


Blades, trapezes and lunates of chert and pipes, rings and celts of copper were in use. The personal ornaments were spiral gold rings, copper bangles, etched beads of carnelian and beads of faience, terracotta, etc.


Phase B, which arose after the destruction of the previous Phase by fire, was characterized by rubble and mud structures plastered with lime and rammed-earth floors. The ceramics of the Phase (fig. 9) represented two traditions, red ware and buff ware, the latter in lesser quantities than the former; a few green sherds were also found. The main types were the convex-sided bowl, perforated jar, dish with a flared rim and dish-on-stand. The designs painted in black on a red, buff or chocolate slip.


20. BUDDHIST CAVES IN DISTRICT MADHYA SAURASHTRA – Shri P. P. Pandya discovered groups of Buddhist caves (pl. LXXII A) at Khambhalida, ascribable, on grounds of the sculptural style, to the third-fourth century. The second group seemed to be the most important; it consisted of three caves, the central one of which was the chaitya-hall flanked by large sculptures representing the Bodhisattvas and devotes under the shelter of trees and having a worn-out stupa as its apsidal end.


21. LATE MEDIEVAL MURALS IN DISTRICT MADHYA SAURASHTRA – On the walls of a small room in old Darbargah, Dhoraji, Shri P. P. Pandya noticed beautiful but neglected paintings of the late eighteenth century, depicting the royal assembly, procession, warriors, lady-in-worship, palaces, lakes, etc.


26. EARLY HISTROICAL REMAINS IN DISTRICT SORATH – In the course of the removal of a 3 to 4 ft. deposit of earth from the top of the Buddhist caves at Uparkot, Junagadh, the original features of the caves were brought to light, such as long drains with shutter-sockets at different stages to divert water towards rock-cut pits and wells, a drain-opening leading to storage-wells inside the caves, stone walls and post-holes on the rock-surface – all indicating that the cave-roof had been put to residential use. A storage-well in the south-west corner went down to a depth of 50 ft. in the excavated deposit and in rock-cut wells and pits were found the Red Polished Ware, Kshatrapa coins of lead largely belonging to Rudrasena II (348-78) (pl. LXXIII B), terracotta figurines, including yakshas (pls. LXXII B and LXXIII A), sealings, bullae (pl. LXXIII C) with yaksha and a Kshatrapa ruler, stone carvings, beads, indeterminate objects of gold and a spouted and carinated jar of bronze. The datable objects pertain broadly to the second half of the fourth century.