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Archaeo News 

28 August 2005
Dig near Kolkata to unearth pre-Mauryan history

Excavation of a new site near in the Indian state of West Bengal might unearth evidence of human habitation dating back to the 3rd century BCE. The state archaeology department recently found the site, on the banks of Piyali riyal in South 24 Parganas district.
     "We would begin excavation in winter at Tilpi, which could be an early historic site of pre-Mauryan period," said West Bengal Archaeology and Museums Department director Gautam Sengupta. "This could prove that human habitation existed in the area between 3rd century BCE and 3rd century CE," Sengupta said. The Maurya dynasty ruled India between 321 and about 240 BCE. "If the excavation is successful we might prove wrong the theory that the British first set up human habitation in these areas now under South 24 Parganas district," Sengupta said. The district is 38 km northeast of Kolkata.
     "We discovered the site recently and came across some terracotta articles, copper coins, stone beads and other artefacts. Excavation is likely to reveal more artefacts and those can be compared with our previous findings to ascertain the occupational history of the area," he added. "This new site is on the banks of Piyali, which is again a part of the river system of Vidyadhari, on the banks of which Chandraketugarh was discovered in the early years of last century," he said.
     Chandraketugarh is located in North 24 Parganas district and its history dates back to almost 3rd century BC, even before the Maurya dynasty came up. The archaeological significance of the Chandraketugarh area came to light in the early years of the last century when road-building activities exposed a brick structure and artefacts. The new site at Tilpi could be linked to Chandraketugarh, Sengupta said. But the state archaeology department is worried that relic hunters are already removing artefacts from there and smuggling them abroad.

Source: New Kerala.com (27 August 2005)

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