Balasore: Articles belonging to Chalcolithic phase, Iron age and Early Historic period were unearthed for the first time in Balasore district of Odisha.
The excavators found the traces of fortified early historic sites at Durgadevi village and Ranasahi locality in Remuna tehsil.
The discovery of cultural materials of three ancient periods at Durgadevi area indicated about 2000 years of glorious history of the north Odisha district.
Since Balasore district is known for its maritime activities from the early part of Christian era to the late Medieval period, no early historic sites were documented previously in this region, prior to the discovery of ancient culture at Durgadevi village.
The archaeological excavation project following approval from the Minister Jyotiprakash Panigrahi, Department of Odia Language Literature & Culture, Odisha Government, at Durgadevi village, located at 20 km away from Balasore town, had started under the supervision of archeologist Dr. Sunil Kumar Patnaik, Secretary, OIMSEAS (Odishan Institute of Maritime and South East Asian Studies), in March and continued till May 5, 2021, in the first phase, to correlate the simultaneous growth and development of maritime activities and urbanisations in East Coast of India linking Ganga valley in North and Mahanadi Valley in Central Odisha, more particularly to focus upon on the early cultural development in northern Odisha.
The site has circular mud fortification of about 4.9 KM in circumference and in between the river Sona on south and the Burahabalang on its north-eastern margin. Again two small nullas Gangahara and Prassana join the site on its north and south forming natural moat of the site which was an ancient water management system developed at least 4000 years back from present.
The horizontal excavation was carried out on area of 2 acres of high land where cultural deposit of about 4 to 5 meter is seen. In the first phase of work, the scientific archaeological digging carried out in the selected trenches and gone up to 2.6 meter.
During excavation, the excavators discovered the base of circular hut, black on red painted pottery, black slipped ware, red slipped ware and copper objects belonging to Chalcolithic period (2000 to 1000 B.C.). The floor or the circular hut was rammed with red soil mixed with Genguti. The base of the circular hut and utilitarian objects indicated the lifestyle of people, who were mostly leading settled life with agriculture, domestication of animals and fishing as occupation.
Also, the cultural material evidences and remains of Iron age period (1000 to 400 B.C.) found from the area included pottery remains of Black Burnished ware, Black and Red Ware, Red Polished fine Black Ware with slip and Chocolate Ware, terracotta sling balls, hopscotch along with iron objects like nails, arrow head, crucible and slag of various kinds. The life style of this phase is marked little improved and depended on agriculture and production of various other crops and led settled life. The use of iron is a land mark phase in the growth of civilization in Odihsa particularly in North Odisha.
There are several Iron Age sites discovered by various archaeologists in upper and middle Mahanadi valley but in North Odisha this is the first site.
Besides, the cultural materials of Early Historic phase (400 to 100 B.C.) were discovered from the site. The items were pottery specimens of Red Ware, Red Polished Ware, Black Slipped Ware, Course Grey Ware, Fine and Super Fine Grey Ware, Terracotta Ear Studs, Bangles, Beads, Hopscotch stopper, Gamesman, terracotta Wheels and some conical objects. It indicates that the life style of people during the period was very improved from agricultural base to trade and construction of Fortification around the site with moat which signify the emergence of Urbanisation at Durgadevi around 400 to 200 BCE.
The discovery will add a new chapter to Odisha History.
However, we are trying to get absolute date for the site through AUC, Inter-University Accelerator Centre, New Delhi. Further excavation will not only bring new light on the development of society and culture of Balasore district but also the East Coast of India, a release by OIMSEAS stated.