Indian archaeologists halt treasure search triggered by Hindu holy man

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India ended a search for treasure beneath a 19th century fort after finding only a few bones and terracotta bricks but none of the gold predicted by a Hindu holy man’s dream, an official said Friday.

Indian archaeologists halt treasure search triggered by Hindu holy man
People visit the fort of King Rao Ram Baksh Singh in Unnao in the northern state of
Uttar Pradesh state, India, Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013 [Credit: AP]

The search began Oct. 18 in Uttar Pradesh state in northern India after Hindu swami Shobhan Sarkar told a government minister that a former king appeared to him in a dream and told him of a nearly $50 billion cache.

The leader of the dig, Praveen Kumar Mishra, said the hunt had been suspended. The government spent 1.6 million rupees ($25,300) on digging at the site, said Durga Shankar, a local magistrate.

The opposition said the government search was triggered by the holy man’s dream.

However, the Geological Survey of India has said it found signs of heavy metal about 20 meters (66 feet) underground before deciding to dig in the area in Unnao district, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) southwest of the state’s capital of Lucknow.

Mishra said Friday that appeared to have been an error.

The state-run Archaeological Survey of India found some artifacts and reached sediments of calcium carbonates in the first trench, Mishra said.

There was no hope of finding any archaeological objects beyond that as the diggers hit rocks in the second trench, he told The Associated Press.

“There is no indication of (the presence) any alloy as reported by the GSI team,” Mishra said in his report.

Source: The Associated Press [November 15, 2013]

2 COMMENTS

  1. The Archaeological Survey of India which was established more than a century and a half ago has earned a name for itself and its history has been ably documented by the Prime Minister's daughter, Professor Upinder Singh in a fascinating book, The Discovery of Ancient India Sir Alexander Cunningham who was the first archaeologist to uncover the material past of India realized that there were no written records on which a reconstruction of the historical archaeology of India could be based and so he turned to the Chinese pilgrims who visited India in the early medieval period in search of Buddhist manuscripts. It was left to another great archeologist, Sir Aurel Stein to discover the letters written by some of these early pilgrims in monasteries all along the famous Silk Road. Archaeological discoveries stimulated anb interest in the past and it was only a short hop step and jump to "nationalism" underpinned by a robust historical base in which India was imagined in myriad forms and one of the forms was that of a nation state. History and Archaeology were inscribed in the very start of the long and tortuous journey to "nationhood" as articulated by politicians like Nehru and Jinnah. Apart from the political uses of an "ancient" past to justify Indian "nationhood" there was also the "medieval|" past to legitimize the quest for nationhood by the Islamic minorities of the Gangetic plains. Further, the discovery of the early urban civilizations in the Indus River Valley led to the appropriation of the ealy urban culture to the so called Dravidian cultural strand of India whose most vehement exponents were the Tamils of the deep south. One enterprising IAS officer, Mahadevan, even created cult following for himself by "reading" certain symbols on the seals of the Harappan civilization as Tamil characters and this man before he slipped into dotage even "deciphered" a seal as the representation of the Tamil god, Muruga. Therefore, Indian Archaeology is full of twists and turns and one is not totally surprised at the present rather strange developments.

  2. The Archaeological Survey of India which was established more than a century and a half ago has earned a name for itself and its history has been ably documented by the Prime Minister's daughter, Professor Upinder Singh in a fascinating book, The Discovery of Ancient India Sir Alexander Cunningham who was the first archaeologist to uncover the material past of India realized that there were no written records on which a reconstruction of the historical archaeology of India could be based and so he turned to the Chinese pilgrims who visited India in the early medieval period in search of Buddhist manuscripts. It was left to another great archeologist, Sir Aurel Stein to discover the letters written by some of these early pilgrims in monasteries all along the famous Silk Road. Archaeological discoveries stimulated anb interest in the past and it was only a short hop step and jump to "nationalism" underpinned by a robust historical base in which India was imagined in myriad forms and one of the forms was that of a nation state. History and Archaeology were inscribed in the very start of the long and tortuous journey to "nationhood" as articulated by politicians like Nehru and Jinnah. Apart from the political uses of an "ancient" past to justify Indian "nationhood" there was also the "medieval|" past to legitimize the quest for nationhood by the Islamic minorities of the Gangetic plains. Further, the discovery of the early urban civilizations in the Indus River Valley led to the appropriation of the ealy urban culture to the so called Dravidian cultural strand of India whose most vehement exponents were the Tamils of the deep south. One enterprising IAS officer, Mahadevan, even created cult following for himself by "reading" certain symbols on the seals of the Harappan civilization as Tamil characters and this man before he slipped into dotage even "deciphered" a seal as the representation of the Tamil god, Muruga. Therefore, Indian Archaeology is full of twists and turns and one is not totally surprised at the present rather strange developments.

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