India’s oldest living city found at Vadnagar

News Excerpt:

A joint study by the Indian Institute of Technology (Kharagpur) has found evidence of cultural continuity in Vadnagar, Gujarat, even after the Harappan collapse, thus making it likely that the “Dark Age” was a myth.

About the archaeological excavation

  •  Deep archaeological excavation at Vadnagar is done with the help of a consortium of scientists from IIT Kharagpur, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), and Deccan College .
  •  While the excavation was led by the ASI, the study was funded by the Directorate of Archaeology and Museums (Government of Gujarat), entrusted with building India’s first experiential digital museum at Vadnagar.

About the archaeological excavation at Vadnagar:

  • In Vadnagar, the study has found evidence of a human settlement that is as old as 800 BCE contemporary to late-Vedic/pre-Buddhist Mahajanapadas or oligarchic republics.
  • The study indicates that the rise and fall of different kingdoms during the 3,000-year period and recurrent invasions of India by central Asian warriors were driven by severe change in climate like rainfall or droughts.
  • Vadnagar is described as a multicultural and multireligious settlement that housed followers of Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, and Islam. The excavation revealed artifacts from various cultural periods, including Mauryan, Indo-Greek, Indo-Scythian, Sultanate-Mughal, and more.
  • The study found characteristic archaeological artifacts, potteries, copper, gold, silver and iron objects and intricately designed bangles. It also found coin moulds of the Greek king Appollodatus during the Indo-Greek rule at Vadnagar.
  •  Some recent unpublished radiocarbon dates suggest that the settlement could be as old as 1400 BCE contemporary to the very late phase of post-urban Harappan period. If true, then it suggests a cultural continuity in India for the last 5500 years and the so-called Dark age may be a myth.
    • The period between the collapse of the Indus Valley Civilisation and the emergence of the Iron Age and cities like Gandhar, Koshal, and Avanti is often depicted as a Dark Age by archaeologists.

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