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The Archaeology unit of the BANARAS HIINDU UNVIERSITY, was established in the year 1957. It is more than four decades now that this wing of the Department of Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology, has conducted a number of field investigations in the middle Ganga plains and the adjoining regions. As a result of which more than 300 sites have been brought to light through explorations, and 25 major excavations have been conducted. Together, these investigations were carried out in a wide area lying within the boundaries of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, and also cover a long time span from Early Stone Age to the Historical period. The archaeologists' spade of the BHU, has made significant contribution, not only by discovering ancient remains, but the efforts of the Faculty towards the reconstruction of almost all the techno-cultural stages, and contemporary societies of north India in general and the middle Ganga plains in particular, have also been Internationally appreciated.

Stone Age sequence in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar was not well known till the archaeologists of the Banaras Hindu University initiated meaningful field studies in the Vindhya-Kaimur region, adjacent to tIle Ganga plains. The discoveries of Stone Age sites covered all the techno-cultural stages of Palaeolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic. Since the aim was to reconstruct the behavior of Early Man, the field studies revolved primarily around locating and exposing habitation floors. PAISRA was one of the major discoveries of the last century , where evidence for the construction of huts and temporary shelters were uncovered in the earliest known context (more than one lakh years ago) of the Indo-Pak sub- continent. Similarly, the evidence for the emergence and expansion of food producing economy in the middle Ganga plains could be found from the excavation of SENUWAR site, in the foot-hills of Kaimur ranges.

The earliest wide spread occupation of the Ganga plains now can be assigned to such village dwellers who were primarily farmers, and were also using copper in small quantities. A number of sites, which have been excavated by the Banaras Hindu University in various parts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar , demonstrate that most of the early Historical urban centres have developed over these Chalcolithic or the Copper using cultural horizons. The noteworthy sites where this feature could be ascertained are SENUW AR , KHAlRADIH, NARHAN, AGIABIR etc.

It is also responsibility of an archaeologist and historian to reconstruct the local history on account of reliable facts. It is for this reason the archaeologists of the Banaras Hindu University commenced their academic pursuit from the excavation of RAJGHAT (ancient Varanasi). Subsequent investigations in and around Varanasi and Sarnath, has helped in piecing together the history of this old and world famous city. It may now be held that the history of Varanasi starts from about I 1,000 B.C., when small village settlements were in existence. Identification of this horizon It AKTHA near Varanasi-Sarnath in recent most excavations is particularly significant. From the simple village settlement, Varanasi appears to have developed into a large and famous urban centre in early Historical times, which is well documented in the archaeological remains of Rajghat. That this urban centre was surrounded by a number of satellite settlements, which were catering to the needs of the city dwellers could, further be reconstructed on account of the excavations of such small sites as SARAI-MOHANA, KOTW A, TILMANPUR etc.

The hills of CHUNAR lying very close to Varanasi are important resource zone for the supply of sandstone to the entire middle Ganga plains. The field investigations carried out in this region were very rewarding, as archaeological evidence for ancient stone quarries could be discovered here. It is now possible to demonstrate the entire mechanism of stone chiseling -from quarrying of the stone blocks from the Vidhyan sandstone formations, -transportation of the blocks to the workshop sites and, -the identitication of chiseling workshops, -around Varanasi and Sarnath, two main consumer settlements for stone sculpture of ancient times.

Another major contribution of this institution to the history of the Northern India has been the excavations at BHITARl, a Gupta period site. In Ganga plains, the archaeological horizons of this period are marked by less prosperous and restricted structural activities. But, Gupta period is referred to as the Golden Age of the Indian History .In the light of this, the remains at Bhitari are very significant. For not only a temple based township of the Gupta period has been exposed, but, it could be shown that this settlement was estab]ished and had flourished under the direct patronage of Gupta kings. The number of epigraphs found at this site has helped dating various structural phases (between circa A.D. 450 and 550) with precision. Thus, the archaeological remains at Bhiari are very valuable evidence for the history of Gupta art and architecture on one hand and history of settlements in the Ganga plains on the other.

All the major categories of antiquities discovered from the above mentioned important archaeological sites are the exhibits of this display.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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