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Digging up to begin in Kapilvastu for life before Buddha

Almost 35 years after it was last excavated,the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) will be again taking up excavation work at Piprahwa,the site of ancient Kapilvastu associated with Lord Buddha,from November.

Written by Prashant Pandey | Allahabad | Published: October 24, 2012 4:29 am

Almost 35 years after it was last excavated,the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) will be again taking up excavation work at Piprahwa,the site of ancient Kapilvastu associated with Lord Buddha,from November. Piprahwa is located in Siddhartha Nagar district close to the Nepal border.

This time,the aim of the excavation work,however, will be to look for evidence of organised life that may have existed at the place even before fifth century BC,that is predating the period of Lord Buddha to which the discovered ruins belong to. Lord Buddha,born as Prince Siddhartha,was said to be the son of Suddhodhana,king of Kapilvastu.

The site of Piparhwa was excavated for the first time in 1970-71 and then in 1976-77. “The works going on some of the sites around Piprahwa,like Lahura Deva in neighbouring Sant Kabir Nagar district,for the last eight to 10 years have thrown light on the possibility of agriculture and organised life existing even before fifth century BC. In fact,the material evidence recovered from these sites has gone to back to first millennium BC. Therefore,we want to know what the situation in Piprahwa had been during that period,” said Superintending Archaeologist,Lucknow Circle (ASI),P K Mishra.

“If we get what we are looking for in the first excavating season (November -March) of the excavation itself,we will stop. Otherwise,the excavations will go on till the next season. We want to examine the evidence of organised life that is possibly present in the strata belonging to period dating back to the first millennium BC,” said Mishra.

The findings during the excavations carried out at nearby sites got the archaeologists interested in figuring out about civilisations that may have existed almost simultaneously with Harappan civilisation or even before it. Apart from Lahura Deva,another site in Nepal too had yielded similar evidence.

Further,the ASI is also interested in finding the inter-link between Piprahwa and its “twin” site — Ganwaria. “Ganwaria is nearly 500 metres from the ruins in Piprahwa. It is an open stretch without any settlement. This will be excavated for establishing the inter-linkages between Piprahwa and Ganwaria,” Mishra said.

According to the ASI,the site at Piprahwa was under human habitation between fifth century BC and third century AD. The site was abandoned after it was gutted in a fire as suggested by some findings.

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