SAMBALPUR: To determine the evolution and cultural sequence of Asurgarh, an urban settlement site, in Barpali of Bargarh district, School of History, Gangadhar Meher University (GMU), Sambalpur has started excavations on the site, located under Gopeipali Gram Panchayat, around four kilometers from Barpali NAC.
To date, the department’s team of at least 55 PG and PhD students under the supervision of Assistant Professor and Director of Excavations, Atul Pradhan has already excavated 40 centimeters from the surface.
Pradhan said that while there are a number of Asurgarhs in western Odisha besides Chhattisgarh which are important early urban centers, they remain unexplored even today. This is the first time that an Asurgarh in Barpali area of Bargarh district is being excavated and it is a great opportunity for the department.
Explaining further, he said that Asurgarh is an urban settlement site with a double moat and double fort structure. It is a mud fort site, a usual characteristic of this region. “We started the excavations after obtaining permission and a license from the Indian government. The objective of the exercise is to discover the age of Asurgarh and to trace its evolution, the nature of the habitation, the town planning and how it was abandoned and also checking the cultural sequence of the site,” Pradhan said.
“We are adopting the horizontal excavation method because we have enough time. Using the grid excavation technique, we have chalked out trench lines and divided them into quadrants for systematic excavation. We will dig about one meter from the surface at this site. We will continue the excavations until the monsoon arrives,” he informed.
During the last days of excavations, the team recovered ancient bricks, pottery, ceramics and fragmented coins. During the trial excavation, they will be able to learn more about the culture, customs and inhabitants in addition to determining the age of the structure.
The Asurgarh at Narla was excavated by the Archaeological Survey of India and found to be an urban settlement from the 6th century BC.