IIT Kharagpur, JNU researchers find evidence of human settlement as old as 800 BCE found in Vadnagar

Research also finds the patterns of migration and invasion that were mostly induced by climate change, and drought that drove people to the Indian subcontinent with conducive weather patterns
Pic: Unsplash
Pic: Unsplash

With a collective effort of researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur (IIT-KGP), the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), and Deccan College, Pune, evidence of human settlement has been found at Vadnagar Gujarat, which is presumed to be as old as 800 BCE (Before Christian Era), reports PTI.

Where has this been published?
The findings have just been published in a paper titled 'Climate, human settlement, and migration in South Asia from Early historic to medieval period: evidence from the new archaeological excavation at Vadnagar, Western India' in the prestigious Elsevier journal Quaternary Science Reviews.

The team of researchers was led by the ASI, while the study was funded by the Directorate of Archaeology & Museums Government of Gujarat which is entrusted with building India's first experiential digital museum (experiential means the process of learning through experience) at Vadnagar.

What more does the study reveal?
The study, according to them, indicates the rise and fall of different kingdoms during this long 3,000 years, and the pattern of invasions of India by central Asian warriors, who were driven by severe changes in climate like rainfall or droughts.

Not only this, Vadnagar has been a multi-cultural and multi-religious (Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, and Islamic) settlement.

ASI archaeologist Abhijit Ambekar, also the co-author of the paper, leading the excavation since 2016 said that the excavation in several deep trenches revealed the presence of seven cultural stages (periods) namely, Mauryan, Indo-Greek, Indo-Scythian or Shaka-Kshatrapas, Hindu-Solankis, Sultanate-Mughal (Islamic) to Gaekwad-British colonial rule, with civilisations still flourishing.

"We found characteristic archaeological artefacts, potteries, copper, gold, silver, and iron objects and intricately designed bangles. We also found coin moulds of Greek king Appollodatus during the Indo-Greek rule at Vadnagar," said Ambekar.

Climate turbulence led to such invasions 

Another researcher who is the lead author of the paper and a teacher at IIT, Professor Anindya Sarkar said that the findings are suggestive of a tumultuous time in Indian history where there were seven invasions from central Asia to India (including Gujarat), imprints of which can also be found in the successive cultural periods of Vadnagar.

Not only this, he also suggests that climate has come to play a great role in this. "Our isotope data and dates of the cultural periods at Vadnagar suggest that all these invasions happened precisely when the agrarian Indian subcontinent was prosperous with stronger monsoons but central Asia was extremely dry and uninhabitable with recurrent droughts."

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