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India’s Oldest Living City found in Vadnagar, Gujarat

Why is it in the news?

  • An archaeological excavation conducted in Vadnagar, Gujarat, has brought to light significant evidence of human settlement dating back to 1,400 BCE.

Findings of the Excavation

  • Revealed characteristic artifacts, including intricately designed bangles, potteries, and objects made of copper, gold, silver, and iron.
  • These artifacts provide tangible evidence of the lifestyle, craftsmanship, and technological advancements of the ancient inhabitants.
  • One of the most notable discoveries is the unearthing of one of the oldest Buddhist monasteries. This finding adds historical significance to Vadnagar, suggesting the coexistence of diverse cultural and religious influences in the region.
  • The study proposes that climate-induced changes, such as fluctuations in rainfall or droughts, played a pivotal role in shaping the destiny of various kingdoms over a span of 3,000 years.
  • Recurring invasions by Central Asian warriors are highlighted, indicating the geopolitical dynamics of the ancient period.

Radiocarbon dating reveals a succession of rulers in Vadnagar’s history:

  • Indo-Greeks (until 100 CE)
  • Indo-Scythian or Shakas, known as Kshatrapa kings (until 400 CE)
  • Maitrakas (Gupta kingdom), Rashtrakuta-Pratihara-Chawada kings (until 930 CE)
  • Solanki kings (Chalukya rule until 1,300 CE)
  • Sultanate-Mughals (1680 CE)
  • Gaekwad/British

Significance of the Study

  • The discovery is deemed crucial as it fills a historical gap in Indian archaeological records between 1,500 BCE and 500 BCE.
  • Provides a more comprehensive understanding of the continuous human settlement in India spanning over 5,500 years.
  • Challenges the conventional notion of a Dark Age by proposing that the settlement might date back to 1,400 BCE.
  • If accurate, this challenges the narrative of a cultural hiatus during the proposed Dark Age, emphasizing sustained cultural continuity.
  • Indicates a cultural continuity in India for the past 5,500 years, showcasing the resilience and endurance of cultural practices over millennia.
Dark Age

·       The term Dark Age refers to the time frame from the decline of the Indus Valley Civilization around 4,000 years ago (early 2nd millennium BCE) until the rise of the Iron Age and Mahajanapada cities like Gandhar, Koshal, and Avanti (6th-5th century BCE).

About the Excavation

  • The excavation was conducted by a joint team of scientists from prestigious institutions, including IIT Kharagpur, Archaeological Survey of India, Physical Research Laboratory, Jawaharlal Nehru University, and Deccan College.
  • The project received funding from the Infosys Foundation and the Gujarat government’s Directorate of Archaeology & Museums.
  • The excavation aligns with the broader initiative of developing India’s inaugural experiential digital museum in Vadnagar, ensuring that the historical findings are preserved and made accessible to a wider audience.

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