Archaeologists have stumbled upon a number of antiquities, including Buddha stupas, belonging to the 9th century AD at Itkhori in Jharkhand’s Chatra district.

In their first excavation exercise this year, the archaeologists found 58 antiquities, including four Buddha stupas, at Itkhori, N.G Nikoshey, Superintending Archaeologist (Ranchi Circle) of the Archaeological Survey of India, said.

“Among the discoveries made were Buddha statues in various mudras and Boddhisatva deities dedicated to Buddhism.

Antiquities belonging to the Jainism and Hinduism were also found during the excavation,” he said.

The mound, where the objects are found, is spread across 500x150 metres and date back to the 9th and 10th centuries Pala period, he explained.

While 58 antiquities were kept with the department, the villagers kept about 400 antiquities under a shed there refusing to hand them over.

There were also semi-precious stones, terracotta and metals used as toy objects, ornaments, household objects and ritualistic objects among the finds, he said.

Also found was a brick floor of single course at the stupa number one at the North-Western side of the excavated place, which measured 3.8M in length and 2.35M width.

As many as 17 intent hopscotch, made of both terracotta and sandstone, and six beads of terracotta were recovered in the excavation, he said.

Other materials, which were recovered, were chillum hukka, terracotta animal figurines, terracotta seal, potter-stamp, skin-rubber, copper bangle and iron objects.

“An earthen pot of 50 cm in diameter, sunk into the ground on the South-Eastern portion of the floor, was also found, besides a number of Buddha panel and fragments of seated deity,” Nikoshey said

“The lime concrete flooring of the ‘Medhi’ suggests that the sculptures were once part of the surrounding dome of a crumbling structure,” he said.

The most interesting recoveries were the sculptures of Buddha, Votive Stupa and Medhi of sandstone along with two fragments of deity made in granite stone exposed from all excavation, he said.

“The Buddha panel is carved of four Buddhas seated on dhyanmudra over a plain pedestal in a row and was measured 4.5x2.5x0.8 cm in dimension,” he said.

Two images are kept intact while the third one is partially broken on the head and the last one is mutilated on the head, he said.

Four-seated and six-seated Buddha images were also recovered, he said and a rock figure of the Buddha was found on the Koleshwari hills in the area.

At neighbouring Palamau district’s Sahar-vira village, a Buddha Stupa was discovered and the archaeologists have sought permission for excavation, he said.

(This article was published on November 2, 2012)
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