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Intimacy In Olden Days

Not only a prosperous civil society, but also a happy household scene, curved on a 1500-year-old terracotta slab, has recently been discovered in an archeological site near Chandraketugarh in North 24 Parganas District of eastern Indian Province of West Bengal!

Archaeologists are of the opinion that there was a prosperous settlement in that area between pre-Maurya and Pala Period, or later. They believe that this particular area was a port city. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) also discovered evidences of a large brick-wall there during excavation. It may be noted that the Mauryan Empire (r. 321-185 BCE) was the first pan-Indian Empire that covered most of the Indian region, spanning across central and northern India, as well as over parts of modern-day Afghanistan and Iran; while the Pala Empire (r. 750-1161 CE) was an imperial power during the post-classical period in the Indian Subcontinent that originated in the region of Bengal.

Chandraketugarh – Bengal’s Harappa?

Unearthed from around 1.2mt beneath the ground, the south-facing wall is about 6mt long. Meanwhile, the bricks are 4-5cm thick and 20-25cm long. According to archaeologists, the renovated wall represents one particular civilisation.

Shubho Majumder, the Director (Kolkata Circle) of the ASI, has said that a thorough examination of the wall suggests that it might have been part of the post Gupta-era architecture of the 5th-6th Century AD. He also said that the wall was renovated during the Pala Period or in the 9th-10th Century AD. The Gupta Dynasty, rulers of the Magadha (now eastern Indian Province of Bihar), maintained an Empire over northern and parts of central and western India from the early 4th to the late 6th Century CE.

Archaeologists have also discovered a terracotta slab on which an intimate scene of a man and a woman is curved. The man is most probably tying or combing the woman’s hair. According to Majumder, this terracotta plaque was made in approximately the 5th-6th Century AD. Perhaps, people used to decorate their homes with such items, he stressed.

The terracotta plaque

A spindle, used for weaving, has also been discovered from the site, along with other terracotta items, some precious gems and accessories made of ivory. Rajat Sanyal, a Professor of Archaeology at the University of Calcutta, has congratulated the ASI for coming out with the land design of the Trirath temple in this new excavation initiative and also for helping people understand the character of the settlement next to the temple. He has stressed on more detailed excavations there.

Meanwhile, the ASI has announced that archaeologists would conduct further research works at this site.

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