A water harvesting mechanism could have been the key to sustenance and prosperity of Gujarat’s Vadnagar when cities were abandoned because of harsh climate across the country between the 4-5th century AD and 10th century AD, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)’s excavations have found in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home town.
ASI has since 2014-15 excavated around 54 water bodies representing the mechanism within a 10km radius in Vadnagar. The system could have helped the town’s inhabitants survive during the time when paleoclimate studies have shown weather was not conducive with marginal rainfall and mass drought across the country. Vadnagar is one of the few towns from that era to have survived, findings from the site have shown.
ASI’s excavation branch-V deputy superintending archaeologist, Abhijit Ambekar, who has been carrying out excavations in Vadnagar, said the water system was different from the one found at Harappan-era sites. “The water storage system was at the city’s periphery along a fortification wall and spread across a large area unlike what is seen at Dholavira [a Harappan-era site in Gujarat]. This helped agriculture thrive, making Vadnagar a prosperous town and led to the spread of Buddhism around it.”
In addition to the water system, coins of 28 varieties dating back to six different periods found in Vadnagar corroborate the findings about the town’s prosperity.
Save for one coin without any carvings, Ambekar said the coins belong to the site’s Rampart (from 2nd Century BC to 1st Century AD), Kshatrapa (1st to 4th Century AD), Post-Kshtrapa (5th to 10th Century AD), Sultanate-Mughal (14th to 17th Century AD) and Gaekwad periods (from 18th to 19th Century AD).
Amol Kulkarni, assistant keeper at the History Museum at the Department of History & Ancient Indian Culture, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University, Aurangabad, says that despite the general drought conditions around the country, the harvest conditions in Vadnagar made it a major trade centre.
ASI now plans to stop excavations at the site, and will file a report on the cultural sequence of the region and findings in a report soon.
Jun 16, 2019 23:44 IST