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EXCAVATIONS AT LACHHURA, DISTRICT BHILWARA

Summery

Excavtion at Lachhura by the Jaipur circle of Archaeological Survey of India in 1998 has revealed a cultural deposit of about 7m datable to 700 B.C.- 200 A.D. It is divided into four periods Pre NBP, NBP, Sunga and Kushan based on pottery and antiquity. Interesting findings include terracotta human and animal figurines, copper bangles, iron knife, chisel and dagger, beads of terracotta, carnelian and quartz beside wide ranges of potteries like black slipped ware, black and red ware, grey ware and red slipped ware.

Excavation at Lachhura, District Bhilwara

The Jaipur Circle of the Survey, conducted excavation at Lachhura, under the direction of B. R. Meena, assisted by S. C. Saran, Kanwar Singh, B. R. Singh, S. C. Gupta, R. P. Mathur, V. K. Uppal, Gulzar Singh, S. K. Aphriya and yielded a seven meter thick deposit.

The village Lachhura (26˚ 24’; 77˚ 53’) is situated about 55 km west of the district headquarters of Bhilwara and 18 km south-west of the tehsil headquarter Asind in Rajasthan. The ancient mound is situated half a kilometer of the north of the present village, on the bank of a seasonal nala. Locally known as Hanuman nala, is an affluent of the River Mansi, a tributary of River Banas. The ancient mound originally covered an area of about 250m north – to south and about 200m east to west but today only 140 x 130 m area is intact. Presently, almost the whole mound except a little portion at north is under cultivation.

Trench A laid in the northwestern part of the mound where the digging was done down to a depth of 1.75m yielded a thin layer of hard kankar.

Another Trench B was laid further north to the Trench A showing a thick deposit of sharp edged Sunga bowls, laying on the natural soil.

Trench C was laid in the northeastern part, close to straight cliff on the bank of seasonal nala. It was dug down to the virgin soil to determine the thickness of the occupational deposit, stratigraphy and cultural sequence of the site. Fourteen layers were identified in this trench and habitation deposit could be traced over a thick and very hard banker bed. The entire deposit is divided into four periods, on the basis of pottery and antiquities as given below.

Period I ( c. 700-500 BC) with a deposit of 1.7 m layers (14) and (13) yielded terracotta human figurine, ear studs, skin-rubbers, wheel, net sinkers, beads of terracotta and carnelian, bangle, kohl stick and lumps of copper, hammer stone, sling balls etc. The presence of black and red ware with copper also indicated that the deposit is of chalcolithic period.

The human figurines are found one each from layers (14) and (13). The figurine found in the lowest layer is crude while other one is comparatively well formed. Its right hand is straight whereas left hand is slightly turned with a pedestal base.

The black and red ware pots are of fine quality with shining burnished surface. Dishes with featureless rim and slightly incurved sides are most common types. The pots are of fine quality and mostly with thin section and well burnt. Dish is the main shape besides a few bowls having in-turned rims with convex or straight sides and sagger base.

Grey ware is represented by a few sherds of thin grey ware. As the sherds were too small, it was difficult to make out the exact shape. Besides, a few sherds of black slipped ware are also present. Red ware is the main associated ware and found in large quantity. Pots of red ware are of unslipped variety. Main shapes are bowls, vases and lids.

Thick deposit of burnt and baked clay lumps bearing impression of bamboo and reads on the inner surface in layer (13) throw some idea about structures of this period. The houses of this period were made of wattle and daub with thick mud plaster on walls and thatched roof made of bamboo.

 About 1m thick deposit of layers (12) and (11) is classified as Period II (c. 500-300 BS). Antiquities from this period include animal figurine, skin-rubbers, net-sinkers, bead, ear studs, bangles, bone point and a bead of carnelian. Two terracotta animal figurines found in this period are quite big. One of the figurines appears to be a horse with its head and legs broken. The other animal figurine has two hump like projections on back, and the third one is of a bull, in smaller size. Its head is broken but the remaining body portion is easily identifiable. Terracotta net sinkers of various shapes and size and bone points are also present.

Red ware is the only pottery found in this period Pots of red ware were unslipped, having rough exterior. It is in medium fabric with a dull appearance. The common shapes are bowls, vase, storage-jar, basin and lid. The presence of some small sherds of grey ware and black slipped ware mark the continuity in this phase, although the number is very limited.

About 1.80m deposit from layers (10) to (7) represents Period III (c. 300-100BC). Terracotta female figurine found in this deposit is a fine piece of art showing only the bust. The hands were curved with palm perhaps resting on waist, in katyavalambita pose and sitting in lalitasana. A terracotta head with broad lips, open mouth, big nose and hair tied artistically also forms noteworthy find.

A terracotta sealing with four Brahmi characters is an important find. On the paleographical ground it is assignable to the third century BC. Three letters, se na and sa are in a line whereas the fourth one, ma is written above between se and na.

The pots are mainly of coarse red ware although a few pots were found with fine red slip. Bowl, vase, basin and storage jar continue to occur as common shapes.

The uppermost deposit of 1.85m from layers (6) to (1) is marked as Period IV (c. 100 BC – AD 200). Various objects made terracotta; stone and iron besides pottery are reported from this deposit. A terracotta figurine of bird partly broken bears a deep hole on its base, perhaps to fix it on a stick. The other terracotta objects comprise sealing with a symbol, humped bull and lower part of a moulded plaque showing two legs, wearing a long drapery and boots. Besides iron nails, rings and knife are also present.

The ceramic industry of preceding phase, i.e., red ware also continued with the main shapes such as deep dish, bowls, vase, carinated handi, lids and basin. Pottery is generally ill-fired having poor surface treatment and coarse in texture. The exterior surfaces of pots are coarse and some of the sherds have fine red slip. A few sherds of stamped ware are also present.