Archaeological News

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The Archaeological Survey of India on Monday began conservation work on the roof of the historic Diwan-e-Khas at the Red Fort. It hopes to restore the monument to its pristine glory within four months. Officials working on the project said what they have undertaken is “not a restoration but the real work (conservation)”.

Restoration is beautifying the monument/building by plastering and applying other means. Though the conservation will not be ‘visible’ to common people and tourists as it is done silently without disturbing them but it would make the roof stronger after the process.

The very reasons and process of the work involved has interesting details that clearly explains the hurdles faced by the institution in carrying out such a mammoth task. Read more.

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VELLORE: Five hero-stones believed to have belonged to the Pallava period, dating back nearly 1,400 years, were discovered in Puliyanur village (bordering Vellore, Tiruvannamalai and Krishnagiri districts) by Professor Appasamy Murugaiyan of Paris University and R Poongundran, a retired assistant director of State Department of Archeology.

Two of the five stones discovered were damaged while three had inscriptions and pictorial depictions.

Over 1,000 hero-stones have been discovered in the Thenpennai river basin so far, especially in Tirupattur, Tiruvannamalai and Dharmapuri belt. Tamil literature cites worship of these hero-stones by the villagers of the time and this practice has waned over time, he added. Read more.

The two-and-a-half-foot-high ‘panchaloha’ idol and a part of another idol damaged below waist, seized by police after they were unearthed by workers of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme while desilting a water tank at Thalirmarundoor near Thondi on September 15, belonged to the 15th century and should be more than 500 years old, said K. Sakthivel, Curator of the district unit of the Department of Archaeology.

Mr. Sakthivel, who inspected the idols and the pedestals recovered along with them, said they were ‘panchaloha’ idols with the composition of gold, silver, copper, iron and lead, but the proportion of the five metals used in the idols was not known. Read more.

As part of its endeavour to develop ancient sites in the region, the Archaeology and Museums Department has decided to transform the old Bhimeswara temple at Chebrolu in Guntur district into a tourist spot as precious Buddhist remains belonging to the first or second century A.D. were found adjacent to the temple.

Six railing posts of Buddhist Stupa each measuring five-foot high and 60 cms width along with several other precious remains were unearthed while carrying out digging works on southern side of the temple as part of the temple renovation works by the department a few weeks ago.

After further excavation, officials have found the railing posts depicting Lotus Medallions and a row of animals. Read more.

Several thousand manuscripts that are several centuries old are set to be digitized and made available over the Internet in the public domain, thanks to an initiative by the state government of Tamil Nadu in India.

The 72,300 rare and original palm-leaf manuscripts are currently stored at the Government Oriental Manuscripts Library in the state’s capital city, Chennai. A majority of the manuscripts are written in the ancient language of Sanskrit, while the remaining, about a third, are mostly in the Tamil language. The topics covered by them include mathematics, philosophy, treatises on the Vedas, and architecture. Read more.

A total of sixty-one Mughal-era silver coins with Arabic inscriptions imprinted on them have been found from an earthen pot near the bank of river Ganga in Cantonment area in Kanpur.

The coins were found last evening when a few kids had gone to the river Ganga’s wharf in Cantonment area to take bath where they found an earthen pot filled with shining coins in it, police said.

Ram Kishan Das, a priest at the wharf, after knowing the incident, informed police and Army officials which then took the relics under its authority and has informed Archaeological Survey of India about the coins, Major CP Bhadola said. Read more.

New Delhi: Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott who is on a state visit to India is returning two looted idols seized from Australian museums during a meeting with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Friday.

Abbott is personally delivering the National Gallery of Australia’s Rs 30 crore ($5 million) Dancing Shiva or Nataraja Ardand and the Art Gallery of New South Wales’s Rs 2 crore ($300,000) Ardhanarishvara to Modi as a “gesture of goodwill” at a state reception at the Rashtrapati Bhawan in the evening.

Both priceless objects were stolen from temples in India and later sold to the museums by Manhattan dealer Subhash Kapoor, who, his gallery manager has admitted, created falsified ownership documents to hide their illicit origins. Read more.

Mumbai - After the massive landslide in July that wiped out an entire village in the Indian state of Maharashtra, a report prepared by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) warns of landslide threats to the nearby Ajanta Caves, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The caves at Ajanta contain exquisite mural paintings and sculpture dating back to the second century BC, and attract nearly 500,000 tourists every year, making it one of India’s most popular tourist destinations.

The report, that was prepared in 2011, mentions how the hills within which the caves are situated are weak and contain several loose boulders, due to exposure to nature’s elements. Read more.