Jaideep Deogharia, RANCHI: The megalithic site discovered on the outskirts of Obra village in Chatra district has strong evidence to indicate that the civilization existed here since Chalcolithic period corresponding to a period of 3300-1200 BC (for India).
The revelation has come to light in the wake of digging going on for construction of village road and villagers coming across a huge stone piece, technically identified as menhir by archaeologists.
Barring the exception of Punkri Burwadih site of Hazaribag, which has scientifically been proven to date back to beyond 3000BC, most of the megalithic sites in Jharkhand were earlier considered to be belonging to the Iron Age.
Subhashis Das, a megalith expert who authored two books, said having failed to obtain the support from local archeological experts, he got the microliths obtained from Punkri Burwadih dated in the museum of Dresden, Germany, where the age of microliths was established to be beyond 3000BC.
“One of my friends Lydia Eckeshwalfe, the then director of anthropological section of Dresden Museum, visited unkri Burwadih and offered to take the microliths obtained from there for dating,” Das said stressing that age of microlith did not essentially reflect the age of megaliths unless the site was excavated scientifically.
Having recently discovered the site at Obra village in Chatra district, Das is no more interested in seeking help of the Archaelogical Survey of India (ASI) or the state government to conserve or develop them. “I have tried to educate the villagers about the importance of these sites to preserve them and getting in touch with professionals and researchers to carry out elaborate study,” he said, adding that the site was a primitive tribal memorial site having tall menhirs.
The site already destroyed by villagers with many tall menhirs being lugged away by them, the construction of road has come as a blow to the tribal heritage. “However, if the road construction has destroyed a few menhirs, it has also exposed a couple of burial urns of which one comprised Chalcolithic remains as copper slags, a ring and a small bell,” Das said implying that megaliths in Jharkhand have a continuity and indicate to the continuity of civilization here.
Archeological superintendent with the ASI’s Ranchi circle N G Nikoshey said Jharkhand was full of megalithic sites but they had not obtained any license to excavate those sites. “ASI Ranchi circle has recently been given a license to excavate the Itkhori site in Chatra and carry out exploration in Karbra Kala region of Palamu.” In total, 12 monuments in the state are being looked after by the ASI here.
Admitting that megaliths could be a source of historical information, Nikoshey said in the absence of scientific excavation the officially acceptable date for their age was around 7th century AD. “Some university or the state archeology department should come up with excavation license, only then the sites could be dated properly,” he said.
Das, however, stressed that megaliths being the oldest of the man-made relics of our country found in almost all states faced the threat of being gradually obliterated under the pressure of developmental process.
“In northeastern states like Meghalaya and some south Indian states, the megaliths have attracted attention of local government but we are yet to acknowledge the importance of tribal heritage in Jharkhand,” Das said.
Archaeological, historical and social importance of megaliths in Jharkhand could have remained ignored altogether by the state and the ASI till date but initiatives have been taken by the state archeological department.
Deputy director of the state archeology Amitava Kumar said 29 megalithic sites in Hazaribag have been identified to be taken up for conservation by the department under the 13th Finance Commission. “Detailed project report has been prepared for these sites and we are hopeful of taking other sites as well in due course of time,” he said.Courtesy:TheTimesofindia.