Friday, July 15, 2005


After flood, Shetrunji throws up a civilisation


The Times of India
By Himanshu Kaushik
July 13, 2005

AMRELI: Remnants of an ancient civilisation have emerged in Amreli district as the waters of the Shetrunji river receded after the recent floods. The fury of the Shetrunji — believed to be an ancient river of the pleistocene period — washed away nearly six feet of soil cover seven km from Amreli town, revealing plinths in regular shapes.

Excavation by local residents has revealed earthenware bits that could have been pots and pans. Eyewitnesses say they have also recovered some stones which appear to be embossed.

They claim, "Four houses constructed up to the plinth level were seen. Also, there were some stone ornaments found from the site."

Archaeologists who have yet to reach the site, are not surprised and say relics from the late Harappan civilisation had been found earlier in this region.

State archaeology department director YK Rawat says, "In the past, several late Harappan sites have been found in Amreli district. This could be one of the sites."

Rawat confirmed that the Shetrunji river was an ancient one (between 11,000 and two million years old). "I am sending my team to Amreli on Wednesday to take a look at the site.

This appears to be another case where a whole village may have been submerged when the Shetrunji changed it course,'' Rawat says. He cites the example of Kamrej in Surat, which was an ancient port, but was submerged.

Amreli museum director Hiralal Shah says he has seen the stones and it seems these might be older than the Harappan civilisation. The bangles found there also appear to be of the same period, he says, adding that the mound under which these were found was about 70 feet long and 10 feet high.

Residents of the village say, "So far the administration officials are yet to reach the spot and cordon off the site.Visitors have already begun lifting the stones as souvenirs".

Officials say the villagers had informed them, but initially they ignored the information. "What looked like bangles were already taken away by villagers who were not aware of their historical value," official sources claim. Amreli collector PK Gadhvi says, "Amreli has archaeological sites which were unearthed earlier.

We have a museum full of ancient pottery and other things which have been found from several sites." About the new site he says, "I have just got reports and have sent a team to inquire. Once we get the report, we would definitely send it to the archaeology department."

Gadhvi says that the possibility of an ancient city existing here cannot be denied as the Shetrunji is an ancient river.


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