Monday, January 16, 2012


As the onset of winter dries the last of the summer deluges, the 11th season of excavation opens at Wari Bateshwar, in Narshingdhi near Dhaka.

Under the direction of Professor Sufi M. Rahman of Jahangirnagar University, the annual excavations are slowly proving what 70 years of surface finds in the community had suggested, that this was a flourishing community from well before the Common Era.

Semi precious stones and precious metals, beads, jewellery, tools, weapons and ornaments of iron and bronze, a trove of punch marked silver coins carbon dated to 600BCE,  pottery, and evidence of manufacturing all this treasure have confirmed that this was part of an industrialised and commerce based community from at least the early centuries of the 1st Millennium BCE.

It is becoming clear that the industrial civilisation of the Gangetic Plains, one of the earliest civilisations in the world, emerging probably in the late 3rd or early 2nd Millennium BCE, reached as far as the Ganges Delta. Which is unsurprising considering the evolution of industrial production assumes trade as a factor, and there is considerable circumstantial, documentary, archaeological and tangible evidence that the Ganges Delta remained a centre of trade for thousands of years until, probably, as late as the mid twentieth century.

The Governor of the Bangladesh Bank was Chief Guest at the ceremonial cutting of the turf. Senior officials of two supporting financial institutions, who are financing this year’s work, were also present as was Special Guests Rosemary Arnott, Director of the British Council, and Tim Steel, Adviser to Tiger Tours, whose publication, ‘Bangladesh. The Silk Road Runs Through’, released in 2011 focussed on the Southwest Silk Road through the Ganges Delta and contextualised the excavations.

Mr. Tim Steel, author of 'Bangladesh: The Silk Road Runs Through'

The Governor, in his address, picked up on the theme of both Ms Arnott and Tim Steel, of the contribution that such archaeology can potentially make to social and economic development in the country.
The nation’s deficit in Travel and Tourism is currently running at about $3 billion. If Bangladesh were to reach the international average contribution to GDP and employment, as it has been, more or less, by most South Asian countries, it could produce a surplus of $6 billion and create 4million new jobs.

Over the years of excavation extraordinary discoveries have been made, including a Bronze Age Pit Dwelling and a brick lined tank of considerable dimensions.
The Cambridge University Professor of Indian Archaeology Dilip Chakrabarti has identified the site with the Ptolemaic City of Sounagora, and regards it as one of the most significant in the sub continent.

With the shortage of resources available in the country, at the present rate it may take a century to reveal all the treasure that the site holds, but, year by year it creates increasing interest in international academic circles.

We will surely report on this year’s finds, next spring.


  1. nice blog, and all the ancient ornaments are amazing...

  2. A treasure box
    is a box that can vary from extremely simple to very extravagant. They are often used for treasure hunting activities, and can be fun events for adults or children. Treasure boxes are most commonly known as possessions of pirates. They contained jewels, coins, gold and other valuable items.