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ASI finds copper figures and weapons dating back 3,800 years in UP’s Mainpuri

ASI markings on similar antiquities discovered earlier in the western UP region, Sanauli, suggest that inhabitants of that time were possibly engaged in fighting.

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Lucknow: The Archeological Survey of India has claimed to have found copper anthropomorphic figures and weapons such as swords and harpoons possibly dating back 3,800 years in Uttar Pradesh’s Mainpuri district.   

The copper hoards were chanced upon by a local farmer on 10 June and are 77 in number, possibly dating back to 1600-2000 BC — the later stages of the Chalcolithic Age (the transition period between Neolithic and Bronze Ages) — ASI officials told ThePrint Saturday.  

Copper hoards are antiquities traced to the first half of the 2nd Millennium BCE. Since the early 19th century, these ancient objects have been discovered in the area where rivers Yamuna and Ganga meet.

The discovery suggests that the inhabitants of the area were engaged in fighting, much like the 2018 findings in Sanauli in Baghpat, although that was a burial site, Vasant Swarnkar, ASI’s director of conservation and spokesperson, told ThePrint.    

“Similar discoveries are heavy and can’t easily be handled. The marks on them suggest that they were possibly used for the clash of metal with metal,” he said. “So far, the three kinds of implements that have been recovered here include antenna swords, harpoons, and anthropological figures.”

The find will undergo Thermoluminescence datinga dating technique usually used on pottery and other ceramic material — he said. 

“…But the discoveries made at the Atranji Khera site in Etah (1983)— which is the nearest to this place — have been found to be dating to 1600-2000 BC. Hence, the relative dating of these discoveries suggests that they may be from the same period,” he said.

In 2018, the ASI claimed to have found the remains of two chariots and eight well-preserved corpses in a burial chamber in Sinauli, which is considered an important contemporary Harappan burial site in Bagphat district.

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‘Chance’ discovery

Farmer Bahadur Singh alias Fouji found it while levelling a mound on his five-bigha field in Mainpuri’s Ganeshpur with an excavator, ASI officials said.

He and some villagers believed they had hit upon some treasure and fled with it but information leaked to the district administration after a fight broke out over the find, the officials said.

Kurawali Sub-Divisional Magistrate Virendra Kumar Mittal told ThePrint that the administration got back 39 copper hoards soon after he visited the site on 11 June. 

“They were copper-made figures including spears and daggers. We collected the items and deposited them with the local police station,” he said. “However, since there were reports that some villagers had taken some of the figures in their possession, we got a public announcement made after which some locals handed over the figures to the administration.”

Raj Kumar Patel, the superintending archaeologist for ASI Agra circle, told ThePrint that the find was 97-98 per cent copper.

“It was a chance find. When the ASI was informed, we inspected the site and found some more antiquities,” he told ThePrint.

Patel said there were at least swords of 2-3 kinds in the find.  

Archaeologists had discovered finds dating back 1800 BC-1500 BC before but discoveries made in the last 10 years have been even older, between 2500 and 2000 BC, he said.

Swarnkar said that similar discoveries have been made in the past in Sakatpur in Saharanpur, Madarpur in Moradabad, and in Saifai district.

(Edited by Uttara Ramaswamy)

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