Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Salvage Operation Brings to Light a Thousand Year Old Pratihara Period Mint in Haryana

The ancient mounds at village BoharMajra in Rohtak are gradually disappearing in the wake of coming up of new colonies under HUDA. The mounds located near Sri Baba Mastnath University have never been protected by either ASI or the State government. 

It was during the middle of January 2014 that Prof. Manmohan Kumar, a retired professor of MD University, Rohtak informed Dr. B R Mani, Additional Director General, ASI to do something to understand the site as it has yielded some terracotta moulds for making coins. The site was informed to be under constant levelling.

ASI decided to immediately do some salvage operation through exploration followed by excavation, if required. Dr. Mani ADG visited the site on 2nd February, 2014 and in a brief exploratory survey could collect 31 pieces of terracotta coin moulds for casting coins of King MihiraBhoja, the mightly ruler of the Pratihara dynasty of Kannauj who ruled between 836 and 885 AD and whose empire covered almost entire northern and central India.

Regular salvage excavation at the site started with the approval of the DG, ASI on 15th February, 2014 under the direction of Dr. B R Mani, Additional Director General, ASI assisted by Sri V.C. Sharma, SA and staff of the Chandigarh Circle of ASI. 

So far seven trenches of 3 squares of 10 x 10 m have been excavated revealing remains of a rectangular structure considered to be the mint, of almost 20 x 10 m which seems to have belonged to about 8th century and probably continued to exist till about 11th century AD. The bricks used are around 30 x 20 x 5 cm in measurement. 

According to Dr. Mani ,“the ceramic assemblage and other evidences of material culture suggest that it is a single culture site, though there are three structural places connected with the habitational deposit which is at the maximum around 3.25 m in thickness. 

The site has yielded hundreds of terracotta coin moulds and crucibles from the last phase of the site and an interesting fact is that some potsherds are having glazed surfaces of primitive type over red ware pottery. Knife edge bowls are the features of all the three phases of the site”.

The mint site is spread over an area of about 100 m in east-west and 50 m in north-south direction amidst a comparatively very large spread of an early medieval city site at village Majra which seems to have been occupied after the destruction of the earlier city site of Rohtak which is located at Khokra-Kot a few kilometers towards north-west from the locality of Majra. The discovery of the mint belonging to the Pratihara period is the first of its kind ever found in the country. 

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