Dhaka, March 20 : Archaeologists have excavated pre-Mauryan silver punch-marked coins dating back to 600 BC to 400 BC in Wari-Bateshwar in Bangladesh, which has revealed that the region was one of the earliest kingdoms in the Indian sub-continent.
According to a report in The Daily Star, the punch-marked coins are of two series - Janapada, a coin series used during pre-Mauryan period dating back to 600 BC to 400 BC when 16 Mahajanapadas were flourished in the Indian subcontinent, and Imperial, another series used during Mauryan period dating back to 400 BC to 200 BC.
"The coins unearthed in Wari-Bateshwar were of imperial and Janapada series. On the basis of the silver punch-marked coins it can be said that it was a Mahajanapada," said Professor Sufi Mustafizur Rahman of the Department of Archaeology at Jahangirnagar University (JU)
"This means it was the earliest state in Bangladesh and in the Indian subcontinent as well," the archaeologist added.
A study on 150 coins, unearthed and collected from Wari-Bateshwar and its adjoining areas, by the excavation group led by Professor Rahman found existence of both Janapada and imperial series coins.
This indicates the earliest money-based economy contemporary to the subcontinent and the world as well.
The coins of Wari-Bateshwar weigh from 1.7gm to 1.9gm. The symbols found punched on the faces of the coins include boat, sun and fish.
The silver coins and artefacts unearthed and collected so far and geographical positioning of the place both are apparently leading archaeologists to another astonishing discovery.
The discovery is that Wari-Bateshwar could be a part of Gangaridae, which was described as a rich place of trade in the estuary of the river Ganges in Greek and Latin literature and was also mentioned by Ptolemy, Virgil, Strabo, Deodorus, Kartius and Plutarch, archaeologists claim.
According to Rahman, "Geographical importance and findings of Wari-Bateshwar interestingly match the description and identity given in Greek and Latin literature about Gangaridae and indicates that Wari-Bateshwar was a part of it."
It was thought earlier that use of coins was not existed in Bangla before 300 BC. Earlier, silver punch-marked coins of only Imperial series were found in Mahasthangarh.
But, the discovery of coins provides substantial and significant information about a well-established urban civilisation as part of the second urbanisation on the context of Indian subcontinent.
According to archaeologists, the existence of coins found in Wari-Bateshwar also suggested trade, banking system and administration besides bearing sociocultural and sociopolitical condition prevalent at that time.