Unnao Digging: Not Gold, but antiques give ASI hopes

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Unnao (UP), Oct 25: Exactly seven days later and approximately 300 centimeters into the ground, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has hit upon everything, but Gold. Of course, one cannot expect Gold at such a high level under the soil, but what they have found is nothing less than being precious.

Shards,nail, broken pottery, broken glass bangles and hopscotch toys were among the precious revelations from the Unnao gold digging operation. And for ASI, it is nothing less than Gold.

"A brick wall, shards, pieces of glass bangles, hopscotch toys and a mud floor. These have been predicted to date back to 17th-19th centuries, but shards could be older. We are looking for artifacts and antiques and it is likely to take a minimum of two to three weeks to reach the reported level of deposits," said DR Mani, the ASI additional director general in New Delhi.

They have now been sent to Lucknow for dating techniques.

Are we misunderstanding the ASI?

Probably, especially when it continues to insist that it is not the seer but scientific evidences that has initiated the digging operation. In fact, backing thier words was the culture minister Chandresh Kumari Katoch who confirmed that the ASI is not digging for gold, but was trying to locate weapons used by Indians in the 1857 mutiny.

"We have a report from GSI saying that there is an alloy in this area. Alloy can be anything. I cannot say whether it is gold, silver or steel. There can be guns or idols. We are trying to locate the weapons used by Indians in the mutiny which we don't have any in our museum or stores. We are trying to find something which is connected to the mutiny and used by the Indians," said an ASI official.

Pravin Srivastava, the director General of ASI said that finding 1,000 kg of Gold was difficult and there was no point in giving anyone false hopes.

"The maximum quantity of gold ASI has so far recovered was about 12kg 10 years ago in Mandi area of western Uttar Pradesh. And that too was a chance finding on Ganga banks, not a find during a regular excavation," he said.

Justifying the ASI's decision to dig at the site, Srivastava said,"The Geological Survey of India had indicated possibility of a non-conducting, metallic content and/or some alloys at the depth of 5-20 metres. Our search is based on the report of GSI. Besides, the site is reported to be an ancient settlement. Therefore it has potential of being an important archaeological location."

Here's hoping for more such revelations in the future.

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