Unnao treasure hunt episode unearths ASI's ignorance, not Gold

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Unnao (UP), Oct 30: Now that the cloud over the Gold hunt has cleared, Shobhan Sarkar is nowhere to be seen, leaving behind ASI officials to face the music. Not just political parties, but also historians and one of their own are now criticizing their move to begin rampant digging without any concrete evidence.

"They have worked on the Baba's (Seer Shobhan Sarkar) theory. It is not based on archaeological principle, they have put aside all scientific methods," a senior archaeologist told The Hindu newspaper, on anonimity.

The haze becomes clearer as he explains, what should have been the standard procedure when there is a possibility of historical excavation.

Firstly, establishing the "primary" evidence (even if we consider the dream as one) should have been confirmed by studying the literature that may have its references. Following this, there should have been a thorough geological survey with penetration radar.

He further explains, "It is today possible to determine the location in a pin pointed manner, through scanning and underneath metal detection. The longitude and latitude can tell us of the exact spot."

Call it an archaeological blunder or the result of a hasty excavation, the official further says "Digging is done in a north-south orientation, at the highest mound usually. This is to ensure that entire periods of history, the stratum, are determined. If it was a regular archaeological exploration, this procedure should have been followed."

Having not followed that, the ASI reached the "kankar" level or the barren level where there is no scope of finding anything of archaeological evidence.

In fact, this is the level of geological importance where one could find minerals, oil etc. The official highlighted the hurried manner of the digging drawing reference of the unearthing of artefacts from the Kushan period, whereas there were other periods before that, such as the Mughals and the Sultanate.

"The ASI would have first found things belonging to the other ages that came before 1857, like the Mughals and the Sultanate. From 1857, they have gone straight to the Kushan period (1st century onwards). The right procedure has not been followed," he said.

Hence, negating the fact that the ASI was actually looking for archaeological remains and not Gold. To add to it, the official further confirmed that the site was never important historically and that GSI may have hit upon swords and canons and detected them as metallic elements.

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