Historical and Archaeological Findings in News

Jun, 09, 2018

Archaeologists find pre-Columbian mass child sacrifice site in Peru

This June 8, 2018 picture shows the ongoing excavation at the “huaca” (temple), where a group of archaeologists has discovered the remains of over fifty children presumably sacrificed in a ritual of the pre-Columbian Chimu culture (900 AD to 1470 AD), on the northern coast of Peru in the district of Huanchaco, province of Trujillo.

Note4students

Mains Paper 1: History | All syllabus

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Pre-Columbian Chimu culture

Mains level: Various civilizations across the world and their unique features


News

Pre Columbian remains

  1. A group of archaeologists has discovered the remains of more than 50 children who were ritually sacrificed by the pre-Columbian Chimu culture on the northern coast of what is now Peru
  2. The new sacrifice site was discovered in the Pamapa La Cruz area in Huanchaco, a coastal district of Trujillo, Peru’s third-largest city

Other similar places

  1. In Huanchaquito, the remains of over 140 children and 200 llamas slain some 550 years ago were discovered
  2. It reinforces the idea that Huanchaco was a place where massive sacrifices of children were made during the Chimu culture

Back2Basics

Pre-Columbian Chimu culture

  1. The Chimú culture was centred on Chimor with the capital city of Chan Chan, a large adobe city in the Moche Valley of present-day Trujillo, Peru
  2. The culture arose about 900 AD, succeeding the Moche culture
  3. The Chimú people are best known for their distinctive monochromatic pottery and fine metal working of copper, gold, silver, bronze, and tumbaga (copper and gold)
  4. The pottery is often in the shape of a creature or has a human figure sitting or standing on a cuboid bottle
Jun, 07, 2018

Chalukyan sculpture of Siva found in Andhra Pradesh

Note4students

Mains Paper 1: Arts and Culture | Salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Every bit of Chalukyan Arts and Architecture

Mains level: Salient features of temple architecture in Chalukyan Empire.


News

Sandstone sculpture shows Siva as a physician

  1. A rare sculpture of Lord Siva and Goddess Parvati dating back to the 7th century was discovered at a Chalukyan temple in Satyavolu village of Prakasam district, Andhra Pradesh.
  2. The red sandstone sculpture portrays Lord Siva as the therapeutic physician (Rudra Bhaishajana) — as described in Rigveda — in which he holds a bowl in his left hand, which contains medicine from herbs to revive the ailing horse lying at his feet.
  3. Siva was fairly represented in sculptural art of ancient India in many forms right from the Indus Valley civilization to the late medieval period.

Iconographic form

  1. Such a highly exceptional iconographic form of Lord Siva had not been discovered so far.
  2. The sculpture belongs to early 7th century Chalukyan School of Art.
  3. The vertical stone slab prominently illustrates Siva and Parvati. The Lord is gracefully seated on a pedestal with the left leg on the seat, the other with knee bent and resting on the ground.
  4. Two locks of hair falling over his shoulders, he wears neatly entangled hair with a protrusion over the left of his head and knotted in a mountain dweller fashion.

Back2Basics

Chalukyan Architecture (5th – 8th CE)

    1. The temples under the Chalukyas are a good example of the Vesara style of architecture.
    2. This is also called the Deccan style or Karnataka Dravida or Chalukyan style. It is a combination of Dravida and Nagara styles.
    3. The building material they used was reddish-golden Sandstone found locally.
    4. The temples had beautiful mural paintings also.
    5. The temples are located on the banks of River Tungabhadra and Malprabaha in Karnataka and Alampur in Andhra Pradesh.
    6. Aihole temples: Ladh Khan temple (Surya Temple), Durga temple, Huchimalligudi temple, Jain temple at Meguti by Ravikirti..
    7. Badami temples: Virupaksha temple and Sangameshwara Temple are in Dravida style. Papanatha temple is in Nagara style.
    8. Pattadakkal: is a UNESCO World Heritage site. There are ten temples here – 4 in Nagar style and 6 in Dravida style.
Apr, 28, 2018

[pib] ‘Adopt a Heritage’ scheme

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Adopt a Heritage scheme, Monument Mitra

Mains level: Controversy related to privatization of historical sites


News:

  • Adopt a Heritage: Apni Dharohar, Apni Pehchaan”, is a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Culture and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), and State/UTs Governments. 
  • The Project aims to develop synergy among all partners to effectively promote “responsible tourism”.
  • It aims to involve public sector companies, private sector companies and corporate citizens/individuals to take up the responsibility for making our heritage and tourism more sustainable through development, operation and maintenance of world-class tourist infrastructure and amenities at ASI/ State heritage sites and other important tourist sites in India.
  • The project primarily focusses on providing basic amenities that includes cleanliness, public conveniences, drinking water, ease of access for differently abled and senior citizens, standardized signage..
  • Under the project a total of 31 agencies, (referred as Monument Mitras) have been approved, so far, to adopt a total of 95 Monuments/ tourist sites located across India.
  • ‘The Adopt a Heritage’ is essentially a non-revenue generating project
  • It is part of responsible tourism where the ‘Monument Mitra’ essentially spends his CSR funds for upkeep and maintenance etc., and gets limited visibility. 

The priority areas of Programme are:

  • Developing basic tourism infrastructure;
  • Promoting cultural and heritage value of the country to generate livelihoods in the identified regions;
  • Enhancing the tourist attractiveness in a sustainable manner by developing world-class infrastructure at the heritage monument sites;
  • Creating employment through active involvement of local communities;
  • Harnessing tourism potential for its effects in employment generation and economic development;
  • Developing sustainable tourism infrastructure and ensuring proper Operations and Maintenance therein.
Apr, 20, 2018

Pre-historic rock art site unearthed in Guntur

Image source

Note4students

Mains Paper 1: Arts & Culture | All syllabus

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Neolithic civilisation, Buddhism

Mains level: Discoveries related to ancient civilisations and unique features associated with them


News

Neolithic civilisation evidence

  1. A pre-historic rock art site discovered in the vast expanse of limestone blocks has thrown light on the Neolithic civilisation that flourished in Guntur during 1500-2000 BC
  2. The rock art site on natural limestone is the first of its kind in the country

Importance of the site & region

  1. The motifs in the form of engraving, pecking and brushing throw fascinating insights into the social and cultural practices of ancient civilisations
  2. The region in later years was also synonymous with the flourishing of Buddhism
  3. A stupa established on the pre-historic rock art site during 1-2 BC was also unearthed here
Apr, 11, 2018

Rare dance panel of Nayak period found near Tiruchi

Image source

Note4students

Mains Paper 1: Arts & Culture | All syllabus

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Nayak period, Chola period, Silappathikaram

Mains level: Chola architecture and details related to it


News

Dance panel of Nayak period

  1. A rare dance panel of Nayak period and an inscribed pillar of Chola period have been found on an abandoned brick mound at Pathalapettai near Kiliyur in Tiruchi
  2. It bears a Tamil inscription of Chola paleography with a few Grantha letters

Authenticity of the findings

  1. Silappathikaram (famous literary work) has references to such ritualistic performances by rural folks
  2. The inscription records that a certain Rejaladeviyar Sativinjey, queen of Iladevayan, had gifted that pillar
Apr, 02, 2018

[pib] Six monuments / historical sites in North Eastern States identified for listing under World Heritage Site

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: World Heritage Site

Mains level: India’s heritage monuments and their conservation


News:

As many as 6 monuments/historical sites in the North Eastern states have been identified tentatively for listing under World Heritage Site.

 Details of monuments/sites identified/placed under tentative list for listing under world heritage in the north eastern states are given below:

  • Apatani Cultural Landscape, Arunachal Pradesh
  • Iconic Saree Weaving Clusters of India
  • Moidams – the Mound – Burial System of the Ahom Dynasty, Assam
  • Namdapha National Park, Arunachal Pradesh
  • River Island of Majuli in midstream of Brahmaputra River in Assam
  • Thembang Fortified Village, Arunachal Pradesh

A total of 83 monuments/sites of the North-Eastern States are centrally protected under the Archaeological Survey of India.

Mar, 22, 2018

New stats model puts age of Dravidian languages at 4,500

Note4students

Mains Paper 1: Arts & Culture | All syllabus

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Dravidian languages

Mains level: Debate whether Indo-Aryans were the earliest or dravidians


News

Linguistic analysis for Dravidian languages

  1. A new linguistic analysis has used advanced statistical methods to infer that the origin of the Dravidian language family can be dated to about 4,500 years ago
  2. This estimate is in line with suggestions from previous linguistic studies, and inferences from archaeology

Dravidian languages

  1. The Dravidian languages consist of about 80 varieties spoken by 220 million people in southern and central India, and neighboring countries
  2. The four largest Dravidian languages —Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu — have literary traditions spanning centuries, of which Tamil reaches back the furthest

Why the study of Dravidian languages?

  1. The study of the Dravidian languages is crucial for understanding prehistory in Eurasia, as they played a significant role in influencing other language groups
  2. Dravidians are natives of the Indian subcontinent and were present prior to the arrival of the Indo-Aryans in India around 3,500 years ago
  3. It is likely that the Dravidian languages were much more widespread to the west in the past than they are today
  4. The study will help investigate the interactions between these people and other cultural groups in the area such as Indo-European and Austro-Asiatic on one of the great crossroads of human prehistory
Mar, 19, 2018

Bilaspur’s stone age tools link Sivalik cultures

Image source

Note4students

Mains Paper 1: History | All syllabus

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Anthropological Survey of India, Acheulian, Soanian & Paleolithic stone age, Sivapithecus

Mains level: Prehistoric era and findings related to it


News

Acheulian artifacts found

  1. Researchers from the Anthropological Survey of India (AnSI) have discovered a number of Acheulian artifacts (dated to about 1, 500,000–1,50,000 years ago) along with contemporary Soanian ones
  2. These were found from an unexplored site at Ghumarwin in Bilaspur district of Himachal Pradesh
  3. The site is close to the site where scientists in the 19th century discovered fossil remains of Sivapithecus, the last common ancestor of orangutans and humans

Significance of discovery

  1. The discovery of stone tools belonging to the Acheulian age in a region known to have rich evidence of the Soanian period presents the possibility of continuity of the two stone age cultures at the site
  2. Present Acheulian discovery from the unexplored site at Ghumarwin indicates that the river Sutlej and its tributaries have been a prehistoric corridor for the peninsular Acheulian man into the Sivalik region

Other Acheulian sites

  1. The oldest dated Acheulian sites in India are those at Attirampakkam in Tamil Nadu, dating to 1.5 million years ago
  2. Recent assessments of the South Asian Paleolithic (stone age culture) records have suggested that most Soanian assemblages are younger than Acheulian evidence in the Sivalik region
  3. According to experts, the Soanian stone age cultures date to 600 ka (about 6,00,000) years ago

Back2Basics

Anthropological Survey of India

  1. Anthropological Survey of India (AnSI) is the apex Indian organization involved in anthropological studies and field data research for human and cultural aspects
  2. It is working primarily in the fields of physical anthropology and cultural anthropology
  3. While maintaining a strong focus on indigenous populations, it also attempts to document the cultures of other communities and religious groups
  4. It operates under the Ministry of Culture, Government of India
Feb, 16, 2018

Now, smart museums to give ‘virtual’ tours and 3D view of rare artifacts

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | developments & their applications & effects in everyday life

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Jatan, Darshak, CDAC

Mains level: Developments in IT and their use in unprecedented areas


News

3D technology to revolutionise museum experience

  1. A team of experts of the human-centred design and computing team of the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Pune, has developed a software named “Jatan
  2. The latest technology will help “online” visitors get a 3-Dimensional (3D) view of hundreds of artefacts displayed in at least 10 museums
  3. It will be possible to take a visual tour of at least 10 museums

Similar on-site initiative

  1. The group has also developed “Darshak”, a mobile-based application
  2. It allows real-time museum visitors gather all details about objects or artefacts simply by scanning a QR code placed near the object
  3. The app is aimed at improving the museum visit experience among the differently-abled

Back2Basics

Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC)

  1. C-DAC is the premier R&D organization of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) for carrying out R&D in IT, Electronics and associated areas
  2. The setting up of C-DAC in 1988 was to built Supercomputers in context of denial of import of Supercomputers by the USA
  3. Since then C-DAC has been undertaking to build multiple generations of Supercomputer starting from PARAM with 1 GF in 1988
  4. C-DAC had also started building Indian Language Computing Solutions with setting up of GIST group (Graphics and Intelligence based Script Technology)
Feb, 05, 2018

Massive Mayan ruins found in Guatemala

Image source

Note4students

Mains Paper 1: History | All syllabus

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Mayan civilization, LiDAR

Mains level: Various historic civilizations across world and common features across all of them


News

Mayan heritage found

  1. Researchers have found tens of thousands of previously undetected Mayan houses, buildings, defence works and pyramids in the dense jungle of Guatemala’s Peten region
  2. This was done using a high-tech aerial mapping technique called LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging)

Findings

  1. The study estimates that roughly 10 million people may have lived in the Maya Lowlands
  2. The images revealed that the Mayans altered the landscape in a much broader way than previously thought
  3. Their agriculture was much more intensive and therefore sustainable
  4. The extensive defensive fences, ditch-and-rampart systems and irrigation canals suggest a highly organized workforce
  5. There was state involvement here as large canals were being dug that re-directed natural water flows

Back2Basics

LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging)

  1. It is a remote sensing method that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure ranges (variable distances) to the Earth
  2. It bounces pulsed laser light off the ground, revealing contours hidden by dense foliage
  3. These light pulses—combined with other data recorded by the airborne system— generate precise, three-dimensional information about the shape of the Earth and its surface characteristics
  4. LIDAR systems allow scientists and mapping professionals to examine both natural and manmade environments with accuracy, precision, and flexibility
  5. A LIDAR instrument principally consists of a laser, a scanner, and a specialized GPS receiver
  6. Airplanes and helicopters are the most commonly used platforms for acquiring LIDAR data over broad areas
Feb, 05, 2018

Pre-Christian era artefacts unearthed in Odisha

Note4students

Mains Paper 1: History | All syllabus

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Archaeological Survey of India, pre-Christian era civilizations

Mains level: Various civilizations that thrived in Indian subcontinent and their unique features


News

Ancient artefacts found

  1. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has discovered pottery pieces, and tools made of stones and bones from a mound in Jalalpur village of Cuttack district
  2. These are believed to be of the pre-Christian era

What does this signify?

  1. Discoveries of ancient artefacts indicate that a rural settlement might have thrived in that period
  2. A continuity has been found in the progress of rural culture from a pre-historic era
  3. Rich materials found from excavation sites indicate that the people had a subsistence economy and they largely relied on agriculture, fishing and hunting
  4. Discovery of tortoiseshell, dolphin and shark teeth and fish bones indicated that the settlement could have been closer to the sea coast
  5. Some rice grains have also been detected
  6. The people here could not have lived in isolation and they could have had cultural and trade ties with other settlements in the Prachi Valley that had come up around the Prachi river
Feb, 01, 2018

‘Indus script was written from right to left’

Image source

Note4students

Mains Paper 1: Arts & Culture | All syllabus

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Indus script, Indus Valley civilization

Mains level: Important historical findings related to various civilizations


News

Findings of Indus script

  1. Two scientists working at The Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai, (IMSc) have figured out a way to computationally estimate whether a language is written from left to right or otherwise
  2. They have studied the Indus script and calculated that it must flow from right to left

Previous observations related to script

  1. Professor Iravatham Mahadevan (a well-known Indus scholar) had figured out that the Indus script ran from right to left
  2. He did so by observing that the writing got a little cramped as it ran towards the left
  3. This might be due to fact that the writer started writing at the right end and ended up running out of space as he or she reached the left end
Jan, 15, 2018

Delhi’s Teen Murti Chowk renamed Teen Murti Haifa Chowk for Bejnamin Netanyahu’s visit

Image source

Note4students

Mains Paper 1: History | All syllabus

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: World War I, Battle of Haifa

Mains level: Important events related to world history


News

Symbolic gesture of friendship with Israel

  1. India renamed the iconic Teen Murti Chowk, a war memorial as Teen Murti Haifa Chowk
  2. This was done as a symbolic gesture of friendship with Israel

Haifa and its importance in history

  1. 2018 marks a centenary of the end of the World War I and the Battle of Haifa
  2. The victorious operation by the Indian soldiers carried out on 23 September 1918 targeted the fortification of the city of Haifa which was then controlled by a joint Ottoman, German and Austro-Hungarian force
  3. The Indian soldiers fighting for the Allied Powers captured Haifa and cleared a crucial route for the Allies
  4. The liberation of Haifa cleared a supply route for the Allies to the city through the sea
Jan, 03, 2018

How a British war memorial became a symbol of Dalit pride

Image source

Note4students

Mains Paper 1: History | All syllabus

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Koregaon Ranstambh, Third Anglo-Maratha War, third battle of Panipat, the battle of Kharda, Peshwa Bajirao I & II

Mains level: Suppression of Dalits in society prevailing till date and how to stop it


Context

Koregaon memorial

  1. The Koregaon Ranstambh (victory pillar) is an obelisk in Bhima-Koregaon village commemorating the British East India Company soldiers who fell in a battle on January 1, 1818
  2. In the battle, the British, with just 834 infantrymen — about 500 of them from the Mahar community — and 12 officers defeated the 28,000-strong army of Peshwa Bajirao II
  3. It was one of the last battles of the Third Anglo-Maratha War, which ended the Peshwa domination

How is it a symbol of Dalit pride?

  1. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s visit to the site on January 1, 1927, revitalized the memory of the battle for the Dalit community, making it a rallying point and an assertion of pride
  2. One part of the tradition is that several retired officers of the Mahar Regiment come to do homage to this exploit of valor

Rift between Dalit and right-wing organizations

  1. This year, the Elgaar (battle-cry) Parishad, an event celebrating the bicentenary of the battle irked some right-wing Hindutva and Brahmin organizations
  2. The right-wing organizations demanded that the city police prohibit event staging at the Shaniwarwada Fort, the erstwhile seat of Peshwa power

The Dalit–Maratha rift

  1. Relations between the Mahars and the Peshwas, who were Brahmins, grew strained after the death of Baji Rao I in 1740
  2. It reached the nadir during the reign of Bajirao Rao II, who insulted the Mahar community and spurned their offer of service with his army
  3. This caused Dalits to side with the English against the Peshwa’s numerically superior army
  4. Historical records document Mahars fighting in the Maratha army since the times of Shivaji, and even fighting alongside the Peshwa’s forces, including in the third battle of Panipat and the battle of Kharda
  5. Some accounts say that Govind Ganapat Gaikwad, a Mahar, performed the final rites of Sambhaji (Shivaji’s son) after he was tortured to death and hacked to pieces on Aurangzeb’s orders in 1689
Dec, 09, 2017

Burial urn, pots unearthed in Pallavaram

Image source

Note4students

Mains Paper 1: Arts & Culture | All syllabus

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Mudhumakkal thazhi

Mains level: Sangam period in south Indian history


News

2,000 years old artefacts found

  1. A six-foot-high burial urn, mudhumakkal thazhi, made of clay, and pieces of pots were unearthed at Old Pallavaram
  2. The artefacts are estimated to be around 2,000 years old

About the urn

  1. The history of mudhumakkal thazhi goes back to over 3,000 years
  2. It was an ancient Tamil practice to make huge earthen pots to bury people

Back2Basics

Sangam Period in South Indian History: Megalithic burial sites in Tamilakam

  1. Iron age in India is referred to as Megalithic age
  2. According to Champakalakhmi, the Sangam period forms the last phase of the megalithic period in Tamilakam
  3. The Sangam community (megalithic community) was forming part of their tank irrigated agriculture, permanent agricultural settlements, their chieftains (velir), kings, and the peasantry (velala)
  4. They also mastered in pottery techniques
  5. The people of the iron age practiced certain customary burial (megalithic) patterns
  6. There are two categories of megalithic structures: I. “Monolithic Burial Sites and Monuments” and the II. “Urn Burials”