[Prelims Spotlight]Historical and Archaeological Findings in News

Historical and Archaeological Findings in News

1.Excavations in Kutch shed light on early Harappan custom

  • Archaeological excavations undertaken by a group of researchers have shed light on the custom and burial rituals that were prevalent during the early Harappan phase.
  • The team which camped in Khatiya village of Kutch unearthed several skeletal remains from a cemetery-like burial site where 26 graves out of the nearly 300-odd ones were excavated.

2.Chalukyan sculpture of Siva found in Andhra Pradesh

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Siva was fairly represented in sculptural art of ancient India in many forms right from the Indus Valley civilization to the late medieval period.

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.

3.Archaeologists find pre-Columbian mass child sacrifice site in Peru

  • 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
  • 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

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

Pre-Columbian Chimu culture

  • 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
  • The culture arose about 900 AD, succeeding the Moche culture
  • 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)
  • The pottery is often in the shape of a creature or has a human figure sitting or standing on a cuboid bottle

4.India gets its 37th UNESCO World Heritage Site

  • India’s nomination of the “Victorian and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai” has been inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list.
  • The decision was taken at the 42nd session of the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO at Manama in Bahrain today.
  • This achievement is especially remarkable in the view of the successive inscription of another Indian city after Ahmedabad last year

About the Ensembles

  • Together, this architectural ensemble represents the most remarkable collection of Victorian and Art Deco buildings in the world which forms the unique character of this urban setting, unparalleled in the world.
  • The Ensemble consists of 94 buildings primarily of 19th century Victorian Gothic revival and early 20th century Art Deco style of architecture with the Oval Maidan in the centre.
  • The 19th century Victorian buildings form part of the larger Fort precinct situated to the east of the Oval Maidan.
  • These public buildings include the Old Secretariat (1857-74), University Library and Convention Hall (1874-78), the Bombay High Court (1878), the Public Works Department Office (1872), Watson’s Hotel (1869), David Sasoon Library (1870), the Elphinstone College(1888), etc.
  • The Art Deco styled buildings to the west of the Oval Maidan were raised in early 20th century on the newly reclaimed lands at Marine Drive and symbolised the shift in expression to represent contemporary aspirations.

UNESCO World Heritage Properties in India

  • In the past 5 years alone, India has managed to get inscribed seven of its properties/sites on the World Heritage List of UNESCO.
  • India now has overall 37 World Heritage Inscriptions with 29 Cultural, 07 Natural and 01 Mixed sites.
  • While India stands second largest in number after China in terms of number of World Heritage properties in ASPAC (Asia and Pacific) region, it is overall sixth in the world.

5.Thanjavur Paintings

Thanjavur Paintings

  • It is a classical South Indian painting style, which was inaugurated from the town of Thanjavur and spread across the adjoining and geographically contiguous old Tamil country.
  • The art form draws its immediate resources and inspiration from way back about 1600 AD, a period when the Nayakas of Thanjavur under the suzerainty of the Vijayanagara Rayas.
  • It is distinguished by its famous gold coating.
  • However, it can safely be surmised that Thanjavur painting, as we know it now, originated in the Maratha court of Thanjavur (1676 – 1855).
  • It has been recognized as a Geographical indication by the Government of India in 2007-08.

6.Ancient rocks in India give clues to early life

Cambrian Explosion

  • It refers to the sudden appearance in the fossil record of complex animals with mineralized skeletal remains 541 million years ago.
  • Researchers have found the oldest clue to the mystery of animal life in ancient rocks and oils dating back at least 100 million years before the famous Cambrian explosion of animal fossils.
  • Researchers at the University of California tracked molecular signs of animal life, called biomarkers, as far back as 660-635 million years ago during the Neoproterozoic era.
  • In ancient rocks and oils from India, Oman, Siberia, they found a steroid compound produced only by sponges, which are among the earliest forms of animal life.

Demosponge

  • A sponge is a member of the phylum Porifera.
  • It is a simple marine animal with many cells, but no mouth, muscles, heart or brain.
  • Demosponges is a class that contains most of the sponges.
  • The sponges in this class make their skeleton from Spongin, a special protein.

7.Buddhist site museum at Lalitgiri Odisha

  • One of the earliest Buddhist settlements in Odisha, Lalitgiri (Located in Cuttack district), where excavations have yielded ancient seals and inscriptions, has been converted into a museum.

Lalitgiri Museum

  • Located in Cuttack district, it will be the third site museum of the Bhubaneswar circle of the ASI after Ratnagiri and Udaygiri.
  • The three sites together form the Diamond Triangle of Buddhism in Odisha.
  • The museum complex is spread over 4,750 sq. m. The building and auditorium are built over 1,310 sq. m. The complex has been constructed at a cost of ₹10 crore.

Historical importance of Lalitgiri

  • Excavations at Lalitgiri have yielded the remains of four monasteries, showing cultural continuity from the post-Mauryan period till the 13th century CE.
  • Tantric Buddhism was practiced at this site.
  • The centre of attraction is a relic casket containing corporal remains found inside the Mahastupta.
  • Huge sculptures of Buddha, architectural fragments of Viharas and Chaityas are arranged period-wise.
  • The central gallery is designed after a Buddha Mandala with a colossal Buddha image at the centre and six Bodhisattva images surrounding it.

8.Reconstitution of Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR)

  • The Government has reconstituted the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), New Delhi for a period of three years till 2022.

Indian Council of Historical Research

  • The ICHR is an autonomous body of the HRD Ministry, which had been established by an Administrative Order of the then Ministry of Education.
  • The body has provided financial assistance to the historians and direction to the research scholars in their multifarious topics of historical research through established historians and scholars of the country.
  • ICHR disburses funds for carrying out research to Indian as well as foreign scholars on their applications for fellowships, grants, and symposia.

9.The Indian Museum of the Earth (TIME)

  • India has set in motion an ambitious plan to create Indianised version of the world-famous Smithsonian Museum, showcasing Indian subcontinent’s evolutionary history.

The Indian Museum of the Earth (TIME)

  • This museum will be modelled on the American Museum of Natural History, or the Smithsonian museum in the U.S.
  • The museum, which will be set up as a public-private partnership, would be located somewhere in NCR.
  • Unlike static museums that are commonplace, the proposed Earth museum would be a dynamic place to encourage fossil research, student activity, public outreach besides driving policy decisions.
  • The museum would be having a repository where individual collectors and researchers can submit their life long collection for safekeeping and allowing future generation researchers to study those samples.

 

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