Settlement in Early Historic Ganga Plain

by Chirantani Das | 143,447 words

This page relates “Anga Circle” as it appears in the case study regarding the settlements in the Early Historic Ganga Plain made by Chirantani Das. The study examines this process in relation to Rajagriha and Varanasi (important nodal centres of the respective Mahajanapadas named Magadha and Kashi).

Part 5 - Urban centres in South Bihar (a): Aṅga Circle

In South Bihar we note the culmination of the process of settlement growth in the rise of three distinct sets of urban complexes as the capitals and administrative centres. Their physical attribution was mainly in the form of fortification. The fortification took place in two phases. In the first phase sites came to be fortified in the 6th- 5th centuries BCE and then in the second phase in the 2nd- 1st centuries BCE. The bastions at several sites including Rajghat, Kauśāmbī, Campā and Rajgir were earthen and unfit for military defence. They just played a symbolic function of separating the organised inner life of the city with the chaotic outside. Ruins of Campā the Aṅga mahājanapada lies in Nathnagar, in the outskirts of the modern Bhagalpur shows these two phases distinctly.

Campā stood as the earliest fortified centres along with Rajgir, Atranjikhera, Rajghat and Kauśāmbī and the fortification here dated 6th century BCE of the BRW legacy was identified as a mud embankment rather than a fortification and therefore the site did not attain an urban status. From the 3rd century BCE these mud ramparts were supplemented with brick walls. From this layer were discovered NBPW sherds, coins, terracotta figurines, seals. The addition to the wall was made in the Śuṅga period. The chief functions of them were to check erosion and to provide defence.[1] The defensive wall of Campā was surrounded by a moat and the site was located close to the Gaṅgā. It was connected to Rajgir and Pāṭaliputra and urban centres of the north Bihar but Pudranagara and Tamralipta and had a great fame of being the most important riverine port that controlled maritime trade of the south East Asia. At the site, many brick built houses and one plastered drain from the Śuṅga-Gupta period have been discovered.[2]

Footnotes and references:


Frederica Barba, Fortified Cities of the Ganges Plain in the First Millennium B. C., in East and West, Vol. 54, No. 1 / 4, December 2004, p.224,231- 232.


Dilip K. Chakrabarti, op.cit. 1995, pp.215-16.

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