Settlement in Early Historic Ganga Plain

by Chirantani Das | 143,447 words

This page relates “Cultural back ground of Varanasi as an emerging nodal centre” 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 1 - Cultural back ground of Vārāṇasī as an emerging nodal centre

Our second settlement zone of Vārāṇasī-Sārnāth represents another urban and cultural set up originating from the early phase of Neolithic-Chalcolithic times and showed consistent cultural growth throughout the historical period up to the Gupta period and even later. At the outset it may be mentioned that much horizontal excavation has been done in this broad region, thanks to the tireless effort of archaeologists of Archaeological Survey of India, Department of Ancient History and Culture, Banaras Hindu University, Allahabad University and other eminent archaeologists. Therefore the cultural evolution of settlements on a regional basis can be done with relative ease as compared to our first select zone of settlement. This broad region may be viewed as a mixed topography created by the Vindhyas and the middle Gaṅgā plains-the homeland of early Indian culture. Culturally however it forms a single unit, with a common settlement origin and time frame. The middle Gaṅgā plains roughly stretch from the Himalayan foothills in the north to the Vindhyan ranges and covers about 300 km. It is a flat, featureless region, putting very little obstacles and offering a suitable landscape for emergence of early cultures. Its static monotony is only occasionally broken by rare topographic occurrences like duns of Saryupar, ox bow lakes, Tals, chars, dead arms or remnants of river channels, notches or slopes created by rivers.[1] Otherwise the plain maintains its gentle flatness. The surface of the land is really low and has a general slope of 20 cm/km on the north of the Gaṅgā and only 9cm/km in the south of the river.[2]

The average depth of the alluvium stands to 1300- 1400 m. But it changes drastically to 8- 10000 m. as one approaches the Himalayas. Locked between the foothills of the Siwaliks and the Bhabar of the peninsular uplands, kankar formation in the middle Ganga plain is relatively low because the plain is mainly riverine in nature and is basically a floodplain known as khadar created by fresh alluvial deposits. It includes vast diara lands between occasionally braided channels and sand flats, all subject to annual inundation. However the alluvium could not form any character because it is still immature and did not undergo any great change since sub recent times. Topographical and drainage differences are vital points that can cause a lot of changes in the soil morphology. They can vary as far from sandy to loamy, from rich silt to hard and heavy clay. Sometimes sodium salt or other salt formation makes the soil infertile leaving it nitrogen deficient. Broadly speaking the soil is of two types. The first is khadaror the new alluvium found in the floodplain near riverside, annually deposited with fresh silt. They remain moist even in the summer through seepage. As a whole the soil is very conducive for growth of crops. The other is Bhabar or the older alluvium and covers those areas beyond annual flood zone. As it is not regularly rejuvenated and is open to the process of denudation at places it has become unfit for cultivation mainly towards the western portion of the Gaṅgā-Ghagra doab. Kankar or nodular lime formation is visible at certain places. It blocks the drainage system of soil and causes water logging and thereby high degree of alkalinity and salinity. Except these slight variations the soil is uniform in colour, texture, porosity and wetness. The plain acquired its present form in the post-Tertiary period when a deep trough below the Himalayan foothills was filled up by fine alluvium of an average thickness of 1300-1400 m. brought by the Himalayas. In the historic times while moving in a meandering fashion and watered by its several tributaries it created many ox bow lakes on the way. These are mostly found in the western portion of the middle Gaṅgā plains. Some of them were studied. Results show that in the beginning there was very arid climatic condition, followed by arid, semi-arid to semi humid conditions during the Holocene period. With this favourable condition these lakes grew rich in aquatic fauna and their banks were habitats of wild grasses, some of which even bore edible grains. When the climate became a little milder during the Holocene these grasslands became the abode of small animals and hence provided perfect opportunities for small settlements to grow in the pre historic to early historic times. It was on the banks of these lakes the first settlers of the Mesolithic period chose as their home.[3]

The region with adequate rainfall and porous type of soil possess a good store of ground water. The water table varies from 3 to 20 m with the newer alluvium on the riverside having a low water level as here the sandy subsoil allows water to dip down contrary to the older alluvium of the inter fluvial areas which keeps water to a higher level. Drainage pattern was another important factor that governed human occupancy, particularly agricultural lands and settlements. Drainage pattern in the middle Gaṅgā plains is dendritic. The Gaṅgā and its mighty tributaries like the Ghagra, Gandak, Kosi, Son and even their tributaries kept the region wet and moist. The region receives 88% of the total rainfall during the monsoon. Floods are very common during this time and all rivers have the capacity to spill over from their original river bed during the rains creating a fresh cover of alluvium on the top soil.

Natural factors of the middle Gaṅgā plains provided a favourable condition for human habitat and growth of settlements. From the Belan valley of the middle Gaṅgā plains two early dates of human occupation have been found. One is 17785- 330 BCE and another is 23870- 810- 730 BCE. Both dates fall to upper Palaeolithic to epi Palaeolithic times. Five dates are available at Mahagara. Considering them the upper and lower limits can be determined to 12200- 115 BCE. Taking all these dates together the epi Palaeolithic period in the middle Ganga Valley might be fixed at 17000 to 10000 BCE. So here human occupation started quite early. Human habitational sites multiplied by Mesolithic period. At least 200 sites from this phase were identified in the middle Gaṅgā plain. Some of them were found at parts of Allahabad, Banaras, Pratapgarh, Jaunpur, Sultanpur districts. Demographic distribution is not the same in each site. While at Pratapgarh the population density is high it is much lesser in other sites. This may be because all the sites are not fully explored or due to environmental disparities at a micro level.[4] Perhaps growth in the number of settlements was an outcome of huge population growth. This may be attributed to suitable natural conditions of the middle Gaṅgā plains like moderate climate, easy availability of food, water transport and an accompanied large scale migration of population to this region. Though the Mesolithic dates are not firmly established radiocarbon dates on the basis of bone samples from Sarai Nahar Rai suggest a time period of 8000-2000BCE. At Damdama this phase lasted from 7000- 5000 BCE. Taking the dates of various sites a mean date of 10000- 5000 BCE has been suggested for the whole of middle Gaṅgā plains. It was an intermediary phase between Palaeolithic and Neolithic phases.[5]

Archaeological remains give a picture of the lifestyle of the early settlers of the valley. From Sarai Nahar Rai or Damdama circular or oval shaped huts of perishable items, rammed and plastered floors and a community hearth were found. Elsewhere hearths with burnt clay lumps, charred and semi charred animal bones were discovered which prove that animal flesh particularly those of fish or tortoise were consumed for food. In the whole of middle Gaṅgā plains such charred bones are very common. But there are no traces of domestication. Logically it appears that these animals were hunted for food. A major hallmark of Mesolithic tool technology was microlithic tools. These were found in a multitude from different sites. A parallel bone tool industry was also in vogue. Food processing implements like querns, mullers, hammers were found in plenty. On the basis of it was microlithic findings population estimate has been calculated. At Mahadaha it might be 700- 1000, while at Damdama it was around 550- 650. People collected wild cereals and edible roots for supplementing their diet.

This phase was succeeded by Neolithic stage. It is marked by domestication of animals like sheep, dog, cattle and goat and cultivation of some wild variety of rice, wheat and barley. Along with some other regions, Middle Gaṅgā plains also saw the rise of sedentary settlements, cultivation of cereal plants, domestication of animals, ground stone industries including a microlithic handmade pottery etc. Excavation at important Neolithic sites like Lahuradeva, Sohgaura, Imlidih Khurd,Chirand, Chechar, Kutubpur, Taradih or Senuwar show wattle and daub continued to be the standard housing pattern of this phase. Stray evidences of post holes and pit dwellings were also found. Ceramic industry consisted of Red Ware, burnished ware, rusticated ware, Black and Red Ware, lustrous ware and lustrous red ware. Two Neolithic sites Chirand and Senuwar fall in the time bracket of 1760-150BCE and 1680- 135 BCE. So the beginning of this phase may be taken from 2000 BCE. Nevertheless, this date is not final because the site Lahuradeva entered a Neolithic stage as early as 5000 BCE. Therefore dating of this phase needs further confirmation.[6]

In the middle Gaṅgā plains Chalcolithic phase replaced Neolithic phase with little or no time gap and sometimes they are even overlapping. Sites like Sohagaura, Imlidih Khurd, Chirand, Chechar, Senuwar show a transitional character in this phase. The period is so named because of simultaneous use of copper and stone. But the use of copper was very restricted. While in some sites (Sant Ravidas Nagar, Waina or Agiabir) copper is found, at some other sites (Imlidih, Narhan, Khairadih) it is completely absent. Therefore it becomes difficult to determine whether copper could really make any difference in the economic pattern.

Though general life pattern did not change, changes began to occur as copper and stone were simultaneously used. Significant changes of this period were increased number of settlements, introduction of copper-bronze for making tools, weapons and ornaments, coming of wheel made pottery, diversification of wares and their decoration. Principal ceramic type was Black and Red ware which constituted 58% of the total ceramic collection of Narhan followed by Black Slipped Ware and Red ware.

In the second half of the 3rd millennium BCE with the coming of copper agriculture was improved and triggered off a chain reaction. An agricultural surplus accompanied by a population growth resulted into creation of bigger and greater number of settlements. More than 200 Chalcolithic sites were so far discovered and surely many more sites still remain unexplored.

A general feature of the Chalcolithic settlements of middle Ganga plain was their location near river or lake just like its preceding ages. Their sizes varied from small to medium but a definite planning is missing. While in some sites usual wattle and daub houses made of bamboo reed and mud continued, discovery of post holes, plastered roofs and different types of hearths indicate slightly better houses, of a more permanent nature. Mainstay of economy was cultivation, domestication and hunting gathering. Crops included wheat, barley, jowar, moong, gram, lentil, til, linseed, pea, chik pea and most importantly Oryza Sativa variety of paddy. Domesticated animals were buffalo, sheep, goat, pig, dog, deer, antelope and bear and aquatic creatures viz. fish and tortoise. A stone industry has been attested from different sites. Microlithic tools like blades, points, arrowheads, scrapers, lunates, triangles, trapezes made of semi precious stones-chalcedony, chert, carnelian, agate and quartz were found at different sites. Overall picture that we get from these sites is that they were small and rural settlements witha basic and subsistent economy.[7]

Important prehistoric sites of this phase in the middle Ganga plain were Sarai Mohana, Kamauli, Ramnagarghat, Lahuradeva, Khairadih, Lahuradeva, Sohgaura, Waina, Jhusi, Chirand, Manjhi, Oriup, Sonpur and Narhan. The last one represents a pre iron proto historic culture known as Narhan culture. Sites of Bhunadih, Waina, Khairadih come under this culture. Varanasi region forms an integral part of the middle Gaṅgā plains, composed of thick alluvium having sand, silt and clay. The alluvial plain of the river Gaṅgāin the Varanasi region is divided into two portions–western or the left bank (Varanasi city and the neighbourhood) and the eastern or the opposite bank (Ramnagar and its vicinity). Theland of the west has an eastward slope while the eastern part is generally lower with a north ward slope. The alluvial upland merges with the Vindhyan range at Chakia. The vindhyan deposits gave this alluvial plain a distinctive Vindhyan character. For these factors the plain had a mixed texture. While the kankar formation helped in building constructions, the fine clay, silt and sand make a perfect material for potteries and bricks. The Varanasi region had an easy access to sandstone quarries of Chunar hills, glass-sand from Chakia, semi-precious stones from the river Son. Rivers, rivulets, ox bow lakes and medium to small streams provide a good network of water bodies. They keep the region moist enough to carry on extensive agriculture. While the Gaṅgā was the central line its three chief tributaries of the region namely Assi, Varuṇā and Rajapur have greatly influenced the settlement pattern and agriculture of the region. Varuṇā runs parallel to the Gaṅgā for a long distance and finally merges with the Gaṅgā between Vārāṇasī and Sarai Mohana. A dried up stream Rajapur nalaalso originated from Sarang tal near Sārnāth and used for transportation of sandstone blocks from Chunar. Along the nala traces of several stone carving settlements were found. Certainly there were many more unexplored sites. So stone carving provided a cause for the growth of rural workshop based settlements. Ᾱktha nala was another important stream running south west of the Sarang tal and joins Varuṇā in the Paharia- Ᾱktha region. So two type of settlements grew one onthe bank of the Gaṅgā, termed as the Kāśī-Vārāṇasī type and the other along the smaller streams, known as Vārāṇasī -Sārnāth type. While first type formed an east west axis, the other just grew in a north-south fashion. Because of closeness to the Ganga, Vārāṇasī region had a growth of trade based settlements like Vārāṇasī itself, Ramnagar or Sarai Mohana. But Vārāṇasī -Sārnāth zone had a large number of rural settlements, either religious or craft based. A close survey of some of these sites can hint on the cultural context of Vārāṇasī’s lead in the region. The cultural milieu created the backdrop of Vārāṇasī’s rise to a prominent urban site and supported the city for its survival.[8]

Importance of studying rural sites in the context of urbanisation of a site has been realized recently and is gradually gaining ground. Such sites not only fulfil a lot of material requirements of the city but give a complete picture of the overall cultural growth of a region also. The whole of Vārāṇasī-Sārnāth area was dotted with numerous small to medium settlements. Vārāṇasī itself was situated on the confluence of the Varuṇā and the Gaṅgā. The Varuṇā region formed an integral part of Varanasi. Hundreds of sites were noticed along the Varuṇā and its tributaries. An explored site Anai, located some 35 km north west of the district headquarter of Vārāṇasī on Varanasi-Jaunpur road, represents a typecast of these sites, many of them are still unexplored. The site of Anai, located on the palaeo channel of river Basuhi, a tributary of river Varuṇā represents a model of the settlement pattern in the Varuṇā region and throws immense light on the cultural phase in the latter half of the second millennium BCE that laid down the foundation of settlements of much more bigger and permanent nature that culminated in the rise of territorial states and appearance of cities with a mature socio-economic and political setup. Before rise of the Mahājanapadas the Gaṅgā plain saw growth of numerous sites of varied sizes and types. Anai, located 35 km north-west of Vārāṇasī typifies a rural settlement in the neighbourhood of the city. Explorations along the river Varuṇā have found out pre-NBPW antiquity from only six sites. Besides Anai, the other pre-NBPW sites were Sonbarsa, Kathautia, Kochari, Nigoh and Bhatahar. These sites were familiar with BRW/ BSW ceramics. Anai was a BSW yielding site. A noticeable feature of these sites is their location at the convergence of rivers because of the fertility and availability of water in this area. Three mounds located at Anai were designated as 1, 2 and 3. Mound 1 was the first to be occupied in the pre-NBPW phase in around 1100- 700 BCE i.e. early Iron Age. Discovery of cord impressed pottery, and silicious stones suggest some kind of connection with Vindhya-Kaimur region. A very important discovery of this phase was an iron sickle made of steely iron and of a superior standard. Firstly iron agricultural implement rarely reported from this phase in general across the Ganga plain assigns a significant position to pre-NBPW Anai. Secondly this iron sickle shows a high percentage of carburization and high metallurgical knowledge and skill. No copper object was found here. Other antiquities of this phase were bone points, blades, flakes, pottery discs, terracotta beads, semi-precious stone beads and iron slag. A baked, circular terracotta cake like the one found at Jakhera of some religious significance was found too. Wattle and daub houses show an ordinary village life prevailed at pre-NBPW Anai. Second phase spanning over 700- 400/300 BCE showed a ceramic assemblage of NBPW, BSW, Grey Ware and Red ware. Important potteries found were bowls, dishes, basins etc. NBPW sherds are similar to Rajghat and Sarai Mohana suggesting a common cultural legacy. There was a visible expansion in the size of the settlement and rural pattern assumes a specific character. Scores of techno-economic activities started at Anai in the NBPW phase. To name a few, bead and tool making out of stones and bones, pottery making, copper and iron smithy were of chief importance. Glass work was another very important activity of the area and even today it is a glass manufacturing area. Mound 3 is known as siswa Anai, in local dialect it stands for shisha or glass. Because of these activities of the people of this phase Anai took the form of śilpagrāma or craft village at the close by area of Vārāṇasī and thus playing a definite role of a supporting settlement (Śākhā Nagarī) of the primary settlement (Mūla Nagarī) of Vārāṇasī while still retaining the rural character. A brick kiln was another important find of this phase at Anai. Half baked bricks and brickbats were found inside this kiln. Two wells made of ancient bricks were located near mound 1. People started living in mud houses, remains of floors and ovens were reported from this phase. So the NBPW phase at Anai shows a developing village culture at Anai. The NBPW phase at Anai faces an abrupt end because of a conflagaration indicated by thick deposit of ashes caused by a widespread fire. Mound 1 at Anai was completely deserted after this disaster and no Kuṣāṇa antiquity was found here. The site was only reoccupied in the early medieval period.[9]

It is important to assess Anai’s position in respect to Vārāṇasī. At Anai wells were discovered at regular intervals and could have served Vārāṇasī bound traffic of merchants and travellers. Location wise Anai-Rajghat and Agiabir forms a triangle. It has been suggested that in the NBPW phase Anai entered the Rajghat-Agiabir cultural complex with its prominent techno-economic character and formed a triangle. However culturally it still stood as a second level settlement catering to the needs of Vārāṇasī and depending on the same for identity.[10]

Some sites like Agiabir can be helpful in this direction because it represents a full and consistent cultural sequence tracing the evolution in the middle Gaṅgā settlement pattern. Located near Katka railway station on the Varanasi-Allahabad section of the Northern Railway in the district of Mirzapur of eastern U.P. the ancient settlement of Agiabir grew on the left bank of the Gaṅgā stretching to an area over 1 km along the river. Excavation unfolds five cultural sequences starting from a small Chalcolithic hamlet to a well developed township of the Śuṅga-Kuśāṇa times. The Chalcolithic phase of Agiabir may also be called the Narhan cultural phase.[11] Chalcolithic settlers did not settle down on the river bank, rather they chose a safer and higher location close to a stream joining the Gaṅgā. In the excavation four mounds were discovered. A 70 cm thick layer of material remains can be found in mound 1. Wattle and daub houses were represented by burnt clay with reed marks. Metal objects were as a whole very rare in the whole of middle Gaṅgā valley in this phase. Here at Agiabir except a copper fish hook no other metal object was found. Principal ceramic types were coarse and medium variety of Black and Red Ware. Probably the nearby Vindhyan hills were the collection centres of siliceous stones for bead making. Few terracotta beads were also found. Even in the Chalcolithic age bead making grew as an important industry and the practice continued in subsequent ages. It may be inferred that these beads were exported to contemporary cultures. A large variety of microliths made of Chert, Jasper, Quartz and chalcedony including blades, bladelets, flakes, chips, nodules etc. were discovered from the site.

Charred bones, animal bones with cut marks near fire places amply prove non vegetarian diet i.e. animal flesh hugely supplemented their diet. Period ll at Agiabir is the pre NBPW phase of introduction of iron on a limited scale. Southern portion of mound ll came to be occupied in this phase and was continuously inhabited till the Gupta to post-Gupta period. In the pre NBPW phase settlement spread to a larger area as a result of population growth. So this phase saw a popular and cultural expansion. Terracotta and semi precious stones continued as before. There was a total absence of BRW instead a flourishing BSW industry may be seen. Pottery types match with those of Narhan, Imlidih Khurd, Khairadih, Hastinapura and Atranjikhera. So the site fits well into one of the major culture sequence of the middle Gaṅgā plains. Though iron appeared in this phase very no such iron or metal objects were found. It implies due to limited availability iron could not make its presence felt in the economic sphere. Period lll is the NBPW phase saw an extension of culture to even a wider area. All the four mounds came to be occupied. In fact this is the largest occupational layer. Important changes are noticed in this phase. Remains of rammed floor, ovens were retrieved from this phase. Fragments of baked bricks were found from layer 10, belonging to a late NBPW phase. Both kiln fired bricks and baked bricks were available from trench AN- 5 at main mound.[12] Another striking discovery from this phase is a water channel made of wedge shaped baked bricks, along with a pipe drain. These bricks were used in six courses.[13] Another important find is a large square with roundish cornered kiln in the trench YE6. Located at layers 11 and 12 on a neatly finished floor the kiln is made of pounded bricks or surkhi, but the function of the kiln is not known.[14] .Use of iron and copper is amply reflected from the mid NBPW layer with a wide range of utility items.

Main ceramic industries were BSW and NBPW, some of its deluxe varieties like silvery, golden, pink, steel blue, grey and red came to the front. So this phase represented a rich and stable economy and culture compared to the primitive lifestyle of the Chalcolithic period. Period IV or the Shunga-Kuśāṇa phase reflects a far more advanced life. Wattle and daub are gone. Instead construction was mainly done by burnt bricks. Three stratigraphical layers were seen. In the upper layer mainly reused bricks were seen. A house complex of eleven rooms, a courtyard and a boundary wall was exposed in locality l. A small well of baked bricks was also discovered within this house complex. It appears that it was an important locality of this phase. In the second level relatively smaller bricks were used.[15] In locality 2 walls of two rooms and an underground structure were exposed. It was made of complete bricks and falls in the Kuśāṇa period. In a nearby house complex large amount of charred rice grain was found, probably related to some religious function. In locality 3 houses, passages, brick floors and doors were exposed. All these suggest an elaborate residential phenomenon. A ceramic industry accompanied as usual. The last occupational phase is Gupta to post-Gupta phase though found in a most disturbed condition due to brick robbing. Among the finds mention must be made to a drain made of reused bricks. It is attached to an underground structure. Brick paved floors and thick rammed floors made of pounded brick were also discovered. Usual small finds like baked clay seals, beads of semi precious stones, two stone balls, a bone point, twelve iron objects, and four balls were also found from this phase. Due to disturbances structural activities of this phase is not very clear. Yet, cultural assemblage at Agiabir reveals a continuous human occupation of the site and its growth from a primitive rural settlement to a semi urban turn.

Other than Agiabir many other sites in the vicinity had a similar cultural sequence, where they had a prehistoric beginning and passed through several cultural phases and adjusted to the changed situation and continued to exist till a later date. These sites were of diverse nature and had different existential contexts but together they formed a cultural complex in the Vārāṇasī-Sārnāth region. As a matter of fact while Vārāṇasīplayed a pivotal part in this cultural zone, such sites were located very close to Vārāṇasīand formed the suburb of the city catering to various needs of it and thereby supporting the ancient city. A look on their location, cultural phases and nature may be relevant for our understanding of the cultural zone and the context of Vārāṇasī’s bend towards urbanism while all the other settlements remained at the stage of its subordination.[16]

The ancient site of Sarai Mohana is located on the left bank of the river Varuna and about 300 m. from Varanasi. The nearest railway station is Kashi. The ancient mound is located 500 m. north west of the village Sarai Mohana. Altogether nine cultural layers have been exposed. The site had a proto historic beginning and the period l revealed in layers 9,8,7 and 6 represents the pre-NBPW phase. Culturally this phase is similar to that of Rajghat or ancient Varanasi. Ceramics of this period comprises four main wares, namely Red ware, Black Slipped Ware, Black and Red Ware and plain Grey Ware. Potteries of this period closely resemble potteries of sites like Rajghat, Khairadih, Narhan, Senuwar and Agiabir of the same period. Both plain and painted variety of BRW is available here. Similar painted specimens are reported from Narhan I and Rajghat IA. Again, while these sites yielded both plain and painted variety of Black Slipped Ware but at Sarai Mohana one can only see the plain variety of the ware. Culturally, period I of Sarai Mohana fits well into the tradition of middle Ganga plain, though with some variations. Period I of Sarai Mohana can be further divided into 3 sub periods. Period IA is the oldest of all and earliest settlers came to this site. Ceramic of this phase were grey ware (plain and painted), coarse and slipped Red Ware, sometimes painted with pigments. Period IB is a transitional phase with earlier ceramics and little introduction of NBPW. An overall improvement of cultural assemblage may be noticed. Sub period IC saw a gradual coarsening of NBPW and total absence of BRW. A terracotta ring well was discovered from this period. Among the structural remains the first phase had the usual wattle and daub houses. Metal was not recovered from Sarai Mohana but was found at Rajghat. Principal economic activity of the first settlers was agriculture, supplemented by animal husbandry, hunting, fishing and some minor crafts. Paddy husk was found in the pottery of the period. Fishing was also practised.

Generally the middle Ganga plain has shown chalcolithic milieu. In some sites like Khairadih, Narhan, Dhuriapur, Waina, Malhar, Raja Nal Ka Tila, Agiabir or Ᾱktha Chalcolithic phase is the earliest. In view of Carbon 14 dates, the beginning of period I at Sarai Mohana may be traced to 1300 BCE. Period II is roughly the whole of NBPW period. Period III of Sarai Mohana is a mixed one. Material remains of Kuśāṇa, Gupta and medieval times were found and cannot be tagged to any particular period.

Period II, roughly the NBPW period is important in terms of determining the relation between Sarai Mohana and Rajghat. From the beginning of this period there was a notable extension of area under settlement. It was directly related to population growth. A new locality (mound II) came under occupation. A clay embankment and a moat were constructed at Rajghat in this period though there are doubts whether it was an embankment or a fortification. Luxury items closely associated with urbanism, were found in hoards. So Rajghat entered its urban phase by this time. Sarai Mohana on the contrary sticked to its original size and had no area wise growth. While the occupational level at Rajghat was 4. 75 m thick it was only 1.40 m at Sarai Mohana. Collection of luxury items was nominal too. Evidence of craft and industry was very limited. Logically it appears that from period II Sarai Mohana started to serve as a satellite settlement of Varanasi though the exact nature of relation is not known. The Jatakas referred to small rural settlements of smiths, carpenters, potters, hunters around Vārāṇasī. Thse are the Dvāragrāmas around the main settlement. Sarai Mohana might be one such village in the outskirts of Varanasi.

Cultural assemblage of Sarai Mohana and Rajghat conforms to that of early phases of Khairadih, Narhan, Senuwar etc. so, it falls within the larger cultural panorama of middle Ganga plain. It appears that in the earliest phase Sarai Mohana and Rajghat were twin contemporary rural settlements, independent of each other. Sarai Mohana was not a subordinante or integral part of Rajghat. No settlement hierarchy is seen in this phase. From the sub period IB significant changes started taking place. While Rajghat took a definite turn to urbanism, Sarai Mohana maintained its rural legacy and no great progress was noted. So, it started functioning as a satellite settlement of emerging urban site of Rajghat. It continued for a long time and at quite late date it was deserted.[17]

The earliest antiquity recovered from Rajghat is roughly dated to 800 BCE that is much later than the findings from the neighbouring sites. It has been observed that nucleus of the main settlement was surrounded by dense concentration of supporting settlements. One such site is Ramnagar, presently an integral part of the town of Benaras is located on the right bank of the Gaṅgā and to the opposite bank of Assi and famous for the palace of Maharaja of Ramnagar that is located here. Findings from the site confirm very close relation of Ramnagar and Vārāṇasī and a south-west ward territorial expansion. But whether that implies Ramnagar was a satellite settlement or part of Vārāṇasīis yet to be determined. Probably Ramnagar was a craftman’s colony just off the city, catering to the needs of the city.

Ancient habitation deposit at Ramnagar is spread to 3km between the fort and the Shastri bridge. Mainly Oriyaghat, an undisturbed area was chosen as a spot of excavations and several trenches were discovered. The principal of them is trench A1, showing of at least 16 layers belonging to different periods. Period I of Ramnagar has been identified as NBPW phase was recovered from layer 16. Ceramics of BSW, RW have been found there. Series of floors, made of rammed potsherds and clay were exposed. A mud structure was also found. The NBPW deposit of this phase had a dominance of grey ware. Different colours, surface treatment and lustre enrich the pottery collection at Ramnagar. In contrast, though grey ware appears at Rajghat in period I (800-200BCE), it is far inferior to those found at Ramnagar particularly in terms of surface treatment. In this layer BSW just started appearing. It increased in number in layers 15 and 14 which belonged to a later date but again becomes rare from layer 13.

Period II of Ramnagar is represented in layers 15-10and still continues to be NBPW phase and is similar to periods IB and IC (600-200 BCE) of Rajghat. Grey ware was the most dominant ware of this period. Other wares are NBPW, BSW and RW. It was divided into early and late phases. Deposit of the early phase is found in layers 15, 14 and 13. While grey ware was losing ground NBPW became dominant. Two varieties, one with a lustrous black finish, another with variety of paintings appeared in this period. They match with the variety of Rajghat of this period (600-400 BCE).Late phase of period II is represented in layers 12 to 10. Strangely enough grey ware re emerges and a degenerated variety of NBPW were exposed. It is contemporaneous to period IC (400-200 BCE) of Rajghat.

Period III is the post NBPW marked by vibrant hues (red, orange), slipped pottery and copper cast un-inscribed coins datable to 3rd- 2nd centuries BCE. They are found in layers 9 to 7. Among the structural remains successive floors made of rammed brick bats, pottery and compact earth. A drain attached to a soak pit was also discovered. These remains match with the Rajghat remains of the time 2nd century BCE to the beginning of Christian era.

Debris of layers 6 to 3 belonged to Kuśāṇa times. Walls made of large bricks and rammed floors were among the structural remains. Red pottery of this period is characterised by Kuśāṇa style. Period V of Ramnagar can be seen in layers 2 and 1. But these two layers included deposits right from the pre-NBPW times uptill the Kuśāṇa -Gupta times, that means these two layers bore antiquity right from the earliest to the last period in this site.

Another trench C3 has been found in the site and findings of this trench are very important. Here the NBPW is the earliest phase and its remains may be found in the bottom layers of 15, 14 and 13. At layer 12 platform of rammed brick bats, potsherds and kankar were exposed. This trench was extended further south and revealed a platform and water borne transport. This may be due to a flood. Streaks of sand probably indicate rise in the water level of the river in the NBPW phase. Flood protective device like a thick platform or embankment were constructed for that. The same has been reported from Rajghat. An embankment from period IB of Rajghat is probably a flood protective device. Topographically both sites share the river bank of the Ganga. So a threat of flood and a similar flood protective device from both sites are not abnormal. The last two trenches B2 and C2also reveal NBPW sherds. Variety of colours, achieved through different firing conditions were used on them. Layers of whitish ash bands were also discovered from this site. All these suggest that Ramnagar was a production centre of NBPW pottery. Weights, beads and copper objects were also discovered. A large number of potsherds, engraved in Brāhmī were also retrieved from Ramnagar. Similar NBPW and BSW potsherds have been seen at Varanasi of period IC. It appears that Ramnagar manufactured luxurious NBPW potteries and marketed them to contemporary cities. It was a main trait of urbanism. Vārāṇasī, being the closest provided the largest clientele to Ramnagar potteries. It was also probably a bead making station. Though it is not proved finds of chips of semi-precious stones, finished and unfinished beads strengthen this conjecture. In all probability it appears that while Ramnagar manufactured deluxe pottery or fashionable beads mainly for urban demands Vārāṇasī was not only its chief patron but also was the trading centre exporting them to other cities. Vārāṇasī was a junction of the two routes of Uttarapatha and Dakṣiṇapatha. This strategic location was helpful for both settlements.[18]

Manjhi, though does not fall into the orbit of Varanasi complex, lies on the Allahabad-Sonepur metre-gauge section of the North-Eastern railway and hence connected to Varanasi. The place may be visited via Ballia and located in Saran district of Bihar. The site is located on the left bank of Ghagra and the river may be seen from a huge mound, some 14 metre tall, located on the spot. This mound reveals the settlement pattern of the site which grew along the river. At Manjhi, an extraordinary construction i.e. a huge fortification was exposed. A moat passing through the settlement has divided it into two blocks. Mound l, is the main and locally known as Manjhi ka tila. To the east of the main mound, there is another small mound, known as mound ll. It appears that while the main mound was the focus of settlement, neighbourhood was also occupied by early settlers.

Exploration has found out two ancient trenches, marked MJH I and MJH 2. Of them, MJH l shows a full cultural sequence right from the 1st millennium BCE to early medieval times. Here period l is marked by the proliferation of BSW and RW ceramics and wattle and daub habitats, known from the burnt earth and reed marks. No metal, either copper or iron or even stone tools has been reported from this phase. Iron is found in the middle strata however, which belongs to the NBPW period or period ll. The 3rd stage saw an overlapping of BSW and NBPW cultures. Period ll, which is the NBPW phase dates between 600- 50 BCE and has a thick occupation layer showing different stages of the culture. It is divided into three sub periods. A significant industry of sub period ll A was a superior Grey Ware. Period ll B is an intermediate phase. Periods IIA and IIB yield two iron objects each. Period IIC is dominated by NBPW. Six iron objects were found in this phase. Majority of the total thirteen iron objects discovered in this site, are weapons. Existence of iron slag proves that iron smelting was practised in this phase. Use of copper was limited than iron in this phase. Beads of terracotta, Agate, glass were found. Bone industry also was an important aspect of this phase. It included bone points used for various purposes, arrow heads, bangles, unfinished tools etc. generally speaking, there was a consistent growth of this industry from early to late phase of iron age associated with NBPW. Pottery discs were also found in this phase. Periods ll A and ll B did not show any trace of house remains. Probably brick baking just began from this time because houses made of baked bricks are reported from period ll C. A floor made of earth and brick bats has been found in trench MJH I. A long pit and a terracotta ring well can be seen very close to this floor. The fortification of Manjhi which is the most striking feature of the site had been constructed late in the period ll C. Made of baked bricks it is huge in size. After levelling the ground it was built by taking materials from the layers of ll A and ll B on the deposit of layer ll C. Thereby it proves that it was built on a quite late date though the exact date cannot be confirmed.

There is no distinct time gap between period ll and period lll (50BCE- 300 CE). Culturally it is much different from the NBPW phase. Red Ware is almost exclusive in this phase. Existence of some structural remains can be made out from this phase though a full plan is not available. In both trenches walls made of baked bricks were discovered. Sizes of bricks varied. A structural complex and a large number of small terracotta and stone objects were attested from this phase.

Important things to note at Manjhi were it was one of many sites in the middle Ganga plains that came under human occupation in the pre NBPW times and since then remained continuously inhabited. Discovery of iron from the middle level of BSW is important because it once again testifies association of iron with Chalcolithic cultures. It may also be possible that iron already existed at Manjhi before the occupation of BSW cultures. In its late phase it was encountered with NBPW. Here the NBPW phase lasted longer (till 50 BCE) than other sites. But the site was not urbanized till 400-300 BCE. The beginning of urbanisation can be traced from this period from the baked brick fortification wall and a moat. It was certainly a safety measure which was hallmark of urbanisation in early Indian context. So, Manjhi reveals the evolution of urbanization from a primitive setting. In this regard excavation of Manjhi is definitely laden with implications. It is rather surprising that the site was not mentioned in any textual sources.[19]

Two important sites but of a completely different nature located in the Vārāṇasī–Sārnāth region were Chunar and Aktha. While Chunar was mainly a quarry turned into a workshop for stone cutting for sculptural purposes, Aktha was primarily a religious place lying very close to Varanasi. Detailed excavation at Chunar region in 1990 has found out a number of undressed and half dressed blocks and debris and thereby proves that it was a quarry area. Investigation showed that these blocks were not modern because modern stone cutters do not extract stone from these quarries. They are lying there since time immemorial. They all point to their ancient origin. It is not a solitary site but a stone quarrying region consisted of many small rural type settlements connected in some way or the other with artisanal work related to stone.

The Vārāṇasī-Sārnāth -Chunar region falls within the twin geological settings of the Gangetic alluvial plain and the Vindhyan system. The major portion of Varanasi-Sarnath region falls in the north of the river Ganga. Alluvial deposit is very thick at places.

General topography looks like homogenous, plain surface with little ups and downs. The Vindhyan features are more prominent in the area around Chunar. It is a vast, stratified sandstone, shale and limestone formation spread to a vast region. Chunar hills fall in the eastern part of the Vindhyan mountains. Classified into upper Vindhyan formation, the sandstone beds were fine textured, soft shades of great beauty. For these qualities it was easy to carve these stones. The region is drained by tributaries of the Ganga which due to its merger with Yamuna enrich the whole region. Two other important rivers, Jargo and Barna also flow into this region. Jargo only covers a distance of 35 k.m. upto Chunar hills. Barna is much bigger in size and drains an area of about 90 km and has a number of seasonal streams or nalas attached to it. During the rains they are full of waterand are navigable. They play an important role in maintaining the relation among the three spots namely Chunar, Varanasi and Sarnath and in delivering the stones of Chunar and other small sites to their required places.

Chunar exploration gives a complete picture of how stones were moved to nearby major cities of the Ganga plains. Backbone of the network of transport was provided by these rivers and streams. Chunar hills are the main lithic resource area of the middle Gaṅgā plain. Its physical proximity to the twin settlements of Varanasi and Sārnāth made them the chief consumer of Chunar sandstone. While stone objects particularly made of Chunar sandstone is restricted at Vārāṇasī, Sārnāth revealed plenty of them. Sārnāth is known for its stone carving and icon making activities since the Aśokan times till medieval times. In the Gupta and post-Gupta times Sārnāth earned a reputation for its stone carving activities. Ancient records tell us that most ancient buildings of Sārnāth were made of Chunar sandstone. But stone carving workshops were not located at Sārnāth but in its outskirts. Ethnographic studies show that these workshops mostly located between ancient Varanasi and Sārnāth connected by navigational channels.

In the low lying hill region of the Baragaon was the main quarry region. As many as 452 quarries were discovered in this area. They bore marks of extraction, chiselling, and undressed, half dressed or dressed bricks. At least 112 of them are inscribed. These inscriptions prove that Chunar was the main lithic source of the middle Gaṅgā plains particularly from the 3rd century BCE that is precisely the time of Ashoka to late medieval times. Notably sandstone blocks were first rolled down from the hills. Then they were transported through waterways. Discovery of such blocks along the Durga nala has proved that. Probably such operations were done for the requirements for Varanasi, because it was located to the left bank of the Gaṅgā and connected by waterways.

Sārnāth could not enjoy this facility because it was located far from the water ways. It naturally raises the question that how stone blocks were carried to Sārnāth since it was the main consumer base of Chunar sandstone. Fresh investigations show that two streams Aktha nala and Rajapur nala originated from the depression of lotus pool lying to the north and north east of the ancient ruins of Sar Sārnāth nath. Running south west Aktha nala drains into the river Barna. The Rajapur nala runs into the region located between the Gaṅgāand Sārnāth. The confluence of Rajpur nala is about 2 km east of Rajghat. These two rivulets supposedly transported huge sandstone blocks to Sārnāth as they were somehow connected to the main water route. Along the Aktha nala large religious settlements could be found and there is no trace of stone curving operations. Such settlements could be located along the Rajapur nala. Hence, logically it may be presumed that the latter one was the main route of inland transport. The discovery of chain of chiselling workshops along the Rajapur nala was not a mere chance but a result of well thought planning. In the ethnographic studies it was seen that the primary concern of these workshops to ensure a free flow of raw materials to the building sites. This prompted them to choose a settlement site on the transportation route. In this case, Rajapur nala connected Gaṅgā with Sārnāth. So stone carving settlements can be seen here. These workshops were very simple and independent entities. An open, wide area with or without an enclosure wall was occupied. Sometimes they had a small temporary shade or grew just under a large tree shade. Half finished and finished carvings and huge carving refuge was found in them. Carving operations were done by craftsmen under one master sculptor. The craftsmen working here, were not very skilled always, but were engaged in the work of chiselling which did not require skill but involved a lot of toil in it. Moreover it was a hereditary profession and largely depended on the demand of customer. Explorations along the Rajapur nala have attested existence of numerous rural settlements engaged in stone carving works. Small settlements like Tilmanpur, Kotwa, Asapur or Paharia have shown that they are rural sites with lithic craft inclination. Study of these excavated sites may be helpful for an understanding of these special type settlements. They had their distinct rationale for their existence.

Tilmanpur, contemporary to the peak period of Sarnath, was also located on the bank of the abandoned channel of Rajapur nala and also on the side of the Varanasi-Ghazipur National Highway. Four archaeological periods have been identified here from early NBPW to Gupta period. Period l is the early NBPW phase. Various forms and features of the pottery collection show their closeness to the ceramics of the period IB of Prahladpur and Kashi-Rajghat and also Atranjikhera. Next period is the NBPW phase of 3rdcentury BCE to the beginning of the Christian era. Here it had a late entry though ceramic tradition matches with that of period IC of Kashi-Rajghat and period II of Sravasti. Structural activities can be traced only from the Kuśāṇa times. So culturally Tilmanpur belongs to the major tradition of the middle Gaṅgā plains and closely resembled Kashi–Rajghat. Notable at Tilamanpur is the fact that despite a total expansion of area around a quarter of square km the settlement of Tilmanpur always remained very small in each period. This is because of shifting settlement pattern. In period l the main occupation was restricted to the east and south-east portion of the mound and the west of the mound was the margin. In periods II and III this portion was the main focus of settlement. The settlement moved south ward in the even later times. Secondly, Tilmanpur could never rise above a village settlement. There was a complete absence of urban architecture, such as the fortification, large brick construction or a planning of settlement. Though trade items like beads of semi precious to precious stones were found at Tilmanpur, deluxe NBPW pottery with their Śuṅga-Kuśāṇa forms which is a hallmark of early Indian urbanism is missing here. Most important aspect of these settlements is that their interaction to both Vārāṇasī and Sārnāth. These small sites actually catered to the demands of these important sites and formed the catchment area of this region. There were other rural sites.

At the outskirts of Sārnāth there is an abandoned channel. The nearest village at the southern tip of this channel is Hiramanpur. From the discovery of ancient potteries it may be presumed that it was occupied in the ancient period and was a subsidiary settlement of Sārnāth. The abandoned channel of Hiramanpur extends even further. Near Hiramanpur, just one k.m. south of Tilmanpur is located Asapur. On the both sides of the dried up channel of Rajapur nala ancient remains were discovered. The lower bank contained the chiselling debris along with fragments of carved architecture and the opposite bank of the channel contained habitation deposit of the chiselling workers. This belonged to the Kuśāṇa -Gupta period. All the carvings, broken refuge, all indicate these were caved here and supplied elsewhere. Since Sārnāth was the closest site engaged in building activities, particularly in the Gupta and post Gupta period, logically it appears that Asapur supplied sandstone to Sarnath. On the left bank of Rajapur nala a small craftsmen’s village of Kotwa was discovered. Here, a little away from the confluence of the nala to the Gaṅgā a mound was discovered. It shows four floors on and around which there is a huge chiselling refuge. From the ancient deposit of sandstone flake debris it appears that Kotwa was probably a stone carving workshop lasting between 2nd- 1st centuries BCE to 11th- 12th centuries CE. Discovery of RW artefacts also endorses this assumption. The archaeological horizons of Kotwa by and large corresponded to the sculptural art of Vārāṇasī–Sarnath region. Three identified periods of Kotwa were the Śuṅga-Kuśāṇa, Gupta and post-Gupta. The earliest stone carvings of Vārāṇasī, dated to the Mauryan period which were associated with the remains of Sarnath. But so far studies could not establish that it was carved locally at least in the pre-Śuṅga times. Carvings at a local level started in the Śuṅga time though the nature of the first workshops is not known. Rajapur is located where Rajapur nala meets the Gaṅgā. Discovery of ancient potsherds and flaking debris indicate that it was also a stone carving settlement. Discovery of Paharia in the southern part of Ᾱktha and no residential remains could be found.[20]

Ᾱktha was a somewhat religious settlement but most intimately related to Vārāṇasī not only because of its physical closeness but also it was the first colony of Vārāṇasī.[21] In the later Vedic age in the middle Gaṅgā plains there was a complex assemblage of early cultures. Yet due to a large variety a fixed pattern cannot be found. This is the earliest phase at Aktha, also called pre-NBPW and it showed two types of potteries–BRW and BSW. Technologically they fall into the early iron using Chalcolithic cultures of the middle Gaṅgā plains and a rough date of 1300/1200 to 700/600 has been assigned to them. Because of coming of iron culturally this period is similar to Atranjikhera. Though PGW was another parallel culture of this time this was somehow absent in the Varanasi region. the earliest literary evidence of this region is available from the Atharva Veda as the people of Kasis living in this area. On the basis of this literary evidence it has been conjectured that this region was first occupied around 1250- 800 BCE because in this time the later Vedic Samhitas were composed. Again the earliest archaeological finds at Ᾱktha showed traces of Vedic practices. Finding of Kapala was the most prominent proof in this direction. Besides, copper, bone, stone and pottery objects were also discovered. Because of these finds religious content of Ᾱktha becomes very obvious. Also due to close similarity with the later Vedic culture it is far more justified to call it the Later Vedic phase at Vārāṇasī rather than pre-NBPW which vague and a mixed bag nomenclature. Main ceramics at Ᾱktha in this stage were BRW, BSW and RW. The household items dominate pottery types. BSW layer at Ᾱktha was thin but important, because the shapes are like those of Narhan of period I or Atranjikhera of a date 1200- 700 BCE and 1450- 1200 BCE respectively. No structural remain of this layer was found. Some floors were found resting in yellow compact clay in trenches D and E. It is extended to A and B. This was identified with rammed floors with potsherds and iron palettes. Shelters made of perishable items were also seen. This matches with the description of later Vedic Samhitas speaking of houses made of wood, bamboo, thatch, dried grass etc.

The next period at Ᾱktha was the NBPW or the Janapada period dated between 600- 200 BCE. Excavated area of this stage is restricted and therefore scanty. Trenches were discovered in the peripheries. It suggests that area under occupation expanded in this stage compared to the Later Vedic stage. Again, there was a shift of settlement from the south to north from the Later Vedic Period to the Janapada period. Structural remain of NBPW/Janapada period is itself rare in the Varanasi region. An embankment made in three stages is reported from Varanasi which resembles the Vedic description of Pura where a fortification was a part of a village or a settlement as a protective device. Ᾱktha does not show any such thing. Houses of this phase at Ᾱktha were almost similar but a little sturdy than that of the last period. Wooden beams were the base in both cases and the structures are ordinary and unimpressive. They bore no trace of urbanity and matches with Vedic descriptions of locality than the Buddhists which speak of advanced urban sites. So though Vārāṇasī made a slight turn towards urbanization in this time Ᾱktha still retained its rural bias.

The next phase is the Maurya-Śuṅga period, marked by increase in civic amenities, spiritual and religious activities. Remains of at least twelve structures and seven floors were found at Ᾱktha. Two courses of a structure made of complete bricks were reported from period III of Ᾱktha. At Vārāṇasī urbanisation started in the Janapada period and in this phase urbanity became more prominent with large scale use of burnt bricks, drains and soak pits. At Ᾱktha though similar trends may be seen use of burnt bricks was limited and a transition from mud and thatch to burnt brick masonry may be seen in the structures but mainly perishable materials were used in house building. The earlier phase of period III corresponding to the Maurya times show that an enclosure wall towards the western side was built and even a wall was found in the southern side. A rammed floor was located inside this enclosure. A number of square and rectangular structures were exposed from the later phase. These were mostly houses, made in separate units and were joined by lanes. Houses had paved floors, mud packing for enclosure wall and use of large bricks. So during the Maurya-Śuṅga times, Ᾱktha was nothing more than a prosperous and stable village. The enclosure wall was not very large or impressive. It only demarcated and protected the residential area. But a town planning was not noted. The houses were clustered in an area. Soakage pits and ring wells were found outside the locality. Other than the religious nature discovery of some punch marked silver and some copper cast coins from Ᾱktha of this stage suggests that due its strategic location at the junction of various routes connecting different places of Uttarapatha Aktha had the potential to grow as a trading centre but could not overcome strong religious bias. Therefore instead of supporting Vārāṇasī economically as a trade centre Ᾱktha remained a religious village at the vicinity of Vārāṇasī.

So by the Maurya–Śuṅga time there was a clear settlement hierarchy in the Vārāṇasīarea. Vārāṇasī itself grew as a full-fledged early historic city but was supported by diverse types of settlements of the area. In the NBPW time three distinct types of settlement can be noted. It was period III and quite matured stage at Vārāṇasī. Urbanization started here. At Ramnagar it was only period II and Ramnagar could only rise as a trade centre though essentially non-urban in character. So it was nothing more than a supporting settlement of Vārāṇasī. This was only period I at Tilmanpur, a stone cutter’s village on the bank of Rajapur nala. In both cases the settlements though supported Vārāṇasī but also depended largely on the last for their existence. All the settlements did not grow together. They came to the scene when Vārāṇasī already made considerable progress. There were settlements too, which had even an earlier beginning than Vārāṇasī, like Aktha.[22] The whole region was dotted with numerous settlements associated to Varanasi in some way or the other in most cases. In this milieu of settlement pattern Vārāṇasī made a dramatic move to urbanisation and as rising as the capital of the Kāśī mahājanapada. The geographical region around Vārāṇasī which was also its hinterland was an economically potent zone that was also among the earliest centres to have human settlement. It provided a wonderful legacy and an advantage over other regions. A survey of the region could be helpful for our understanding.

Footnotes and references:


R. L. Singh, India: A Regional Geography, Varanasi, National Geographical Society of India, 1971, pp.90-91.


Purushottam Singh, Archaeology of the Ganga Plain, New Delhi, Aryan Books International, 2010, p.22.


Purushottam Singh, Chalcolithic Culture of the Middle Ganga Plain in Vibha Tripathi and Prabhakar Upadhyay ed., Archaeology of the Ganga Basin: Paradigm Shift, Vol. I, Delhi, Sharada Publishing House, 2010, pp.261- 63.


Purushottam Singh and Ashok Kumar Singh, The Archaeology of the Middle Ganga Plain, New Perspectives-Excavations at Agiabir, New Delhi, Aryan Books International,2004, pp.6-7.


Radha kant Varma, Beginnings of Agriculture in the Vindhya-Ganga Region in Lallanji Gopal and V. C. Srivastava ed., History of Agriculture in India up to c. 1200 A. D., Vol. 5, part 1 in D.P. Chattopadhyay ed., History of Science, Philosophy and Culture in Indian Civilization, New Delhi, Concept Publishing Company, 2008, pp.31-47.


Purushottam Singh, op.cit. 2010, pp.157- 161.


Purushottam Singh, op.cit. 2010, pp.158-175.


Vidula Jayaswal,Ancient Varanasi,An Archaeological Perspective, Excavations at Aktha, New Delhi, Aryan Books International, 2009, pp. 3-6.


Vibha Tripathi and Prabhakar Upadhyay, Anai, A Rural Settlement of Ancient Varanasi, Sharada Publishing House, New Delhi, 2013.


Vibha Tripathi and Prabhakar Upadhyay, Anai: A Settlement in the Varuṇā Region in K. N. Dikshit ed., Puratattva, no.36, 2005-06, New Delhi, 2006, pp.93-102.


Singh and Singh, 2010, op.cit. p.23.


Vibha Tripathi and Prabhakar Upadhyay, Excavations at Agiabir (2006-07) in K.N. Dikshit ed., Puratattva, no.39, 2009, pp. 51-57.


Ibid, p.54.


Vibha Tripathi and Prabhakar Upadhyay, Further Excavations at Agiabir (2005-06) in K. N. Dikshit ed., Puratattva, no. 37, New Delhi, 2007,p.124.


Op.cit. p.126.


Puratattva, no. 39 op.cit. pp. 51-57.


Excavations at Sarai Mohana (1967-68) in Bharati, vol.27, 2002-03, Varanasi, 2004, pp.3-112.


Vidula Jayaswal and Manoj Kumar, Excavations at Ramnagar: Discovery of a Supporting Settlement Of Ancient Varanasi in K. N. Dikshit ed., Puratattva, No. 36, 2005-06, New Delhi, 2006,pp.85-92.


T.N. Roy, Excavations at Manjhi 1983-85: A preliminary Report in S. P. Gupta ed., Puratattva, no. 16, 1985- 86, New Delhi,2005, pp.29-32.


Vidula Jayaswal, Stone quarry to Sculpting workshop, Chunar, Varanasi and Sarnath, New Delhi, Agam Kala Prakashan, 1998


Vidula Jayaswal, op. Cit., 2009, p.6.


Jayaswal, op. Cit. 2009, pp.9-14.

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