In a first-of-its-kind finding in the Indian sub-continent, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has stumbled upon “royal burials” with remains of chariots dating 2000 B.C.E. in Baghpat district of Uttar Pradesh.
SK Manjul, director of Institute of Archaeology under the ASI, and co-director Arvin Manjul, who led a team in excavating the site, said, “The new findings will shed light on India’s place in the ancient world history. Previously, chariots were found to be a part of Mesopotamia, Georgia, Greek civilisations. But, the Sanauli recovery shows we were on par with them,” reported The Pioneer.
This is the first time an ancient royal burial pit has been discovered in India. In one of the pits the helmet worn by the rider of the chariot was also found. While in other pits swords with copper-covered hilts, shields, a torch and daggers have also been found.
“We wanted to take the research and investigation in that region further and conducted excavations just 120 metres away from the earlier site, as a trial dig, and discoveries are also set to unravel entire new history,” said Manjul.
In a some of the graves full skeletal remains were found, while in others urns representing symbolic burials were found. A woman’s grave was also found, whose coffin was decomposed. It contained a silver bag, a horned comb and a copper ornaments along with a gold bead.
When asked which animal was used to draw the chariots, Manjul said, “This is debatable, it could be a bull or a horse, but having said that the preliminary understanding points to the horse. The chariot is a lookalike of the ones found in its contemporary cultures like Mesopotamia. It is a solid wheel with no spokes. In one of the pits, crown or helmet worn by the rider of the chariot has been recovered.”
Importance of this Discovery:-
Archaeologists believe that chariots and horses are fundamental to the Aryan civilisation. The oldest attestation of chariot in the Indian subcontinent, prior to this discovery, is at Atranjikhera in Uttar Pradesh, sometime between 350 and 50 B.C.E. While the earliest evidence of chariot in the world occurs in wheel imprints in the Sintashta cemetery dating to about 2000 B.C.E. It is widely believed that Aryans brought chariots and horses in India from central Asia in 1500 B.C.E. But, the new discovery in India suggests that chariots were present here way back in 2000 B.C.E.
Also, remains of domesticated horse have been attested from the Indus Valley site of Surkotada dating to 2100 B.C.E. So the new discovery of the ancient chariot combined with that of the domestic horse might be the final nail in the coffin of the dead Aryan Invasion Theory, as they prove that horses and chariots were not brought by the Aryans. They were already present in India at least half a millennium before the supposed arrival of the Aryans in 1500 B.C.E.