Excavations at the Kotul site date back to historic times

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PUNE: Archaeologists from the Deccan College Postgraduate and Research Institute in Pune have found artifacts and other ancient ruins dating back to the early historic era at Kotul, located in Ahmednagar district along the Junnar-Nashik road. A team of archaeologists recently concluded their excavations at a site in Kotul, the traces of which took them back nearly 2,000 years.

According to Pandurang Sabale, Head of Department of Ancient Indian History and Culture and Archaeology, the excavation site was invented by him during the 2014-2015 academic season, after which geo-archaeological works were carried out in the basin of the Mula River. During the present field season 2021-22, an archaeological dig was carried out as part of the training of masters students in April at the site located at Akole tehsil, Ahmednagar district.

Sabale, along with other researchers, led the excavations at Kotul. At the site, researchers found 2,000-year-old artifacts dating back to the Satavahana era. Artifacts include a variety of earthenware pots, bricks, beads and objects, shell bracelets, coins and metal objects, grain storage jars, and more. Large quantities of animal bones, skeletons and food grains were also collected. All this indicates that Kotul was an important settlement on the trade route even at the beginning of the historical era.

“It was a host of artifacts like jewelry (beads) and earthenware pots. Preliminary research suggests that our findings date back to the beginning of the historic era,” Sabale told the Hindustan Times.

The Kotul excavation site, which measures around 0.75 x 1.25 square kilometers, was discovered in 2014 as the search was completed in the first week of May this year. “The find at the excavation site suggests that Kotul was important in the trade pattern of things from the early historic period to the medieval period,” Sabale said.

Neighboring Junnar was once part of research at Deccan College where excavations began in 2005 and large brick structures were discovered at the site. It is believed that these structures were used for different purposes during the reign of the Satavahanas.

Junnar was the first capital of the Satavahana dynasty which ruled the Deccan Plateau region from the 1st century BC. The rulers of this dynasty had trade connections with ancient Rome and Greece and their munificence is evident in the form of cave temples and chaitya grihas that dot the landscape of the state.

Junnar was also significant as it lies on the trade route that connects ports in western India with Konkan and the Deccan interiors. The famous Naneghat inscription in Junnar dates back to this dynasty. The hills and valleys of the region are rich in artifacts from the era. Multiple excavations have been carried out in the area by ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) and Deccan College for many years.

Future studies will be conducted after examining the potential character of the Kotul site. More details about the culture, commerce, trade and occupations of the people of that time will be evident after studying the excavated materials.

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