Thursday, August 18, 2022



( A Dolmen site in UK ..Photo courtesy ..http://www.stone 

  ( Pottery an beads from Burzahom on display at National Museum ,New Delhi .Photo by the blogger)  
      ( A protected Menhir from south Korea ) 

            (  A cranium from Burzahom . Looks as if cranial surgery was performed on it ) 
             ( Rock art  from Burzahom )

                   ( A Menhir from Burzahom)


     ( Excavated from Burzahom , Kashmir)


I quote from Page  283 of the Book....
'EMPIRES OF THE INDUS '. by Alice Albinia  ..Published      by John Murray Publishers, London UK ....

" As I am standing beside the menhirs at Burzahom, the caretaker  wanders over.I ask him why there is no museum ,even though according to archeological reports from the time of excavations , one was due to be built in the 1970s. I have already been visiting the State Archaeology Department in one of Srinagar's  heavily guarded government buildings, where clerks  sit drinking tea all day long in darkened   rooms stacked high with unread files.The people there explained ,  " Funds for the museum were not forthcoming and there is too much tension in the valley."

Long back , Mr R K Saproo of ASI told me this :-

"The early Neolithic settlers  of Burzahom made simple gray or reddish-brown clay pots in different shapes and sizes. They also made stone tools that were polished . Animal bones were also used in making tools like harpoons for fishing, needles for sewing, and arrow-heads, spear-heads and daggers for hunting. The skeletal remains of Neolithic people found at Burzahom were
similar to those found in Harappa of the Indus Valley Civilization .The excavations had thrown up   residential  structures of mud , burial pits, bone tools, stone tools , pottery and beads  from the Neolithic period and Megalithic period .The objects excavated reveal evolution of civilization from stone to metallic age and from hunting to farming .By 2,000 BC, the Neolithic people of Burzahom started to live in mud huts.  There is also evidence of multiple burials, usually under house floors or in the compounds. Red ochre was smeared on the bodies before burial.   "

The Burzahom archeological site is on UNESCO’s world heritage watch list.  UNESCO, defines the  the Neolithic site of Burzahom as under:-

“ Burzahom brings to light transitions in human habitation patterns from the Neolithic period to Megalithic period to the early historic period."

Tne Neolithic and Megalithic are two different periods . The Neolithic Revolution, or the (First) Agricultural Revolution, was the wide-scale transition of many human cultures during the Neolithic period from a lifestyle of hunting and gathering to one of agriculture and settlement, making an increasingly large population possible.The neolithic evidence found was from 2900 BC to 1000 BC and the Iron Age or Megalithic period evidence found was from 1000 BC to 300 AD.  Strictly  speaking, Megaliths are  huge stones that acted as either burial sites or memorial stones. These are  found the world over.Use of high-quality red and black pottery during  Megalithic era is highly characteristic. At Burzahom, objects and constructions relating to both Neolithic and Megalithic era have been excavated .

For the first time since its excavation in the 1930s, the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) has started restoration work of the Neolithic archeological site of Burzahom in Srinagar outskirts. The site which is known to be the first Neolithic site to be discovered in Kashmir dates back to 3000 to 1000 BC.In 1944, Mortimer Wheeler, Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India had also done some excavation at the site.  The Archeological Survey of India made detailed excavations of the site between 1960 and 1971.We don't know the fate of stone age tools ,weapons and  objects excavated in 1936 jointly   by Dr. Helmut  Terra and Dr T. Peterson  and later by Superintending Archaeologist T. N. Khazanchi . Are these with us ? I don't know.May be thes objects and tools  made of stones , animal bones and metals  have   landed in some European or American  museum due to human  greed.I don't know the fate of all  the Megalithic period menhirs that existed at the site . The menhirs link Burzahom with world Megalithic Civilization as similar  objects have been excavated in Italy, Sweden, Russia, Turkey and many African countries.

There is one particular rock drawing at Burzoham that has been established to be about five thousand years old. This artwork shows two bright objects in the sky, with figures of animals and humans. The scientists believe that this stone drawing at Burzoham is a complete sky chart of the night on which the Supernova was first observed by unknown observers around 4,500 BC. A supernova is a transient astronomical event that occurs during the last stellar evolutionary stages of a massive stars life, whose dramatic and catastrophic destruction is marked by one final titanic explosion. Thus using their artistic skills, the inhabitants of Burzohama observed and carved something unique for posterity.

Burzahom excavations and subsequent excavations at Pampore, Brah and many more areas in the  valley  is the strongest evidence  of  a Neolithic Civilization in Kashmir. Alas ! most of us are ignorant and those who know have failed to put these vital excavated items into a scientifically maintained museum.I have seen some neolithic remains in Jaisalmer Rajasthan which are   far far less than what we discovered in Kashmir but at Jaisalmer ,they have been preserved and protected in an area of about 300 acres duly fenced with 24x7  watch and ward staff .The place is mentioned in every tourist booklet and  many tourists visit the place . It is nothing in comparison to what we have at Burzahom and other sites but sooner or later, this oldest heritage and link shall also go the way grand Wular lake  has gone.

I was told by reliable persons that Megalithic Dolmens were also excavated from Burzahom but unfortunately we list them due to neglect  and vandalism. We failed to preserve and protect this prehistoric  heritage . Dolmen comprises of three or four vertical stones on top of which  which a horizontal stone is placed . Menhir is single stone . Dolmens  were used to commemorate the dead and also may have acted as centres for various ceremonies in the area.

If you visit Burzahom,  you find that it has been vandalised to such an extent that the site has almost lost its archaeological value.The menhirs ,i am not sure about present status , were vandalised long back.

( Avtar Mota) 

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