Ancient period structure, artefacts discovered in Bangladesh

March 23rd, 2008 - 3:15 pm ICT by admin  

Dhaka, March 23 (IANS) Archaeologists in Bangladesh have found an ancient brick-built structure with floor and artefacts under the basement of the main temple at the World Heritage site Paharpur in Dinajpur. Earlier, two brick-built structures of the Gupta dynasty were found during an excavation, according to archaeologists of the Department of Archaeology.

Mohammed Shafiqul Alam, director, Department of Archaeology, said the recently excavated structures were built in pre-Pal period.

“Most probably the structure of temple was built by followers of Jain religion,” Alam told The Daily Star Sunday.

Nahid Sultana, member of the excavation team, said the 2.1-metre width brick-built structure crossed the basement of the main temple built by King Dharmapala in the eighth century.

The structure was found in the northeast corner of more than 1,200 years old main temple “Somapura Maha Vihara”, which is locally known as Paharpur monastery.

Mohammed Mahabub-ul-Alam, assistant custodian, Paharpur museum and excavation team member, said a huge number of potsherds have been found under the monastic cell number 21 of the Vihara.

Probably, these were used over 1,500 years ago, said Mahabub, adding that it is likely to be the first habitation in this area.

World famous archaeologist K.N. Dikshit believes there was a Jain monastery at Paharpur but no traces has survived.

There has so far been no structural evidence of existence of Jain temples in Bangladesh. But Chinese pilgrim Hiuen Tsang saw several Jain structures during his visit to Pundranagar in Bogra and adjacent areas in 639-645 AD, said Mahabub.

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