‘Brick wall discovery indicates ancient Bangladesh university’

June 8th, 2008 - 2:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, June 8 (IANS) A brick wall discovered beneath the 1,500-year-old Vasu Bihar in northern Bangladesh’s Bogra district indicates the possibility of a university campus, an archaeological expert has said. “We think a university campus lies buried there. Maybe the Pala dynasty built the Vasu Bihar on the structure knowingly or unknowingly,” said Nahid Sultana, leader of a government archaeological excavation team.

She called the discovery “a major breakthrough”, but told The Daily Star newspaper that much work needed to be done.

She complained of lack of funds that led to the project being wrapped up in January.

The wall built on a concrete floor and doorway to a room date back to pre-Pala era. The team, which began its digging Nov 23 last year, found a 12.70-15.24cm floor three-four metres beneath three rooms of Vasu Bihar.

Despite fund constraints, archaeologists have undertaken excavation work in Bogra, Dinajpur, Sirajganj and other areas in northern Bangladesh, and have come up with discoveries that link the region to historical sites and monuments at Nalanda, Bihar in India.

During a three-year archaeological dig that started 1973-74, some 30 cells, a hall and other brick-built structures were found along with a number of artefacts including 40 bronze statues belonging to 10-11 A.D., said Sultana, who is also custodian of Rabindra Memorial Museum in Shahjadpur of Sirajganj.

“This time, we have found bricks and concrete floors under three cells which are 10-14 feet long and 9-10 feet wide,” she said.

Almost all the brick structures are still intact, the first known case in Bangladesh, she added.

“If the Vasu Bihar and Bihar Dhap, divided by a one-km road and cultivable land, could be excavated and studied properly, the patterns of a university complex could be found,” Sultana said.

Chinese pilgrim Hiuen Tsang had seen 700 monks and religious educational institutions including temples at the site during his South Asia visit in 639-645 A.D., according to historical documents.

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