First-Ever Physical Evidence Of Chariots In Copper-Bronze Age Unearthed By ASI In UP

| June 6 , 2018 , 11:19 IST

For the first time, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has come across remains of 3 chariots dating back to the Copper-Bronze Age (around 2000-1800 BC) at the Sinauli village of Uttar Pradesh's Baghpat district, media reported on Wednesday.

The 3 chariots were found in burial pits adorned with copper motifs, indicating the possibility of 'royal burials' and opening further research opportunities into the area's past. During the excavation process which began in March, 8 burial sites have also been unearthed, along with several artefacts including 3 coffins, antenna swords, daggers, combs and ornaments.

“The discovery of a chariot puts us on a par with other ancient civilizations, like Mesopotamia, Greece, etc. where chariots were extensively used. It seems a warrior class thrived in this region in the past,” said SK Manjul, the co-director of Excavations and ASI’s Institute of Archaeology in Delhi.

“We are now certain that when in 2000 BC, the Mesopotamians were using chariots, swords, and helmets in wars, we also had similar things,” he said.

Manjul termed the digging drive as 'path-breaking' because of the copper plated figures found on the coffins, which furthered the concept of 'royal burials'.

“For the first time in the entire sub-continent, we have found this kind of a coffin. The cover is highly decorated with eight anthropomorphic figures. The sides of the coffins are also decorated with floral motifs,” Manjul said.

Coffins have been discovered in the past during excavations in Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro and Dholavira (Gujarat), Manjul said, but never with copper decorations, which indicate the noteworthy progress of Indian civilisation at the time.

The other items found, such as swords, daggers, shields and a helmet indicate that a warrior population had lived in the area with a “sophisticated” craftsmanship and lifestyle based on the earthen and copper pots, semi-precious and steatite beads, combs, and a copper mirror found.

“It is confirmed that they were a warrior class. The swords have copper-covered hilts and a medial ridge making it strong enough for warfare. We have also found shields, a torch, and daggers,” Manjul said.

The current excavation site is 120 metres away from an earlier one in the village that was excavated in 2005 to reveal 116 burials along with swords and pottery.