Excavations in Bharuch

Excavations in Bharuch 2013-14

The city of Bharuch was a famous port during the early historic period. It was known by different names such as Bhrigukaccha, Bharukaccha, Baugaza, Barygaza, Barisi etc. It was engaged in trade with West Asia and Rome during the early centuries of the Common Era. The current city has been occupied at least for the last two thousand years. To understand the nature of city formation in ancient India as well as the impact of trade in the settlement pattern, trial excavations at Bharuch was initiated in 2013-14.

Excavations at Bharuch were conducted at two localities: 1. Batuknath Vyamshala (one of the lowest points in elevation in the city) along the western bank of river Narmada.2. Premises of Soneri Mahal Police Station (the highest point in elevation inside the city).

The trench at Batuknath Vyamshala is located at a strategic corner of the fortification wall which might have been under regular fluvial onslaughts and has the possibility to acquire colluvial deposits from the nearby mound area. Devoid of structures, the excavation has unearthed an ceramics assemblage constituted of red ware, red slipped ware, black ware, black slipped ware, black and red ware, glazed ware, porcelain and tiles, while the artifacts include terracotta beads and stoppers, semi precious stone beads, glass bangles, iron and copper objects and lead ingots.

The ceramic and fluvial study has revealed that the site is not in secondary context and the archaeological materials were not reworked by the floods of the Narmada.

The excavations at Soneri Mahal have revealed a structural complex having an oval shaped water structure measuring 1.56m in length (EW) and 1.18m (NS). The height of the tank is 1.87m while its base is 1.65m wide with an outlet along with a flight of 2 steps measuring 70cm x 26cm and 70cm x 24cm towards north while 6 steps measuring 70cm x 22cm, 70cm x 24cm, 70cm x 22cm, 70cm x 22cm, 70cm x 22cm and 68cm x 24cm was descending towards the west. This tank was built of burnt bricks with lime mortar and was plastered with lime on the interior. Nearly 6 storage jars plastered with lime on interior was noticed just at the east of the tank. Apart from the above, lime plastered floor, floor provided with covered drain, brickbat platforms, walls running in east-west and north-south orientations were also exposed. As far as the ceramics are concerned, red ware predominates the whole assemblage followed by red slipped ware, black ware, black slipped ware, black and red ware, glazed ware, porcelain, tiles and painted sherds. The artifacts mainly constitutes terracotta beads, animal and bird figurines, Iron objects, glass beads and bangle pieces, copper coins (Late Medieval local coins and one Portuguese), ivory objects, semi precious stone beads etc.

The carbon samples retrieved from the excavations from the Soneri Mahal has been dated by conventional radiocarbon dating having an age of 230 ± 30 BP.