Intact brick wall beneath Vasu Bihar dug out | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 07, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, June 07, 2008

Intact brick wall beneath Vasu Bihar dug out

This recent photo shows the excavated portion of a doorway to a room found 3-4 metres under the 1500-year-old Vasu Bihar in Bogra.Photo: STAR

In a major breakthrough, archaeologists dug out an intact brick wall built on a concrete floor beneath the 1500-year-old Vasu Bihar in Bogra that suggests there existed archaeological excellence even before the days of the monastery.
The new findings along with some other artefacts date back to the pre-Pal era, said Nahid Sultana, leader of a government archaeological excavation team.
"We think a university campus lie buried there. Maybe the Pala dynasty built the Vasu Bihar on the structure knowingly or unknowingly," she told The Daily Star yesterday.
However, the team had to wrap up the excavation due to fund constraints in January putting more such discoveries into uncertainty.
The team, which began its dig November 23 last year, found a 12.70-15.24cm floor 3-4 metres beneath three rooms of the Vasu Bihar.
During a three-year archaeological dig that started in 1973-74 financial year, 30 cells, a hall and other brick-built structures were found along with a number of artefacts including 40 bronze statues of 10-11AD, said Sultana, custodian of Rabindra Memorial Museum in Shahjadpur of Sirajganj.
"This time, we have found bricks, concrete floors under three cells which are 10-14ft long and 9-10ft 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 1-km road and cultivable land, could be excavated and studied properly, the patterns of a university complex could be found," Nahid said.
Talking to The Daily Star, another member of the excavation team and the assistant custodian of Mahasthan site Mahabub-Ul-Alam said two niches were found in the north and western walls of Cell-26 during the recent excavation.
A huge number of artefacts including dishes were also found, he added.
The team is preparing a report on the excavation for submitting to the Department of Archaeology.
Citing the content of the report, departmental officials said there was a large courtyard in front of the existing structures.
There were separate gate structures under the floor of the monastery, said Mahabub.
Chinese pilgrim Hiuen Tsang saw 700 monks and religious educational institutions including temples at the site during his South Asia visit in 639-645AD, according to historical documents.
Extensive excavation is needed to know more about the different eras, Nahid said.

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