Kashmir to receive its 3,000-year-old treasure
Many ancient tools and human skeletons believed to have been taken from Kashmir in the 1970s are expected to return from the National Museum in New Delhi. The artefacts, including stone and bone tools, skeletons and pottery articles with their exquisite shape and carvings date back to the end of the third millennium BC and belonged to the National Museum.
They are expected to return to Srinagar and will be on display at the SPS Museum.
Deputy Director of the Department of Archives, Archeology and Museums, J&K, Mushtaq Ahmad Beigh, said artefacts from the Neolithic period were treasures from Kashmir and show many influences and patterns of Kashmir dwelling.
“These objects found in Burzahom are the missing link of the SPS museum and I think our museum will be full once we put these objects on display,” he said.
These were found during excavations started by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) from 1960 to 1970 and later taken to the National Museum for study.
In March, the heads of the department had already identified and selected the objects to be repatriated from the National Museum. Now they are waiting for the other formalities to be completed for a safe return.
These antiquities are of great importance in terms of history, archeology and culture to J&K, as the Burzahom is a site protected by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The repatriation comes after years of pursuit by the Department of Archives, Archeology and Museums and several official communications with ASI.
Officials at the SPS museum have also insisted that it has long been planning the return of these artifacts.
“We are very happy that the treasure is returning to its place of origin,” said Rabia Qureshi, the museum’s curator.
“We have already kept a section dedicated to these artefacts in our archeology gallery. More space can be created once the items get here, ”she said.
The Burzahom is a Neolithic site located in the Srinagar district that highlights transitions in human habitation patterns from the Neolithic period to the Megalithic period to the ancient historical period. From the transition of architecture to the development of tool-making techniques to the introduction and diffusion of lenses in Northwest India, the Burzahom site is a unique and complete storyteller of life. between 3000 BCE and 1000 BCE.
According to the UNESCO report, the remains of the site document the gradual change in the nature of living spaces among early societies. “From the underground habitation pits, the evidence at the site shows the emergence of mud structures, on which mud brick constructions on flat ground. The range of tools recovered from the site shows the evolution of tool making, Neolithic men qualified hunters and their knowledge in the application of cultivation tools.
“Several shards of steel gray, dull red, brown or buff colored pottery were recovered from the pits as one of the material remains. Raw in finish, the continuity of these types of rough pottery can be seen in Kashmiri ‘today,’ the report said.
Besides pottery, bones and stone tools like harpoons, needles with or without eyes, awls probably used to sew hides, spear points, arrowheads and daggers for game hunting, scrapers for processing hides, stone axes, chisels, adzes, awls, clubs, spikes and pickaxes were used by Neolithic settlers at this time. Besides stone, the woods were also used for the production of tools. This layer is marked by the absence of any landfill system as well as culture.
The ASI has also drawn up a detailed account of the excavations at Burzahom and the objects recovered from the site. The details were compiled in a 464 page report by a leading archaeologist from India and additional managing director ASI RS Fonia.