Rajgir Field Trip Report 04.03.2023 School of Historical Studies (SHS)

March 4, 2023

School of Historical studies conducted a field trip to the Archaeological and historical sites of Rajgir on 04.03.2023. The field trip started at 7.30 AM and ended at 12.30 PM. eleven archaeological sites were visited during this trip. The following report is prepared according to the sequence of visit in each site. The field trip was conducted under the guidance of Prof. Abhay Kumar Singh. Dr. Kashshaf Ghani headed the trip to Mukdum Kund. Dr.Tosabanta Padhan guided and instructed on the Archaeological sites and Dr. Pranshu Samdarshi gave his input to students on the Buddhist sites.

Site no-1:-Ajathasatru Fort: The students were taken to earlyhistoric fort located close to the Rajgir Bus stand to show the scattered archaeological surface remains. The students were briefly educated on the following aspects; the geological background of the Rajgir, history of archaeological research in Rajgir, surface archaeological finds, the concept of the fort and fortification, ancient military architecture, historical pottery types, ancient hydrology and settlement pattern. The students were excited and asked questions related to historical archaeology, which were duly explained with examples. Site no-2: Fortification wall and northern gateway of Old Rajagriha city: Students were taken to the entry gate (Hastinapur Gate) of the old Rajagriha city. The concept of the gateways, construction of the wall, bastions, and their identification characters were explained systematically. Site No-3: Makhdum Kund: This site, located in the Vipulagiri hill highlights the multi-cultural and multi-religious environment of Rajgir. Students were briefed about the historical background and cultural significance of this 14th century Sufi site, through a lecture and close study of the various structural elements of the site, like caves, meditation chambers, and hot springs. Site no- 4: Jara Devi temple- The concept of the mother goddesses and the presiding deity of the old city, and sculptural remains found in the temple were explained to students. Site No-5: Inner rampart; the inner mud fortification wall is the second layer of security provided to the old city of Rajgir. The concept of the mud fortification and its extensions and types of archaeological remains found inside the valley was observed and explained. Site no-6: Sonebhandar cave located on the southern foothills of the Vaibharagiri is found with twin rockcut caves donated to the Jain saints. The rock-cut architecture, iconography of the figurines and inscriptions found in the cave was highlighted to the students. Site No-7: Bimbisar Jail is an excavated archaeological remains corroborated with the jail of Bimbisar because of findings of multiple stone chambers and evidence of a shackle. Site No-8 Jivak Amravan located on the way to the Shanti Stupa, is found with apsidal architectural remains of an ancient healthcare system. Site No-9 Chariot wheel mark: the site shows evidence of the ancient road marked on the rocky surface of the Udagiri foothills. Important aspects of the ancient trade routes, roadways, size of the chariot or vehicle and their possible interpretations

were discussed at the site. The shell script found at the site was spotted and students’ questions related to the shell script were answered. Site No-10: Newly Excavated Stupa is located near the Banganga river pass is important for findings one of the earliest types of a stupa. Which was found with a stone relic casket engraved with Brahmi script. The architecture and remains found on the site was narrated to students. Site No-11: Paleolithic site near Banganga located on the foothills of the Songiri. The site is found with a large cluster of paleolithic artifacts belonging to the late Acheulian and middle paleolithic periods. Students were explained how to identify stone tools in the field and the typo-technological characteristics of the lithic assemblages found on the site.

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