Published on July 8, 2021

AHMEDABAD: A set of skeletons and mortal remains – dating back 800 to 2,000 years – found from Vadnagar, PM Narendra Modi’s home town, gives a glimpse of ethnography of the region over the centuries and also customs like burial.

Dr Niraj Rai, group head of the Ancient DNA Lab at Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences, carried out a detailed analysis on a skeleton found in seated posture, a bust of a woman and relics found from a stupa on Taranga Hill along with a few other skeletons found during the excavations at the ancient town.

“The remains are about 800 years old. We matched the DNA samples with the known registry of Indian population and the closest match we have found is of Kashmiri Brahmins. He could also be a Nagar,” said Rai. One of the assumptions about the skeleton found from near government granary area is that it could be a case of living burial by a yogi, said sources close to the development.

Another skeleton – whose only head and bust is found from Ghaskol locality of the town – is believed to date back to 1st to 4th Century CE. Dr Rai said that they found the analysis of the DNA of the woman very interesting as she shows a perfect match with the modern Gujarati population. “In a way, she represents the typical Gujarati population and was part of the genesis of today’s majority population of the region,” he said.

He told TOI that the DNA analysis throws light on some interesting aspects of the population. “The analysis reveals that there is a continuity of the population – at least two groups are inhabiting the town for the past 2,000 years in some form. But there is also cultural assimilation as persons from different lineage making the town their home,” he said, adding that those associated with Buddhism were also from the local population, and not from outside the region.

Two-day workshop concludes, gives direction for the experiential museum

The two-day workshop on the excavation at Vadnagar organized by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) got concluded on Wednesday in presence of scholars from across India. The organizers said that the inter-disciplinary aspect of the ongoing work at the ancient town would give impetus to the understanding of the changes the town has experienced in the past two millennia. “Several new ideas have emerged from the discussions. As the town is soon getting an experiential museum, many concepts may get integrated in its design,” said an official.

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