History Of Odisha News Bureau(03/07/2021): An archaeological dig at Durgadevi village in the coastal Balasore district uncovered three continuous and systematic stages of cultural evolution spanning 2,000 years, from 2000 BC to 100 BC. The village’s Chalcolithic phase (2000–1000 BC), Iron Age (1000–400 BC), and Early Historic period (400–200 BC) traces were discovered during an excavation conducted by Odisha Institute of Maritime and South East Asian Studies (OIMSEAS) under the department of Culture. Additionally, traces of fortification throughout the early historic site, as well as materials associated with the three periods, have been discovered.
The OIMSEAS began work on the site at Durgadevi in March, 20 kilometres from Balasore town and bordering Mayurbhanj. Excavations revealed a circular mud fortification within the village’s 4.9-kilometer radius, which is bounded on the south by the Sona River and on the north by the Budhabalanga River. Close to the village, two nullas, Gangahara and Prassana, connect the site on the north and south, forming a natural moat that was part of an ancient water management system developed at least 4,000 years ago. The rivers served as a conduit for maritime trade, according to chief archaeologist Dr Sunil Kumar Patnaik, who is also the OIMSEAS secretary.
The village of Sutanatei, Mahasayapatna (Mausipatana), Kudia, and Durgadevi has approximately 500 households. The modern village, complete with hamlets, is contained within the ancient fortified enclosure. Horizontal excavations were conducted in three trenches across two acres of high land. The base of a circular hut, copper objects, and black on red painted pottery were among the major Chalcolithic period discoveries. According to Patnaik, the discovery of the hut and utilitarian objects demonstrates that people were settled and had begun agriculture, domestication of animals, and fishing.
Additionally, Iron Age pottery remains and iron objects such as nails, arrow heads, crucibles, and various types of slag were discovered. “The use of iron is a watershed moment in the development of Odisha’s civilisation, particularly in North Odisha. Numerous Iron Age sites have been discovered in the upper and middle Mahanadi valleys by various archaeologists, but this is the first in North Odisha,” Patnaik explained.
Similarly, red, black, and grey ware pottery specimens, terracotta ear studs, bangles, beads, terracotta wheels, and some conical objects from the Early Historic period were discovered in the area, indicating the march of civilisation from agricultural to commercial. This was also the time when fortifications around the site with the natural moat began, indicating the emergence of urbanisation at Durgadevi between 400 and 200 BC, he added.Samples of the objects were sent to the Inter-University Accelerator Centre in New Delhi to determine the site’s absolute date. While the first phase of excavation was recently completed, it will continue for three years in order to fully understand the ancient site.