As new findings continue to tumble out during excavations, we can look forward to a new historical narrative of a society and its cultural patterns that deserve to be documented, shared and told.
From Sanauli to Lucknow, history’s mysterious secrets are tumbling out! A recent excavation has now shown up that Lucknow has a ‘mystery’ boat. A royal boat may have been discovered at Lucknow’s 220-year-old Chhatar Manzil. The discovery of a traditional, flat-bottomed boat, which is 42 feet long and 11 feet wide, has been brought to light by the officials of Uttar Pradesh’s state archaeological department, also referred to as UPSAD.
While the officials have not confirmed whether this is a royal boat, it is baffling how the ‘mystery’ boat got buried in the ground in the first place. More details are awaited on the same.
Interestingly, this marks the third major discovery since 2017, when excavation first began at the Chhatar Manzil as part of its restoration and conservation. Then, for the first time, a room had been discovered, lying buried beneath the palace complex. Not just that, an entire storey was also discovered lying buried, as were huge tunnel-shaped rooms connecting Kothi Farhatbaksh to the Chhatar Manzil, which had served as a palace for Awadh’s rulers and later became a bastion of Indian revolutionaries during the 1857 revolt.
Kothi Farhatbaksh is known to have been built by Major General Claude Martin way back in 1781. This structure too underwent extensive trenching at the same time as the Chhatar Manzil.
Earlier on May 2, the Archeology Survey of India had found a chariot, a helmet, a shield and a dagger from Baghpat in Uttar Pradesh, where two decorated coffins with skeletons were found.
ANI has quoted Dr. S.K. Manjul, Director of Institute of Archaeology as saying that the items that were found in Sanauli is not only of national importance but it also has global importance as it throws light on the history, life, and culture in the upper Ganga Yamuna Doab. According to one report, the coffins had copper layering all around. A chariot was also discovered, besides other items such as helmet, sword and dagger, shield and so on.
Another report in Daily Pioneer points out that these items indicate the existence of a warrior class dating back to 2000 BCE.
The Sanauli coffin mystery also deepens with the fact that one coffin with stone inlays had a woman’s skeleton with gold beads, an amulet made of semi-precious stones, armlet, pottery, and the second platform had her remains that included items like a copper mirror and hairpin. Two pots containing rice and black lentils were also found.
A good practice would be to look beyond India in the field of archaeology to understand whether discoveries that may be similar to Lucknow’s royal boat or Sanauli’s copper-coated coffins are happening across the world.
Some notable findings reported in Archaeological News magazine show that a bronze age canoe has been discovered in Wales and the remains of a 1400-year-old river settlement along river Senne has been discovered at a construction site in Brussels.
These new findings have all the makings of mysteries tumbling out until one also probes closer to understand how these have been completely missed out earlier.
For context, consider an interesting quote by George Hancock, which refers to archaeology as a deeply conservative discipline in ‘Magicians of the Gods: The Forgotten Wisdom of Earth’s Lost Civilization’ in the following words:
“Archaeologists have a horror of questioning anything their predecessors and peers announced to be true…in consequence, they focus, perhaps to a large extent, subconsciously on evidence and arguments that don’t upset the apple cart….but God forbid anything should be discovered that seriously undermine the established paradigm.”
The questions related to the mystery boat discovered in Lucknow are bound to continue. As new findings continue to tumble out during excavations, we can look forward to a new historical narrative of a society and its cultural patterns that deserve to be documented, shared and told.