Many important buildings and artefacts dating back more than 1,000 years have been found in an archaeological excavation site at Vasu Vihara in Bogura. This is one of the major archaeological sites in South Asia.
A 7-member team led by Dr Nahid Sultana, Regional Director (Rajshahi and Rangpur divisions) of the Directorate of Archaeology started the excavation on February 4 this year. Buried just beneath the surface they found brick walls, earthen statues and pots and other important artefacts dating back to the Pala era.
The team has dug up two viharas (Buddhist monasteries), the ruins of a temple and numerous burnt-clay plates. The archaeoligists have also found bronze statues, earthen seals and some medium-sized artefacts.
Sanjay Kumar Roy, a research assistant at the Directorate of Archaeology's regional office in Bogura said, "During this excavation the team discovered a Buddhist statue of a person in a trance, and other artefacts that are similar to ones found in other viharas.
Mujibur Rahman, assistant director of the Directorate who is also a member of the excavation team, said that during this dig they also discovered brick walls built in the Pala era, burnt clay plates, bricks with designs on them, a Buddha statue in meditation and various clay pots.
"We hope to find more artefacts before the end of this phase of the excavation that will enrich the history of Vasu Vihara", said Mujibur Rahman.
The archaeologists said that the Chinese Buddhist pilgrim and traveller Hiuen-Tsang travelled through Bengal from 639 to 645 AD and came to Vasu Vihara. In his writings he said that he found 700 Buddhist monks at the educational institution there. The monks had told him that Gautam Bhuddha had visited the place, and later, the Emperor Ashoka built a tall temple here.
The archaeologists think that most of the structures they have unearthed date back to the Pala era, and that each artefact they have found bears significance.
Regional Director Dr Nahid Sultana said that many important artefacts can be found here if the excavation is done systematically. She also said, "This time the excavation at Vasu Vihara will continue till March."
Abdul Khaleque, a former director general of the Directorate of Archaeology said, the first excavation was carried out at this site by a team led by noted archaeologist Dr Harun-or Rashid in 1973. That team also found numerous objects including artefacts used in Buddhist religious educational institutions.