This book presents a multi-featured scenario of mid-Ganga plain. It includes various features of the mid-Ganga plain, such as geographical divisions, drainage system, physical divisions and their resource base, environment as well as the archaeological scenario. The book also throws light on the historical importance of the Ballia district by recent archaeological excavations of the ancient site of Pakkakot, Dist. Ballia, Uttar Pradesh conducted under the direction of the authors in February-May, 2011. The limited excavations at this site has brought to light a five-fold culture-sequence ranging in date from 5th millennium BC to 7th century AD without any cultural break. The period comprises of Neolithic, Chalcolithic, NBP, Sunga-Kushana and Gupta and post-Gupta deposits. The book will throw a new light on the archaeology of mid-Ganga plain and will be beneficial for the researchers and students of Archaeology dealing with Ganga Plain.
It gives me immense pleasure to learn that the Department of Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology, Banaras Hindu University, is paying due attention in the field of Archaeology, by exploring and excavating a number of ancient sites in the Middle Ganga Plains. The latest in the list is Pakkakot which is a city site in Ballia district of Uttar Pradesh. In 2011, the team from the department carried out excavation work at Pakkakot, the results of which are being published in the form of present monograph entitled "Pakkakot: Some New Archaeological Dimensions of Mid-Ganga Plain". As I have learnt, the excavation at this ancient site has brought to light a five-gold cultural sequence of Neolithic, Chalcolithic, NBPW, sunga-Kushana and Gupta Phases ranging in date from the 5th millennium B.C. to 7th century A.D. and having a continuous cultural sequence without any break between them. A remarkable finding of this excavation is the procurement of a silver figurine of mother goddess from NBP level, the parallel of which has not yet been found elsewhere. The continuous strata of cultural sequence of such a hoary past and a good number of antiquarian remains would, I hope, certainly augment the knowledge of Archaeologists working in this area. I congratulate the entire team from Department of Ancient India History, Culture and Archaeology for bringing out this monograph in a very short period and hope that it would be welcomed by the readers.
The Middle Ganga Plain is an area where the knowledge of human cultures has grown considerably in a broad archaeological spectrum during the recent past. The universities of Allahabad, Varanasi, Gorakhpur, Lucknow and Patna, the archaeological departments of the Uttar Pradesh and Bihar Governments and the Archaeological Survey of India have undertaken a number of archaeological projects in the Ganga Plain, more fervently in the middle Ganga Plain and adjoining areas during the period of about last four decades. The experts of the Birbal Salmi Institute of Palaeobotany, Lucknow, Institute of Archaeology, Deccan College, Pune, and also from western countries have immensely contributed to the study of ancient flora, fauna, and human activities, including agriculture and techniques etc. Proper and more dependable chronological sequence of human cultures has also been established on the radiocarbon determinations. The scientists from the Geological Survey of India and the Department of Geology, University of Lucknow, have largely contributed to the understanding of the geomorphological evolution of the Ganga Plain. Consequently, some new aspects of ancient cultures have come to the fore. Archaeological materials obtained through explorations and excavations are an important source for the reconstruction of history and culture of a country. India is fortunate in having a rich literary tradition and cultural heritage from very ancient times. Scholars have done commendable work in both the areas but still more is to be done with a joint venture so that a comprehensive picture would emerge to the fore. During recent years the Middle Ganga Plains have drawn considerable attention of the archaeologists and being enthused with new findings they carried out extensive explorations and excavated a number of sites. From the scientific analysis of different materials procured from many sites and AMS dating of the palaeobotanical samples the dating of NBPW, which was once solely associated with the Mauryan period, has now been pushed back to circa 1000 B.C. This also gave us encouragement to work in this area and hence we decided to excavate the fortified site of Pakkakot in Distt. Ballia of Uttar Pradesh. The present publication is of course the result of one season excavation of this ancient site which, I hope, the readers will welcome. This site has yielded among other materials a silver figurine of Mother Goddess/Female Dancer which is a solitary figure of its type and may throw new light on the art history of India in general and mid-Ganga plain in particular. Pakkakot is a city site in the Middle Ganga Plain. An exploration work conducted by the present team at Pakkakot in the month of July, 2010, resulted in some new dimensions. The ancient settlement spread over an area of more than 30 / acres and the extant height of the mound from the surrounding plain is about 12 mts. The mound is covered with fortification walls and four bastions which are almost intact.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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