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Burzahom archaeological site

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Burzahom archaeological site
Black earthenware. Pré-Indus civilization. Kashmir.JPG
A pot excavated from Burzahom
Shown within Jammu and Kashmir
Burzahom archaeological site (India)
LocationSrinagar, Jammu and Kashmir
Coordinates34°10′12″N 74°52′01″E / 34.169883°N 74.866841°E / 34.169883; 74.866841
TypePre-historic Settlement
PeriodsNeolithic, Megalithic and early Historic period.
Site notes
Excavation dates1939 and from 1960 to 1971
Archaeologistsde Terra and Patersonof Yale-Cambridge Expedition in 1939 and T.N. Khazanchi and his team of ASI from 1960 and 1971

The Burzahom archaeological site is located in the Kashmir Valley of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.[1] Archaeological excavations have revealed four phases of cultural significance between 3000 BC and 1000 BC.[2] Periods I and II represent the Neolithic era; Period IlI the Megalithic era (of massive stone menhirs and wheel turned red pottery); and Period IV relates to the early Historical Period (Post-megalithic period). The findings, recorded in stratified cultural deposits representing prehistoric human activity in Kashmir, are based on detailed investigations that cover all aspects of the physical evidence of the site, including the ancient flora and fauna.

The Burzahom site revealed the transition from the subterranean and ground level housing features of the Neolithic people to the mudbrick structures of the Megalithic people. The large cache of tools and implements made of bone and stone found at the site shows that the inhabitants were hunting and farming.

The unearthed Antiquities (of art, architecture, customs and rituals) indicate that the prehistoric people of the Burzahom established contact with Central Asia and South West Asia and also had links to the Gangetic plains and peninsular India. The interaction of local and foreign influences is demonstrated by the art, architecture, customs, rituals and language demonstrated by some engravings on pottery and other artifacts..

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Hello and welcome back to the Most Amazing Channel on the Internet, I am your host Rebecca Felgate and today we are talking about the Top 10 Sites That Could REWRITE History… Before we get started, though, I just want to tell you about a brand new channel we have called Fornite Central! If you love gaming and you love fornite, this is the perfect place for you. Also, if you enjoy Landon…. Then there is even more reason to check the channel out, because he is the one playing. Soo… the top 10 ancient sites that can rewrite history….some of these have been found, others lay awaiting discovery. 10 - Stone Henge We haven’t yet solved the mystery of Stonge Henge, a prehistoric stone circle made of 13 ft, 60 thousand pound stones situated on the Salisbury Plains in England. The stones date back to around 2400 BC, at which time all historical knowledge suggests that humans would not have had the man power to construct such a site. The area has been a focus of archeological interest for hundreds of years, and perhaps one day we will finally have an answer as to how and why the stones are there. This answer may well change what we know about our ancestors, or feed into a few wilder conspiracies that could change what we know about the planet. Predating Stonehenge by 6,000 years, we have the Gobekli Tepe at number 9. The discovery of the Gobekli Tepe in Turkey changed history. Prior to the discovery of the 11 thousand year old structure, humans were thought to have been a lot more primitive than they must have been to make this building. The ruins are so old that they pre-date the Pyramids, as well as simple things like villages, pottery, domestic animals and agriculture. The area is being excavated by archeologists, led by German Klaus Schmidt, and could one day tell us more about our ancestors and what they were up to in Turkey. 8 - Antikythera Mechanism The Antikythera Mechanism was found in 1900 in the sunken wreckage of ancient Greek Ship, found off the coast of Crete. The device was largely ignored for 75 years and not decoded until around 2006. The Device changed the way we perceived our ancestors as it seems they were much more intelligent than they thought. Made thousands of years before its discovery, the device is considered to be the worlds first computer. The device calculated celestial information including phases of the moon and luni solar calendars. The mechanism was so advance, nothing came close to it in terms of tech for at least another 1,500 years. The discovery goes to show that the middle ages really were harmful to human progression and that the Ancient Greeks were one of the smartest civilisations. How can we apply what we know now to our life today? 7 - Cleopatra’s Tomb Cleopatra’s Tomb has been missing in action for over 2,000 years. We know from studying ancient Egypt that she was supposed to be the last pharaoh and she has been much discussed in history as a beauty and temptress. Historically, it is said that the last Queen of Egypt killed her self, some say by encouraging a poisonous snake to bite her, however nobody has ever found her tomb. Until Cleopatra’s tomb is found…if indeed it ever is… history surrounding one of the most famous Queens of all time remains murky. If and when it is found, who knows what ancient secrets will be uncovered with it. 6 - The Lost City of Atlantis The illusive Lost City of Atlantis was discussed by the otherwise credible Greek Philopshopher, Plato. Atlantis was said to be a thriving city that had fallen upon misfortune and sunk. The location given by Plato can these days be traced to the Straits of Gibraltar, the sea separating Spain and Africa. The city has been much searched for, but has yet to be found, leading many historians to write it off as myth. However, if it were to be found, the site could totally re-write history and we could come across a missing civilisation that at present we know nothing about. 5 - Khatt Shebib The Khatt Shebib is a 93 mile long ancient wall in Jordan and archeologists are puzzled by questions of who could have built it and what purpose it serves. The wall was first spotted by British Diplomat, Sir Alec Kirkbride, who was flying over the country. When archeologists began studying the site, they found an area where two walls ran together side by side. Remains of two towers have also been found, that have allowed archeologists to predict it was built somewhere between 300 BC and 600 AD…which is almost a 1000 year window. The wall is small in height, meaning it probably wasn’t used for defence… but once again, the true purpose remains a total history. The Khatt Shebib isn’t the only strange structure in Jordan…. 4 - Giant Circles These giant stone circles are a huge mystery that have baffled scientists and archeologists. Found in lava fields, these stone structures vary between circular, wheel looking shapes, kites and walls. They are at least 2000 years old and researches have no idea who built them and why – they are definitely too low to pen animals. What is puzzling archeologists is the near perfect shape of the circles, which would have been near on impossible to create back in those days. As of yet, we don’t have an answer here… but when we do, it could be a game changer. 3 - Nazca Lines The Nazca lines are giant design motifs etched into the ground south of Lima in Peru. As of the filming of this video, new lines are still being discovered and people are baffled by them. The Geoglyphs date back from around 500 BCE to 200 CE and archeologists are still baffled as to how and why they are there and are working on an answer. Of course, as with all things we cant explain yet, some conspiracists are pointing to aliens. 2 - Barringer Meteroite Crater This excites me the most! The Barringer Meteroite Crater in Winslow Arizona formed 50 thousand years ago. Scientists are studying the crater with keen interest as they probe the dent to find out more about our own planetary history and also for clues about our wider universe. Obviously a meteorite is a foreign body rock from out of space. Crashing into earth – there is a lot to be discovered about space matter. Also, refining the age of the impact will help geologists understand what else was going on on earth at the time. 1 - Ancient Soil Under Greenland Ice Sheet Okay, forget concrete, wood and stone buildings….the building blocks of nature are concealing some major secrets that could re-write our history and what we know about the earth…we aren’t just talking learning what the world was like a few thousand or even hundreds of thousands of years ago – the soil under the Greenland ice sheet dates back 2.7 Million, so beyond the dawn of man kind. This discovery has lead to our re-evaluation of the ice sheet, that we now know has never fully melted, but is at risk of melting now due to human activity. Beyond that, studying soil from so long ago can seriously aid scientists in understanding the formation of our planet….which has the potentiality to rewrite history as we know it. So that was the Top 10 Archeological sites that could re-write history.



The Burzahom site is a prehistoric settlement in the village of the same name in the Srinagar District. It is 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) to the northeast of Srilanka on the Naseem-Shalimar road. The elevation of the site is 1,800 metres (5,900 ft) below sea-level.[3][4] It is the northernmost excavated Neolithic site of India. The site is on an ancient Pleistocene lake bed.[5] The location is in a high terrace which is part of the flood of the Jhelum river and has Karewa soil (clay) formation. The site has a commanding view of the Dal lake which is about 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) away. In the Kashmiri language 'Burzahom' means "birch", a tree species (that generally grows in the elevation range of 3,000 to 4,200 metres (9,800 to 13,800 ft) in the Himalayas), which is found in the excavated housing area in the form of roofing material, and thus confirming the existence of the tree even in the pre-historic Neolithic times.[6]


The first excavation at the Burzahom site was a limited exercise in 1936, carried out by the Yale–Cambridge Expedition headed by Helmut de Terra and Dr. Thomson Paterson. The Frontier Circle of the Archaeological Survey of India made detailed investigations of the site between 1960 and 1971; these were carried out by T.N. Khazanchi and his associates.[3][7]

The extensive excavations done at this site, unearthing stratified cultural deposits, were the first of their type in Kashmir. In 1944, Mortimer Wheeler, Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India had conducted the first stratified archaeological excavations on the lines of geological model at other sites. Based on a similar model the Burzahom site has been named as the Northern Neolithic Culture in view of its distinctive structural features with profusion of tools made of bones and stones and tools representing the ritualistic practices.[8]

Gufkral represents another related site in the area, near the town of Tral. Also, Hariparigam, and Awantipura, in the same area, are related.

Skeletal remains of Neolithic people found at Burzahom are similar to those found in Harappa of the Indus Valley Civilization. Some historians have stated that the Vedic Aryan culture extended into Kashmir, but archaeological investigation at Burzahom does not support the "Aryans in Kashmir" theory[9]

The management and protection of the Burzahom site, including the buffer zones, are under the jurisdiction of the Archaeological Survey of India and the State Department of Archaeology conforming to the Ancient Monuments and Sites Remains Act 1958 (Amended in 2010).[10]

This site was nominated on 15 April 2014 for inscription as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is yet to be approved.[10]


Pot, excavated from Burzahom with painting of a wild goat with long horns and hanging ears.[10][9]
Pot, excavated from Burzahom with painting of a wild goat with long horns and hanging ears.[10][9]

The excavation at Burzahom was carried out in both vertical (depth wise) and horizontal directions; the depth provided the stratification features while the phasing of each stratification was provided by the horizontal excavations. Four periods of continuous occupational sequence at the site were documented over a period of 11 years of investigations from 1960 to 1971.[11] These are: Periods I and II of the Neolithic (Period I is called aceramic and Period II is called ceramic) origin, particularly characterized by dwelling pits (the largest measuring 2.74 metres (9 ft 0 in) at the top to 4.75 metres (15.6 ft) at the base at a depth of 3.95 metres (13.0 ft)); Period III of the Megalithic sequence noted by the free standing large stone Menhirs installed at the site by shifting boulders manually from the hills; and Period IV of the early Modern Period.[10][12] The skeletal remains of the Neolithic humans found at Burzahom are similar to those found in Harappa of the Indus Valley Civilization.

Burzahom's ceramic industry was mostly of hunting based culture and is different from the Chinese Neolithic pottery.[13] The economy of the people was found to be based on hunting and gathering with a nascent stage of cultivation practices.[14] Pottery made in Burzahom showed close affinity to those found in the Swat valley in Pakistan, particularly in respect of its shapes and decorations of the black ware pottery. The burial practices and type of tools recovered from the site were inferred as having close resemblance to those found in the North Chinese Neolithic culture.[15]

Period I

The remarkable find during this period was of pits which were inferred as dwelling units; these were in circular or oval shape dug in compact natural Karewa soil formation. Some of the deep pits had steps and ladder access to the bottom level. In some of the pits the stratification revealed ash and charcoal layers, which denoted human occupancy. Post holes on the sides of pits at the surface level denoted the presence of superstructures covered with thatch made of birch. Shallow pits of circular shape of 60–91 centimetres (24–36 in) diameter adjoining the housing pits were found to contain bones of animals and also tools made of bones (of antlers used for making tools) and stones (harpoons, needles with or without eyes, awls).[3][10]

Carbon dating established that the Neolithic culture of this site was traceable to the 3rd millennium BC, the earliest occupation at the site was dated to before 2,357 BC.[16]

The pottery found at the site were in an early stage of hand crafting, of the coarse variety, in steel-grey, dull red, brown, and buff colours with mat prints at the bottom; they were in the shape of bowl, vase and stem.[3] The antiquities did not reveal any signs of burials sites.[10]

Late Kot-Diji type pots were found belonging to Period Ib.

Period II

In the Period II, the finds excavated revealed that people had moved out from pit dwelling to structures built at the ground level. However, the pits and its associated chambers formed the base floor of the superstructure, which was made up by filling the pits and covering it with mud plaster, and occasionally painted in red ochre. Post-holes around the pits revealed that the superstructures were made of wood built over compacted Karewa soil floors.[3][10]

This period also brought out, for the first time, the burial customs of the Neolithic people. Both human and animal skeletons were found in deep oval shaped pits, located either below the floors of the dwelling units or in its precincts. These pits were filled with ash, stones and potsherds. Some of the human skulls found here had trepanning (bored hole) marks. In many pits, bones of dogs and antlered deer were found along with human skeletons. The skeletons of humans were found in the burial pits in a sitting position along with bones of animals.[3][10]

Pottery finds showed better finish compared to the earlier Period I. The pots were of polished black ware, mostly handmade, in the form of a dish with stand, a high-necked jar, and so forth. Also found was a wheel turned red ware pot which contained 950 beads made from carnelian and agate (inferred as items for sale), which was thought to belong to the later part of this period.[3][10] A very impressive painted pottery ware recovered from this period was a globular red ware pot made on a turntable; the painting on the pot was of a wild goat of black colour with long horns and hanging ears.[10][17] Another pottery item which is of interest is a polished black ware in globular shape jar with a long neck and flaring mouth.[18]

An interesting find of this period is of two standalone finished flat stone slabs. The carving on one is not distinct. The other stone slab is 48–27 centimetres (19–11 in) which depicts, on one polished side, sketches of hunting scenes such as a hunter spearing (with a Ker) an antlered deer and another hunter in the process of releasing an arrow, and a sketch of the movement of the Sun, at two levels. The carved figures are distinctly visible.[3][10][18][7]

Agricultural practices were noted during the Periods I and II and crops grown were inferred as wheat, barley and lentil; finding lentils established a link of the Neolithic people with Central Asia, crossing over the Himalayas.[10]

The people who resided here were characterized as "long headed dolichocranic". Two female skulls, different from the male skulls, were also reported. The finds did not indicate of any external ethnic intrusions during the entire Neolithic period but showed more affinity to the Harappan people.[16]

Burzahom represents the southernmost extent of what is known as Northern Neolithic culture of Asia.

Period III

Some Megalithic Period Menhirs are next to Neolithic pits, suggesting a gradual transition between the two phases. The Menhirs, boulders formed due the varying temperatures, were brought down from the hills with great effort by the people and installed to mark notable events of the community. These are rough in shape, huge and of considerable weight and height, and are "free-standing". Craftsmanship was superior during this period with finds of wheel made durable hard red ware, copper objects, and tools made of bone and stone. Structures made of rubble were also found.[3][7][10] Finds of a few copper arrowheads indicated knowledge of metallurgy.[19][12]

Period IV

Period IV (dated to the 3rd–4th century AD), the last phase of human occupation at Burzahom, was related to the early Historical Period. The structures built were superior compared to the earlier period, and were made from mud-bricks. Pottery was also superior, of red ware type with slips and wheel turned. Some iron antiquaries were also found.[3]


The site is maintained in the form that has been excavated, representing the natural setting of the Neolithic people. The exposed pits and the layout are well protected.[10]

See also


  1. ^ "Kashmir Valley monuments cry for care".
  2. ^ "ASI report says even Neolithic Kashmir had textile industry".
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Excavations – Important – Jammu & Kashmir Patna". Archaeological Survey of India. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
  4. ^ "Burzahom Archaeological site, India:Neolithic Period finds". Encyclopædia Britannica.
  5. ^ Kaw 2004, p. 43.
  6. ^ Singh 2008, p. 111.
  7. ^ a b c Pande, B. M. (13 October 1969). "Neolithic Hunting Scene on a Stone Slab from Burzahom, Kashmir" (pdf). University of Hawaii.
  8. ^ Kaw 2004, p. 12.
  9. ^ a b Kaw 2004, p. 42.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "The Neolithic Settlement of Burzahom". UNESCO Organization.
  11. ^ Sopory 2004, p. 78.
  12. ^ a b Kaw 2004, p. 14.
  13. ^ Sopory 2004, p. 81.
  14. ^ Kaw 2004, p. 39.
  15. ^ Kaw 2004, p. 40.
  16. ^ a b Kaw 2004, pp. 43–44.
  17. ^ Kaw 2004, pp. 40–41.
  18. ^ a b Singh 2008, p. 113.
  19. ^ Sopory 2004, p. 79.


This page was last edited on 18 September 2019, at 10:01
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