Speed Post News Network
New Delhi: An ancient camping site dating ninth millennium BC has been discovered by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), under Ministry of Culture, on the way to Saser La which leads to Karakoram Pass in Ladakh. While exploring in Nubra valley during 2015-16, S B Ota, Joint Director General, ASI, observed both sides of hill and valley as the serpentine road, gradually climbed along the Saser Stream.
After covering a distance of about 22 km, he noticed a section, exposed due to road construction, showing successive layers comprising burning residue and immediately stopped to explore the area, according to a PIB release. It was a small flat area with snow-covered peaks on one extreme, dry barren land with loose rocks all around and gushing stream within the deep western gorges, an ideal place for camping in a picturesque setting, the release said.
A charcoal sample collected from the site was subsequently sent to BETA LAB, Florida, USA, for radiocarbon date determination to understand the antiquity of the aforesaid camp-site. The outcome i.e. 8,500 BC (10500 years before present) was beyond even ASI’s expectation, the PIB release said. Such an early antiquity on the basis of a scientific date was the very first for that region.
Realizing the significance of the evidence, a team of ASI officials including DG and Dr. Ota, Joint DG. and other experts inspected the site in July 2016 to assess the probabilities of further archaeological research. During this visit, more charcoal samples and associated bones were collected. Two of the charcoal samples from lower and upper deposits sent for dating have provided new radiocarbon dates of c. 8500 BC and c. 7300 BC (c. 10500 and 9300 years before present) respectively. These dates have indeed confirmed the earlier date. Apart from that, new dates also indicate repeated human activity at this camping site for about eight hundred years.
The research carried out so far has proved the antiquity and nature of human activities to an extent, but their camping patterns, extent of camping area, tools and other cultural aspects are yet to be traced. To address these issues, archaeological excavations and explorations are being planned by the ASI, the release said.