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Mizoram home to �lost civilisation�

By Zodin Sanga
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AIZAWL, Aug 1 - Archaeologists excavating the mysterious megalithic structures at Vangchhia in Champhai district of Mizoram is of the opinion that a great civilisation might have once existed there.

Located close to Myanmar border, the lush forested village of Vangchhia in Champhai-Farkawn mountain range of Mizoram�s Champhai district is home to hundreds of megalithic stone sentinels or menhirs.

Sujeet Nayan, assistant superintending archaeologist at Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) Delhi and director of excavation at Vangchhia, said this was one of the most important archaeological discovery in the present day India.

�The site holds the key to hitherto unknown facts about Mizoram and North East,� he said at Aizawl Press Club today after �A brief report on excavation and new discoveries at Vangchhia, Mizoram� was released by P Rohmingthanga, convener of Indian Trust for Art & Cultural Heritage (INTACH), Mizoram Chapter.

�As Indus Valley Civilisation was named after Harappa Culture, this hitherto unknown civilisation may well be called Vangchhia Civilisation after the name of the village where the heritage site exists,� he said.

Vangchhia comprises rolling hills and thick forests. The excavation was conducted after the director general of ASI visited the site in November last year and the objective was to study the structures that have floral, animal and human depictions on them. The excavation came after ASI declared Vangchhia as �heritage site of national importance� in 2011.

So far, burials, retaining walls, stone stairs, streets or pathways, bunds, water pavilions, defence wall, menhirs, petroglyphs, iron caskets, different metallic weapons, tobacco pipes and several other items have been discovered in Vangchhia, the archeologist said.

The retaining walls or terraces were made of big stones and the average height of each terrace ranged from 10 to 25 feet.

�The terraces might have served as burial sites, but this can�t be ascertained as of now,� Nayan said. �There are nine terraces. We explored around eight. We also found evidence of what seems to be a water pavilion. We presume people here liked their environment and the water pavilion is comparable to those found in Mughal structures,� he added.

Samples of remains sent for carbon dating to Birbal Sahni Institute of Paleobotany (BSIP), Lucknow, found that they are as old as 600 CE.

The ASI has determined that of the 28 villages under Khawbung rural development block, under which Vangchhia falls, 25 villages have historical heritages. Of these, 15 villages have been explored.

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Mizoram home to �lost civilisation�

AIZAWL, Aug 1 - Archaeologists excavating the mysterious megalithic structures at Vangchhia in Champhai district of Mizoram is of the opinion that a great civilisation might have once existed there.

Located close to Myanmar border, the lush forested village of Vangchhia in Champhai-Farkawn mountain range of Mizoram�s Champhai district is home to hundreds of megalithic stone sentinels or menhirs.

Sujeet Nayan, assistant superintending archaeologist at Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) Delhi and director of excavation at Vangchhia, said this was one of the most important archaeological discovery in the present day India.

�The site holds the key to hitherto unknown facts about Mizoram and North East,� he said at Aizawl Press Club today after �A brief report on excavation and new discoveries at Vangchhia, Mizoram� was released by P Rohmingthanga, convener of Indian Trust for Art & Cultural Heritage (INTACH), Mizoram Chapter.

�As Indus Valley Civilisation was named after Harappa Culture, this hitherto unknown civilisation may well be called Vangchhia Civilisation after the name of the village where the heritage site exists,� he said.

Vangchhia comprises rolling hills and thick forests. The excavation was conducted after the director general of ASI visited the site in November last year and the objective was to study the structures that have floral, animal and human depictions on them. The excavation came after ASI declared Vangchhia as �heritage site of national importance� in 2011.

So far, burials, retaining walls, stone stairs, streets or pathways, bunds, water pavilions, defence wall, menhirs, petroglyphs, iron caskets, different metallic weapons, tobacco pipes and several other items have been discovered in Vangchhia, the archeologist said.

The retaining walls or terraces were made of big stones and the average height of each terrace ranged from 10 to 25 feet.

�The terraces might have served as burial sites, but this can�t be ascertained as of now,� Nayan said. �There are nine terraces. We explored around eight. We also found evidence of what seems to be a water pavilion. We presume people here liked their environment and the water pavilion is comparable to those found in Mughal structures,� he added.

Samples of remains sent for carbon dating to Birbal Sahni Institute of Paleobotany (BSIP), Lucknow, found that they are as old as 600 CE.

The ASI has determined that of the 28 villages under Khawbung rural development block, under which Vangchhia falls, 25 villages have historical heritages. Of these, 15 villages have been explored.

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