Excavation at Vangchhia was started in the season 2015-16. The objective of the excavation was to know the cultural sequence of the area as the entire region was neither earlier fixed with any proper cultural stratification based upon the scientific study nor any absolute dating of the antiquities and settlement. With this objective, the archaeological excavation for the field session 2015-16was conducted under the direction of Dr.SujeetNayan, the then Asst. Superintending Archaeologist posted atHqr.,New Delhi,assisted byLal Singh Mamani,Virender Singh, Hqr. N. Delhi, ParthaDhara, Majumdar, Vishnu Prasad, Miss K. Lalrinchhani, Guwahati Circle.
In due course of excavation, the surrounding region was also undertaken for archaeological expeditions and a meticulous survey has been made which led to the discovery of many structures such as burials, retaining walls, stairs, street and pathway, bund, water pavilion, defence system etc., which indicates well civilized culture and civilization. Excavations were carried out in two trenches. A trench A1 of 10 X 10m has been laid out which is divided into four quadrants. Trench A2 has also been laid out for section scraping. The depth of Peg A2 is 225 cm below the reference Peg A1. The other section which was already cut by local villagers and the same cut section facing south of the Trench A2 has also been scraped and charcoal sample were collected from the hearth at layer-2. The total habitation deposit varies from 20 to 60cm below surface level. The hand-made pottery having mat impression on the exterior surface of red and buff ware were observed including few antiquities like terracotta Chillum (smoking pipe), Sling balls, andunidentified rectangular terracotta possibly part of a terracotta pestle were also recovered. Layer 1, 1A, can be marked with the menhirs and burials and its related structures and Layer 2 may be associated with the Water Pavilion and its related structures but could not locate the habitation deposit so far that could be related to this wonderful creation. Layer 3 is basically natural soil.
In continuation of the last season’s work (2015-2016), the excavation at Vangchhia was resumed for the season (2017-18) under the direction of Dr. SujeetNayan, assisted by K. Lalrinchhani (Co-director), Apollo Khataniar, Subhash Chand, Virender Singh, Lalhminghlua, MedhaPandey and Freddie Lalramdina.
The main objective of the second round of excavation was to ascertain the cultural sequence and find out the habitation area. Keeping this in view, two trenches were laid out, Str 1 and Str 2 (all the structures are named in a sequence number). To the western side of the protected menhir site of Vangchhia, many structures of different shapes and sizes with random rubble masonry were discovered along with water pavilion. These structures are spread over nine terraces, the first terrace contain only Structure 1. Structure is on the 2nd terrace, to the western side of about 500m away from the STR 1.
A new round of fieldwork was conducted at Vangchhia in 2019, intending to verify the stratigraphy and scientific dating by gathering carbon samples, to know the settlement pattern and site formation and reconstruct the site. In 2019 STR 2A was excavated, a trench was laid out above STR 2A. Then extended into the west side which partly cover the STR 2C and north side near to STR 2B. Total seven trenches were open; these trenches were numbered as XB1, XB2, XC1, YB1, YB2, YC1 and YC2.
The major excavation in 2019 was undertaken in one principal part of the site. There were three separate, but interlocking structures. These structures were visible on the top portion, where stone slab were arranging. Three separate excavation strategies were applied to our investigation of the structure. The first of these are to investigate the foundation of the structure (which was done in 2018). The second operation investigates the interior of the structure (which was done in 2018). Finally a trench connecting three structures was undertaken to see what we could learn of the settlement pattern of this part of Vangchhia. Based on the holes/post holes (?) found in the excavation and the site, we have no evidence for occupation during this period in the form of stratigraphic documentation.
Coarse gravel is exposed in trench YB1 and YC1 trench. A gravel-patch comprising fine sand, encountered in trench YB1 and YC1, indicated that the area was once washed by drains water (the drains were visible till recently). The gravel deposit is uneven. Potsherds and chillum were recovered from the gravel-lens, this gravel runs between silt deposit.
The culture represents of pre-colonial period, big vessels of grey/black ware, basin, bowls and normal red ware vessel with inverted rim are among the well known type from this period. They are varied from sturdy and thin, few well fired and most of them have cord impression, few are plain. The potteries are generally of low-grade, as the clay used was not finely well levigated. Cylindrical T.C.bead, globular bead, triangular stone blade, different design of chillum were discovered.
The following cultural sequences can be considered on the basis of structural remains found at the site.
The most significant discoveries of this period are water pavilions found nearby the excavated site. It can be marked by the water pavilion spread in almost large hectares and other parts of the Mizoram, It comprises many astonishing carvings of human foot, plenty of circular, square and oblong holes, and animal and fish motives hewn out of sand stone. The author of the water pavilions has not been identified so far. The habitation area of the creators of the pavilions needs to be explored. As far as Radio Carbon dating procured from BirbalSahni Institute of Paleobotany (BSIP) is concerned, it is dated to 620AD+50yrs. We need to search and excavate the related habitation site for revealing the mystery of the creators of the water pavilions. However, preliminary study reveals that the making of such pavilions added aesthetic charm to the existing structures and the natural waterfalls and utilitarian purpose was possibly hunting of birds and fishing. (Same charcoal sample have been sent to both BETA lab., Florida and BirbalSahni Institute of Paleobotany (BSIP), Lucknow. For some reasons, the dates are contrasting which needs to re-verification).
There are good number of menhirs and burials and their associated structures. The period is marked by the presence of 207 menhirs which is solitarily protected by ASI in the state of Mizoram. In due course of exploration, for the first time we discovered many burials/structures of different shapes and sizes and semi-dressed sand stone structures spread over almost 10 square Kms. The quarry site has also been explored during the excavation of the same period. Many potsherds of dull red ware and buff ware with mat impression were found on the surface during archaeological exploration The potsherds were found scattered at many places. There is a need to excavate more habitation areas having stratified deposits so that, other trait of the same period can be discovered and ascertained. The total deposit of this period varies from 20 to 60 cm. The result of AMS radio carbon received from BETA lab., Miami, Florida has put the date of the sample as Cal AD 1485 (Cal BP 465).
A village to village Survey, 2016 was conducted in Mizoram with the approval from Director General, ASI and Director, Exploration & Excavation (Letter No. 1/39/2015, EE- Dated 15th, Jan, 2016). So, under the direction and supervision of Dr. M. K. Chauley, Superintending Archaeologist, the exploration was carried out from 9th - 23rd March, 2016 in Mizoram. The Exploration team comprised of:Dr. Salam Singh, Assistant Archaeologist, Guwahati Circle, ASI, Mr. Vishnu Sharma, Photographer, Gr. II, Guwahati Circle, ASI, Miss. AtenJenla, Archaeologist, Guwahati Circle, ASI, Miss. Lalrinchhani, Archaeologist, Guwahati Circle, ASI. and Mr. VanlalhumaSingson, Technical Assistant, Art & Culture Department,Mizoram.
A village to village Survey/exploration was conducted from12th to 22nd December, 2016 in the localities of Champhai and Aizawl districts of Mizoram under the direction of Dr. M. K. Chauley, Superintending Archaeologist, Aizawl Circle by a team consisting of the following members- Dr. TejasGarge, Deputy Superintending Archaeologist, ASI Aizawl Circle, Dr. Salam Singh, Assistant Archaeologist, ASI Guwahati Circle, Mr. VanlalhumaSingson, Technical Assistant, Art & Culture Department, Mizoram and Miss. Lalrinchhani, Archaeologist. The explorations were conducted in continuation to explorations carried out in the Champhai district during the previous field season, 2015-16. The focus was to find out archaeological sites on the east bank of Tiauriver which at present forms Indo- Myanmar border.
During the season of 2017-2018 explorations conducted under the direction of Dr.SujeetNayan, Dy.SA Aizawl Circle, associated by K.Lalrinchhani, Asst. Archaeologist (Co-Director), Moirangthem Jackson Singh, Asst.Archaeologist, Apollo Khataniar, Draughtsman, Aizawl Circle, Mizoram and Virender Singh, Ravindar Singh (Chief Photographer), Subhash Kumar, Senior Draughtsman Head Quarter, New Delhi.
A Village to Village Survey was conducted by Aizawl Circle from 18th September to 4th October 2018 in South Tripura, Tripura by Moirangthem Jackson Singh, Assistant Archaeologist, Aizawl Circle under the direction and supervision of Dr. SujeetNayan, Dy. Superintending Archaeologist, Aizawl Circle.
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