Friday, March 23, 2012

Ancient Beads factory site at Banganga

Archaeological findings in the past have revealed that the use of beads is one of the oldest art forms, older than cave paintings, reaching back to the cradle of civilization. Rajgir Valley, developed since ancient times, is replete with ancient stone tools from the Paleolithic period up to the Neolithic period as reported by DR. Col. A. B Prasad.

Banganga Village south of Rajgir Valley is a treasure chest full of these ancient beads. Heavy rains during the monsoons expose many of these colorful beads, which the children from this village then collect. With a lack of awareness and the lure of easy money, these villagers sell these valuable finds to spurious traders who turn a profit by selling them in the grey market. Who are buying these beads in the grey market is not clear.

As we spoke to the villagers of Banganga, we were told that some very beautiful ancient pieces could fetch up to Rs 10,000. When we did not offer to purchase any of these ancient finds, the villagers began suspecting us as being from a government agency and stopped sharing any further information.

Government agencies are needed to stop this illegal trade of ancient art and to bring this site under its protection. Steps that the government agencies need to take are  
  1. to declare these sites as protected sites,
  2. to make arrangements to collect or purchase the beads that are found,
  3. to do further excavation of these sites to collect ancient artifacts, and
  4. generate awareness of the issue by creating awareness boards posted in the villages or near the sites.

Ancient beads collected by the village children
Banaganga village south of  Rajgir

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