Archaeologists from Odisha Institute of Maritime and South East Asian Studies (OIMSEAS), an archaeological wing of the State government have discovered a fortified historic site at Durgadevi in Remuna tehsil of Balasore district. Traces of belongings found there are cultural deposits from Chalcolithic — Bronze, Iron and Urban Culture. A 4,000-year-old settlement and ancient artifacts are identified.

In February this year OIMSEAS got a green signal from Archaeological Survey of India to carry out the first phase of excavation from March to May 5. Located 20 km from Balasore town, bordering Mayurbhanj district, and the Durgadevi site has a circular mud fortification of about 4.9 km in circumference between river Sona on the south and Burahabalang on its north-eastern side.

The aim of OIMSEAS archaeologists was to correlate simultaneous growth and development of maritime activities, with urbanisation in the east coast of India linking Ganga valley in north and Mahanadi valley in central Odisha. Their focus was particularly on the early cultural development in northern Odisha, the institute informed. Thus, this path-breaking excavation has helped archaeologists trace cultural evolution of the region from 2000 BC to 100 BC.

The three cultural phases discovered at the site are — Chalcolithic (2000 to 1000 BC), Iron Age (1000 to 400 BC) and Early Historic Period (400 to 200 BC). These phases cover the time period of 2000 BC to 200 BC, which means 4000 to 2000 years from now. According to the OIMSEAS, horizontal excavation was concentrated in an area of two acres of high land, where a cultural deposit of about 4 to 5 meters was seen.

“The result of the excavation is fantastic as for the first time we have discovered traces of three cultural phases in one site. While excavating we discovered remnants of Chalcolithic–Bronze, Iron and Urban Culture,” archaeologist and OIMSEAS secretary Dr Sunil Kumar Patnaik said. “We have never discovered such a site with remnants of three phases depicting social development of the regions. Here in one site we have found the history of around 2000 years,” he pointed out.

The findings show that people were mostly leading a settled life and had started agriculture, and domestication of animals and fishing. “The lifestyle of the people, which is derived from the cultural materials, was very improved at that time, from an agricultural base to trade and construction of fortification around the site with a moat, which signify the emergence of urbanisation at Durgadevi around 400 BCE to 200 BCE,” said the OIMSEAS Secretary.