Wari-Bateshwar settlement started in 300 BC -The Asian Age

Digging at Wari-Bateshwar, an archaeological site in Narsinghdi district of Bangladesh, has been under way for quite a few years now, but some recent findings have taken the researchers by surprise.The newly found artifacts are from 2nd or 3rd century AD while the settlement in the area started in 3rd century BC, believes Rakhi Roy, regional director of the Department of Archaeology.

The department acquired an abandoned household, a small part of Asom Raja's fort, at Wari village near Bateshwar market in 2003.   After four sessions of excavation, the department started work in the main part of the site in 2016 and completed the job earlier this year.

Judging the ancient objects found in 15 levels under the ground, researchers say the abandoned homestead belonged to an elite family. "I believe the site is of 3rd century BC while the objects are from 2nd to 3rd century AD," Rakhi said. The objects found in 2016-17 and 2017-18 include precious beads, and north Indian black and red clay pots, according to her.

It seemed beads business was popular in the area at the time, she said and added the artifacts suggest it was a brick-made residence.Rakhi also said they were planning to set up a museum there with the artifacts found in the site.The history of Bangladesh is rooted in Narsingdi`s Wari-Bateshwar. This place is located besides Belabo and Shibpur Upazila of Narsingdi about 70 kilometers north-east from Dhaka.

It is believed that the first residence of the people of this castle city started in the 450th century BC, during the Maurya dynasty. After verifying the archaeological patterns derived from here such as wooden chapattis, hand-manipulated axes, historians believe that human settlement was developed here at the beginning of the Neolithic era.  

Later on some other archaeological sites were found in Wari-Bateshwar. It is assumed that those patterns, such as black clay pots, ditch houses, etc. are believed to have been inhabited in the copper-stone era. In 1933, Muhammad Hanif Pathan, a school teacher, first presented the archaeological importance of Wari-Bateshwar. Later, his son, amateur archaeologist Muhammad Habibullah Pathan, collected material from Wari-Bateshwar and started research as well.

After being neglected for a long time, excavation work started under the leadership of Professor Mostafizur Rahman of Archeology Department of Jahangirnagar University in 2000. As a result, the ancient castle city with its various lanes, brick installations, rare and precious stones, stone-made baskets, glass beads and many currency stores were discovered. The findings later helped know about the history of Wari-Bateshwar.

It is known by examining many archaeological discoveries found in Wari-Bateshwar that the city also had connection with 4,000 kilometers long ancient silk routes. Due to being a river port and trade center, many ancient cities of the Indian subcontinent, along with many old regions of the Mediterranean and southeastern Asia, had contact with Wari-Bateshwar. It is assumed that the Wari-Bateshwar is the oldest township in Bangladesh and the fort named `Asham Rajar Garh` (Now the dam), was the capital of the city.

A lot of patterns have been found from almost 50 archaeological sites in Wari-Bateshwar. Various patterns of ancient Roman Empire, such as sandwich-shaped ceramics and rolled pottery, have also been found here. Therefore, it is believed that Wari-Bateshwar had business links and contacts with the cities of distant places.

Due to the excavation in the fort, known as `Asham Aajar Garh`, many of the items used then have also been found. For example, the hole house, water collection wells, different shaped ovens and black-colored pottery as well as terracotta red-colored pots have also been found.