POST TIME: 24 May, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Discovering Ancient Bangladesh
Kazi Kawsar Hamid

Discovering Ancient Bangladesh

Archaeology gives us an opportunity to study past civilizations, and see where they succeeded and where they failed. Use science to, you know, work backward and say, Well, really, what were they thinking? _ Nathan Paul Myhrvold, former chief technology officer at Microsoft once said.

History is recorded through written contents, and that is why the history of ancient Bengal was limited to the Pala and Sena dynasties. But, it is clear that the history of Bangladesh is older than 2,500 years and famous archaeological sites, like Wari-Bateshwar, Lalmi-Moynamoti, Bikrampur and Mahasthangarh, are part of our glorious history. Our history was changed thanks to archaeological research.

For developing archaeological research, only two public universities _ Jahangirnagar University (JU) and Comilla University _ offer archaeological studies in Bangladesh. The subject of archaeology was introduced at Comilla University five years ago, and it is working to explore the history of ancient sites in the country.

So far, teachers and students of the department have arranged six field trips for practical experience to several famous sites, including Wari-Bateshwar in Narsingdi, Lalmi-Moynamoti in Comilla, and Nateshor in Bikrampur, Munshiganj.

“As an archaeology teacher, it is my responsibility to spread the history and culture of this country. For this reason, we arrange archaeological fieldwork to get practical knowledge….. We train with the best technology, and our students become ready for any type of research. But we, the teachers and the students, spend our own money for this research work and it costly,” said Mohammad Sadequzzaman, chairman of the archaeology department.

In 2015, the department arranged seven days of fieldwork at Wari-Bateshwar. The group worked with Sufi Mustafizur Rahman, a professor at JU, and Habibullah Pathan, an expert on Wari-Bateshwar.

In 2016, seven days of fieldwork was arranged at Nateshor in Bikrampur with Uttiho Onneson and Agrashar Bikrampur Foundation. The group worked with a Chinese archaeological team and explored the ancient Nateshor (Nateshwar) Buddhist temple site. Bikrampur in Munshiganj was an ancient capital city of Banga (Bengal) and it is packed with rich history from the medieval era of Chandra, Barma and Sen, to the Sultani, Mughal and British colonial period.

In 2017, there were two trips to Lalmi-Moynamoti archaeological sites. Fieldwork was done to find out about the ancient people living in the Moynamoti region.

In 2018, the department went on a fieldtrip to Bijoypur Palpara at South Sadar, Comilla. Bijoypur Palpara is famous for production of pottery in Bangladesh. The group researched the history of the Pal ethnic group and their pottery-making system.

The research work carried out during the fieldtrips was helpful for exploring our history.

The writer is a student of Department of Archaeology, Comilla University.

Photos: Courtesy.