NEW DELHI: Archaeologists said yesterday they have found artefacts in the ruins of a centuries-old fort where a Hindu holy man has said he dreamt that a hoard of gold was buried.
Archaeologists began digging at the fort in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh on Friday, three months after the seer told a junior government minister about his dream of a 1,000-tonne gold treasure.
The dig in the impoverished village of Daudiakala created a media storm and drew large numbers of local residents, prompting barricades to be thrown up around the site.
The fort belonged to Raja Rao Ram Bux Singh, a Hindu king who was executed after taking part in a 1857 revolution against British colonial rulers.
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has said it began excavating on the basis of findings from the Geological Survey of India (GSI) that suggested gold or silver could be buried there.
The junior minister told an Indian newspaper that he had earlier alerted the GSI and fellow ministers about the gold, after swamy Shobhan Sarkar said that the dead king had appeared in his dream and asked him to recover the stash.
However, the ASI insisted yesterday that its excavation was aimed at discovering and recording the fort’s “cultural heritage” and was not a gold hunt.
“It is a trial excavation and so far we have cleared soil up to a depth of 1.5 metres (five feet) and yesterday we found a medieval wall, earthen jars and pots, a hearth and a floor,” ASI’s excavation chief Syed Jamal Hasan told AFP.
“Archeologists anywhere in the world do not dig for gold and treasures and here we are interested only in discovering the site’s cultural heritage,” Hasan said.
He said a 12-member team would keep digging as long as there were signs of human