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Medieval Mint Uncovered in India

Posted on March 6, 2014 at 11:35 PM

Thanks to the efforts of a vigilant retired professor, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has managed to salvage a part of India’s numismatic history dating back to the 8 Century A.D. from the seemingly all-consuming sweep of urbanization.

Last month, the ASI excavated remains of a rectangular structure considered to be a mint of 8 Century vintage after a brief exploratory survey yielded 31 pieces of terracotta coin moulds for casting coins of King Mihira Bhoja, the ruler of the Pratihara dynasty between 836 and 885 A.D.

The exploratory survey was carried out after a retired professor of Maharishi Dayanand University, Rohtak, Manmohan Kumar, informed ASI about ancient mounds at Bohar Majra village in the district running the risk of being levelled as part of the building of new colonies in the area by the Haryana Urban Development Authority. Prof. Kumar cited the discovery of some terracotta moulds for making coins from the site as proof of the area being of archaeological value.

After the exploratory dig bore fruit, regular salvage excavation at the site was launched on February 15. So far seven trenches have been excavated revealing remains of a rectangular structure considered to be the mint, of almost 20 x 10 m which seems to have belonged to about 8 century and probably continued to exist till about 11 century AD.

According to ASI Additional Director General B.R. Mani, “The ceramic assemblage and other evidences of material culture suggest that it is a single culture site, though there are three structural places connected with the habitational deposit…The site has yielded hundreds of terracotta coin moulds and crucibles from the last phase of the site and an interesting fact is that some potsherds are having glazed surfaces of primitive type over red ware pottery. Knife edge bowls are the features of all the three phases of the site.”

The mint site is spread over an area of about 100 m in east-west and 50 m in north-south direction amidst a comparatively very large spread of an early medieval city site at village Majra which seems to have been occupied after the destruction of the earlier city site of Rohtak which is located at Khokra-Kot a few kilometres towards north-west from Majra.

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