SK Manjul points at the excavation in Sanauli - BB Yadav, DNA
With the discovery of burial pits that hold the "first ever" physical evidence of chariots — supposedly from the pre-Iron Age — at the archaeological site of Sanauli in UP, experts believe they will be able to date the Mahabharata period. Alongside, it creates space for further inquiry into the origins of the horse in the Harappa Era. At the same site in Baghpat, 125 graves belonging to the Indus Valley Civilisation were found earlier that then led to a three-month long excavation of the area.
The excavation was conducted by a 10-member team led by SK Manjul, director of Delhi-based Institute of Archaeology and Arvin Manjul.
The excavation has unearthed eight burial sites and artifacts including three copper coffins, antenna swords, daggers, combs, and ornaments, among others. The coffin covers are decorated with eight anthropomorphic figures that are horned and with peepal-leafed crowns. But, what has baffled researchers is the discovery of chariots. "If there was a chariot in the Bronze Age (Pre-Iron age), it means there were animals to run it with — question remains whether it was a bull or a horse," Manjul said.