Excavation at Ojiyana, District Bhilwara

The jaipur Circle, of the Survey, under the direction of B.R.Meena and Alok Tripathi, assisted by B.R.Singh, S.C.Gupta, Apheriya, carried out excavation at Ojiyana, located about 30 km south –west of Beawar in hilly region of District Bhilawara. The site is unusually located on hill slop, which makes it unique among other site of Ahar culture, which flourished in river valleys.

Excavation on the northern slop of the hill towards vast reservoir, revealed a single culture deposit. This thick deposit of about 7.5 m is perhaps maximum among all the excavated sites of Ahar culture. The entire deposit is divided into three phases on the pottery and structural evidence.

The first settlers were perhaps cultivators and preferred this hillock, skirted by low lying fertile land for settlement. These white painted black-and-red ware users perhaps came from the plains and settled on the natural rock. No complete house plan of phase I was unearthed but thin patches of mud floors right above the rock and thick deposit of construction debris suggest that their house were made of sun-dried mud-bricks.

The houses made of mud-brick did not prove very useful on the hill slop and phase II they started using locally available stones for construction. A multi-chambered house-complex in phase-IIB marks the development in structural activity. This house complex located to the north of 1.25 m street had four chambers built on a platform. One of the chambers had a low platform along the southern wall for keeping utensils, etc. a big saddle-quern was also fixed on the floor for grinding grains. The chamber next to it was the kitchen with three chulhas of different size built in a row. It also has open courtyard and living rooms. Although the houses were built of stones but mud-bricks were also used for partition walls.

Wattle-and-daub houses in phase III mark a sharp decline. Thick layer of ash, burnt and baked pieces of mud-plaster and post-holes capped with charcoal, indicate a devastating fire which de-stored the last settlement on the site.

Although painted black-and-red ware is present in all the phases, a change in shapes and firing technique is clearly marked. Paintings were executed both on the exterior as well as on the interior. The frequency of bowls is less in phase I which increases in phase II. The firing technique of pottery in phase III was different from earlier two phases. Red ware remains the main ceramic type found in all the phases. Other associated wares are black-slipped ware, burnished and unburnished- black ware, grey ware, tan ware and red slipped ware. Besides painting, pots are decorated with incision, pinching and designs whereas other techniques of decoration were on medium to thick pots of other wares.

The excavation revealed some unique antiquities, particularly a large number of terracotta bulls, both naturalistic and stylized, presenting a great variety of shape and size. White paintings on these bulls make them unparallel in contemporary cultures in India. These white painted bulls, being unique, may also be termed as Ojiyana bulls which perhaps served as cult objects and as it appears white paintings was applied during the ceremony or rituals. Another important discovery is the terracotta figurines of cow. Modeling of cow here was quite common as is evidence from the variety of modeling. These were also perhaps the cult objects.

A small chopper made of thin sheet of copper is an important antiquity of Ahar culture. Faience of Harappan type is also noteworthy to established relationship with other contemporary cultures.

A good number of beads of carnelian, agate faience, shell, steatite, stone and decorated beads of terracotta of various shaped and sizes were also found. Bangles of copper and shell ring of copper and pendent are noteworthy ornaments in addition to toy-cart wheels with incised spokes, spindle-whorls, hopscotches, sling-balls in terracotta and saddle querns, mullers, hammer-stone in quartz, ring-stones, etc. A large number of saddle-querns and hammer-stones, some of which, were probably used for agricultural products, constitute an important aspect.

The excavated features and finds in various phases show cultural continuity, a phenomenon of permanent settlement, besides the inherent growth, development and decline along with the assimilation of new ideas, to the cultural development. The habitational period could be bracketed, between third millennium BC to mid- second millennium BC on the basis of relative chronology offered by the comparative study of other sites.