Gold hunt ends at Unnao fort, ASI makes do with pottery

Driven by a dream that a seer had about a hidden treasure, the Archaeological Survey of India has called off its excavation in a fort in Unnao, Uttar Pradesh, but hasn't come away entirely empty handed.

The ASI has found living quarters and pottery from the 'the Buddhist period' at the site, reported CNN-IBN.

The excavation had to be called off due to the impending onset of winter in the state which would make continuing with the excavations near impossible, the channel reported.

However, it turns out even the pottery and living quarters may not exactly be stuff that sets an archaeologist's blood pumping.

India Today reported:

Formally, the site has nothing very special even in terms of archaeological value, said BR Mani, additional director general, ASI.

The end to one of the most publicised archaeological  excavations in recent times comes just 11 days after it began. The project started thanks to a dream a local seer Shobhan Sarkar had in which the local ruler who was killed in the 19th Century had hidden 1,000 tonnes of gold.

 Gold hunt ends at Unnao fort, ASI makes do with pottery

The fort which was the site of the treasure hunt. PTI

Union minister Charan Das Mahant, who learnt of the dream, in turn got the Geological Survey of India and ASI to conduct surveys before the excavation began.

When cornered over the ridiculous project, the government had cited the Geological Survey of India report, which claimed the presence of a non-conducting metal under the surface, to prove the validity of the excavation.
And even before anything had been found, Minister of State for Agriculture Mahant had shot off letters asking for excavations to be carried out in two other locations. He gave no reason for the two new projects. 
The event also gave the seer some national publicity and he even managed to cow down the BJP's Prime Minsiterial candidate after Modi initially mocked the expedition. The seer's dream also resulted in a minor gold rush of sorts with two priests in Adampur being held at gunpoint, beaten up and gagged after enthusiastic treasure hunters decided to hunt for hidden treasures.

“That Adampur has the treasure of the King of Reeva is known for long. Baba’s (Sarkar’s) prophecy has given it confirmation. Strangers are stalking the place. We are scared,” Dharmendra Singh Deepu, a local resident, was quoted as saying in a Hindustan Times report.

With the ASI laying down its spades, hopefully the gold hunt that was sparked off in central Uttar Pradesh will die a natural death. Unfortunately, the superstition that drove it is a long way from ending any time soon.

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Updated Date: Oct 29, 2013 16:17:15 IST