Gupta era coins found in Bengal

Five days after gold coins believed to be of the Gupta period were unearthed at a road construction site in Ahiran, Murshidabad, there is no clarity on the follow-up action to the discovery. Eleven coins are now at the Murshidabad treasury; about four times that number are believed to be in the possession of local people who allegedly plundered the site.

A team of the West Bengal's Directorate of Archaeology and Museums is travelling to Murshidabad Friday to have a first look at the discovery. The Archaelogical Survey of India remains aloof to what could potentially be a pathbreaking discovery. "We have not been apprised of the matter," said ASI's superintending archaeologist Tapanjyoti Baidya.

Over 50 coins believed to date from the times of Samudragupta and Chandragupta II were discovered on May 31 by labourers engaged in widening National Highway 34. The coins were found in soil cut from a mound in nearby Atpara. "Some labourers saw something glittering, and picked them out of the soil. Soon more such objects were found; they turned out to be gold coins. A mad rush began, with local villagers joining in," Murshidabad SP Humayun Kabir said.

"We have recovered 11 coins, which experts of the state archaeology directorate said belonged to the Gupta period. We have a strong suspicion that some coins remain in the hands of villagers. We have set up a picket and declared rewards for those who surrender the coins. We have declared that if anybody is found to be in possession of the coins he or she will be punished," Kabir added.

Gautam Sengupta, Director of archaeology directorate, said, "This discovery means that there was commercial activity (during Gupta period) there. The Brahmi inscriptions show that they belonged to the time of Chandragupta II and Samudragupta."

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