Ancient Artifacts Discovered in Stomach of Huge Mississippi Alligator

Ancient Artifacts Discovered in Stomach of Huge Mississippi Alligator

What does a 750-pound alligator eat? Well, just about anything it wants, but items found in this particular Mississippi alligator’s stomach defy odds and date back thousands of years. Shane Smith, the owner of Red Antler Processing in Yazoo City, said he was examining the contents of a 13-foot, 5-inch alligator that weighed 750 pounds and discovered two unusual objects. One he couldn’t identify, but the other was clearly a broken stone arrowhead. 

The find was so unexpected, he almost didn’t let the news out.

“At first, I thought ‘I’m not posting this on Facebook,’ because no one will believe it,” Smith said.

Ancient Artifacts Discovered in Stomach of Huge Mississippi Alligator
It was inside of this giant Mississippi alligator, which was 13.4 feet (4.1 meters) long and weighed 750 pounds (340 kg), that the two ancient artefacts were found.

Then, he had second thoughts.

“This is too cool not to post on Facebook,” he said. “This has probably never happened before. We gotta post this.”

Dog tags in an alligator’s stomach

The story first began to unfold in April when a wild game processor in South Carolina reported opening the stomach of an alligator and finding unusual items. Smith read it and was sceptical.

“The curiosity struck me when I saw a post online about someone finding dog tags in an alligator’s stomach,” Smith said. “I’m one that doesn’t believe in fake news.”

To satisfy that curiosity, Smith decided to examine the contents of the larger alligators he processed. The first was a 13-foot, 2-inch, 787-pound gator taken by Ty Powell of Columbia.

“We found a bullet in it and it had not been fired from a gun,” Smith said. “I don’t know how it got in there.”

The second alligator he opened, which was harvested at Eagle Lake, contained many of the things the first did, including bones, hair, feathers and stones. Then, something else caught his eye.

The two artefacts found in the Mississippi alligator’s stomach: the 6,000-BC atlatl dart point (top), and the black plummet stone from 1,700 BC (bottom).

A find like no other

“Everybody was standing around like I was opening a Christmas present,” Smith said. “We kind of put it all in a bin. 

“I looked over and saw a rock with a different tint to it. It was the arrowhead.”

Smith said he was dumbfounded.

“It was just disbelief,” Smith said. “There’s just no way he had an arrowhead. Your first thought is it ate (a Native American) or (a Native American) shot it in the stomach.”

Smith knew that wasn’t the case, though.

“My best hypothesis is wherever he scooped up those other rocks, he got that Indian point,” Smith said. “We joked about it and said I’m probably the only person on Earth to pull an arrowhead out of an alligator’s stomach.”

Point dates back thousands of years

Photographs and radiographs of atlatl dart foreshafts and points.

James Starnes, Director of Surface Geology and Surface Mapping for the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality examined a photograph of the point. He estimated it was made about 5000-6000 BC. That is the latter part of the Early Archaic and early part of the Middle Archaic (periods),” Starnes said. “How the base is made is real tell-tale in estimating the time period.” Starnes also noted the object is not an arrowhead. It’s a point used on an early weapon that launches a spear using a second piece of wood with a cup on one end which acts as a lever to increase velocity.

“That’s an atlatl dart point,” Starnes said. “People think all heads are arrowheads, but those (arrowheads) would be the little bitty points.”

As bizarre as the find was, it was about to get even stranger. Smith found a heavy, tear-shaped object roughly 1½ inches in length. Both he and the hunter who was permitted to harvested the alligator, John Hamilton of Raleigh, though it was something more modern — a lead weight used for fishing.

“It’s heavy as lead,” Hamilton said. “It looks like it’s got two holes in it, but they don’t go through it.

“It’s got a little hole and a bigger hole on top. I guess it goes in and comes back out.” Hamilton researched the object online but wasn’t successful in identifying it.

“I haven’t found anything the shape of it in fishing stuff,” Hamilton said.

What’s a plummet, and why would an alligator eat it?

Starnes said it’s known as a plummet and dates back to the Late Archaic Period, or about 1700 BC. The weight is accounted for because it’s made of hematite, an iron oxide traded between early groups and shines when polished. Starnes said what the purpose plummets served is unknown.

“The plummets, we really have no idea what they were used for,” Starnes said. “These things had some significance, but we have no idea. We can only guess.” 

So, how did these ancient objects get into the alligator’s belly? Ricky Flynt, Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks Alligator Program coordinator, explained very hard objects, typically stones, aid the reptiles indigestion.

“Alligators, like other animals such as birds and other reptiles, are known for ingesting grit and rocks to help with digestion,” Flynt said. “We know alligators and crocodiles do that.”

However, alligators differ from fowl such as chickens and ducks. Those animals have gizzards and the grit and sand are stored there to help grind seeds and grains they consume. Alligators don’t have gizzards and the stones go into the stomach.

“Sticks, wood; things they can’t digest get into their stomachs,” Flynt said. “I found a piece of cypress in an alligator’s stomach that was 15 inches long.”

Possible Prehistoric Campsite Uncovered in Northern Wyoming

Possible Prehistoric Campsite Uncovered in Northern Wyoming

Artefacts found this summer at Medicine Lodge Archaeological Site are slated for radiocarbon dating, which could tell researchers more about when the Crow, or Apsáalooke, people came to the area, according to the Wyoming State Archaeologist.

“This summer, we found Crow ceramics, as well a range of things, from thousands and thousands of flakes and 10 arrow points (or arrowheads), and preforms to make arrowheads, to animal bone from bison as well as bighorn sheep, as well as obsidian,” Wyoming State Archaeologist Spencer Pelton said.

“We really hoped to find Crow ceramics to radiocarbon date, to have a better idea of how old those ceramics are,” he said.

Sharon Peregoy, a member of the Montana House of Representatives who represents the Crow Agency, said that this type of work may help date, early people of the area, preserving — or recovering — a history that can otherwise be lost.

“It helps dispel the concept that the Crow, Apsáalooke, people were new transplants to the area,” she said, adding that in this context, “new” means the arrival of 500 years ago.

“The findings of these types of excavations and research correlates with our Crow oral history, which dates from time immemorial. … Prehistoric,” Peregoy said. “History is important to preserve a homeland for future generations.”

The Office of the Wyoming State Archaeologist is currently doing a ceramics research project, and had hoped to find similar material at Medicine Lodge during its first-ever “public excavation” this summer, Pelton said. The area that is now Medicine Lodge State Archaeological Site has been continuously occupied for more than 10,000 years, according to Wyoming State Parks. In the 1880s it was a working cattle ranch. In 1972, it was purchased by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, which created the 12,000-acre Medicine Lodge Wildlife Habitat Management Area.

In 1973, a portion of the habitat management area was developed into Medicine Lodge State Archaeological Site. Today, visitors can camp along Medicine Lodge Creek, which flows through a canyon that offers respite in the summer from the hot, dry desert, and warmth and shelter in the winter.

“This spot was undoubtedly a campsite for a long time,” Pelton said. “It’s such an oasis down there, with fresh water. It probably stays fairly warm in the winter from the heat radiating off of the cliffs, and then relatively cool in the summer.

“I know it stays relatively cool in the summer because the moment you climb out of that canyon the temperature increases by 15 degrees,” he said of his experience at the excavation this summer. Because Medicine Lodge is a high-traffic area, and one accessible to the public, it was the ideal place to engage the public with the research.

“We encouraged people to stop by and take a look at what we were doing, maybe screen some dirt,” he said, adding that around 600 people stopped over the summer.

“It turned out really great, and in the process we got some legitimate research done as well,” Pelton said.

The rock art in the valley dates back 10,000 years, and includes petroglyphs and painted rock-art images, or pictographs. The rock art covers the face of a 750-foot-long sandstone bluff, which shelters the area at its base from the wind.

Medicine Lodge State Archaeological Site is home to Native American petroglyphs and pictographs dating back more than 10,000 years.
Medicine Lodge State Archaeological Site is home to Native American petroglyphs and pictographs dating back more than 10,000 years.

“The rock art certainly includes Crow art,” Pelton said. “When you look at modern Crow art, and look at Crow mythology, you can see a lot of the same motifs on the rock art and cliffs from around A.D. 1400, 1600. A lot of those traditions are still around today.”

Other rock art at Medicine Lodge likely predates the Crow people, he said.

“That is the amazing thing about Medicine Lodge. People probably came and made rock art there for thousands and thousands of years, and we still see the last couple thousand years of it today,” Pelton said. “People were making images on top of each other over and over again.”

Previous excavations done in the 1970s revealed an early presence in the valley.

“It was thought to be an archaeological site created by the ancestors of the Crow,” Pelton said. “(Early researchers) knew that from portions of a ceramic vessel they found there, the rim of a pot.”

Finding ceramics like that is rare in Wyoming, but also valuable as one of the best artefacts for determining ancestry.

“These things are really distinct, and you can track them across time and space to see how those different finds change through time,” Pelton explained. “Our first research priority is getting some radiocarbon dates on some charcoal, and maybe animal bone, with some of those ceramics.”

Another thing found this summer during the public excavation was obsidian, which almost certainly came from the Crow component at Medicine Lodge.

“Obsidian is distinct from all the preceding 12,000 years of prehistory at Medicine Lodge Creek,” he said. “The great thing about obsidian is that you can source it precisely to specific outcrops, so we will know now where these people carrying Crow-style pottery into Medicine Lodge Creek came from. It is probably somewhere in Yellowstone, it could be Teton Pass or it could be all the way over in Idaho.”

Pelton said his office will likely do another public excavation in the summer of 2022. The key is finding a site that is accessible to the public and safe for people to gather.

“The tricky part is finding that perfect confluence of places that are publicly accessible that also have a cool archaeological site buried underneath it,” Pelton said, adding that the tentative plan is to do a similar event at Edness Kimball Wilkins Park in Natrona County. He hopes to reach people there who may not otherwise know about Wyoming’s archaeological past.

“There are some really well-known, easily accessible archaeological sites in that park, and that place gets a lot of visitation,” Pelton said. “We can start reaching a whole other demographic of people who are not normally exposed to this kind of thing, and expand our education and outreach opportunities.”

Gigantic Hand of Hercules could be From the Tallest Marble Statue Ever Made

Gigantic Hand of Hercules could be From the Tallest Marble Statue Ever Made

One glance at the giant hand is enough to recognize it was once part of a true masterpiece created by ancient builders. The hand belonged most likely to a massive statue of Hercules himself.

How and why the giant statue of Hercules was destroyed is unclear, but we can assume it was due to the region’s periodic catastrophic earthquakes.

There are many stories of Hercules, the Greek hero who was the son of Zeus. Whether he existed or not is unknown, but since he was worshipped in many temples all over Greece and Rome, one can suspect he was a real being.

Gigantic Hand of Hercules could be From the Tallest Marble Statue Ever Made
Partial view of the giant hand of Herkules.

The Temple Of Hercules, situated in the Forum Boarium on the eastern bank of the Tiber, is one of the oldest extant buildings in Rome, Italy.

Constructed between 162-166 CE during Marcus Aurelius’ Roman occupation of Amman’s Citadel, the temple is purported to be the work of the Greek architect Hermodoros of Salamina, who engineered a circular layout of 20 Corinthian columns orbiting around a central cylindrical stone block.

In ancient times, it was a huge place of worship. The great temple is larger than any in Rome itself.

Its portico faces east and is surrounded by six 33-foot-tall columns. Measuring 100-feet-long by 85-feet-wide with an outer sanctum of 400-by-236-feet, the fact that the rest of the temple remained unadorned by columns suggests to scholars that the structure was never completed, for reasons history has yet to reveal.

When archaeologists excavated the site, they discovered very few clues that could shed more light on why the mysterious and giant Temple of Hercules and the massive statue were destroyed. This abandoned place was once of great importance, but very little is known about its past.

Ruins of the Temple of Hercules in Amman

The three gigantic fingers, one elbow, and some scattered coins have led archaeologists to conclude that these marble body parts belonged to Hercules himself a massive statue of Hercules himself. It is, therefore, logical to assume that the temple was also dedicated to him.

If the remarkable statue had survived, it would have measured upwards of 40-feet high, which would have placed it among the largest known marble statues to have ever existed.

The mighty statue of Hercules is gone, but the marble components of the Temple of Hercules have endured considerable deterioration over the two millennia.

A model of the temple of Hercules.

In 1996, the Temple of Hercules was placed on the World Monuments Watch.

A Knights Templar’s secret tunnel has been hidden for 700 years

A Knights Templar’s secret tunnel has been hidden for 700 years

Crusaders from the Latin West left an unmistakable imprint on the cities of the Near East throughout the Middle Ages, building castles and fortresses that could resist waves of conquest.

Many of these castles still stand today, and in some cases, remain in use. Krak des Chevaliers, perhaps the most iconic crusader castle, was even occupied and used as a military base in the recent Syrian conflict.

However, many of these impressive structures have yet to give up all of their secrets. Even in the late 20th century, crusader structures were still being discovered in the Levant, the most notable of which was the 350 meters (985 feet) “Templar tunnel” running underneath the modern city of Acre. These discoveries continue to shed light on this fascinating period of Middle Eastern history.

Remains of the Crusader-period Pisan Harbour.

The Templars were a military religious order, originally founded to ensure the safety of the regular stream of pilgrims that made the arduous and dangerous journey from Western Europe to the Holy Land.

According to historian Dan Jones, they were so named because their original headquarters stood next to the Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem, and in the 12th and 13th century they played an important role in defining the political and military successes (and failures) of the crusader states in the Levant.

In 1187, however, the city of Jerusalem was lost after a decisive victory by the Ayyubid leader Salah ad-Din (otherwise known as Saladin) at Hattin.

The crusader states had lost their capital, and their shock defeat at the hands of a powerful Muslim army launched what would later be known as the Third Crusade.

According to Jones, several large armies set out from England and France to provide aid to the beleaguered crusader kingdoms, with the goal of reconquering Jerusalem.

This was a vain hope, and the armies of the Third Crusade, led (amongst others) by Richard the Lionheart, would eventually leave without reclaiming Jerusalem. However, they did manage to recover the important port city of Acre.

Following a long siege led by the king of Jerusalem, Guy de Lusignan, the Muslim inhabitants of the city surrendered, and Acre became the new capital of the crusader states.

Portrait of Guy de Lusignan.

Ever fearful of a renewed attack by Saladin and his successors, the Templars set about constructing an impressive fortress at Acre. The settlement was already well protected by high walls and the surrounding sea, but the new Christian occupants proceeded to construct seemingly impenetrable defences.

According to Jones, Acre was a strategically significant Mediterranean port and controlling it was key to controlling access to the rest of the region. However, this meant that it was constantly under threat, both from enemies outside its walls and from infighting amongst those within.

This may explain why the Templars decided to construct a secret underground tunnel, leading from the fortress to the port. This would ensure a quick, easy escape for any inhabitants in case the city was overthrown and could provide a useful, secret channel for supplies if the city was besieged.

Underground Knights Templar citadel of Acre, Israel.

However, in 1291, disaster struck. Acre was attacked and taken by the Mamluk ruler of Egypt, Sultan al-Ashraf Khalil, and he ordered that the city be razed to the ground to prevent further Christian reoccupation. This once-pivotal, strategic port fell into insignificance.

However, in 1994, over 700 years after the fall of the fortress, a startling discovery was made by a woman living in the modern city of Acre.

When she sent a local plumber to investigate the cause of her blocked drains, he stumbled into a medieval tunnel running right underneath her house.

Further excavations revealed that the tunnel had been constructed in the Crusader period, and ran all the way from the fortress to the port. This was an extremely significant discovery, as it’s one of the rare pieces of Crusader architecture in Acre to have survived the invasion of the Mamluks.

Today, it’s even possible to visit the tunnel, which has been fully restored, cleaned and drained. Although the Templar fortress may be long gone, modern tourists can still walk in the footsteps of these crusading knights, 700 years after their deaths.

Turkey: Statue of Roman Emperor Hadrian found in southwestern Aydin province

Turkey: Statue of Roman Emperor Hadrian found in southwestern Aydin province

The news was released today that an ancient statue of the famous Roman emperor Hadrian was found in the southwestern Aydin province of Turkey, where the ancient city Alabanda once stood. It has been dated to the 2nd century CE, some 1900 years ago.

This discovery is being placed among the most important archaeological discoveries ever made in Turkey.

The statue is fragmented but the head has survived to our present-day and the original is believed to have been about 2.5 meters tall (8.2 feet).

“The statue, which we found in six pieces, will be one of the most important works in the museum. … For more detailed information about the statue, we are working to find inscriptions containing honorifics.”
Ali Yalcin Tavukcu,

lecturer in the Department of Classical Archaeology at Ataturk University.

Hadrian is commonly believed to have ruled from 117 CE until his death in 138 CE.

Ali Yalcin Tavukcu reported that Hadrian visited the city in 120 CE and that this statue was likely created for the occasion.

The culture and tourism director for Aydin, Umut Tuncer, expressed his hope that this discovery will increase the amount of tourism in the area.

The Romans had taken control of the region around the turn of the first millennium CE and their successors maintained control until the Ottomans seized Constantinople in 1453.

Hadrian might be most popularly known today for the wall he is credited with building in Britain, known as Hadrian’s Wall. He built this as a divider and defence against the northerners that he saw as barbarians.

As of now, I have not seen any reports of forensic sciences being applied to the statue to confirm the 2nd century CE date.

Any mentions of dating methods, as well as why they think it’s Hadrian, has been absent from the reports I’ve seen.

More information is sure to be released about this discovery so stay tuned.

Cutting-edge Laser Technology Uncovers Secrets of Maya holy city

Cutting-edge Laser Technology Uncovers Secrets of Maya holy city

The steamy jungles of northern Guatemala don’t reveal secrets easily. For centuries, the overgrown landscape has protected most of the remains of the Maya who once tamed it — yielding slowly to modern scientists seeking to learn more about the ancient civilization known for its sophisticated hieroglyphic script, art, architecture and mathematics.

The Maya civilization began to emerge about 3,000 years ago, and reached its peak during the Classic Period, from about A.D. 250-900.

Now, technology that allows for digital deforestation has uncovered thousands of new Maya structures previously undetected beneath smothering vegetation. For archaeologists like Thomas Garrison, assistant professor of anthropology at Ithaca College, the findings have done far more than recast notions of the size and density of the Central American society.

“Frankly, it’s turning our discipline on its head,” he said.

Garrison helped orchestrate the 2016 aerial survey these revelations stem from. The findings and the technology behind them — LiDAR (light detection and ranging) — will be the focus of a new National Geographic documentary titled “Lost Treasures of the Maya Snake King.” The documentary will follow a NatGeo explorer as he treks deep in the jungle to seek out a pyramid detected in the survey.

Project leader Richard Hansen with the LiDAR system.

Garrison appears in the documentary commenting on the LiDAR mapping and its results. The program will also feature custom-designed images of many of the newly revealed structures, as translated from the data.

Laser Show in the Jungle

LiDAR is a method of mapping from the sky: An aeroplane-mounted device sends a constant pulse of laser light across a swath of terrain; precise measurements of how long it takes the emitted breams to bounce off surfaces are taken and translated into topographic data.

The LiDAR system was mounted on this small plane.

The laser pierces through the smallest gaps in the vegetation to record the lay of the land below with remarkable accuracy. The resulting data can be tweaked to filter out the trees, thus offering an unencumbered view of everything else on the surface.

The technology is a boon for surveys in jungles like those in lowland Guatemala, where dense canopy hinders other methods of aerial survey and thick undergrowth can conceal the relationship even between known structures.

“In that kind of environment where you can’t see [a few feet in front of yourself], it’s very hard to piece that all together,” Garrison said. In a swampy area of rolling hillocks rising from the muck, for example: “You have this idea that there’s some little stuff on the hills, but the LiDAR lets you see it in its totality.”

The survey of 2,100-square kilometres encompassed several major Maya sites, including the largest at Tikal, and El Zotz, where Garrison focuses his research.

The LiDAR mapping revealed over 60,000 previously unknown structures in total, from unknown pyramids, palace structures, terraced fields, roadways, defensive walls and towers, and houses. Archaeologists are realizing that the ancient population centres they’ve spent decades studying are much bigger than they speculated.

With Global Conservation’s support, scientists mapped more than 60,000 houses, palaces, canals, and other man-made structures that had previously been obscured by the thick jungle. Image courtesy Mirador Basin Project.
El Mirador from the air. Without LiDAR to penetrate the dense rainforest canopy, this area simply looks like a vast expanse of wilderness. A straight line through the trees in the lower third of the image hints at the massive, ancient causeway below. Only with LiDAR could scientists begin to understand the true extent of the ancient city (below).
A three-dimensional rendering of the ancient city of El Mirador, produced from LiDAR data. To the naked eye, this area simply looks like a vast expanse of rainforest (above). Image courtesy Mirador Basin Project.

“Everyone is seeing larger, denser sites. Everyone,” Garrison said. “There’s a spectrum to it, for sure, but that’s universal: everyone has missed settlement in their [previous] mapping.”

Especially telling to Garrison are newly revealed agricultural features that would be necessary to support the lowland Maya population during their centuries of civilization — population estimates have now expanded from a few million to 10-20 million — and defensive structures that suggest warfare was far more prevalent than previously known.

Only the Beginning

The LiDAR survey is a collaboration between archaeologists from the U.S., Europe and Guatemala, and the Fundación PACUNAM (Patrimonio Cultural y Natural Maya), a Guatemalan philanthropic and cultural heritage preservation organization.

Garrison serves as one of the archaeology advisors to the project and was fundamental in lobbying for the survey, which is now the single largest ever conducted in the field of Mesoamerican archaeology. Fundraising is already taking place for a second LiDAR survey of similar size, he said.

The LiDAR findings are only the beginning. There is still much to discover about the rise, peak and fall of the Maya civilization. The LiDAR data points to new areas where those answers may be found through fieldwork and excavation.

An artist’s rendering of the ancient city of El Mirador.

“That’s the challenge now. Now we have so much data,” Garrison said. “How do we handle it and how do we move forward with it? We’ve still got to get to those places, we’ve still got to check them out.

“It’s difficult to convey how exciting this time is for us.”

2,200-year-old mythological masks unearthed in Turkey’s Mugla

2,200 year-old mythological masks unearthed in Turkey’s Mugla

Archaeologists in southwestern Turkey’s Muğla have recently uncovered 10 rock carvings of mythological masks in the ancient city of Stratonikeia.

An archaeologist works on a face mask in the ancient city of Stratonikeia, Muğla, southwestern Turkey.

An excavation team, headed by professor Bilal Söğüt of Pamukkale University, continues year-round work at the ancient city, where artefacts from the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Anatolian beyliks (principalities), Ottoman and Republican periods have been found.

The team had already cleaned and repaired 33 face carvings, unearthed them over the last two years, and prepared them for display. Their latest efforts uncovered 10 more masks at a 2,200-year-old ancient theatre, taking the total number of masks to 43.

An aerial view from the 2,200-year-old theatre in the ancient city of Stratonikeia, Muğla, southwestern Turkey

Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), Söğüt said the 3,000-year-old ancient city, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List, bears traces from every period of history.

He added that they have been working on different structures, some dating back to antiquity, in the city.

“We have been working at the ancient theatre for two years. We found 33 face moulds during our excavations here.

Today, we unearthed 10 more. Hopefully, we will be able to find all the masks at the theatre in their own places and arrange them in their original order. That will be very pleasant for us,” he said.

2,200 year-old mythological masks unearthed in Turkey's Mugla
Two masks in the ancient city of Stratonikeia, Muğla, southwestern Turkey.

Söğüt explained that the masks surround the stage of the ancient theatre.

“When people came here in ancient times, they were impressed by the splendour and magnificence of the theatre even before entering it. We have been slowly uncovering its richness and splendour.

This also the value ancient people gave to culture, art and architecture.”

He said besides the characters in the plays performed at the theatre, the masks depict ancient gods and goddesses, as well as animal figures.

“We have brought the blocks with face masks to the city’s ‘stone hospital’ for cleaning and conservation.” The newly discovered masks will also be put on display once the work is complete, said Söğüt.

1,500-Year-Old Temple Ruins Discovered in Uttar Pradesh, India

1,500-Year-Old Temple Ruins Discovered in Uttar Pradesh, India

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has found remains of an ancient temple dating back to the Gupta Period, 5th Century CE in Bilsarh village of Uttar Pradesh’s Etah. 

At the spot, the archaeologists discovered “two decorative pillars (at the spot) close to one another, with human figurines (found earlier).”  Vasant Swarnkar, superintending archaeologist of ASI’s Agra circle said, “To understand their significance, we conducted further excavation and found the stairs,” quoted The Times of India. 

Last month, the staircase was excavated has Shankhalipi inscriptions that were ” deciphered as saying ‘Sri Mahendraditya’, which was the title of Kumaragupta I of the Gupta dynasty.” 

Shankhalipi is an ancient script that was used from the 4th to 8th centuries CE for names and signatures. 

In the 5th century CE, Kumaragupta I ruled for 40 years over what is now north-central India.

The ASI made the discovery in Etah’s Bilsarh village, which has been protected since 1928, during a routine check-up. The ASI scrubs its protected sites during monsoons. 

The Shankhalipi inscription was earlier found on a horse status found in Lakhimpur Kheri and is now at the State Museum in Lucknow, the TOI reported. 

The remains recently found in Etah are the third structural temple found so far from the Gupta period. “Before this, only two structural temples were found — Dashavatara Temple in Deogarh and Bhitargaon Temple in Kanpur Dehat.

The Etah pillars are well-sculpted, better than the earlier examples in which only the lower sections were carved. The decorative pillars and staircase are a bit more advanced than the earlier ones,” said History Professor Manvendra Pundhir of the Aligarh Muslim University.

He said, “The Guptas were the first to build structural temples for Brahminical, Buddhist and Jain followers. Prior to that, only rock-cut temples were built,” quoted TOI. 

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