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Monday, 19 June, 2000, 12:29 GMT 13:29 UK
Ancient gold treasure found
Map of UP
By Ramdutt Tripathi in Lucknow

Indian archaeologists say that gold treasure found early this month in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh could be highly significant.

The treasure belongs to the Indus Valley civilisation and may be about 5,000 years old.

A farmer in the village of Mandi in Muzaffarnagar district found the treasure while levelling his field.

Archaeologists are now planning a proper excavation of the site, in the hope of finding more about the lost civilisation of Harappa and Mohenjo-daro.

Accidental discovery

The treasure was in some containers found buried in the field.

It is believed that a part of the treasure was removed by the land owners and other villagers.

Later, the authorities managed to recover about 10kg of the jewellery.

A joint team of the state's Department of Archaeology (DoA) and the federal Archaeological Survey of India inspected the materials.

Precious jewellery

DoA Director Rakesh Tewari said the jewellery found from the site comprises mainly beads made of gold, banded agate, onyx and other semi-precious stones.

Two copper containers, one circular in shape and the other rectangular, were also found.

Mr Tewari says that this material is comparable to the jewellery found from the Harappan phase of Lothal and Mohenjo-daro.

There are several sites related to the Indus Valley civilisation in Pakistan and India, but Mr Tewari says this is the first time that such a huge quantity of gold jewellery has been recovered .

Archaeological significance

This also means that the area of the Indus civilisation is much larger than previously presumed.

In his report to the government, Mr Tewari has emphasised that the new site is of great archaeological significance.

He has recommended further investigation of the Mandi village site.

The report also says that the residents of Mandi village are curious about the gold and may try to dig the site up again.

The district administration has deployed the police force to protect the site.

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