Archaeologists say there is a probability that it might be the remains of the palace of King Ballala Sena, the second ruler of the Sena dynasty in Bengal
A primary excavation at Ballal Bari of the Rampal union in Munshiganj’s Sadar upazila has revealed a new archaeological site — with indications that this might be the remains of the palace of King Ballala Sena, the second ruler of the Sena dynasty in the Bengal region of the Indian subcontinent.
A team of Bangladeshi and Chinese archaeologists, led by Jahangirnagar University’s Archaeology Department Prof Dr Sufi Mustafezur Rahaman and supported by the Agrashar Bikrampur Foundation President Nuh-Ul-Alam Lenin, unearthed the site during a two-day excavation that started on Monday.
A number of pieces of bricks, stones, Chinese porcelain and charcoal, among other things, were found during the excavation, said the archaeologists.
Earlier, the Raghurampur Buddhist Temple and Nateshwar Buddhist Complex were discovered in the same district.
Prof Mustafezur said: "We will send the pieces of charcoal to the carbon dating lab Beta Analytic in the US. After getting the results, we will be able to determine and announce when these remains existed.”
“We know that the capital of King Ballala Sena [also known as Ballal Sen in vernacular literature] was Bikrampur and his palace was here. The level we have reached after excavating here has led us to think that this is where the palace was situated.
“There is a man-made trench around this place, which could have been dug for the palace’s security. But the whole trench, which we have identified easily, is under roads and infrastructures. The trench can also be seen clearly behind Rampal College,” he added.
“Even after so many years, the trench’s existence indicates that this palace was a private property and secured.”
The archaeologist said: “Since 2011, we have been seeking permission from the local property owners to carry out archaeological excavation to find the palace. We have done primary excavation after receiving permission from one of the owners.”
“The pieces of stones we have found here are very important, because they are broken parts of a larger structure. If we can dig on a larger scale, we may discover more important archaeological sites. We may even start to get the picture or shape of the whole capital.”
Prof Mustafezur also thanked the district administration for its cooperation in the excavation work.
New chapter in history?
Socio-cultural organization Agrashar Bikrampur Foundation had supported the archaeologists in many ways in digging up the previous archaeological sites in Munshiganj.
Taking a cue from Mustafezur, Nuh-Ul-Alam Lenin said: "Even though we knew that King Ballala Sena’s palace was here, there are no spectacular remains of that.”
“In 2010, we helped excavate the Raghurampur Buddhist Temple and later the one in Nateshwar. Along with these, we had tried to start digging here. But local residents did not allow us fearing occupation of their lands.
“After much persuasion, we have only dug a mere nine-square-meter area. The archaeologists are saying that there was a fortress here. Though we are yet to dig on a large scale, based on what we have found already, it is possible that many other archaeological remains can be discovered.”
Lenin said: “According to the signs and other surveys, it is assumed that the king's palace, a temple or a whole complex was situated here. Extensive excavation can add a new chapter to Bangladesh’s history."
He added: "I personally think there are numerous historical remains in 13-14-square-mile area surrounding Bikrampur i.e. Munshiganj.”
“With limited government funding and personal donations, we did the previous excavations and are continuing our work with assistance from Chinese researchers as we are not self-dependant economically and technically in this matter."