By: Irfan Ali Shah
Forest Department along with a team of Archaeological Survey of India(ASI), had a Preliminary Reconnaissance Survey of World famous Neolithic Era Archaeological Site at Burzhom Karewa, near the banks of Dal lake.
The Neolithic Site of Burzahom, Srinagar, depicts transitions in human habitation patterns from the Neolithic Period to Megalithic period to the early Historic period.
From transition in architecture to development in tool-making techniques to introduction and diffusion of lentil in north-western India, the site of Burzahom is a unique comprehensive storyteller of life.
The remains of the site document the gradual change in the nature of dwelling spaces among early societies & the range of tools recovered from the site shows the evolution in tool making Neolithic men skilled hunters and their knowledge in applying the implements for cultivation.
The megalithic culture associated with the erection of massive stones or menhirs, most probably as commemorative establishments were also seen during the survey.
The practice of agriculture has been established through the tools and finding of palaeo-botanic analysis, providing evidence for wheat, barley and lentil cultivation. The presence of lentil in the Burzahom Neolithic explains that the people of Burzahom had wide contacts with Central Asia.
The site gets its name from birch trees or Burzas, indicating large no of them were present previously at this altitude, which is an open vista for advanced forestry research as well. We observed craters/Depressions in stones/menhirs, which as per experts was for preparing vegetables like whopal haakh.
Forest department will raise Green Fencing of diverse tree species inside ASI fence line in the next planting season and collaborate with both ASI & Intach Kashmir to contribute meaningfully to the ancient heritage site of Kashmir, which was home to probably first settlers of Valley.
(The author is Conservator of Forests, Srinagar Circle)