2,500 years ago, a city bigger than Athens in Orissa

via http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2500-year-old_city_found_in_Orissa/articleshow/2771877.cms published on February 11, 2008

BHUBANESWAR: From under the ruins of an ancient fort on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar, archaeologists have dug out the remains of a 2,500-year-old city which they believe was bigger than classical Athens.

Eighteen pillars were found among the remnants of the grand city at Sishupalgarh, a ruined fortification first discovered 60 years ago. The findings include debris of household pottery and terracotta ornaments, pointing to an advanced lifestyle led by the people who lived there. The polished potteries even have ownership marks on them.

Monica L Smith, head archaeologist from the University of California, who was part of the 12-member team that conducted the excavation, said the site is the “most visible standing architectural monument” discovered in India so far. “It’s a huge city that existed about 2,500 years ago.”

“The city had four gateways and could have housed up to 25,000 people. Even classical Athens had only 10,000 people,” said R K Mohanty from Deccan College, Pune, who was part of the excavation team which also had members from the Archaeological Survey of India and University of California.

“It was a very important city with well-built walls and a big expanse. The pillars we found were part of a gigantic structure, probably used for public gatherings,” added Mohanty. Sishupalgarh was once ruled by the Kalinga kings.

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