Development often comes at the cost of something precious – forests, culture, or history. It has been seen that unplanned construction of roads or encroachment sometimes leads to the destruction of historic places.
But archaeologists can rest easy about the fate of a Neolithic site in Bellary even as a national highway is coming up at the site.
According to The Hindu, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is planning to realign a proposed road along the NH67 (formerly NH63) stretch in such a way that an ‘ash mound’ from the Neolithic period remains intact.
The NHAI is upgrading the NH67 that connects Hubli in Karnataka to Krishnapatnam Port in Andhra Pradesh. The plan is to transform the highway into four-lane.
Historians had expressed their concern because a four-lane highway would mean the removal of the ash mound.
The ash mound dates back 5000 years and is one of the richest Neolithic sites in the state. In fact, the ash mound is from the time when the Neolithic hunter-gatherers were turning towards agriculture.
Ash mounds are basically hardened burnt cow dung. Ash becomes hard when it comes in contact with oxygen over time. Neolithic people burnt cow dung in heaps which became as hard as rock over millennia.
The report says that senior NHAI officials discussed the realignment of the road and will now present a modified design.