The Japan Times
January 17, 2002

'Lost' India civilization may be 9500 years old: minister

NEW DELHI (AFP-Jiji) Indian scientists have discovered a lost river civilization dating back to 7500 B.C. off India's western coast, a senior Indian Cabinet minister said Wednesday.

The discovery would suggest the world's oldest cities were built about 4,000 years earlier than is currently believed.

"The findings buried 40 meters below the sea reveal some sort of human civilization, a courtyard, staircase, a bathroom or a temple or something," said Murli Manohar Joshi, minister for human resources and also ocean development.

The earliest discovered human civilizations in the subcontinent are the sites of the Harrapan and Indus Valley communities, which date back to 2500 B.C.

The world's first cities are commonly believed to have appeared around 3500 B.C. in the valley of Sumer, where Iraq stands, a statement issued by the government said.

The marine archaeological findings have been made by a joint exercise conducted by the National Institute of Ocean Technology and other Indian ocean development and archaeology institutes in the Gulf of Cambay region, off the coast of Gujarat state in the Arabian Sea.

Objects such as pieces of construction material, artifacts with rectangular holes, fused objects, pottery, beads, broken pieces of sculpture, a fossilized jaw bone and human teeth and a cut wooden log have all been retrieved from the site. Carbon-dating and other methods have dated the finds to around 7500 B.C.

Acoustic imagery has revealed a river stretch of 9 km along which all the objects have been found, as well as built structures protruding from the seabed.