In a surprising discovery, workers digging at a Metro construction site in Pune, Maharashtra have accidentally unearthed fossils of animals dating back to the Peshwa era.
The bones were found near the Pune Metro site near Mahatma Phule Mandai on Wednesday and belong to mammals like elephants and bovine animals, a team of archaeologists that later visited the site informed.
According to a report by The Indian Express, the bones were not ancient but dated sometime between 200 and 300 years old. This would be the first time that fossils from that era have been found within city boundaries.
Another report in The Pune Mirror, however, stated that experts from the Archaeological Society of India (ASI) and Deccan College were called in to examine the bones and they have dated the bones back to 150-200 years. Some of the fossils were found at a depth of barely 10 meters.
While the exact relation of the fossils to the Peshwa is yet to be ascertained, the unusual discovery has caused a thrill among locals, many of whom have been speculating about the origin of the bones. Some reportedly even claimed that the bones belonged to animals owned by one of Peshwa Bajirao-I’s wives, Mastani.
This is not the first time that Pune Metro has struck history while digging at metro construction sites. In March last year, workers unearthed a 57-metre-long tunnel used by the British. The colonial tunnel believed to be around a century-old and once used for water channeling was discovered near the Swargate area.
Local historian Mandar Lawate had at the time identified the 57-metre-long tunnel to be 90-year-old. “There was a water body near Swargate and a canal goes through the area. There is a possibility that water used to get channelised through the tunnel and was later pumped into a swimming pool near Swargate,” he had said.
Speaking to The Pune Mirror on Thursday, Lawate said, “This could prove to be important evidence bring out new details of our history”, and urged Pune Metro to hand over the fossils to experts for proper research.