VARANASI : Bringing laurels for Banaras Hindu University, a young numismatist of the university, Dr. Amit Kumar Upadhyaya, an Assistant Professor in Department of Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology, Faculty of Arts, has bagged a prestigious project from Indian National Science Academy, an autonomous body of Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India, to study the Punchmark Coins found in Uttar Pradesh. These coins are about 2800 years ago and are termed so because of the technique used in their making. The coins made of pure silver were the first ever coins to be discovered and were built by punching on them. The coins were widely in use all over the peninsula in ancient times, however, there are questions regarding their issuer, origin and supply, which still require deeper and comprehensive study.

Dr. Amit Upadhyaya says he received an incentive grant under the Institution of Eminence initiative project in BHU, for a proposal on Punchmark coins. He further developed the idea to study the coins in the whole state of Uttar Pradesh and applied for a project, which got INSA approval. “Once my study in Uttar Pradesh is over, I plan to take this study to other states and all over the country”, said Dr. Upadhyaya.

The study will aim to answer three primary questions.

  1. Who was the issying authority of these coins?
  2. How were the coins minted (constructed)? This will help understand where the coins originated, in India or elsewhere. &
  3. What was the economic condition of that time?

The project is going to be a collaborative one and experts from the Departments of Geology, Metallurgy and Physics of the university will also be involved in this study.

According to Dr. Amit Upadhyaya the study will serve another greater purpose of checking the modern forgery of punchmark coins as after historic scientific analysis of coins we would be able to know the exact process and composition of the coins. This is important because when coins, that carry historic value, are forged, analyzing historical facts becomes impossible.

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