After a gap of 80 years India has resumed excavations at Sarnath in Varanasi to find out whether remains of pre-Mauryan era are present in the protected site.
Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is looking for samples from the site since the last three weeks, state news agency Press Information Bureau (PIB) said.
The collected samples will be examined through C14 radiocarbon dating method. ASI Additional Director General Dr B.R. Mani is directing the resumed excavation.
Researchers unearthed some relics from King Ashoka period from the site at Sarnath in the past. The third ruler of the Indian Mauryan Empire reigned from BC 268 to 232.
After his enlightenment in Bodh Gaya, Gautama Buddha gave his first sermon in Sarnath, 200 years before King Ashoka stayed there.
During the British period, not much emphasis was given on stratigraphy in excavations and succession of cultural deposits and as such in spite of so many years of early excavations no section drawing is available, Dr Mani said.
The second objective of present excavation is also to define different strata from the earliest times to the 12th century AD when the site was abandoned after medieval period attacks.
In one of the trenches near the circular shrine some rare pieces of Gupta art of Sarnath school depicting Buddha in various postures have been found which are considered to be very significant find, the PIB report said.