India is known as a country where superstition is widespread, but am I supposed to believe that the archaeologists take advice from dreaming sages?
The Indian government is digging for treasure after a civic-minded Hindu village sage dreamt that 1,000 tons of gold was buried under a ruined palace, and wrote to tell the central bank about it.
The state Archaeological Survey of India has sent a team of archaeologists to the village of Daundia Khera in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. They are due to start digging on Friday, Praveen Kumar Mishra, the head archaeologist in the state, told Reuters.
Yogi Swami Shobhan Sarkar says the gold he dreamt of belonged to a nineteenth-century ruler, Rao Ram Bux Singh. He says he wants it in government hands to help India recover from an economic crisis.
The archaeologists plan to dig two 100-square-metre blocks beside the palace. Mishra, however, warned that there was as yet no proof that any treasure lay beneath the soil of Daundia Khera village.
What is completely missing is why archaeologists would consider this credible. Who picks dig sites, which certainly cost money to undertake, based on some guy’s dream? Odd. As far as know, they might do better dowsing. (I kid.) Point to one documented case in the history of the world where someone said dig, found gold, and it could not be chalked up to luck or prior knowledge.
UPDATE (18-Oct-2013) They started digging today causing this story to come out in other media outlets. Now there is mention that a survey found traces of metal.
Indian geological and archaeological officials surveyed the area Sunday and found evidence of heavy metal about 20 meters (66 feet) underground, District Magistrate Vijay Karan Anand said. Digging would the only way to confirm which type of metal.
But Indian rationalist, Sanal Edamaruku calls it a “Great Indian Joke”, noting that they waiting for today to begin since it is an auspicious day for Hindus – the day of the goddess of wealth (Lakshmi). Here is his Facebook post.
Officials deny that they are doing this on the basis of the magical tip.
“Archaeology doesn’t work according to the dreams of a holy man, or anybody else. Archaeology is a science. We are carrying out this excavation on the basis of our findings” at the site, said Syed Jamal Hasan, an agency official.
But it can’t hurt to use superstition?
Tip: Ben Wentworth