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Mortal remains of Georgian Queen found in Goa, ASI expert

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Hyderabad: The 16th century connection between Goa, a part of the Deccan peninsula, and Georgia, was brought to light on Thursday by N Taher, Superintending Archaeologist, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), Hyderabad Circle, when he revealed that the mortal remains of Georgian Queen Ketevan have been found in the picturesque coastal state of Goa. Referring to a long research project spread over 22 years Dr Tahir said, “We have been able to establish that the remains found in St Augustine Complex in Goa were that of Queen Ketevan of Kakheti in Georgia.”

Ketevan was the queen of Kakheti during the 1600s. The city was attacked and her husband was killed. The Persian ruler Shah Abbas seized the kingdom and took Ketevan a prisoner. She was held in Shiraz for 10 years where she died a mysterious death. Her remains were smuggled out of Iran to Goa. Later Ketevan was canonized as a saint by the Georgian Orthodox Church.

Georgia wanted to find where the relics of their Queen were. The investigation was started by ASI and 26 years later it was revealed that her remains are in Goa. It was for the first time that DNA testing was done on a bone relic in India at CCMB, Hyderabad.

The lecture was organised by H.K.Sherwani Centre for Deccan Studies, a research institution of MANUU. The lecture titled Personality of a Monument: A Case Study of St.Augustine Complex in Deccan’s Old Goa, threw new light on the history of Goa. The lecture was also significant as it encompassed facets of disciplines such as archaeology, history, genetics, and chemistry. It was reflective of the multi-disciplinary character of academics that the Centre focuses upon. The lecture also formed an important part of the Centre’s geographical jurisdiction of five states in the Deccan—Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Goa.

The lecture was chaired by Dr. Shakeel Ahmad, Registrar, Maulana Azad National Urdu University. Dr Salma Ahmed Farooqui, Director, Centre for Deccan Studies, welcomed the guests and introduced her work to the audience.

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