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Indian treasure hunt based on dream finds no gold

Updated at: 11/15/2013 7:35 AM
By BISWAJEET BANERJEE

(AP) LUCKNOW, India - India ended a search for treasure beneath a 19th century fort after finding only a few bones and terracotta bricks but none of the gold predicted by a Hindu holy man’s dream, an official said Friday.

The search began Oct. 18 in Uttar Pradesh state in northern India after Hindu swami Shobhan Sarkar told a government minister that a former king appeared to him in a dream and told him of a nearly $50 billion cache.

The leader of the dig, Praveen Kumar Mishra, said the hunt had been suspended. The government spent 1.6 million rupees ($25,300) on digging at the site, said Durga Shankar, a local magistrate.

The opposition said the government search was triggered by the holy man’s dream.

However, the Geological Survey of India has said it found signs of heavy metal about 20 meters (66 feet) underground before deciding to dig in the area in Unnao district, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) southwest of the state’s capital of Lucknow.

Mishra said Friday that appeared to have been an error.

The state-run Archaeological Survey of India found some artifacts and reached sediments of calcium carbonates in the first trench, Mishra said.

There was no hope of finding any archaeological objects beyond that as the diggers hit rocks in the second trench, he told The Associated Press.

"There is no indication of (the presence) any alloy as reported by the GSI team," Mishra said in his report.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)