New evidence suggests Harappan civilisation is 7,000 to 8,000 years’ old - Hindustan Times
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New evidence suggests Harappan civilisation is 7,000 to 8,000 years’ old

Dec 22, 2023 05:38 AM IST

The discovery has been made during the third phase of excavations carried out by the ASI along with various teams across the country

Researchers from Deccan College Pune along with the Central Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) have established that human remains discovered at an ancient site of Rakhigarhi – a village in the Hisar district of Haryana – date back around 8,000 years. The discovery has been made during the third phase of excavations carried out by the ASI along with various teams across the country, including researchers from Deccan College Pune.

The first phase of excavations at Rakhigarhi was carried out by Dr Amarendra Nath of the Indian Archaeology Department from 1997 to 2000 during which evidence of the North Harappan culture dating back to 2500 BC was found. (HT PHOTO)
The first phase of excavations at Rakhigarhi was carried out by Dr Amarendra Nath of the Indian Archaeology Department from 1997 to 2000 during which evidence of the North Harappan culture dating back to 2500 BC was found. (HT PHOTO)

The first phase of excavations at Rakhigarhi was carried out by Dr Amarendra Nath of the Indian Archaeology Department from 1997 to 2000 during which evidence of the North Harappan culture dating back to 2500 BC was found. The second phase of excavations at Rakhi Garhi was carried out by professor Vasant Shinde from Deccan College Pune from 2006 to 2013 during which Shinde’s team collected evidence and conducted DNA tests to establish that this culture could be over 4,000 years’ old. Over the past two years, the ASI and Deccan College Pune have jointly carried out the third phase of excavations at Rakhigarhi through a team led by ASI joint director Sanjay Kumar Manjul and Deccan College Pune assistant professor Prabhodh Shirwalkar.

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Shirwalkar said, “There are three parts to the Harappan culture; East Harappan, Middle Harappan, and North Harappan (Modern). The earlier two excavations found evidence of the Middle and Modern Harappan cultures dating back around 4,000 years. But now, the evidence found in the third phase of excavations shows that the culture dates back 7,000 to 8,000 years. The final report of the work is being prepared by our team.”

Shirwalkar said that the research on this will continue for many more months. “Human ‘DNA’ has remained the same for 8,000 years which we have found during our research. When human traps were found here, they were thoroughly tested. Scientists have drawn conclusions based on this. A large burial ground was found here and it had human traps as well as animal traps,” Shirwalkar said.

The ASI is actively involved in excavations at the Rakhigarhi archaeological site, and the primary goal of these excavations, according to Ajay Yadav, additional director-general of the ASI, is to make the site accessible to the public. This involves exposing and conserving the structural remains for future viewing and providing amenities for visitors.

About utensils of various metals including gold and silver found during the excavation, Shirwalkar said that old silver and copper ornaments, too, have been found. “The most beautiful are the clay pots. A dinner set from that period has been found,” Shirwalkar said.

“We think that the words bedroom and kitchen are of recent origin. Whereas in Rakhigarhi, an even larger settlement of the largest ancient houses ever was found underground. A courtyard and a drainage system were also found in it. There were two to six- bedroom houses that were also available at that time. The clothing fashion of the people of that time is also known. A colourful worn piece of cloth, a shawl and skirt were also found,” he said.

“This research has found strong evidence that the Harappan civilisation is 7,000 to 8,000 years old. Scientists from the department of archaeology of India and Deccan College have worked together on the project. It is agreed that there was human habitation or civilisation in our country 8,000 years ago. The evidence shows that the people of that time were as advanced as they are today,” said Shirwalkar.

Earlier this year, union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had highlighted Rakhigarhi in her budget speech of 2023, emphasising on the development of five iconic sites of archaeological significance, including Rakhigarhi, with on-site museums. The plan is to showcase the antiquities uncovered at Rakhigarhi, now considered the largest Harappan site spanning 350 acres, in an under-construction museum near the site. The museum is estimated to be worth 23 crores.

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