Harappan civilization: ASI digs up millennia-old planned city in Rakhigarhi

New Delhi: The Archaeological Survey Of India (ASI) is conducting new excavations in and around the 7,000-year-old planned Harappan city in Haryana’s Rakhigarhi which will be completed by the end of May. Rakhigarhi is famous across the world for the Harrapan civilisation. The excavation and study at Rakhigarhi so far revealed that this place once housed a planned city made with better engineering, said an IANS report. 

During excavation, the officials studied the remains of the Harappan culture and got evidence of town planning, including streets, pucca walls and multi-storeyed houses. They have also found remains of around 5,000-year-old factory which used to manufacture jewellery. The findings reportedly signify that trading was also done from the city.

Officials told IANS that time the cities were built using better technology. The techniques which are now being used to build big cities like straight streets, drains, and dustbins placed at corners of streets for garbage, were surprisingly used in that period. 

During excavation, the skeletons of two women were found along with jewellery. Along with skeletons, utensils used by the deceased were also buried.

During an investigation conducted in 1969 by Professor Suraj Bhan, it was found that archaeological remains of Rakhigarhi and settlements are of the nature of the Harappan culture. Later investigation was conducted by the ASI and Pune Deccan College and it came to the fore that this place has a cluster township spread across 500 hectares. 

The site includes 11 mounds which have been named RGR- 1 TO 11.

The excavations carried out by the ASI under the directions of Amarendra Nath during the year 1997-98 to 1999-2000 revealed various occupational phases beginning from the pre-formative stage to the mature Harrapan period covering the time from 5th millennia BCE to 3rd millennia BCE based on the radiocarbon dates obtained from various layers.

Sanjay Manjul, ASI Joint Director-General, told IANS, “During the excavation of RGR-1, 2.5 metre-wide streets and walls were found. All of that shows Harappan town planning and engineering. Remains of the house complex have also been found. How Harappan people used to stay in these houses is shown. Earthern stoves and antiquity were also found.”

Remains found in RGR-1 and 3 included elephant embossed carving, steatite seal of the Harappan script, the impression of black clay seal, animal figurines of terracotta and steatite made dog, bull, a large number of steatite beads, semi-precious stone beads, copper things.

For the first time, this site was excavated in 1998-2001 by the ASI. After that from 2013 to 2016, Deccan College, Pune worked here.

According to officers in RGR-1, waste of semi-precious stones Agate and Carlenian were also found which implies that it must have been leftover of after beads were made by carving stone.

In an excavation of RGR 3, situated in the southwest of RGR-1, 11 metre long and 58 cm wide brick walls and a drain were found. In the earlier excavation in RGR-7 which is situated in 500 metre North of RGR-1, around 60 skeletons were found.

Notably, there is a procedure going on for a memorandum of understanding between the ASI and Haryana government under which the ancient things of the Rakhigarhi will be displayed in a museum which is under the Haryana government. 

The ASI will soon start excavation in September 2022 and after that will throw open these mounds, so that the tourists can get full information. Very soon, Rakhigarhi will witness beeline of tourists as the officials want that when the tourists see the remains they get the information about the antique and the truth about it. 

As per the announcement made by the Central government in the Union Budget 2020-21, this place will be developed as one of the five best iconic places for which excavation started on February 24, 2022. 

According to IANS, the ASI aim is to facilitate the tourists who come to Rakhigarhi besides exposing structural remains. Its aim is to understand the settlement of Harappa in Rakhigarhi and the interrelation of seven mounds.

Rakhigarhi is the largest archaeological site of the Harappan civilisation which comes under two modern villages Rakhi-Shahpur and Rakhigarhi-Khash. Rakhigarhi has been classified as a major metropolitan centre of the Harappan culture.

(With Agency Inputs)

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