Dholavira excavation throws light on the Harappan civilization
New Delhi, June 24: If the discovery of Mohenjodaro and Harappa in the 1920s changed the course of Indian history with fresh evidence of an older civilization, the Dholavira excavations of the 1990s led archaeologists to revelations of an extensive Harappan city in the Rann. Is more enlightened. Of Kutch, Gujarat.
A team of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), led by Dr R S Bisht, Director (Excavations and Museums of ASI), conducted five field excavations at this semi-arid site.
Bisht, who had earlier excavated at Sanghol (Ludhiana district), the multi-cultural site of Banwali – a pre- and post-Harappan site, Chechar and Nalanda (Bihar), and Semthan in Kashmir, detailed his latest findings in Dholavira June 19. In a lecture organized by Indira Gandhi National Center for the Arts.
Among Bhisht’s findings, the most distinctive were the city’s aesthetic architecture, a unique water harnessing system, and a storm drainage system. The 7-meter-deep rock-cut reservoir with a fixed length of 79 meters was one of the most important discoveries of Bhisht.
because it was cut vertically through the rock. Another, equally deep reservoir of fine stone masonry was also found.
Reservoirs surrounded the cities while citadels and baths were centrally located on raised ground.
A large well, probably the largest ever found in a Harappan context, is equipped with a stone-cut cistern connecting a drain to conduct water into a storage tank. Circular structures believed to be used for bathing were discovered at the site, shaped like a figure eight.
Most notable is a bathing tank with stairs descending inside. However, one of the most curious discoveries is a massive brick masonry tumulus, or a circular tomb constructed with 10 radial walls of mud bricks, approximately assuming the shape of a ‘spoked wheel’, as Bisht calls it. ‘Life, Rebirth or Kalachakra’ at this ancient tomb site.
Interestingly, all of these funerary structures except one were devoid of skeletons. Bisht describes this as perhaps a “symbolic gesture” of calling back the dead.
Grave sites typically contain an assortment of pottery and fluted jars.
A soft sandstone statue of a male was found in the eastern gateway, with the head and legs severed below the ankles and feet.
The Dholavira site has also yielded engraved terracotta fragments, bangles, rings, and fascinating seals.
However, an account of the Dholavira excavations would not be complete without mentioning the unique inscriptions consisting of 10 large-sized signs that were discovered.
It is reminiscent of their picture-like script called ‘pictograph’, which unfortunately has not been understood. Visht has called it ‘the oldest signboard in the world’.