5000 Year Old Harappan Township Found in Haryana
Clinching evidence of a township of the 5,000-year-old
Indus Valley Civilization (Harappan Era) has been found during excavations near
Bhirdana village in Fatehabad district of Haryana .
are being carried out by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
The excavations began on December 14 and are likely to continue till
May. These may resume after the monsoon, if required. The ASI had
earlier discovered the presence of same townships of the Indus
Valley Civilization at two other places, Kunal and
Banawali, in the
district. The evidences found at Bhirdana include many structures
made of mud bricks, peculiar of the Harappan era; a well, a
fortification wall, pottery and other antiquities.
Mr L.S. Rao, Superintending Archaeologist of the
ASI, who is leading
the team of excavators here, informed that the team, comprising a
Deputy Superintending Archaeologist, three Assistant Archaeologists
and other officials like photographers, draftsmen, artists, and
surveyors, was working on the excavation site spread across 62,500
square meters and situated on a mound.
Fifteen students of Institute of Archaeology,
New Delhi, have also been assisting the team.
being carried out under the ’Saraswati Heritage Project’ of the Union Government, were part
of a series of such excavations being made to unearth the old
civilizations on the bank of the
ancient Saraswati river. The
Department of Archaeology and Museums, Government of Haryana, had
protected the area of the present excavations, Mr Rao said.
He said the area where the excavations were being carried out was
the bank of the Saraswati. The whole riverbed had been converted in
to agricultural lands with the passage of time, he added. He said
the ASI based its findings on the antiquities collected during the
excavations on the surface of the mound. Pottery, among the
antiquities, is the main criteria for ascertaining the civilization.
The team has collected truckloads of pottery during the excavations.
Besides, these some semi-precious stones have also been found.
Structures made of Sun-dried bricks, a peculiar feature of the Indus
Valley Civilization, have been found.
The excavators have also discovered a 2.4-metre-wide wall considered
to be the fortification wall of the township on the excavation site.
Ms Ankum, from Nagaland, a student of the Institute of Archaeology,
who was manning the fortification area, said a clinching evidence of
the township was that the earth outside the wall comprised of virgin
soil while the one inside the fortification wall had all the
evidence of structures.
Mr Prabhash Sahu, Assistant Superintending Archaeologist, told that
it was a horizontal excavation and the whole mound had been divided
into four parts for convenience.
Mr Rao said the residents of the
area were cooperative and were showing keen interest in the
Archaeologists Uncover Ancient Maritime Spice Route Between India,
Published in Popular Science, April 1, 2004
Archaeologists from UCLA and the University of Delaware have
unearthed the most extensive remains to date from sea trade between
India and Egypt during the Roman Empire, adding to mounting evidence
that spices and other exotic cargo traveled into Europe over sea as
well as land.
"These findings go a long way toward improving our understanding of
the way in which a whole range of exotic cargo moved into Europe
during antiquity," said Willeke Wendrich, an assistant professor of
Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at UCLA and co-director of the
"When cost and political conflict prevented overland
transport, ancient mariners took to the Red Sea, and the route
between India and Egypt appears to have been even more productive
than we ever thought."
"The Silk Road gets a lot of attention as a trade route, but we’ve
found a wealth of evidence indicating that sea trade between Egypt
and India was also important for transporting exotic cargo, and it
may have even served as a link with the Far East," added fellow
co-director Steven E. Sidebotham, a history professor at the
University of Delaware.
Sidebotham report their findings in the July issue of
the scholarly journal Sahara.
For the past eight years, the
researchers have led an international team of archaeologists who
have excavated Berenike, a long-abandoned Egyptian port on the Red
Sea near the border with Sudan.
Among the buried ruins of buildings that date back to Roman rule,
the team discovered vast quantities of teak, a wood indigenous to
India and today’s Myanmar, but not capable of growing in
Africa or Europe.
Researchers believe the teak, which dates to the
first century, came to the desert port as hulls of shipping vessels.
When the ships became worn out or damaged beyond repair, Berenike
residents recycled the wood for building materials, the researchers
The team also found materials consistent with ship-patching
activities, including copper nails and metal sheeting.
"You’d expect to find woods native to Egypt like mangrove and
acacia," Sidebotham said. "But the largest amount of wood we found
at Berenike was teak."
In addition to this evidence of seafaring activities between
and Egypt, the archaeologists uncovered the largest array of ancient
Indian goods ever found along the Red Sea, including the largest
single cache of black pepper from antiquity - 16 pounds - ever
excavated in the former Roman Empire.
The team dates these
peppercorns, which were grown only in South India during antiquity,
to the first century. Peppercorns of the same vintage have been
excavated as far away as Germany.
"Spices used in Europe during antiquity may have passed through this
port," Wendrich said.
In some cases, Egypt’s dry climate even
preserved organic material from India that has never been found in
the more humid subcontinent, including sailcloth dated to between
A.D. 30 and 70, as well as basketry and matting from the first and
In a dump that dates back to Roman times, the team also found Indian
coconuts and batik cloth from the first century, as well as an array
of exotic gems, including sapphires and glass beads that appear to
come from Sri Lanka, and carnelian beads that appear to come from
Three beads found on the surface of excavation sites in
suggested even more exotic origins. One may have come from eastern
Java, while the other two appear to have come either from Vietnam or
Thailand, but the team has been unable to date any of them.
While the researchers say it is unlikely that
directly with eastern Java, Vietnam or
Thailand, they say their
discoveries raise the possibility that cargo was finding its way to
the Egyptian port from the Far East, probably via India.
The team also found the remains of cereal and animals indigenous to
sub-Saharan Africa, pointing to the possibility of a three-point
trade route that took goods from southern Africa to India and then
back across the Indian Ocean to Egypt.
"We talk today about
globalism as if it were the latest thing, but
trade was going on in antiquity at a scale and scope that is truly
impressive," said Wendrich, who made most of her contributions as a
post-doctoral fellow at Leiden University in the Netherlands.
people were taking incredible risks with their lives and fortune to
Along with the rest of
Egypt, Berenike was controlled by the
Empire during the first and second centuries.
During the same
period, the overland route to Europe from India through
Iran and Mesopotamia (today’s Iraq) was controlled by
the Roman Empire, making overland roads difficult for Roman
Meanwhile, Roman texts that address the relative costs of
different shipping methods describe overland transport as at least
20 times more expensive than sea trade.
"Overland transport was incredibly expensive, so whenever possible
people in antiquity preferred shipping, which was vastly cheaper,"
With such obstacles to overland transport, the town at the
southernmost tip of the Roman Empire flourished as a "transfer
port," accepting cargo from India that was later moved overland and
up the Nile to Alexandria, the researchers contend.
Poised on the
edge of the Mediterranean Sea, Alexandria has a well-documented
history of trade with Europe going back to antiquity.
Over the course of the grueling project, the researchers retraced a
route that they believe would have moved cargo from Berenike into
Europe. Wendrich and Sidebotham contend cargo was shipped across the
Indian Ocean and north through the Red Sea to Berenike, which is
located about 160 miles east of today’s Aswan Dam.
They believe the
goods were then carried by camels or donkeys some 240 miles
northeast to the Nile River, where smaller boats waited to transport
the cargo north to Alexandria. Cargo is known to have moved during
antiquity from Alexandria across the Mediterranean to a dozen major
Roman ports and hundreds of minor ones.
The team believes that
Berenike was the biggest and most active of
six ports in the Red Sea until some point after A.D. 500, when
shipping activities mysteriously stopped.
Shipping activities at
Berenike were mentioned in ancient texts that
were rediscovered in the Middle Ages, but the port’s precise
location eluded explorers until the early 19th century. The former
port’s proximity to an Egyptian military base kept archaeologists at
bay until 1994, when Wendrich and Sidebotham made the first
successful appeal for a large-scale excavation.
At the time,
Egyptian officials, eager to develop the Red Sea as a tourist
destination, had started to relax prohibitions against foreign
access to the region.
But the area’s isolation remains a challenge
for the team, which has to truck in food and water, and to power
computers and microscopes with solar panels.
"The logistics are really tough there," said
Wendrich, who is
affiliated with the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA.
Berenike project received major funding from the Netherlands
Foundation for Scientific Research.
The National Geographic
Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, Utopa Foundation,
Gratama Foundation and the Kress Foundation also provided support,
as did private donors.
Geology Discovers India Has the Earliest Art
by R.K. Ganjoo
Material evidences confirming the existence of early man in India
were first reported by Robert Bruce Foote in 1863, when he
discovered Paleolithic tools from Pallavaram (near
Thousands of Paleolithic sites yielding millions of stone artifacts
have been recovered since then. The large number of artifacts and
Paleolithic sites has helped in critically evaluating the behavior
and interaction of Early Man with the prevailing environment.
Various disciplines of science, particularly geology, have played a
vital role, for the past three decades, in deciphering the climate,
chronology and environment of the Paleolithic sites. The scientific
logics thus, provide a sound bedrock to the archaeological
Among several environmental situations, the Early Man lived in
natural caves and rock shelters for several thousands of years.
Natural processes formed the caves and rock shelters in the Vindhyan
mountains of Madhya Pradesh. During this period, the artifacts made
and techniques employed have undergone a considerable though gradual
and continuous change.
The discarded or utilized artifacts lay buried under the sediments
in the caves/rock shelters and were preserved for a very long time,
as the deposits in cave or rock shelters were left undisturbed by
flowing water or wind.
Thus, the material remains of Early Man from
rock shelters and caves hold more significance as one can build up a
continuous history of Early Man’s culture in an undisturbed context.
It was these rock shelters and caves which helped to preserve
paintings (rock art) made by the Early Man.
These paintings reflect the earliest artistic expressions of man and
provide sufficient knowledge on his way of life. Rock paintings
exposed at Bhimbetka (near Bhopal) are a museum of rock art in
and are recognized as a World Heritage site by UNESCO.
One of the earliest forms of rock art is the
are figures that are made by removing the upper layers of the rock.
A preliminary study of petroglyphs in India was carried out in parts
of Rajasthan (Kanyadeh) and Madhya Pradesh (Raisen). However,
petroglyphs study from these sites lacked dating and scientific
In the Rock Art Seminar held in 1990 at Agra, the
Rock Art Society
of India identified the study of petroglyphs as one of the fields on
priority basis. Keeping in view the lack of information on Indian
petroglyphs, the Early Indian Petroglyphs (EIP) Project commenced in
2001 with the objective to rewrite the Pleistocene history of Early
Man in the subcontinent.
The EIP project is a joint venture of the
Rock Society of India, Agra (RASI) and the Australian Rock Art
Research Association (AURA) with support from the Archaeological
Survey of India (ASI) and the Indian Council of Historical Research
In addition, geo-archaeologists and chronologists from
various institutes in India and Australia are also involved in the
To begin with, the EIP commission took up Daraki-Chattan region as a
case for the study of early petroglyphs in India. Daraki-Chattanâ “a
rock shelter within the Vindhyan mountains overviewing River Rewaâ”
is situated near Bhanpura in district Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh.
Daraki-Chattan reveals the hoary past of the extensive rock art in
this cave beyond doubt.
Excavation at Daraki-Chattan was carried out
by Dr Giriraj Kumar (Dayalbagh Educational Institute, Agra) with
technical support from the Archaeological Survey of India (Bhopal
The objective of excavation at Daraki-Chattan was to
establish cultural stratigraphy at the site, collect evidences
related to the production of cupules, obtain scientific dates (such
as OSL, AMS C14) for different levels concerning art objects and
human artifacts, and establish geo-archaeological history of the
The excavation at Daraki-Chattan revealed immense information on the
cultural occupation of the site. The collection of stone artifact
assemblage from the excavation undoubtedly reveals that the shelter
was occupied by the Acheulian man.
Interestingly enough, Bhanpura
town, close to the Daraki-Chattan site, and its adjoining area have
been continuously under occupation by man of different cultural
periods since the Acheulian times. Daraki-Chattan is a local name of
a hill near village Bhanpura in the Vindhyans that has a series of
rock shelters. In geological past, the Vindhyans were formed as a
single rock block but were subsequently subjected to erosion by wind
and water which ultimately weathered them.
The joints between the
rocks widened over a period of time and then blocks or rocks became
unstable and collapsed to give rise to rock shelters. These shelters
not only provided suitable landform for the Early Man to protect
himself from the vagaries of weather but also the shelters on hills
which served as an overview to the dense forest below.
The study of the surroundings of
Daraki-Chattan was carried out to
investigate the climatic history of the area during the times when
the Acheulian man occupied the site. Shri S.B. Ota (Superintending
Archaeologist, Archeological Survey of India, Bhopal Circle), and I,
myself, undertook the study of geological sediments that were
deposited when the Acheulian man was exploring the valley adjoining
It was clear from the size (width and depth) and the
large collection of artifacts from the excavation that the shelter
was used by the Early Man as a temporary settlement for making tools
and fulfilling other necessary activities. Dense forest existing
around the shelter and along the valley of River Rewa must have
supported a rich wealth of fauna and flora.
Excavations in the
sediments deposited by River Rewa revealed a succession of
prehistoric cultural material remains beginning from the Early
Paleolithic to Upper Paleolithic era, supporting the view that the
valley and the surroundings were under regular occupation by the
Pressure of stone artifacts in the shelters in the river
valley also corroborate the fact that the activity of Early Man was
not confined to the particular shelter only. Rich faunal and floral
wealth must have encouraged the Early Man to venture into the river
valleys and forests. Thus the sediments brought down by the rivers
must have covered and sealed the discarded or used stone artifacts
of Early Man.
A lot of information has been gathered on climate that
existed during the period when the sediments were formed and
The in-depth study of the sediments deposited by
River Rewa unraveled
the palaeoclimatic history of the region. The associated assemblage
of stone artifacts suggests the relative age range of 1.8 million
years before present to 400,000 years before present for the
sediments. The generation of large slope deposits or fans
substantiates the fact that the area must have faced sub-humid to
semi-arid climatic conditions.
(The author is Reader in Geology,
Department of Geology, University of Jammu, Jammu & Kashmir. The
author has been actively engaged in research on quaternary palaeo-climate
and geo-archaeology for past one-and-a-half decade.)
Aryan burial found in Russian city of Omsk
Burial of an Aryan was found in the Russian city of
archaeologist Albert Pelevedov to "Interfax". Analyses indicated
that the Aryan had lived 3500 years ago.
One of the residents of the
Beregovoy village (located on the
outskirts of Omsk) discovered the burial. While fixing a water-pipe,
the man stumbled upon a skull and immediately called the police.
However, policemen denied criminal nature of the case and invited
archaeologists to conduct some tests.
According to Polevodov, the burial belongs to the
(middle of the second millennium BC).
The archaeologist tells that the Aryan has been buried on his left
side, facing south; his upper and lower limbs all drawn in.
Archaeologists were able to determine the time of the burial after
examining ceramic pieces found next to the skeleton. Some of the
ceramic pieces depicted swastika turned the opposite direction.
"Andron people, European-like tribes, who spoke
languages of Indo-Iranian language group, were in fact the exact
same Aryans that used to be praised by fascists."
The find is of tremendous significance due to the fact that
settlements of Andron tribes are quite rare for that particular
region. Back in the days, they were forced out of there, stated the
archaeologist. According to specialists, the burial was not solitary in the area.
It is also possible that a larger settlement of Andron people can be
found by the river Irtysh.
Read the original in Russian: (Translated by:
Ancient Krsna Balaram Coins 200 BC
Krsna, Agathocles coin,
Ai Khanoum, Afghanistan, 2nd century B.C.
A lot of numismatic evidence also corroborates the antiquity of
Krishna. For instance, excavations at Ai-Khanum, along the border of
Afghanistan and the Soviet Union, conducted by P. Bernard and a
French archeological expedition, unearthed six rectangular bronze
coins issued by the Indo-Greek ruler Agathocles (180?-?165 BC).
coins had script written in both Greek and Brahmi and, most
interestingly, show an image of Vishnu, or Vasudeva, carrying a
Chakra and a pear-shaped vase, or conchshell, which are two of the
four main sacred symbols of God in Vaisnavism. Many other finds of
ancient coins also prove the antiquity of Krishna worship in India.
Balarama, Agathocles coin,
Ai Khanoum, Afghanistan, 2nd century B.C.
To summarize, today the weight of empirical evidence proves that
Krishna and Vaisnavisam predate Christianity. Numerous literary,
archeological, and numismatic sources build an unassailable case.
Nevertheless, Vaisnavism and Christianity still show amazing
In the chauvinistic and sectarian atmosphere of the
eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, these similarities led most
Western scholars to adopt the now discredited "borrowing theory."
But these attitudes did more that distort the truth. In the
twentieth century they directly led to two world wars of
unprecedented ferocity and destruction.
Therefore, sensitive and
caring people perceive these attitudes as being obsolete, and,
instead of clinging to them, more intelligent people now seek the
path of unity.
Even in religion, one of the key contemporary
attitudes is the ecumenical spirit, the desire to emphasize more our
similarities with other peoples, nations, and religions rather than
Pre-Harappan Evidence Found in Gulf of Cambay
VADODARA, INDIA, July 19, 2004
In an underwater exploration in the
Gulf of Cambay, National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT)
scientists discovered almost 9,500-year-old bricks made of clay and
Archaeological experts of the MS University who, too, are
involved in a part of the exploration near Surat and the coast of
Gulf of Cambay, however, feel that a further insight into the size
of the bricks can confirm its age and its period.
believed to be pre-Harappan, have been identified to be of the
Holocene age. In the NIOT surveys in the 17 sq km area, stone
artifacts like blade scraper, perforated stones and beads were
The bricks, according to
NIOT scientists, were used for
construction. It indicates that the people of that age led an
advanced form of life. The artifacts found on the seabed, 20 to 40
ft below the present sea level, consisted of housing material.
is important to confirm the brick size as people of the pre-Harappan
age made bricks in the ratio of 1:2:3. A confirmation on the brick
size can add more credence to the discovery," says head of the
archeology and ancient history department V. H. Sonawane.