Updated: May 9, 2022 3:30:12 am
The latest round of excavations at the 5,000-years-old Harappan site of Rakhigarhi in Haryana’s Hisar district have revealed the structure of some houses, lanes and drainage system, and what could possibly be a jewellery-making unit, say officials from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), while announcing the completion of the three-month-long phase of excavations.
The digging, which has been going on at three of the seven mounds, has also revealed pieces of copper and gold jewellery, terracotta toys, besides thousands of earthen pots and seals.
“The idea of this phase of excavation is to make the archaeological site of Rakhigarhi accessible to people by exposing the structural remains and conserving them for future viewing, along with providing amenities to the visitors,” said Ajay Yadav, Additional Director-General, ASI.
“In addition, the objective is also to understand the settlement of Rakhigarhi and to identify the individuality and interrelationship of the seven mounds,” added Sanjay Manjul, Joint D-G, ASI, who is leading the excavation team.
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Situated around 150 km from the national capital, Rakhigarhi is among the five iconic sites announced by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during her Budget Speech in February 2020. The other sites are Hastinapur in Uttar Pradesh, Sivasagar in Assam, Dholavira in Gujarat and Adichanallur in Tamil Nadu.
The site was first excavated by the ASI in 1998-2001. Later, Deccan College, Pune, excavated the site from 2013 to 2016.
Manjul added that this is the first time excavations have been done on Mound No. 3, which has revealed “an aristocratic settlement”, but said that more rounds of excavation will be needed to ascertain the structure and nature of this elite settlement.
A total 13 trenches are open across three mounds, five at Mound No. 1, seven in Mound No. 3 and one trench in Mound No. 7.
At Mound 1, a huge quantity of debris/ waste of semi-precious stones such as agate and carnelian have been found, along with evidence of street planning with a general width of 2.6m.
At Mound 3, a burnt-brick wall has been traced, conveying the possibility of a walled settlement. The noteworthy antiquity found at both the mounds include steatite seals, terracotta unbaked sealing with relief of elephants and Harappan script.
Significantly, Mound 7 yielded around 60 burials in the previous excavations. In this field season, two female skeletons, who were buried with a plethora of pottery and adorned jewellery like jasper, agate beads and shell bangles, have been excavated. The DNA samples from the skeletons have been sent for further analysis, say officials.
The present round of excavation will be over and the new field season will commence by September 2022, the ASI said.
Besides, an agreement is in process between the ASI and the Haryana government, under which antiquities from Rakhigarhi will be displayed at the adjacent under-construction museum being built by the state at a cost of Rs 23 crore.
In a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha recently, Union Culture Minister G Kishan Reddy had said that ancient mounds 6 and 7 at Rakhigarhi in Hisar, Haryana, is among the 19 sites identified by the ASI that are going to be notified as “sites of national importance”.
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