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An Indus Valley skeleton - varnamvarnam
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An Indus Valley skeleton

A mummified body, wearing copper bracelets, some pottery and other artefacts dating back to the Indus Valley civilisation 3,000 years ago, have been found at a village in Baghpat district where the Archaeological Survey of India is conducting an excavation. The body, caked in mud and dirt collected over the centuries, was found at Sinoli village in Baghpat district and “could belong to the Sindhu period (or the Indus Valley era) about 3,000 years ago”, archaeologist Dharamveer Sharma said on Thursday.

It was wearing copper bracelets, and was most likely reduced to a skeleton, but that could only be determined after careful examination. Sharma, who is supervising the ASI dig, said the excavation was at the initial stages and they had so far come upon intricate pots and other items of pottery dating to the period.

He said the “shape and inscriptions” on the artefacts indicated that they could belong to the Sindhu period, though tests (like radio-carbon dating) had yet to be conducted. The find was expected to be of immense historical and academic significance, he added. The first items of pottery were found by one Dharampal while he was tilling his field in Sanoli village about a year ago after which the ASI decided to excavate the area.[ASI digs out 3000-yr-old mummified body]

During an excavation long time back in the Indus Valley, archaeologists discovered the skeletal remains of thirty eight individuals in a situation suggesting violence. Some were found in a well, and some had long cuts as if made from a sword. Others were discovered in the midst of collapsed wall and broken pottery. At that time the Aryan Invasion Theory was the craze and these massacres were attributed to Aryan nomads. Sir Motimer Wheeler also quoted hymns from Rig Veda that talk about the destruction of pura and the Aryans hatred towards the Dasyus who were identified with the Harappans.

Apparently the Aryan Invasion supporters were unable to match the date for invasion with the archaeologically established chronology. Subash Kak et. al [2] suggests that Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro were in decline or abandoned many centuries before the alleged invasion. (1500 B.C. to 1200 B.C.)

Anyway, couple of points about this story. (1) the age of 3000 years ago seems to be assigned without any carbon dating (2) Baghpat is near Delhi whereas the prominent Indus Valley sites were more in present day Pakistan, Rajasthan and Gujrat.

Update: Mummy found in UP, archaeologists startled: In this news, the mummy has been identified as that of a youth. The date has been moved back to 3500 B.C. Just like that, without any carbon dating, the date has been pushed back 2500 years by Uttar Pradesh Tourism Minister Kawkab Hameed.

Related Links: Harappans = Vedic People ?, Mehrgarh


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