The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has made a significant discovery with the excavation of a Harappan-era site in Haryana’s Rakhigarhi village.
In a tweet, news agency ANI quoted Sanjay K Manjul, the joint director general of ASI, as saying that the Rakhigarhi archaeological site has seven mounds. While digging, the ASI found “pieces of evidence of Harappan culture in all seven”.
Mr Manjul further added, “Similar excavations have happened before and this is the third phase.”
The village in the state’s Hisar district is one of the oldest archaeological sites of the Indus Valley Civilisation.
Apart from a space that could have been a jewellery-making unit, the excavations at the site revealed the framework of multi-tier houses, lanes, and a drainage system. These discoveries could point to the existence of a well-planned Harappan city. Three of the seven mounds have yielded copper and gold jewellery, terracotta toys, and thousands of clay pots and seals.
Even graveyards have been discovered at the excavation site.
Rakhigarhi — located about 150 kilometres from Delhi — is one of the five iconic archaeological sites mentioned by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during her Budget Speech in February 2020. Hastinapur in Uttar Pradesh, Sivasagar in Assam, Dholavira in Gujarat, and Adichanallur in Tamil Nadu are the other sites. The finance minister had then said that these sites would be developed with on-site museums.
Dr Sanjay Manjul, additional director general of ASI, said that they had done a lot of work on Sinauli, Hastinapur, and Rakhigarhi in the last 20 years, and added that the people of Rakhigarhi may have been the ancestors of the people Hastinapur.
About a month ago, in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha, Union Minister of Culture G Kishan Reddy had said that the mounds number 6 and 7 at Rakhigarhi were among the 19 sites identified by the ASI to be notified as “sites of national importance”.
Rakhigarhi, a sleepy village in Hisar today, was discovered by archaeologists in 1998. Following a three-year excavation, ASI teams discovered a cluster of seven mounds. In 2013, the second round of excavations began, and it was suggested that the site could be the largest surviving Harappan site. The location piqued archaeologists’ interest once more in 2021, with four more mounds uncovered across 350 hectares. Mohenjodaro, which covers 300 hectares, was formerly thought to be the largest Harappan city discovered in the country.