In this article we will discuss about the cities and towns that existed during Indus valley civilization.
It lies on the left bank of the now dry course of the river Ghaggar (ancient Saraswati) in the district of Ganganagar in Rajasthan. It was excavated by Thapar from 1960 to 1969. Basically it revealed two periods of occupation.
Period I is designated to a pre Indus culture although even at this period the habitation area is fortified in the manner of the Harappan or Indus cities. The structures are all of mud bricks measuring 30 × 20 × 10 cm. The habitational units are built within this walled structure. Interesting evidence of cooking practice is demonstrated in the finds of earthen oven constructed both above ground as well as underground.
Another interesting feature of this phase is the occurrence of cylindrical pits dug in the ground and coated with lime plastering. It is interpreted as tanks for storing drinking water. Ceramic types are varied and at least 6 different fabrics among them are described. Many of these fabrics show rows of cord impression used to decorate the exterior.
The other finds include blades of chalcedony and agate, beads of steatite (disc), carnelian, terra cotta and copper. Bangles of shell and terra cotta, terra cotta objects like toy cart, wheel and bull figurine are the art objects known. Quern stones with mullers, bone points and copper celts are also recorded.
The evidence of a ploughed field located in the south-east of the settlement outside the town wall is another unique evidence of Kalibangan. The plan of the furrows and grids constructed has been taken to interpret the probability of cultivating two different cereals at the same time. The date of pre-Harappan, i.e. Period I is C.2450-2300 B.C. and is taken as comparable to Amri and Kot Diji.
Period II Harappan Occupation. The structural pattern is totally changed with the citadel in the west and lower city in the east. The citadel area is roughly parallelogram in shape and measures about 240 meters north to south and 120 meters from east to west. It consists of two almost equal but separately structured parts.
Both these parts indicate separate fortification wall surrounding the area. The fortification wall is plastered with mud from both outside and inside. The lower city is also parallelogram in plan and measured 240 meters from east to west and 360 meters from north to south. Street planning may be similar in pattern to the Indus sites but at Kalibangan they are not very regular.
No evidence of regular street drains has so far been found. House drains discharge themselves into soakage jars buried under street floors. Other antiquities of this phase are chert blades (ribbon flakes), chert weights, terra cotta animal figurines, a terra cotta cake, typical mature Harappan pottery, terra cotta human head, bull, a graduated scale and ivory comb and bull made in copper.
Besides the above two principle parts of the metropolis, there is also a third structure described. This lies about 80 meters east of the lower city. It has an impressive wall enclosing a room containing four to five ‘fire alters’. The cemetery is located 300 meters to the west of the citadel. Three different types of burials have been described. The period of occupation seems to have come to an end around 1750 B.C.
In Pakistan spread over the Cholistan region a number of Harappan sites have been recorded with different type of cultural features occurring in the base. Mostly these pre-Harappan levels are these days being referred to as Early Harappan i.e., these are no longer being considered outside the phenomenon of Harappa. However, Sothi has still survived these unifying attempts. This is probably because this type of culture is also being described from Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab. Hence the term used to designate it is “Sothi culture”.
Sothi is situated near Nohar in Ganganagar district of Rajasthan. The site was excavated by A. Ghosh (1987). The fabric of the Sothi is red with a white base. Painting is executed with black colour but sometimes cord impression or rusticated surface is created by wet hand. It was argued that Sothi although seems quite different and distinct, must be parallel to early Harappa and continues at places upto mature Harappa.
Near Anupgarh near the Indo-Pakistan border this site was discovered by Dalai (1987). Besides a large number of terra cotta objects, chert blades, shell beads and copper objects, the lowest level, i.e. Period I at Binjor yields the typical red to buff ware with black painting and incised decoration. The radiometric date for this phase is 2700 B.C. Period II yields Harappan ceramics.
It is located a few kilometers away from Kotla Nihang on the upper course of the river Sutlej. The site yielded a new type of pottery which formed the basis of identifying a separate culture and naming it as ‘Bara Culture’. The pottery has a distinctive painting which may have a root in the pre-Harappan traditions in the area. The earliest date of Bara is about 2000 B.C. and it survives till 1600 B.C.
It is basically a later Harappan site in the Siwalik foot hills near the river Sutlej. It is described as showing three distinct culture phases beginning with late Harappans. Besides structural remains and the characteristic ceramic types it yields square steatite Indus seal, cubical chert weights, a copper celt and long chert blades.
It is situated in the district of Sangrur in Punjab. The lowest of the 3.10 meters deposit yields both pre-Harappan as well as Bara ceramics. The walls and floors of some of the structures are of mud brick. The antiquities described are pestles, stone pounders, terra cotta cakes, cart frames, wheels, bangles and bracelets. Beads of steatite, faience and terra cotta are also there. Bone points, fragment of copper blade and wire shaped into a ring form the rest of the material.
Kotla Nihang Khan:
It is very close to Ropar in district Ambala. The earliest phase is identified as Harappan. Excavation reveal structures of burnt bricks and some features indicating the presence of streets, drains and also a platform were described. The antiquities include typical Harappan ceramics, beads, bronze celts, chert blades and terra cotta objects.
The site is situated 80 km. south-west of Ahmedabad near the head of the Gulf of Cambay. The excavation reveals 5 phases of continuous occupation. It uncovered fortification structures constructed with mud and mud bricks. The citadel houses both private and public buildings.
The residential area shows series of rooms each with brick paved bath and underground drainage system with silting chambers and cesspools. On the eastern flank of the city is the dockyard. Both at the ware house or granary and the dock seals of Persian Gulf have been discovered. Besides the typical Harappan ceramics some other pottery types are also recorded here.
These are micaceous red wares, black-and- red wares, and coarse grey wares. The other antiquities recorded are seals, cubical weights, chert blades, disc beads, copper objects (drill, chisels, fish hooks etc.). Ingots, bone pins, etched carnelian beads and terra cotta objects. The life span of this occupation is estimated as 2300-1600 B.C.
Ever since the basic characters of Indus cities were tentatively worked out on the basis of the major excavations at Harappa and Mohenjo-daro, more and more sites are coming to light. These are both of varying nature as also extension. The sites on the western extension across the Indus are probably as variant in their specific details as those known from the eastern extension of the Civilization from Haryana, Gujarat and Rajasthan.
One of the largest known Indus sites in the world has now been discovered in a modest village in Bachau taluka of district Kutch in Gujarat. It is situated on the north-western corner of the Khadir, which is a large island surrounded from all sides by the Great Rann of Kutch. It was discovered way back in 1967-68 by the then Director General of Archaeological Survey-Shri J.P. Joshi. It is being excavated by Shri R.S. Bisht, now for almost a decade. The excavation has confirmed a stratigraphic sequence of pre-mature and post-urban Indus cultures through an enormous regular occupational deposit of 12 meter thickness.
The first occupation of the site was by a population similar to the Amri type Pre-Harappan group, who have left behind a 60 to 70 cm. deposit. They were familiar with the use of moulded bricks measuring 36 × 18 × 9 cms, and also the manufacture of wheel-made pottery of diverse fabrics decorated in different styles. They had also acquired technical knowledge of copper working and stone dressing.
A huge mud-brick fortification wall, extant to a height of 6.30 meter was found around the dwelling area. It was successively plastered with bright clays of white to pink hues. The Harappans came there quick on the heels and used the same very wall, after a century or so, the Harappas added from inside a 5 meter wall with an elevated walk to the existing defence.
For over 9 meters deposit which is indicative of a considerable duration, the Indus culture maintained its classical character in all spheres. The decline coincides with the arrival of a new set of people-quite probably from Sind. They continued the classical traditions for some time and carried out repairs to the defensive system with inferior workmanship and unaesthetic changes.
Decline became more rapid probably following the desertion of the city by the elites. After a short desertion a new group of people appeared on the scene. Unlike their forerunners, they lived in circular stone houses which are still in vogue in Gujarat and are called Kudas. Surprisingly these new groups are found to continue with the same ceramics and other items which their predecessors had made and used.
It is apparent that much thought and imagination has been used in the planning and construction of the city. The city has been planned in accordance with the magnetic orientation of 6° off the cardinal direction. Such an astronomical precision as this is not only astounding but also indicated high scientific knowledge of the Harappans. The city proper was conceived as a perfect rectangle measuring 770 meter East-West and 616 meter North- South (a ratio of 5: 4).
This is bounded by a massive mud-brick masonry wall. Inside this wall there are three principal divisions which on the bases of their relative position have been named as Citadel, Middle Town and Lower Town. Significantly the first two divisions, i.e. the Citadel and the Middle Town have their separate and yet inter-connected fortification system. The Lower Town has no such fortification but all the three areas are within the general fortification.
The Citadel contains two conjoint subdivisions both secured by walls. The higher one which is in the east is the most carefully constructed and zealously guarded by thick and high walls which are opened only by two gateways. Each of these is furnished with a flight of steps leading to a long passageway flanked by two elevated chambers and a lofty terrace in the front.
Each of the two side walls of the sunken passage way supports a set of highly polished blocks at either end or an equally polished pillar base shaped like an hourglass in the center. The north gate is the most majestic and elaborate of the two. It overlooks a broad and open space which separates it from the fortified Middle Town.
Interestingly this open space is found nicely leveled and floored successively during the length of the mature phase. It appears that this space was used for royal, social and/or religious congregation presided over by the ‘supreme authority’ seated in the chamber of the north gate. Such a design of a Harappan gate as well as use of highly polished architectural members is till today without any known parallel.
The finding of an inscription consisting of 9 large characters may indeed be called the discovery of the century. Each of these characters is made by arranging several pieces of milk white rock, mineral or Paste of a crystalline nature. Each of these letters measures 37 × 27cms. This epigraphic ‘sign board’ is imbedded in the structure on the north gate. This is another unique Harappan find nor recorded anywhere till date.
Finally, the third and perhaps the most significant feature of Dholavira is the evidence of a large water reservoir provided in the heart of the castle. This is 13 meters wide and has a length of more than 35 meters. A fine net-work of drains is used to collect rain water and lead it to this reservoir. Water collected at several spots which are connected with polished water-chute into deep chambers. A drain issuing from the chamber led it to the reservoir. Many of these connecting pipes are of terra-cotta.
Other important finds include microdrill bits made out of hard stones, seals, seal impressions on clay and one bronze figurine of an animal. Seals bear short epigraphs in the Harappan script and many of them are engraved with unicorns and other animal forms.
Beads of semi-precious stones, gold, copper, shell, steatite, faience and clay objects, usual copper objects including a pin with two spiral heads, bangles of stones, terra-cotta models of cart frames, wheels, animals, gamesmen, triangular cakes and a variety of stone querns, grinders, rubbers, polishers, pestles and mortar used for domestic as well as for manufacturing purposes are the other objects recovered.
Dholavia opens an entirely new avenue of inquiry about the connection of the Harappans with the 3rd Millennium B.C. occupations from Oman and Yemen in the Arabian coast land, and hence possibly also with the African continent. Cultivation of millets in these Arabian sites might have subsequently influenced the Indian groups of later Chalcolithic occurrences. At least the arrival of Ragi and Hulgi in the Deccan Chalcolithic need not now be taken as a parallel evolution with Africa.
It is situated in the district of Surendranagar in Gujarat and is situated on the bank of the river Sukha Bhadar. Excavations reveal 3 periods of occupation. Period I is designated as Pre-ceramic Microlithic; Period II as Mature Harappa and Period III characterized by Lustrous red ware. The Harappan phase is further divided into 3 sub phases named as IIA, IIB and IIC.
Period IIA yields almost all Harappan wares in addition to a red micaceous form and black-and-red ware. Cylindrical carnelian beads, lenticular agate beads, disc beads, chert blades, gold, cubical weights, shell bangles, copper pins, bangles, rings and cells are the other antiquities recorded from this period.
Period II B marks a degeneration of many typical Harappan features. No structures are encountered here. Period IC is characterised by the introduction of ceramics which have some new forms and fabrics. The cylindrical perforated jars totally disappear in this phase.
Period III yields large quantity of Lustrous red ware, terra cotta figurines, beads and shell bangles. The noteworthy feature is the finding of a terra cotta horse representation. The life span of the site is 2000 to 1500 B.C.
It is situated near Rajkot in Gujarat and lies along the river Sukh Bhadar. There are three occupation phases described. The oldest deposit is designated to the post urban phase of Harappan culture. This period I is subdivided into IA, IB and IC. These phases show mud walls, mud bricks and other structural remains of poor quality. Yet the antiquities found from this period are typically Harappan. Red and Buff ware, chert blades, cubical weight of chert and agate, beads of carnelian and terra cotta, copper objects and inscribed pot-sherds are the Harappan material found.
But the joint excavation of Indo-American team of the site revealed large amount of additional material as well as radiocarbon dates. This will indicate that most of the Rojdi occupation occurred during the urban phase of Harappan culture in the Indus plains.
A provisional analysis of the pottery has shown at least 3 different phases of ceramics. The earliest or Rojdi A appears to be similar to Rangpur. Rojdi B is attributed to late urban phase of Harappa and Rojdi C is compared with early post urban phase. The radiocarbon dates for Rojdi A and B are estimated to 2190 to 1620 B.C.
Possehl states that, “The material inventory of Rojdi A and B is clearly not of the mature Harappan, at least as we know it from Mohan-jo-daro, Chanhudaro and other sites in Sind or even Lethal and Surkotada. Rojdi and many other sites in Saurastra and possibly north Gujarat as well, appear to represent a new regional expression of the Harappan urban phase.”
It is situated on the mouth of the Haryana on the coast of Saurashtra. Excavations revealed 5 cultural levels at this site. The older three phases are attributed to Chalcolithic phase while the younger two phases belong to Iron Age. Period I, which is further sub-divided into sections A and B is characterised by an incised burnished grey ware, red slipped and black-and-red ware.
The shapes and painted designs resemble late Harappan ceramics. Microliths and segmented faience beads are the important artifacts of this period. Period II represents a mossy grey coloured painted pottery and this has been termed as Prabhas Ware. The houses in this period are rectangular and are built with local miliolite rock.
Period III is marked by the appearance of Lustrous red ware. The period has some structural remains- A steatite seal which is engraved on one side with seven stylized deers and the obverse with five deers forms a significant find of this period. C-14 date for period I is 2400 B.C., Period II covers circa 2000-1700 B.C. and Period III is estimated at 1500 B.C.
It is another important Harappan site lying in the district Kutch of Gujarat and is about 160 km. northeast of Bhuj. Three distinct phases are identified in the excavation. The earliest phase or IA is established on virgin soil. The citadel area is 60 × 120 m and is prepared with rubbles and mud bricks. The ceramics includes typical Harappan wares in addition to black-and-red ware and unpainted red ware.
A red slipped polychrome ware with cream coloured slip along with reserve slip surface treatment is another significant type. Beads of steatite, lapis, carnelian, faience and terra cotta are fairly common. In addition rings and bangles of copper and spear heads of copper are also collected from this period.
Period IB is characterized by renovation of citadel wall but no substantial changes in the construction are seen. Further, there seems to be a reduction observed in the internal living space. A painted coarse red ware makes up 70 per cent of the total ceramic collection of this phase. Black-and-red continues but in a reduced frequency. The other antiquities recorded are beads of agate, carnelian, steatite and terra cotta and a heavy copper celt.
Period IC is marked by a white painted black-and red ware although Harappan wares continue along with the coarse red ware of IB. In this period there is a complete reconstruction of the citadel and the lower town is also added. The defence wall is remodelled with bastions added at points. The other important finds include a terra cotta seal with Indus script. A large collection of horse bones were also made from this phase. The proposed date for the total life span of these three sub-periods is estimated to be c.2400 B.C. – 1700 B.C.
The site is located on the bank of the river Marai in district Kutch of Gujarat. Period IA is characterised by evidences of Mature Harappan phase. Fortification built with stones is recorded. The ceramics comprises of cream- slipped bichrome ware, white painted black-and-red ware and some other red ware varieties. The ruins of a lower town also seem indicated.
It is situated in district Broach by the side of the river Kim. Two cultural phases have been identified in the excavation. The ceramics having similarity with Harappan red ware and buff ware are the main and dominating antiquities of the site. The usual types recorded are disk-on- stand, heavy jars, dishes, bowls with handles and basins. Chert blades, disc beads of steatite biconical beads of carnelian and faience, a terra cotta bull figurine and few indeterminable copper objects form the other finds of significance.
In the recent excavations, another Harappan site has now been added from Gujarat.
The site called Padri is situated in district Bhavnagar. Here a clear Pre-Harappan phase is identified below the Harappan layers. The brief excavation report shows important structural remains of mud and mud bricks and also stones. Fire pit, permanent domestic hearths and several living quarters are unearthed.
A significant find among others is a 14 cm. long fish-hook with barbed point at one end and a loop on the other. It weighs 45 gms and is surely not fabricated for shallow water fishing. It can, therefore, be decidedly taken to indicate deep water marine fishing.
The site is situated in the Rupen estuary of north Gujarat. The site reveals a pre-urban phase of Early Harappan and following this materials of Mature Harappans occur. The site also yielded a burial which contain pottery with hard pink to red fabrics. The shapes recorded are very similar to the types known at Amri during its pre-urban phase. The mature Harappan phase includes a large amount of black-and-red ware. The finds also include a stamp seal with the Unicorn motif. The earliest phase of this occupation is dated to 3000-2600 B.C.
It is small but important site at the westernmost tip of Saurashtra not very far from Dwarf. The excavations reveal material indicating a Sindhi Harappan character. It would appear that the people of Nageswar were given to gathering shells which were used profusely for making objects like bangles, beads, ladles and spoons. Many of these also show inlay works. The site has two structural phases indicating sporadic occupation occurring between 2500 to 2000 B.C.
It is a major Harappan site situated in Hissar district of Haryana. Unlike other Haryana sites Banawali shows more proximity with Rajasthan. It yields the three fold sequence of Pre-Harappan, Harappan and Late Harappan in the Kalibangan pattern. The mound stands on the bank of the ancient river Saraswati.
The pre-Harappan phase is represented by 3 meter thick debris and is marked by all the six different fabrics known from Kalibangan ceramics. A berrant sized bricks, kiln, burnt bricks, 2 meter wide brick-on-edge pavement, ruins of houses, several hearths and fire pits etc., characterise this phase.
The other important antiquities of this phase are points and awls of bones, microlithic blades made on chalcedony, bangles of terra cotta, shells, copper and faience and beads of steatite, faience, shell, bone and gold. Stone weights and terra cotta animal figurines are also recorded. The pottery types consist of vases, perforated vase, beakers, basins, handis with s-profile and dish-on- stand. Another interesting find is a sherd in which a canopied cart with spoked wheels is depicted.
Mature Harappan phase show distinctive fortified and planned township showing two adjoining parts and a seven meter thick wall separating from the citadel area and a residential annexe. In the residential area the houses are prepared by mud-bricks. The roads are more in the manner of radius within a circle than the original Harappan plan of rectangular bylanes.
Besides ceramics other typical Harappan finds are chert blades, spear heads and arrow heads of copper, bangles and beads, plough share and animal figurines, steatite Indus seals bearing Indus script, beads of lapis, etched carnelian, and copper with gold foils.
The remains of the Late Harappan deposit are found outside the main walled town. The deposit yielded number of pits containing pottery of different fabric and decoration. The radio-carbon date of Banawali ranges from 3103±100 to 3930±190.
Having gone through some of the spectacular features of this widespread civilization we might summarize the culture as follows:
1. The Indus valley people were drawn from some of the pre-Harappan cultures in the Punjab plains around 2300 B.C. These pre-Harappans had strong links with other cultural centers farther west. At Kalibangan a similar pre-Harappan population must have already spread around 2500 B.C.
At Burzahom the Chalcolithic layers are not without similarity in individual material cultural objects with these pre- Harappan Afghan cultures. Why and how they organized themselves to colonize the fertile plains of Indus and Ghaggar would perhaps never be known but that they did organize into an enormous population and colonized the area into the world’s oldest and largest civilization is an archaeological reality.
2. A spectacular success in agriculture must have provided the initial thrust which pushed them into an advanced form of administration. Grains as state levy were collected and stored in the granary under the direct supervision of the men who stayed in the quarters above the great bath.
The indispensability of bath for these people and the added privacy of individual partitions provided in the bath led many authors to believe that these were meant for priests who used to take bath twice a day in the manner of Hindu Brahmins and used to conduct their rituals in the partitioned compartments.
These priests evidently were also the rulers as they housed themselves in direct proximity of the collected grains. It is believed that this grain was shipped for trading as there occur outlets for lowering loads directly from the granary into boats waiting below. The soldiers were perhaps employed both for defence as also for various kinds of labour.
The city situated little farther (usually lying east of the citadel) must have housed battery of ministers and clerks to run the social system. It is possible that artisans like bead-makers, metal-smith, etc. were also allotted houses in this city. The halls – referred to as either schools or centres of community gathering – may have been used as state worshipping centers.
3. The town-planning and architectural excellence of these city structures seem to be quite incredible for that remote period of time in which they occur. Every room is floored and every house is equipped with a toilet and bath room. The streets, though not paved, are planned exactly at right angles to each other.
A paved drain runs along the length of the streets. The chutes from individual quarters are linked to this drain. At small intervals these drains are connected to soakage pits. The houses were definitely raised to another floor above ground and had in many cases their own well situated in them.
These show features of a complete planning of all details before actual population moved in them. The defence walls are another example of this perfect planning. Evidences of reinforcement of the defence wall show a constant architectural vigil. At Surkotada another interesting feature recorded is the possibility of big wooden-trunks erected at the corners of the streets – as if to prevent a fast moving cart from damaging the building corners while negotiating the bend.
4. The copper and bronze objects, although limited in their typographical varieties, are uniformly found in almost all these far-flung cities. This is equally true of the seals, the beads and terra cotta objects. The uniformity of technique, casting and motif repetition leaves no doubt that a proper professional group must have been maintained within the society.
Likewise redistribution of produce (both agricultural and manufactured goods) must have been quite efficiently maintained in order to give rise to this remarkable homogeneity over such a vast region. Art objects on terra cotta, stone and in some instances on the metals throw some ventilation to the nature of the society that could attain such heights of organized urban centres.
Precious metals and stones on the one hand and chert blades (ribbon blades) on the other seem to indicate a stratified system. This is further substantiated by varying size of living quarters, partially incinerated bones stored in big jars outside the house for some and burials for others and facilities within the living quarters.
Since an exact picture of the burdens and privileges of the inhabitants of these houses will perhaps never be known to us, the nature of the statehood for us will remain merely as a possible hypothesis. Labour organization to cut wood and distributed to the potters or brick kiln workers, to man transport for internal distribution and dozens of other specific functions cannot be visualised without the possibility of a bureaucracy.
Thus, a statehood of some kind can be visualized. Alternately one can visualize a complex tribal structure based entirely on kinship alliance of a federal nature, (chiefdom). This alternate would seem more congruous with the situation of all the Afghan-Baluchi sites spread in the west. Further, this can also take care of the incongruity of a statehood rising suddenly at one place and not in the neighbourhood.
Finally, we must add that both cotton seeds (and hence textiles) and horses were initially claimed to have been domesticated by the Indus Valley people. Recently cotton has been decidedly proved as existing (from Mehergarh) in this region but existence of horse has yet to be confirmed by specialists. Thousands of bones from Surkotada claimed as horses might as well as be wild asses still found in this region. In a very recent study not published so far it appears that horse was identified beyond doubt at Surkotada.
Post Harappan Spread:
Around 1900 B.C. one can see a distinct change in the Harappan characteristics at the Harappan metropolitan sites. At Chanhu-daro, Jhukar and Amri one can observe this shift quite clearly. A new pottery style emerges and the township shows degeneration when compared with the architectural excellence of the earlier period.
The new type of pottery with buff colour and red to cream slip is often referred to as the Jhukar group. The pottery is ill fired, coarse and painted mainly with geometric motifs in black or purple. This is further followed by another group which is referred to as the Jhangar group who take to an entirely grey or black pottery.
Similarly at the citadel mound in Harappa the change is noted in the form of a new element which is referred to as Cementry-H pottery. Besides the pottery there is a new feature of urn burials recorded in this phase and this led to the belief of an exogenous intrusion. The ceramics are a red ware elaborately painted with black paints.
Motifs like peacocks, bulls and pipal leaves occur although in quite different combination e.g. leaves sprouting from horns or humps of bulls, tiny human figure lying supine in the stomach of peacocks etc. In the forms which are new one can see the footed vessels with narrowed and cylindrical necks, coconut shaped ringed jars with lids and carinated jars.
The situation in east Punjab and Haryana is no less interesting. Here bordering Rajasthan (in Haryana) occur several sites, which have mainly a rural character and only influence of Harappan ceramics, between 1900 to 1200 B.C. These have been given such names as Siswal A, B, C & D or Mitathal depending on the region one is dealing with. There are some mud-brick structures also found in some of the sites but these do not compare with either Kalibangan (Rajasthan) or Banawali (Haryana) – both being Harappan metropolis sites.
The site lies on the left bank of the now dry Chautang (ancient Drishadvati) about 26 km. west of Hissar in Haryana. Excavation in this site was done by Surajbhan. The mound reveals two cultural occupations termed as A and B. These are basically being classified on ceramic types.
It is a red ware with geometric decoration of black paint. Angular-walled bowls, globular jars, small dish-on- stand, and some S-shaped jars are the usual types attributed to this period. Generally this falls in the Pre-Harappan category in the Kalibangan scale.
Most of the Mature Harappan types are repeated including both shape and decoration.
Mostly all Mature Harappan types disappear. The distinctive types are carinated bowls, dish-on-stand and jars with high collared rims. The decorations are mainly geometric and at instances seem to be carelessly executed. There are some similarities of this pottery group with cementry-H type pottery as well.
It is marked by the emergence of Painted Grey wares with other Siswal forms.
The mound of Mitathal is located along the dried up course of the Yamuna, near Bhiwani in Haryana. Excavation was carried out by Suraj Bhan, and two cultural phases have been recorded. Period II is further sub-divided into two sub-periods IIA and IIB.
Period I yields few Harappan wares, which are comparable to Siswal B ceramics. Most brick structures were exposed. Period IIA yielded typically Harappan pottery, household objects and dwellings. The mud-bricks of the size 40 × 20 × 10 cm are similar to those of Kalibangan Period II. Other finds include long chert blades, terra cotta cakes and toy cart wheel of Harappan type, cubical chert weights, etc., Period IIB is marked by a general impoverishness of Harappan materials.
Ceramics are lesser in variety. Both treatment and decoration on them are poorer in quality, although this period also yields terra cotta toy cart wheels and wheeled toy animals of earlier phase. The other objects found include a flat copper celt, a wide splayed axe and bangles. Harappoons and rings of copper found in an earlier occasion are also linked to this phase.
This site is situated in district Kurukshetra in Haryana. It was excavated by Joshi. Two cultural phases are described. These are the Late Harappans or Post urban phase of Harappa and a younger phase.
The earlier phase is represented by red ware (both plain and painted), grey ware, terra cotta bulls, toy cart wheels, and copper rods. Bone points, terra cotta bangles and beads, faience bangles and beads of semi-precious stones are other finds of significance. The houses were constructed atop mud platforms- probably to protect them from the eventuality of flood. A terra cotta seal with Indus character inscribed forms another important evidence. The later phase is found interlocked with Painted Grey ware.
It is another late Harappan site located in the district Karnal of Haryana. Again two phases are described almost in the same pattern and with same kind of cultural features as in Bhagwanpura.
Harappan intrusion further east into the Ganga- Yamuna doab during its terminal period is evidenced by few very interesting occurrences. Hulas is one of these and is situated in the district Saharanpur in western U.P. The site records 5 cultural phases of which Period I is designated to Late Harappan, Period II to painted Grey Ware and the rest to successively further younger periods. Period I yields typical Harappan painted ceramics, solid mud brick structures.
Kiln burnt bricks, circular hearths and other minor structural remains are described from this phase. Terra cotta beads, animal figurines, cart wheels, faience beads, bangles, pots, beads of agate and fragments of copper bangles are the usual antiquities of this period. In addition to these bone points, stone querns and pestles are objects of significance recorded. Period II is a PGW phase and also yields iron slag.
This is situated in Meerut district and is near the river Hindon. Four cultural phases are identified here. Period-I is designated to Post Urban phase or Late Harappan period. Excavation revealed structures of burnt bricks. The ceramic content is poorer than Harappan both in technique as well as shape and decoration. It is quite likely that Alamgirpur evidences rise out of new and entirely local ceramic tradition which might have risen from a Late Harappan base.
Bargaon and Ambakheri:
Both these sites are in Saharanpur district of Uttar Pradesh and are not very far from each other. Harappan pottery, chert blades, terra cotta cakes, terra cotta toy carts in addition to faience bangles and stone weights clearly indicates its Harappan affinity. Some ceramic types at Ambakheri seem to have an affinity with the O.C.P. (Ocher coloured pottery. It is believed that late Harappans were immediately followed by O.C.P. in west U.P. and this still is pre-iron in cultural status).
It is interesting to note that in these sites the Harappan element does not show as sudden a disappearance as is noted in the various metropolis. Looking at the few carbon dates available one can easily surmise that the change was more sudden in the urban centers than in the rural hinterlands which had some kind of contact with the former. This is typical of a situation where the political nerve is centered within the city. At this juncture we might briefly enumerate various reasons of the end of Harappan civilization as claimed by various experts on the subject.
One group of scholars argued that the Indus was suddenly choked by a mud extrusion caused by tectonic movement. Silting of the river caused havoc with agriculture and hence the economy. Another group of scholars felt that Aryans invaded these regions and plundered them to establish their own kind of culture.
Yet there is a third group who feels that the Harappan civilization itself was a product of Aryan culture who in the face of increasing aridity in the Indus plain slowly migrated to the Gangetic basin.
It is very important at this stage to mention that from the archaeological record one has no methodological possibility of reconstructing what language was spoken. Further, it is difficult to demonstrate that fire was not worshipped by any Chalcolithic culture. So it is better to abandon this much maligned word (Aryan) once for all from the books of archaeology.
Climatic shift argument recently offered from the Ghaggar source seems, at the present state of our knowledge, as most convincing. It proposes that Ghaggar had the possibility of releasing huge amount of water into the Indus when most of the upper tributaries feeding Ghaggar were active.
Either a tectonic movement in these unstable hills or a gradual climatic shift rendered Ghaggar dry and shifted the feeder tributaries to Chautang and finally to the Yamuna. Indus was naturally reduced in both strength and extent. This must have caused a decline in the economy and hence fall of the cities. It will not, therefore, be surprising if in the rural epi-region such changes are hardly noticeable.
The Saurashtra region, unlike most of East Punjab and Harayana, demonstrates a fairly good concentration of an indegenous population before, during and after the Harappans in a vertical development without break. Rice, millet, sandle-wood and favourable cotton varieties of the region might have attracted the Harappans to this region, but their city collapse (Lothal, Surkotada or Desalpur) could not substantially affect these non- Harappans.
These are best exemplified at Rangpur, Somnath (Prabhas Patan) and Rojadi. Radio-carbon dated indicates this area being colonized from 2400 B.C. to 1400 B.C. – almost parallel to the Harappan development. Around 1900 B.C. the post -Harappan features start consolidating. By 1400 B.C. we have a completely different regional culture established.
The pre-pottery level (Period-I in Rangpur) shows a large number of microliths with probably mud houses which evolve into (Period-II) mud and burnt brick houses and drains. A micaceous red ware, buff ware and a coarse grey ware are introduced; along with these occur several typical Harappan artifacts.
Soon, a new Lustrous Red ware is introduced (Period III). Bowls jars and dishes are prepared in this specific fabric. Black and Red ware and carinated vessels become a dominant theme at this stage. Segmented faience beads are quite common throughout this phase.
At Somnath a curious feature of 3.8 × 2.4 meter rectangular house prepared by stone is found. Six double-roomed houses prepared in this fashion and enclosed by a wall have been identified as a market. Steatite seals with sheep engraved on them and a gold cup ornament are some of the other features of these Saurashtrain Chalcolithic sites.