Indus Valley 2,000 years older than thought


Ajit Kumar AJIT KUMARWISDOM IAS, New Delhi.

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in November 2012 declared  that new radiocarbon dates from Indian and Pakistani excavations suggest that Indus Valley settlements began over 2,000 years earlier than previously thought. This makes the Indus Valley civilization older than those of Egypt and Babylon, according to ASI.. Ever since the excavations at Harappa and Mohenjo-daro in the early 1920s, the civilisation was considered almost as old as those of Egypt and Mesopotamia.
Latest research has put the date of the origin of the Indus Valley Civilisation at 6,000 years before Christ, which contests the current theory that the settlements around the Indus began around 3750 BC.
The finding was announced at the “International Conference on Harappan Archaeology”, recently organised by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in Chandigarh.
Based on their research, BR Mani, ASI joint director general, and KN Dikshit, former ASI joint director general, said : “The preliminary results of the data from early sites of the Indo-Pak subcontinent suggest that the Indian civilisation emerged in the 8th millennium BC in the Ghaggar-Hakra and Baluchistan area.”He continued that on the basis of radio-metric dates from Bhirrana (Haryana), the cultural remains of the pre-early Harappan horizon go back to 7380 BC to 6201 BC.
Excavations had been carried out at two sites in Pakistan and Bhirrana, Kunal, Rakhigarhi and Baror in India.
 “When Bhirrana [Rajasthan] was excavated, from 2003 to 2006, we [recovered artifacts that provided] 19 radiometric dates,” said Dikshit, who was until recently joint director general of the Archaeological Society of India. “Out of these 19 dates, six dates are from the early levels, and the time bracket is forming from 7500 BC to 6200 BC.”
In recent times, archaeologists divided the Indus Civilization into the pre-Harappan, mature Harappan and late Harappan periods. The pre-Harappan period was characterized by a primitive, Stone Age culture, while the late Harappan period featured sophisticated brick cities built on a grid system, with granaries, toilets and an as-yet undeciphered written language.
But the six samples discovered at Bhirrana include relatively advanced pottery, known as “hakra ware,” that suggests the ancient Harappan civilization began much earlier than previously believed — and that its epicenter lies in the Indian states of Harayana and Rajasthan, rather than across the border.
As Dikshit and his colleague, BR Mani, current joint director general of the ASI, write in a recent note on their findings:
“The earliest levels at Bhirrana and Kunal yielded ceramics and antiquities ... suggesting a continuity in culture, right from the middle of the eighth millennium BCE onwards ... till about 1800 BCE.”
That suggests the Harappan civilization is nearly as old as sites from West Asia such as Jericho, where evidence of a neolithic city has been found to date from as early as 9000 BC. But it also means that Harappa, with new proof of hakra ware dating to 7500 BC, may have been more technologically advanced — bolstering India's claim to the title of the cradle of civilization.
 

Monday, 27th Jan 2014, 08:39:15 PM

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