DNA of a civilisation

Print edition : May 29, 2015

Archaeologists and scientists of Deccan College, Pune, examining a full-length skeleton of a male excavated from a Harappan burial site in Rakhigarhi in March. Photo: Deccan College, Pune

Pottery photographed in situ from a Harappan burial site. Photo: Deccan College, Pune

The skeleton of a woman found with the customary ritual pottery. Photo: Deccan College, Pune

A series of burials with pottery excavated from a mound at Rakhigarhi in the midst of a vast expanse of wheat fields. Photo: Deccan College, Pune

Pottery which was found with the remains of a skeleton in a burial pit in the Late Harappan site of Chanayan in Baghpat district, Uttar Pradesh, in December 2014. These include pots, deep bowls and flasks and might have contained cereals, milk, butter, etc., as part of some religious ceremony for the dead. Photo: Archaeological Survey of India

Remains of the Harappan grid-planned settlement at Farmana. The picture shows circular pits with post holes in which the Early Harappans lived. Photo: Deccan College, Pune

Vasant Shinde, Vice-Chancellor of Deccan College, Pune, and director of the excavations at Rakhigarhi and Farmana. Photo: Deccan College, Pune

Nilesh P. Jadhav, Research Assistant, Deccan College, and co-director of the excavation at Rakhigarhi. Photo: Deccan College, Pune

A pear-shaped potter's kiln built of clay and plastered on the inner side with fine silt, at Farmana. Its flat bottom and the sides are burnt red because of prolonged usage. Inside the circular portion of the kiln is a large brick, probably meant to support pots to be fired in it. Photo: Deccan College, Pune

A fire altar excavated at Farmana. Photo: Deccan College, Pune

A perfectly ribbed pot belonging to the Early Harappan phase excavated from one of the trenches at RGR-6 in Rakhigarhi. Photo: Deccan College, Pune

Pottery found in profusion at Rakhigarhi. Photo: Deccan College, Pune

A view of the excavated burials which are adjacent to one another at Farmana. All the 70 burials here belong to the Mature Harappan phase. Photo: Deccan College, Pune

A broken copper crown with carnelian and faience beads, found at Chandayan village, Uttar Pradesh, in August 2014. Photo: Archaeological Survey of India

An array of artefacts, including triangular and circular terracotta cakes, terracotta figurines, chert blades and beads made of semi-precious stones, found in RGR-4 and RGR-6 at Rakhigarhi.

A seal with the carving of a tiger and the impression of a similar one on a "terracotta sealing". Such seals were used for trade.

Skeletal remains excavated from Rakhigarhi in Haryana will prove useful in understanding the Harappans’ features, lifestyle and culture.

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