Historical and Archaeological Findings in News

Excavations in Kutch shed light on early Harappan custom


Mains Paper 1: Arts & Culture | All syllabus

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level:  Indus Valley civilization

Mains level: Various features of IVC


  • Archaeological excavations undertaken by a group of researchers have shed light on the custom and burial rituals that were prevalent during the early Harappan phase.
  • The team which camped in Khatiya village of Kutch unearthed several skeletal remains from a cemetery-like burial site where 26 graves out of the nearly 300-odd ones were excavated.

Burial Practices

  • The rectangular graves, each of varying dimensions and assembled using stones, contained skeletons that were placed in a specific manner.
  • They were oriented east-west with the heads positioned on the eastern side.
  • Next to the legs on the western side, the archaeologists found earthen pots and pottery shards and other artifacts, including conch-shell bangles, beads made of stones and terracotta, numerous lithic tools and grinding stones.
  • Of the 26 graves that were excavated, the biggest was 6.9 metres long and the smallest 1.2 metres long.
  • The skeletal remains of human beings in most of them were found to be disintegrated.
  • The presence of animal skeletons along with those of humans were also recorded in a few graves.
  • The skeletal remains will be sent to various laboratories to run tests to understand the age, gender, circumstances that could have led to the death and the salient features of the respective DNA.

What’s so special with it?

  • Interestingly, the researchers found the mode of burial to be non-uniform.
  • Instances of primary burial and secondary burial (when the remains of the primary burial are exhumed and moved to another grave) were found.
  • The researchers claimed that the mud pots bore similarities with those that were unearthed from other Harappan sites in Kot Diji, Amri and Nal in Pakistan and Surkotada and Dhaneti in Kutch.
  • This gives evidences to the trade network that could have existed during the early phase of the Harappan civilization from 3300 BCE to 2600 BCE.
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