Image Source: Wikimedia

Rakhigarhi, is a village in Hisar, Haryana. It is a pre-Indus Valley Civilization site going back to about 6500 BCE that was also a part of the mature Indus Valley Civilisation (2600-1900 BCE). 

Located in the now dry Sarasvati river plain, it encompasses a set of seven mounds, and many more settlement mounds in the immediate vicinity not all which were occupied at the same time. The discovery of additional mounds resulted is extremely important as it led to Rakhigarhi becoming the largest Indus Valley Civilization site, overtaking Mohenjodaro.

Unfortunately, a lot of the area hasn’t excavated and published. However, the most concerning thing is that in May 2012, the Global Heritage Fund (non-profit organization that operates internationally, co-funding for global heritage sites to ensure their sustainable preservation and responsible development), declared Rakhigarhi one of the 10 most endangered heritage sites in Asia. 

In 1963, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) began excavations at this site, still, little has been published about it. Further excavations were conducted the ASI headed by the archaeologist, Amarendra Nath, between 1997 and 2000. The more recent excavations have been performed by Vasant Shinde.

Evidence of paved roads, drainage system, large rainwater collection, storage system, terracotta bricks, statue production, and skilled working of bronze and precious metals have been uncovered. 

Digging so far reveals a well planned city with 1.92 m wide roads, pottery, pits surrounded by walls thought to be for sacrificial or some religious ceremonies. There are also brick lined drains to handle sewage from the houses, terracotta statues, weights, bronze artefacts, comb, copper fish hooks, needles and terracotta seals have also been found. 

In April 2015, four complete human skeletons were excavated belonging to two male adults, one female adult and one child. Pottery with grains of food as well as shell bangles were found around these skeletons. As the skeletons were excavated scientifically without any contamination, archaeologists think that with their DNA obtained, it is possible to determine how Harappans looked like 4500 years ago. DNA tests have been carried out on a single skeleton. Results announced in September 2018 showed that the skeleton had no Steppe DNA which may support the idea that Steppe DNA was introduced to India later by the Indo-Aryans.

From some other skeletons we know that bone remains of secondary burials were not charred hence ruling out the possibility of cremation practices. Parasite eggs which were once existed in the stomach of some of those buried were found in the burial sites along with human skeletons. Analysis of Human DNA obtained from human bones as well as analysis of parasite and animal DNA will be done to assert origins of these people.







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