Infinity Foundation sponsored new book project titled:
“Harappan Architecture and Civil Engineering”
by Jagat Pati Joshi, PhD
In the field of traditional knowledge systems, the Harappan civilization which flourished during the 3rd-2nd millennia BC ranks amongst the four widely known civilizations of the Old World and covers appreciably larger area than in the early Dynastic Egypt-or Sumer. Like the other Old World Civilizations, the Harappan civilization seems to have grown from the skilful utilisation of the fertile river systems and their valleys in the north-western region of Indo-Pakistan sub-continent. The Harappans have given systematic town planning, fortification of citadel, elaborate drainage system the idea of establishing of granaries and surplus economy, standardization of brick sizes, weights and measures, geometric instruments e.g. right angles, linear scale and plumb bob are the principal gifts of the Harappans to the succeeding cultures through the ages. It was the Harappans who gave the idea of welfare of the workers for the first time by establishing workmen’s quarters and now it has become a necessity. Different types of hydraulic architecture is another legacy of the Harappans besides many other in social, economic and religious fields.
Aims and Objectives of the Book
The book aims to bring out the aspects of Harappan architecture and civil engineering with a suitable background introducing the Harappan civilization, its different nomenclatures, distribution in the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent and possible origins, forms and chronology. The planned architecture of the cities of mature Harappan people catered the needs of all classes of society a factor which distinguishes it from the contemporary Mesopotamia and Egypt. So far, the development of architecture of citadel and residential areas is concerned there are sites wherein the development from rural to urbanized architecture could be gleaned. Besides religious and burial architecture, hydraulic architecture is an other distinctive features of the civilization. The text is fully illustrated with maps, charts, drawings, and photographs.
The Work Plan
1. Shape of the Book
The final shape of the book will consists of 9 chapters as summarised below with a suitable bibliography. The text will be of 250-300 pages. Each chapter will be illustrated by maps, charts, drawings and photographs.
The work plan consists of library study, visits to some sites, discussions with some of the excavations preparation of illustrations photographs, drawings and charts and the complete typing of the manuscript.
The work will be completed within 18 months or may be earlier from the date of the receipt of the approval of the proposal for the book and signing of the agreement.
Chapter I – Introductory
(i) History of Discovery
(iii) Distribution of sites
Chapter II – Origin, Form and Chronology
Chapter III – Settlement Patterns
Chapter IV – Settlement Types
(i) Harappa and Mohenjodaro
(iii) Rehman dheri
Chapter V – Evidence of Water Management and Hydraulic Engineering for Town Planning, Agriculture, Etc.
Chapter VI – Analysis of the Data Regarding Town Planning, Drainage System, Etc. Dealt with in Chapter III, IV and V.
Chapter VII – Religious Architecture
Chapter VIII – Burial Architecture
Chapter IX – Post Urban Harappans and Their Settlements
Chapter 1 – History of Discovery
On the trade route from Lahore to Multan, when Charles Masson first saw the mounds at Harappa in 1826 he hardly realized that the ancient mound contains remains of one of the earliest civilizations of the world. Lt. Alexanader Burns, the British King’s emissary to Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1831 stopped for a while at Harappa, gazed at the ruins, and went away to Lahore. It was in 1862, that Alexander Cunningham, the first Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India, during his excavations, found pottery and seals at Harappa. It was Major Clark who found a seal with a humpless bull and the engreved letters on it which Cunningham at that point of time, called foreign to India. Thus, the discovery of this great civilization began. Actual excavations were started in 1920-22 by Daya Ram Sahni under John Marshall at Mohenjodaro and by R.D. Banerjee at Harappa. N.G. Majumdar had made a survey of the Sind region. He explored and excavated many sites in the Indus Basin. In the succeeding decades after 1922, a large number of sites were discovered in the Indus Valley. The main centres of this civilization, that were found, at Mohenjodaro, District Larkana (Sind, Pakistan) and Harappa, District Montgomory (Panjab, Pakistan). Besides these, Dabarkot, Nokjoshahdinjai, Chanhudaro, Lohumjodaro, Amri, Pandiwahi, Aliumurad and Ghazi Shah in Pakistan yielded remains of similar culture. Since many of these sites were located in the Indus Basin, scholars named this civilization as Indus Valley Citilization. This was due to the fact that civilization was then limited to the Indus Valley proper.
Before the partition of India (1947), comparatively few sites of Harappan civilization (named after Harappa, the first discovered type-site), more popularly known as Indus Civilization, had been discovered. However, by that time the results of excavations at Mohenjodaro, Harappa and Chanhudaro were already published and the explorations carried out in Punjab, Sind and Baluchistan by Stein and Mazumdar were also available in the Memoirs of the Archaeological Survey of India. Thus, the civilization was confined more or less to the limits of Indus Basin and was considered to have ‘stagnating’ cultural traits.
Research after Independence, changed the position regarding the extent, culture-contents, regional variations etc. of the Indus Civilization. The evidence gives a plethora of information regarding environmental factors, regional adaptations and variability in settlement patterns and social and religious fabric of the civilization. The entire scenario is based on material evidence which tends to give new insights for understanding the Harappan Citilization, its settlement types, planning and architecture. During the last eight decades, due to the consistent efforts of archaeologists, more than 862 pre-Harappan, Harappan and the Late Harappans sites have been discovered in India and most of these newly discovered sites are in the Sarasvati basin. Some archaeologists have now come out with such nomenclatures as ‘Indus-Sarasvati Citilization’ or ‘Sarasvati-Hakra Civilization’.
The area of distribution of Harappan settlements runs (about 1100 sites) broadly from Sutkagendor in Makran (Pakistan) and Desaipur and Dholavira in Kachchha in the west, Manda in southern Jammu (J&K) Rehman Dheri in the north Pakistan Daimabad in Maharashtra in the south and Hulas in Saharanpur District in U.P., India in the east. If Pakistan sites are also included it covers an area of 2.5 million km.
It will not be out of place to mention here that the extent of this culture in the subcontinent was far greater than the contemporary civilizations of the Nile in Egypt, Euphrates and Tigris in Syria and Iraq. The excavated sites of Harappan Culture have yielded a substantial number of radiocarbon dates. As a result, the age range for the Harappan culture is between c. 2600 and 2000 B.C.
By and large, Pre-Harappan/Early Harappan and Harappan sites are located along major rivers. Contrary to this. Late Harappan sites are found along tributaries, and in the upper reaches of these rivers. For convenience sake, the area covered by Indus Civilization can now be divided into six zones:
(1) Punjab (type site: Harappa); (2) Rajasthan, Haryana (type site: Kalibangan) (3) Bahawalpur (type site: Ganweriwala) (4) Sind (type site: Mohenjo-daro); (5) Baluchistan (type site: Kulli Harappan phase) ; (6) Gujarat (type sites: Dholavira, Lothal).
In India excavated sites in the eastern region are Ropar and Bara (1953-55). Kalibangan (1960-69), Mitathal(1968-73 and 1980-86), Siswal (1970), Banawali (1975-83), Bhagwanpura (1975-76), Manda (1976-77), Hulas (1978-83), Rohira (1982-83), Rakhigarhi (1997-98) and Dhalewan 2000 & 2001. The southern region sites are Rangpur (1935, 1937, 1947 and 1953-56), Rojdi (1951-52, 1977-78, and 1983-84), Bhagatrav (1953-55), Lothal (1955-62), Prabhas (1972-75), and Daimabad (1974-78), Dholavira (1990-98), Kuntasi (1988-90), Padri (1991-93).
Of the six zones, the first four have a number of sites where the Harappan Culture is found stratigraphically late; than a variety ofChalcolithic cultures. These have been termed as Pre-Harappan/Early Harappan sites of formative stage or of antecedent culture. Practically in every zone there are three kinds of situations:
(a) where there is a clear stratigraphic break between the Pre-Harappan and Harappan Cultures, although the two complexes are found in mixed form through a number of layers subsequent to the layer marking break, e.g. Kot Diji and Kalibangan, (b) where the stratigraphic break is not clearly marked and a situation of overlap exists, e.g. Banawali; Kalibangan, Dholavira, (c) where the Harappan Culture never reached the site of Pre-Harappans, such as Jalilpur, Sarai Khola, etc.
Chapter 2 – Origin, Form and Chronology
The Harappan civilization is available in a full-fledged form in the Indus Valley, Rajasthan and Gujarat. A Ghosh (1981) has said, “… this itself lends to it a peculiarly romantic charm while death from unidentified source is understandable, unnatural birth is an unnatural phenomenon”. M. Wheeler (1946) had postulated that ‘opportunity’ and ‘genius’ might be responsible for the origin of this civilization. One thing is certain that it did not appear with a bang. Various theories have been propounded regarding the ‘origin’ and ‘form’ of the civilization and it would be clear that its origin cannot be explained by a single factor whether ‘colonization’ or ‘acculturation’. Pattern of culture contacts between the Indus plain and the adjoining region on the west varied according to both time and space, with the result that we often have a spectrum of intermediary situations between the two opposite extremes, viz. ‘colonization’ and ‘acculturation’ leading to regional development. The latest evidence from sites such Kalibangan, Dholavira, Banawali, Kunal and Dhalewan in India; Nausharo, Balakot, Mehrgarh, Lewan, Rehmandheri, Amri, Ghazi Shah, Kot Diji in Pakistan show independent growth except economic interaction growth and changing civilizational process spread from the seventh millennium to the third millennium B.C. in which many sites were involved. Some of these sites have shown architectural origins of the mature Harappan Period which shows a development process. The beginnings of systematic planning fortification, for the settlements could be gleaned. This appears to be a plausible hypothesis for the origin of Indus Civilization. The process is widespread within the northwestern part of the subcontinent. The urban revolution could be due to ‘cultural capital’ and ‘material capital’.
Recently an intermediate phase between the Early- Harappan and Harappan has been identified at Banawali and Dholavira by the excavator. Similarly the evidence at Padri in Saurashtra is equally interesting. The recently excavated Pre-Harappan, Early Harappan material from Kunal, District Hissar, Haryana, is most revealing wherein two crowns, armlets, bangles, necklaces and pendants of various size in precious metals (gold and silver); 12000 beads of carnelian; and steatite seals having Harappan shape and style but without the typical animal and pictographic script have been found.
Of course, the Pre-Harappans / Early Harappans had the knowledge of building of citadels, knew the dish-on- stand form in pottery and were acquainted with fish scale and peepal leaf design, but did not have the ‘state of urbanization’ . They had some sort of distant trade mechanism also. The ‘homed design’ and the ‘pipal leaf are well depicted in the Early Harappan levels at Kalibangan and Banawali. Perhaps this appears to be a precursor of the horned deity of the seals of Indus. The concept of use of seals was there, but without writing. Predating Indus levels, seals from Mehrgarh and Nausharo are made of clay, bone and ivory. Seals from Rehman Dehri have a small knob also. At Kunal steatite seals have been found with a geometric motif and an incipient boss at the back. Kunal has bone tools and micro-blades of chalcedony. Triangular cakes and dice heads are also available besides a short blade industry. Some of the graffiti found at Rehman Dheri, Kalibangan, Amri, etc. are akin to Harappan ones. These elements are found in the subsequent Harappan Culture. Lal (1997) has rightly pointed out that the mature ‘Harappan revolution’ took place within Kot Diji, Rehman Dheri, Banawali triangle between 2600-2500 BC. He has very carefully analysed the radiocarbon dates of the Harappan Citilization and has ascribed a time bracket for the mature Harappan between Circa 2600 BC to 2000 BC.
Chapter III – Settlement Patterns
Location of settlements
Settlement patterns of the Harappans were conditioned by the behaviour of the river providing an active flood plain and ecology, navigability of the river for internal trade, climate, accessibility to natural resources and trade routes, both internal and external. Development of a city is greatly dependent on these factors. The Harappan settlements in its extant form narrate the history of its construction, the force that brought it into being, its successive building phases, its purpose and the people behind its construction and other natural causes of its decay and distraction.
The settlements types and their positioning also reflect the importance from the point of view of distant marine trade e.g., Lothal and Mohenjodaro, Chanhudaro and Sutkagandor and Harappa; for trade with the hinterland etc. In the excavated sites, the Harappan settlements are found built of mud bricks, burnt bricks and chiselled stones. While use of stones and mud bricks is limited to Kachchh and Saurashtra area, mud bricks are largely used at Harappa, Kalibangan, Lothal and Banawali besides burnt bricks. The size of bricks remained the same everywhere. The ratio of brick size is 1:2:4. The use of stone in making the houses and defenses in Saurashtra and Kachchh was perhaps due to the easy accessibility of stone in the neighbourhood. It may be seen that there is considerable regional variation in the use of building material for architecture based on the availability and climatic conditions. The Harappans achieved their town planning with the geometric instruments that they had developed, e.g.the compass, plumb bob and the right angle. These instruments are found at Lothal. A right angle was found at Dholavira; linear measuring scales have been found at Lothal and Kalibangan.
The Ghaggar River system, with its own network of tributaries, along which lie hundreds of sites was a mighty river system. It was a more stable river system than the Beas, Sutlej and Ravi, which were erratic in their behaviour. It provided a consistent and better line of communication through the Sirhind Nala between Punjab and Rajasthan for getting timber from the areas of present Himachal Pradesh. The Ghaggar-Sarasvati-Hakra system had three major ‘economic pockets’. The first was on the north along Sirhind where in an area of 120 km2, in Mansa District, Punjab, seven cities, six towns and fourteen villages (on the basis of the size of mounds and cultural deposit) have been located at a distance of 3-5 km are indicative of an ideal situation of an urban complex and commercial interaction. The second or the central pocket was in Bikaner Bhawalpur area where 400 sites have been located in an area of 1000 km from Yazdan to Derawar Fort belonging to the Pre-Harappan and Harappan times. The third, southern one, in Kachchh, which is geographically half way between Sind and Gujarat and has a concentration of about 50 sites of the Harappan and Late Harappan periods. These three ‘economic pockets’ in the ‘culture empire’ of the Harappan provided a strong economic base that is the foundation of the ‘urban boom’. It may thus be inferred that Harappan settlements are largely located along the major and perennial rivers. It is also seen that the urban phase of the civilization had technological potentialities to raise high defenses and platforms which needed resources, builders, planning, engineering skill and instruments and a large man-power. It has been reported that 21 rural Harappan sites have been identified in District Mahesna, Gujarat besides Valabhi which has yielded evidence of a cattle breeding centre during the Harappan times.
It has been observed that the settlement size of matured Harappan people are much bigger than the early Harappan sites. At times, there is a big gap between the sites Mughal has anticipated a four tier hierarchy in the settlement pattern of early Harappans. In India, upto this day there are mounds having early Harappan and Harappan cultures but in Pakistan there are separate mounds of early Harppans / preHarappan also.
Chapter IV – Settlement Types
The excavated sites give a fairly good idea of settlement types of the Harappans and the Public architecture involved. At this stage, it may be pointed out that planning, orientation of streets, houses, defence walls have been seen in the early Harappan sites at Kalibangan, Mehargarh VII A, Kotdiji, Rehmandheri and Naushero.
The following matured Harappan sites give evidence of town planning, drainage system, defences and water management of an organised urban society:
(i) Harappa and Mohenjodaro: At Harappa and Mohenjodaro, the ancient ruines show a citadel mound distinct from the lower city. Other fortified sites of this culture are at Sutkogendor, AliMurad, GhaziShah and Daburkot etc. At Harappa, the defence phase is marked by the Rampart wall made of mud bricks and externally revetted with burnt bricks and having rectangular towers and a circular gate way on the west. Two rows of workmen quarters, platform with circular depressions, granary having air ducts and ramp with streets cutting at right angles having cart nuts have been found at Harappa.
At Mohenjodaro, the citadel has rectangular bestions and the buildings notably the granary shows the use of timber as a reinforcement material. The Great Bath, granary having passage for air and sockets for super structure, Assembly Hall, the so-called College building, depression for keeping merchandise, wide and covered drains, houses single or double storied, wide roads cutting at right angles have been also found at Mohenjodaro. There is a great similarity in the systematic and elaborate town planning both at Harappa and Mohenjodaro. The same is the case with Chandudaro.
(ii) Kotdiji: It is an important site in Sind having a citadel and the lower town. It has defensive wall with a mud brick revetment in the exterior with bestions and the inner face was enforced at intervals with a stone revetment bounded with stone courses at the bottom.
In the early Harappan levels mud brick and mud pise houses with stone footings are found. The occupation was followed by bigger mature Harappan settlement but surprisingly, without a fortification.
(iii) Rehman Dheri: At this site, mud brick houses, mud brick platforms and fortification streets are available in period II which appears to be a formative phase to mature Harappan culture leading to monumental architecture.
(iv) Naushero: Six km away from Mehargarh, the site of Naushero having developed Kotdijian settlement at the site where blocks of mud houses divided by roads and streets are found. The typical Indus pottery is associated with the monumental structures of IC. In period ID, many large sized structures of mud bricks and platforms and a 7.25 m wide wall antidating mature Harappan period. Period II is a mature Harappan period. In comparison to Daborkot, it was a smaller settlement but sharing fully the developmental process towards maturity of urbanization. The other sites are Gumla and Lewan.
(v) Kalibangan: Kalibangan, having a fulfledged Early Harappan fortified settlement, houses on both sides of streets, brick on edge platforms, perhaps bathrooms) and drains of baked bricks. In the succeeding Harappan period, Kalibangan had a citadel in the west and fortified chessboard patterned city in the east. The citadel has an impressive gateway in the south with a flight of steps to climb up to the platforms. The citadel is divided into two parts, i.e., one having platforms and other having a residential complex for the elite, separated by a wall. The sie had a cemetery.
(vi) Banawali: The Harappans at Banawali built a citadel and lower town was secured by a fortification on three sides and was designed like an irregular trapezium following the planning of the Pre-Harappans with a few marginal modifications. At a late stage, they dug a deep and broad moat around the town. On account of a different configuration for both the lower town and the citadel set within it in the form of a semicircular division, the street-system became curiously radial or semi-radial with an elaborate gate way complex.
(vii) Lothal: Lothal had a dockyard, a warehouse, a granary, a high acropolis and a lower city and a cemetery.
(viii) Surkotada: Surkotada had a citadel and a fortified residential annexe. The citadel had in imposing gateway complex. The citadel and residential annexe had an intercommunicating ramp and later a gateway. The site had a cemetery.
(ix) Dholavira: The latest excavations at Dholavira brought to light a rectangular town plan of an Harappan city boldly outlined by a massive fortification which houses in it deep and long open spaces surrounding three principal divisions named as “acropolis”, “middle town” and “lower town”-the first two of them strongly fortified. The entire walled city accounts for an area of nearly 49 ha which may go upto 100 ha if all the city suburbs spread far and wide to its west also included. The acropolis was provided with one gate at each side. Of the two gates, one each on the east and north are exposed and found furnished with a flight of steps, a sunken passageway flanked by elevated chambers, and a high front terrace-a remarkably elaborate layout. Further, use of highly polished stone-blocks and pillars along the passage-may speak of architectural achievement without parallel at any Indus site so far. In the centre of the citadel, there is an almost 13 m wide water reservoir along with a feeder channel covered with slabs and provided with manholes for occasional desilting. Besides, there are two lapidary workshops. The most outstanding discovery is the find of a large sized inscription of ten Harappan signs which may be a signboard? The site had a cemetery.
(x) Rojdi: The excavation at Rojdi, besides the discovery of imposing architecture e.g, fortification, gateway, the large square build in and houses built of stone rubble has given new insight in the evolution of Harappan Culture of Saurashtra which the excavators feel is a “newly discovered regional expression of the Harappan urban phase (the ‘Sorath Harappans”) appears to be an addition to the settlement type and evolutionary process in Saurashtra.
(xi) Kuntasi: Kuntasi (District Rajkot), a Harappan site ‘was basically not an agricultural settlement but appears to have been a centre for procuring raw materials and processing them into finished products primarily for exporting them to Sindh and West Asia. The settlement was a port and a manufacturing centre.
Chapter V – Evidence of Water Management and Hydraulic Engineering for Agriculture and Trade
The western part of the Indo-Pak subcontinent in the third millennium B.C. had fertile land, watered by the Indus and Sarasvati with sufficient rainfall. Even in Rajasthan there was 450 mm rainfall. The palaeobotanical studies carried out on the excavated samples of grains from Harappan sites in Sindh, Punjab and Gujarat have thrown a flood of light, on the food habits of the people. The discovery of a ploughed field in the pre-Harappan or Early Harappan levels at Kalibangan does indicate the pattern of ploughing, i.e., two sets of furrows cutting it at right angles, one set east-west and other north-south. Similar pattern of ploughing is still prevailing in Rajasthan where two crops of mustard and horse gram are grown in the same field.
While the staple food of Harappans in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan was wheat and barley, the Gujarat people grew rice, ragi and jowar. Wild plants, grasses sedges and other weeds were also used at Surkotada. Different types of cereals e.g, wheat and barley in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan and millets and jowar in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Kachchh were grown in congenial regional environments of Harappan Civilization. The evidence of granaries from Mohenjodaro, Harappa and Lothal indicate surplus food produce. The evidence from Allahdino suggests the Harappans knew irrigation according to Fairservis who describes ‘Harappans as master hydraulic engineers’. He suggests well water irrigation could be possible. The Great Bath and its covered drains and drains at Mohenjodaro are examples of conservation and water management. The evidence from Dholavira indicates the Harappans were excellent in water management and conservation. Frankfort (1985) located a canal in the Ghaggar-Harka plain as old as the Harappan times. The availability of water tanks at Dholvaria dams suggests reservoirs for potable water and bundsfor small irrigation also. The dockyard at Lothal is another excellent example of creating a water body for berthing of small boats. The Harappan sites e.g, Kalibangan, Lothal, Mohenjodaro have pucca brick lined wells. Shaikh and Ashfaque have pointed out that the demand for Harappan cotton by the contemporary communities of Iran and Mesopotamia increased the cultivation of cotton by the Harappans and achieved a “cotton empire” and brought an urban revolution. This could be one of the many other factors in bringing an economic boom.
Chapter VI – Analysis of the Data Regarding Town Planning, Drainage System etc. Dealth with in Chapter III, IV and V
In this chapter, a detailed comparative, analytical discussion will be provided regarding location, ecology, navigability of the river for internal and external distant trade, accessibility to natural resources. The various settlements patterns, their general formations and developments from pre-Harappan / early Harappan to matured Harappan urban phase particularly keeping in view the climate, irrigation agriculture and trade for its subsistence. Here full advantage will be taken of the various excavations and explorations surveys made in last ninety years. The sizes of the mounds showing villages, towns and cities will be considered on the available data.
The various settlement types of the matured Harappans have different geometrical shapes based on utilitarian angle e.g, the twin mounds or areas having citadel and chess patterned lower township as at Harappa, Mohenjodaro, Kalibangan and Rakhigarhi. Lothal having an acropolis, and lower township and a dock-yard, Surkotada, having a citadel and a lower annexe and Dholavira had a citadel, middle and lower town. The possible cause of this regional variation was utilitarian or climatic or availability of raw material or any other which will be analysed in depth.
Sites which have been excavated will be put under analysis regarding their orientation, fortification, gateways, house blocks, houses, streets and lanes along with their measurements and ratios involved in the construction. The availability of raw building material i.e., sunbaked bricks, baked bricks chiseled stones, foundations and superstructures, single and double storeyed houses, streets cutting at right angles, crossings having fender-posts, as at Kalibangan, construction of dock-yard at Lothal, with a spill channel, granaries at Harappa, Mohenjodaro and Lothal will be discussed.
Analysis of Water management including irrigation, drains, water dams and reservoirs, wells and canals will be discussed and their relationship with the population trade and agriculture will be analysed.
Chapter VII – Religious Architecture
Recent excavations have added new dimensions in the field of Harappan religion and religious architecture. The excavation at Kalibangan has given evidence of a) individual fire worship having a separate room in the house in which a pit housing a vertical terracotta stump with ash is placed, b) high altars in the citadel mound with a series of fire altars with brick-lined pits having ash and animal bones, c) outside the city on the east within a mud walled area a series of fire altars with pits containing ash. Besides this a sacrificial brick lined pit having animal bones has been discovered. Circular and square fire altars have been reported from Lothal and Vagad with ash and animal bones. A circular pit having 165 cm diameter with a pranala towards south, and a conical clay stump at the centre has been found within the pit having much ash at Nageshwar. The pit produced very high temperature as shown by its walls. The excavator feels ‘the structure was used to produce intense heat like a pillar of fire’. More recently Banawali has also given the evidence of an apsidal temple with a fire altar. According to some, the Great Bath at Mohenjodaro was also connected with some ceremonial religious bath/s.
Chapter VIII – The Burial Architecture
The excavated sites at Harappa, Kalibangan, Lothal, Ropar, Surkotada and Dholavira have given sufficient evidence of different types of burials in the Harappa civilization.
The location of cemetery was at Kalibangan in the west south-west of the citadel mound; Lothal at the south-western corner of the habitation; at Surkotada north-western corner of the habitation mound; at Rupar on the western side of the settlement; at Harappa on the south of the citadel; at Rakhigarhi on the north of the habitation and at Dholavira towards the west of the habitation. Probably, the location of the cemetery depended on the wind direction so that polluted air of the symmetry could be avoided. At Lothal due to paucity of space, the cemetery was put at a slightly higher ground. At Kalibangan, there were separate areas of extended and pot burials in the cemetery itself.
It has been found that following types of pits were dug to bury the dead in different regions:
1. Extended burials in rectangular or oblong pits with pots and pans. (Harappa)
2. Extended burial with mud brick lining in the grave. (Harappa)
3. Extended burial with a mud brick tumulus over it. (Harappa)
4. Extended burial in a coffin of rose wood with a lid of deodar wood. (Harappa)
5. Extended burial in a rectangular grave, pit lined on four sides with mud bricks and plastered with mud and chunam. It contain more than 70 pots and pans below the body and in the sides. (Kalibangan)
6. Rectangular memorial grave without any skeletal remains. (Kalibangan)
7. Rectangular grave with a step with a large number of skeletons entered at different phases. (Kalibangan)
8. Rectangular grave with brick lined walls and double skeletons.
9. Round or oblong pot burials without any skeletal remains (Kalibangan).
10. Round or oval pot burials with bone (Kalibangan).
11. Ovoid grave pit only pots were put covered by a rectangular stone slab. (Surkotada)
12. Ovoid grave pit with a pot having a piece of charred bone and covered by a slab. (Surkotada)
13. Ovoid pit provided with a stone lining of slabs, some uncharred bones and pot sherds covered by a cairn of stones. (Surkotada)
14. Heap up stone or cairn over a pit having only broken pots, no skeletal remains. (Surkotada)
15. A rectangular Underground pit with a cist having walls of slabs covered with a small slab. (Dholavira)
16. Hemispherical large crescent shaped earthen accumulation. (Dholavira)
17. Cairn circle, a circle of stones packed with stones on the top. (Dholavira)
18. A large stone circle containing in its periphery several stone circles.(Dholavira)
19. Cenotaph, a stone cenotaph of over an earthen mound. (Dholavira)
Chapter IX – Post Urban Harappans and Their Settlements
The end of Harappan cities in Punjab and particularly in Sind could be due to massive flooding, tectonic movement, climatic changes and increase of aridity in the area in c. 1800 BC. The myth of Aryan invasion and Wheelers theory of massacre at Mohenjo-daro does not hold any ground now. It appears that the collapse of the distant trade mechanism and population implosion and overuse of land resources set a devolutionary process that brought the end of the Harappan Civilization.
In Possehl ‘s directional and geographical classification of Harappan Civilization in the Indian Subcontinent, the eastern domain consists of the present Jammu, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Western Region of U.P. Besides the important excavated sites, e.g. Manda, Jammu (J and K), Kalibangan (Rajasthan), Banawali Bhagwanpura, Ball Daulatpur, Mitathal, Mirzapur, (Haryana) Dadheri, Kathpalon, Nagar SanghoJ (Punjab) Alamgirpur and Hulas, (U.P.), the area has a large number of Mature and the so-called Late Harappan and Post Harappan sites. The culture which is available from these sites is non-urban in form as compared to its antecedent Mature Harappan Culture. The culture content has an amalgum of ceramic industries linking these with Pre-Harappan, Harappan, Late Harappa and Bara Culture traditions showing continuity in a devolutionary process making the entire study interesting and complex.
It indicates a stage of de-urbanization after the mature phase ofHarappan Culture. What one may consider the degenerate phase ofHarappan which is characterized by the absence of monumental architecture, large sized settlement, town planning and chert blades. Some kind of script and graffiti smaller seals, devoid of animal motifs steatite discular beads, pottery forms ofHarappan culture and copper all present. It also seems to us that surplus food economy, distant trade and control of central authority did not exist. The devolution is well documented in the Gujarat area as seen from the excavations at Rangpur. There is a large number of sites belonging to this stage in Gujarat. Kanewal and a large number of sites in Saurashtra and Gujarat which are Late Harappan and rural in nature tend to further attest the rural pattern of Harappan Culture and its diffusion process. Bhan has reported even round huts and seasonal pastoral camps of the Late Harappan from 231 sites in Gujarat.
In the eastern domain, the settlement pattern of these protohistoric cultures was primarily dependent on the changing pattern of river systems. In other words the hydrological changes adversely affecting the availability of water in the middle and lower courses of the perennial river systems like the Ghaggar-Sarasvati, made the Harappans leave their settlements, and break their urban fabric forever. In the wake of these two phenomena lies the fragmentation of Harappan cities both qualitatively and demographically. No wonder, the number of Late Harappan sites registers manifold increase but in a non-urban scenario of smaller and shallower settlements much closer to each other than earlier shows an intimate culture affinity which they did not shed off. The movements of the Late Harappans favoured areas in the northern regions of present states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh since in these area the older system still retained water besides nearness to timber and minerals which became an essential need in a less economically viable Late Harappan society in the region. The directional change in the settlement pattern from Harappan to Late Harappan phase has been from west to east and from major river valleys to tributaries in the higher regions. This was the situation in Uttar Pradesh where during the Late Harappan times the tributaries of the Yamuna (Krishni and Hindon) were favoured. The settlements were also of smaller size and appear to be mainly agriculture based. These sites are on higher elevation and are located on an average distance of 5-12 km and perhaps had close contacts and communication in a rural network of settlements in the cotton-growing belt. It appears that this phase of Late Harappan Culture emerged at some point of time in the post mature Harappan phase when people were inhibiting the Mansa region of Punjab as attested to by six Late Harappan sites. Significantly this stage is not found in Rajasthan. As said earlier, it has been observed that the concentration of Late Harappan sites is more in the upper regions, most probably due to the fact that this movement brought them nearer to the less flooded region.
In this chapter, the details of architecture at Rangpur Bhagwanpura Balu, Bara Hulas will be discussed in detail.