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14 April 2009
Largest Harappan burial site found in India

A team of archaeologists from the Deccan College Post Graduate and Research Institute is back from Haryana (India) where they stumbled upon a record 70 Harappan graves at a site in Farmana, discovering the largest burial site of this civilisation in India so far.
     The excavation proved one of the biggest breakthroughs in South Asian history and is now listed for World Heritage status conferred by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). It is an extraordinary archaeological finding. A big housing complex that matured during the Harappan era was discovered by these archaeologists who have been working in this little known village for the past three years.
     Vasant Shinde, joint director of Deccan College and project director, said, "The excavation was on for a while, but only this year the magnitude of the site could be understood, expanding from a mere seven graves to 70 graves. Our objective, however, is to find out how development took place among the Harappans. Scholars talk about change in the Harappan civilisation but nobody knows how it happened. Such a large burial will definitely help us find answers to all these questions."
     The archaeological team here uncovered an entire town plan. The skeletal remains belong to an era between 2500 BCE to 2000 BCE. This is when the civilisation prospered the most. "We will be conducting scientific tests on the remains that we have found which will also give us clues on the Harappan life. In fact, a DNA test will also be conducted on the skeleton which will answer questions on their habitat and what they ate, whether they were vegetarians or non-vegetarians."
     A total of 80 to 100 archaeologists and students have been working on this site which includes 40 students. The entire team has so far excavated one complex which has 26 rooms, 3 to 4 kitchens, an equal number of bathrooms and a courtyard in the centre. The size of the rooms vary from 6x6 to 16x20.

Source: The Times of India (9 April 2009)

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