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15 December 2004
A civilisation parallel to Harappa?

The view that Gujarat was the cradle of an independent civilisation, contemporary of the classical Harappan civilisation around the Indus Valley, is gaining academic support. The Sorath (present Saurashtra) region civilisation, dating back to 3700 BCE at some places, was distinct from the classical Harappan as it developed in the Indus Valley, say researchers in the field. "It maintained its separate identity in many ways,’’ said Professor Vasant Shinde of the Pune-based Deccan College Research Institute, while addressing a seminar on ‘Harappan Civilisation and Gujarat: Problems and Perspectives’.
     Vast differences have been found in the two after excavations of more than 450 sites in the State. The Sorath civilisation was mainly rural as against mainly urban Harappan, people here ate millet and sorghum against wheat and barley of Harappa, the pottery is vastly different with 90 percent made of bowls against ‘dish on stand’ of Harappa. ‘‘Not more than 30 per cent of the sites of that period excavated in Gujarat, show some similarity with the classical Harappa. This makes us believe that it’s more likely that this part had its own culture and identity,’’ Shinde informed.
     According to professor P. Ajithprasad of MSU, instead of giving Gujarat a status of a parallel civilisation, it was perhaps safer to call it Sorath, a manifestation of Harappan technology in early Chalcolithic cultures of Gujarat.
     And now the archaeologists are reaching a conclusion that the Gujarat culture predated Harappa by at least 1,000 years. According to Ajithprasad, the antecedents of Sorath go back to the early Chalcolithic settlements of 3700 BCE, though it manifested properly in Rojdi around 2600 BCE. The Indus Valley Civilisation (IVC) existed between 2500 BCE to 1900 BCE. ‘‘A typical Sorath site lacks the town plan of Harappa. There are no citadels. There are no s-shaped jars, toll perforated jars or goblets typical of Harappa. What we have instead are bowls of different shapes,’’ explains Ajithprasad.

Source: Ahmedabad Newsline (11 December 2004)

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