It has been over 150 years since the ruins of Harappa were first discovered. Thousands of sites have been discovered since then and more than a hundred excavated but the recent excavations at Rakhigarhi could answer some of the trivial questions that have troubled archaeologists and historians for decades. With over 350 acres of ruins, Rakhigarhi has been described as the largest Harappan site yet, bigger than Harappa in Sahiwal and Mohenjo-Daro in Sindh, the two Pakistani Harappan centres that have been the face of the Indus Valley Civilisation.
"The significance of Rakhigarhi is that this is the biggest now in terms of the size of the settlement. It was thought that Mohenjo-Daro in Pakistan was the biggest site so far. It is spread over 300 hectares but this is spread over 500 hectares," says Vasant Shinde, professor of South Asian Archaeology at the Deccan College Post Graduate and Research Institute in Pune to the Indian Express.
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For the past few months, Shinde and his team of archaeologists from the Deccan College working with over 150 villagers, carried out excavations at Rakhigarhi. The team found 39 skeletal remains this year at Mound 7, which seems to be a burial site.
The excavations at Rakhigarhi have features that of a typical Harappan settlement like a well-planned city with nearly two-metre-wide roads, brick-lined drains, pottery, terracotta statues, weights, bronze artefacts, combs, needles and terracotta seals; beads, tools, and, of course, the human remains. But what makes the sight so important is that it can tell us whether the modern population are descendants of Harappan people, thus bringing an end to the ongoing controversies of the Aryan Invasion and the Saraswati river.
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A DNA test is the only way to do that and for the first time ever, scientists have succeeded in extracting DNA from the skeletons of the Indus Valley Civilisation. The results of the DNA test would give a clear insight into the lives, character, diseases and race of the people who lived here 5,000 years ago. To give no room for any contradiction and to provide a foolproof study, three different institutes of world repute are conducting the DNA analysis.
"The important aspect that we are working, on which has never been done before, is the facial reconstruction of the Harappan people. The South Koreans have developed a software in which if we feed the DNA data along with the morphological features, like measurements of bones, it can help us reconstruct the face. For the first time, we will be able to see what Harappans looked like, the colour of their skin, their eyes and so on," says Shinde to the Indian Express.
Mound 4 which has been encroached by people over the years is the site of an at least 5,500-year-old human settlement and is an important centre of the Harappan Civilisation in the Indus Valley.
Rakhigarhi, comprises of the twin villages of Rakhi Khas and Rakhi Shahpur, in Hansi tehsil of Haryana's Hisar district, 160 km from Delhi, and is regarded as one of the two big Harappan settlements located in India and the best and most unexplored site related to the Indus Valley Civilisation so far.
-This article is compiled by a staff-writer at NewsGram.