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Harappan Jewelry October 10, 2000
by Maneesh Kumar

[image] Some beads recovered from a huge Harappan period cache in India (M. Kumar) [LARGER IMAGE]

Discovery of a huge cache of gold and other ornaments reportedly belonging to the Harappan period (2600-1900 B.C.) by the villagers of Mandi in the Muzaffarnagar District of Uttar Pradesh state, 93 miles east of New Delhi, is challenging previous notions about the geographic reach of the Indus Valley civilization.

According to reports, Mandi villagers took possession of the hoard despite pleas from local authorities, and soon some gold pieces, which they described as "small, round but flat pieces, covered with dirt," were being melted down by traders in a local gold market. Later, thanks to pressure from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), district authorities managed to recover about 22 pounds of jewelry.

Scholars from the ASI and state's Department of Archaeology (DoA) immediately visited the site and declared the jewelry to be Harappan. Gold and silver bangles, gold beads, and agate and onyx beads all resemble jewelry found at Indus Valley sites such as Harappa and Mohenjo-daro in Pakistan and at Lothal, Rakhigarhi, and Dholavira in India. Rakesh Tiwari, director of the DoA, said two copper containers, one circular in shape and the other rectangular, were also recovered; the rectangular container measures 16.5 inches long and was perhaps used for holding gold fillets. Tiwari says it is the first time that such a huge cache of gold jewelry has been recovered in Uttar Pradesh.

Komal Anand, director general of ASI, says the visiting scholars found late Harappan pottery at the site and that the ASI will conduct test excavations there. Excavations conducted in the vicinity at Hulas in Saharanpur district, Alamgirpur and Bargaon in Meerut district have all yielded similar Indus Valley material and show that the civilization was not just centered in eastern Pakistan and western India.

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© 2000 by the Archaeological Institute of America
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