CHANDIGARH HARAPPAN SECTION
On the Christmas day of 1969 human bones and pottery were dug out at a depth of about four meters from the basement foundation of a building in Sector 17; now SCO 105 in the shopping plaza. Hurried salvage work by teachers and staff of Panjab University, which was very reluctantly permitted by the owner of the plot for a couple of days, revealed the remains of a cemetery site belonging to the Harappan period. Subsequently the Archaeological Survey of India carried out systematic excavation in the neighbourhood. Some original Harappan pottery pieces found from these chance diggings from near about places enrich the collection of this Museum. Some burial skeletons in the fossilised stage found from these diggings are also preserved here.
Since then, a Harappan Section in this Museum had been a long pending public demand. Photographic documentation of objects recovered during the salvage/excavation operations in Section 17, Chandigarh constitute the theme of the Chandigarh-Harappan section.
|Human Skelton Excavated In Chandigarh (Remains of a Harappan Cemetery), c 2500 B.C.
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EXCAVATIONS AT CHANDIGARH
In December 1969, during the course of digging the foundations of a building in the shopping area of Sector 17-C at Chandigarh, the remains of Harappan cemetery were brought to light. These remains were found to be overlain by a 1.5m thick deposit of alluvium, thus forbidding any surface observation. On the basis of the position of the cemetery vis-a-vis the settlement area at other Harappan sites, especially at Harappa, Ropar and Kalibangan, a rough idea of the direction to which the settlement would lie could thus be determined. In the following year, another building activity in the anticipated area - this time for the construction of an underground parking space - brought forth evidence of the remains of a settlement. A small-scale excavation was, therefore, organized by the Survey in collaboration with the Department of Archaeology and Museums, Government of Punjab. The survey was represented by Sarvashri N.C. Ghosh, J.S. Nigam, B.M. Pande and R.K. Pant, and the Department of Archaeology, Government of Punjab, by Shri S.S. Talwar.
Seven trenches, each measuring 4.25x4.25m were laid to the north-east of the cemetery area with the following objectives : (i) to obtain cultural sequence of the site; (ii) to determine the extent of the habitation; and (iii) to ascertain the specific phase of the Harappa culture to which the settlement belongs.
The excavation indicated that the settlement lay about 100m to the east-north-east of the cemetery. The excavated sections showed that below a 1.5m thick deposit of clean silt was a strata, nearly 1.5m thick, which yielded pottery and other objects. Underlying the latter was loamy deposit and natural clay.
The pottery recovered from these trenches presents a mixed assemblage. While on the one hand there are unmistakable Harappan shapes as the dish-on-stand, cup-on-stand, pointed goblet, button-base goblet, dish, beaker, lid, basin, trough, storage jar and ring-stand, including a funnel-shaped vessel, bearing an inscription in Harappan characters, as also the typical designs like the pipal leaf and tree motif in combination with geometrical patterns, on the other are also present shapes and designs which show both pre-Harappan Kalibangan and Bara tradition especially in incised decoration. These comprised a group of horizontal lines, multiple horizontal wavy lines, triangles, ladder patterns, etc. Painted designs included combinations of bi-pinnates, arched pendant triangles, rosettes, fish, etc.. One of the shapes of the dish-on-stand recalls the corresponding form at Cemetery H with a deep red slip, painted in black pigment. Apart from the inscribed sherd mentioned above, two more sherds bearing typical Harappan script were obtained, one of which was a rim fragment. Other finds obtained from the excavation include: (i) terracotta objects like bull figurines, beads, bangles, often painted in black, toy-cart frames, wheels, spindle-whorls, dabbers, balls, etc. (ii) faience and copper bangles; (iii) beads of paste and agate; and (iv) stone querns, pestle and sling balls.
Source: Indian Archaeology 1970-71 - A Review, Archaeological Survey of India, Govt. of India, New Delhi, 1974
During the course of digging the foundation of a building by the contractors of the Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation in Sector 17-C, which is in the heart of the city, a few Harappan potsherds were picked up. Keeping in view their archaeological importance a trial trench measuring 2.50x2.50m was taken up under the direction of D.P. Rai, assisted by J.M. Thapar, Jasmer Singh and Vinod Kumar of the Chandigarh Circle of the Survey to ascertain the cultural deposit of the site. The total cultural deposit was 1.15m. The site revealed single culture i.e. Harappan occupation. On the basis of pottery it was further divided into two sub-periods as Period IA and Period IB.
In Period IA, 1m thick deposit of the Harappan Culture was noticed. The pottery types were jars, dish-on-stand and button based goblet. Most of the sherds of this sub period were badly weathered due to water logging. Besides these, few pieces of storage jars, vases and bowls were also found. Except for the evidence of two hearths and lumps of burnt clay no other structures were encountered. Among the antiquities mention may be made of a solitary bead of faience, terracotta objects like broken bull hopscotch, stone ball and quern.
The Period IB was marked by 0.15m deposit. It was badly disturbed. It was marked by Bara pottery which included mainly incised designs such as parallel lines, horizontal lines, vertical lines, nail marks, notched and incised mat design. Neither structural activities nor other antiquities were found from this level.
Source: Indian Archaeology 1985-86 - A Review, Archaeological Survey of India, Govt. of India, New Delhi, 1990