Discovering the Harappan Civilisation

The discovery of the Harappan Civilization, also known as the Indus Valley Civilization, is credited to the efforts of archaeologists and researchers who conducted explorations and excavations in the early 20th century. Here's an overview of how the Harappan Civilization was discovered:

1.     Early Explorations: The first indications of the ancient civilization were discovered in the mid-19th century when British engineers and archaeologists began to notice the remains of ancient cities and settlements along the Indus River valley in present-day Pakistan and northwest India. Early explorers such as Alexander Cunningham, Charles Masson, and James Lewis made initial observations and collected artifacts from the region.

2.     Rediscovery of Harappa: The modern discovery of the Harappan Civilization began in the early 20th century with the excavations conducted at the site of Harappa. In 1856, British engineers discovered the ruins of an ancient city while constructing the East Indian Railway near the village of Harappa in present-day Pakistan. However, it was not until the 1920s that systematic excavations were undertaken at Harappa by archaeologist Rai Bahadur Daya Ram Sahni.

3.     Excavations at Mohenjo-Daro: Concurrently, excavations were also carried out at the site of Mohenjo-Daro, located in present-day Pakistan. The site was first identified in the late 19th century, but large-scale excavations were conducted by Sir John Marshall, Director-General of the Archaeological Survey of India, in the 1920s. Marshall's excavations revealed the extensive remains of an ancient city, including well-planned streets, houses, and public buildings.

4.     Discovery of Other Sites: Following the excavations at Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro, archaeologists began to identify and explore other sites associated with the ancient civilization. Numerous Harappan sites were discovered across the Indus Valley region, including Kalibangan, Lothal, Dholavira, and Rakhigarhi, among others. These excavations revealed the extent and complexity of the Harappan Civilization and provided valuable insights into its urban planning, culture, and economy.

5.     Documentation and Interpretation: The findings from the excavations were meticulously documented, studied, and interpreted by archaeologists and researchers. Scholars such as Mortimer Wheeler, Ernest Mackay, Marshall Mackay, and Sir John Marshall played key roles in analyzing the material culture, architecture, and artifacts of the Harappan Civilization. The decipherment of the Indus script, however, remains a challenge, and the script's meaning and purpose are still debated among scholars.

6.     Recognition as a Civilization: Through archaeological research and discoveries, the Harappan Civilization came to be recognized as one of the world's earliest urban civilizations, flourishing between approximately 2600 BCE and 1900 BCE. Its advanced urban planning, sophisticated drainage systems, and standardized weights and measures attest to the civilization's complexity and achievements.

Overall, the discovery of the Harappan Civilization was a gradual process that involved the collaborative efforts of archaeologists, researchers, and explorers over several decades. The systematic excavations and documentation of Harappan sites have significantly contributed to our understanding of ancient civilizations and human history in the Indian subcontinent.