- The major findings include drainage system, the structure of some houses, lanes, jewellery unit, copper and gold jewellery, terracotta toys, earthen pots, seals, a burnt-brick wall (possibility of a walled settlement), an aristocratic settlement, semi-precious stones such as agate and carnelian, two female skeletons buried with a plethora of pottery and adorned jewellery etc.
- These discoveries could point to the existence of a well-planned Harappan city.
- Archaeologists also said that Rakhigarhi may have been the ancestors of the people of Hastinapur.
- The ancient sites of Rakhi-Khas and Rakhi-Shahpur are collectively known as Rakhigarhi.
- It is the largest Harappan site in the Indian Subcontinent.
- It is situated in the Hisar district of Haryana and is located in the Ghaggar-Hakra river plain.
- The site was first excavated by Amarendra Nath of ASI.
- Earlier Mohenjodaro that covers 300 hectares(Pakistan) was considered to be the largest Harappan site until Prof. Vasanth Shinde and his team started fresh excavations at Rakhigarhi.
- This site encompasses a set of 11 mounds with a confirmed size in excess of 350 hectares and according to the Global Heritage Fund Rakhigarhi is the largest and oldest Indus site in the world.
- The findings confirm both early and mature phases of this 5,000-years-old Harappan site.
- An important find from this site is a cylindrical seal with 5 Harappan characters on one side and a symbol of an alligator on the other.
- Ritual system is signified by an animal sacrificial pit lined with mud-brick and triangular and circular fire altars on the mud floor.
- A DNA study from skeletal remains from the cemetery at Rakhigarhi found that the Harappan people had an independent origin.
- The study clearly negates the theory of the Harappans having ancestral links with steppe pastoral or ancient Iranian farmers.
- Rakhigarhi gives the first evidence of a double burial where the skeletons are clearly male (38) and female (25).
- Granary that was found here belongs to the mature Harappan phase (2600 BCE to 2000 BCE) and is made up of mud-bricks with a floor of rammed earth plastered with mud and has 7 rectangular or square chambers.
- A cemetery of Mature Harappan period is discovered at Rakhigarhi, with eight graves.
Five Iconic Sites-
- The Union Budget (2020-21) has proposed to develop Rakhigarhi (Hisar district, Haryana) as an Iconic Site.
- The finance minister had then said that these sites would be developed with on-site museums.
- Four other archaeological sites in Hastinapur (Uttar Pradesh), Shivsagar (Assam), Dholavira (Gujarat), and Adichanallur (Tamil Nadu) will also be developed as iconic sites with onsite museums.
Hastinapur in Uttar Pradesh:
- Hastinapur, near Meerut, was the site of the ancient kingdom of Kauravas and Pandavas over which the battle of Kurukshetra, described in Mahabharata, was fought.
- Artifacts were found at a nearby village, which archaeologists said belonged to 2000 years before the Common Era.
Sivasagar in Assam:
- Sivasagar was the capital of the Ahom kings for almost a century from 1699 to 1788 and witnessed some of the major historical events of the state.
- It is home to some of the key historical monuments from the era including Rang Ghar, Talatal Ghar, Namdang Stone Bridge, Rudrasagar tank and temple, and Sivasagar Pukhurithers.
Dholavira in Gujarat:
- Dholavira, named after a local village, is the second of the two Harappan cities located in India.
- The city was said to be inhabited over a period of 1,200 years from 3000 BCE through 1800 BCE.
- The site, unearthed in 1967, has been systematically excavated since 1990.
- The artifacts found include terracotta pottery, beads, gold and copper ornaments and imported vessels that indicate trade links with ancient Mesopotamia.
- Besides, 10 large stone inscriptions, carved in Indus Valley script, were found which was billed as the world’s earliest signboard.
- Archaeologists suspect the people abandoned the town and returned to a simpler lifestyle.
Adichanallur in Tamil Nadu:
- Carbon dating of artefacts found at this excavation site in Thoothukudi district indicates it as a part of the ancient Tamil civilisation.
- The artefacts, scientists said, date back to a period between 905 BC and 696 BC.