Gujarat’s Harappan necropolis

  • IASbaba
  • January 11, 2023
  • 0
History and Art and Culture
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Context: A recent excavation at Juna Khatiya village of Kutch district Gujarat has revealed some new findings on burial practice of Harrapan and early Harrapan times.

  • Juna Khatiya village is a biggest cemetery of Harappan era. It has around 500 graves from 3,200 BCE to 2,600 BCE era.

Important findings from the Juna Khatiya village:

  • Burial structures, secondary memorials, cremation sites and pot burials.
  • Burial structures shapes vary from rectangular to oval or circular.
  • Rows of graves with- skeletal remains, ceramic pots, plates and vases, beaded jewellery, and animal bones that piqued their interest.
  • Region demonstrates transition from earth-mound burials to stone graves.
  • Pottery have features and style similar to early Harappan sites in Sindh and Baluchistan.
  • Rectangular graves were made of shale and sandstone, common rocks in the region.
  • They were cut into natural soil without stone facings.
  • Construction of cemetery: Pebbles of local rock, basalt, soil, sand, etc were used and clay was used to bind them together.
  • Items like clay bowls and dishes, prized possessions like beads and bangles of terracotta, seashells, and lapis lazuli were placed with dead.
  • Majority of burial pits had five to six pots.
  • There is no metal artefact found.
  • Some of burial structures have boulders of basalt as coverings.
  • In few cemeteries bases of the pits have stone paving too.
  • Bases of some pits are lined with soil that is different in colour and texture from other layers.
  • Burials were oriented in different directions – some are along east-west axis, some along north- south orientation.

Significance of findings in Juna Khatiya village:

  • Juna Khatiya can help in understanding cultural exchange between the Sindh and Gujarat regions in Early Harappan period due to the similar artefacts and customs.

Burial practices of Harappan/Indus Valley Civilization:

  • Specific individuals, communities, and societies had their own methods of burial which suggests religious and cultural diversity.

Three types of burial customs:

  • Complete burial of intact bodies.
  • Full cremation with burial of bones or ashes- most common.
  • Partial burials containing only the bones of the deceased.
  • Mohenjo-daro: Most cremation urns did not contain human bone remains, but ornaments possessed during life, animal bones, ash and charcoal were found.
    • Majority of corpses were mummified in the act of death, as opposed to being disposed of later.
    • Only few populations were buried formally in ground, which means those people enjoyed some important status in society.
  • Rakhigarhi (Haryana): Most of the burial pits were rectangular in shape, with vertically cut sides and flat bottoms.
    • They were generally arranged on the north-south axis with the head to the north.
    • Graves were humble in nature with exotic items like- inscribed seals or ritual objects.
    • High ranking individuals, including women were buried wherein the soil had been built up with pots upon which the body was laid.
    • These graves tended to be laid with bricks.
    • Many votive pots in male graves indicates women were not considered equal to male citizens.

Source: Times of India

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) According to Kautilya’s Arthashastra, which of the following are correct?

  1. A person could be a slave as a result of a judicial punishment.
  2. If a female slave bore her master a son, she was legally free.
  3. If a son born to a female slave was fathered by her master, the son was entitled to the legal status of the master’s son.

Which of the statements given above are correct? (2022)

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Q.2) Which one of the following ancient towns is well known for its elaborate system of water harvesting and management by building a series of dams and channelising water into connected reservoirs? (2021)

  1. Dholavira
  2. Kalibangan
  3. Rakhigarhi
  4. Ropar


For a dedicated peer group, Motivation & Quick updates, Join our official telegram channel –

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel HERE to watch Explainer Videos, Strategy Sessions, Toppers Talks & many more…

Search now.....

Sign Up To Receive Regular Updates