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Department of Archaeology


The 2010 archaeological field research consisted of two major seasons of work: survey and excavations at the site of Burj, Fatehabad, Haryana, including geomorphological survey of selected areas in Haryana, and a full-coverage settlement survey of the areas adjacent to the Ghaggar river in Fatehabad and neighbouring districts.

Survey and excavations at Burj, Haryana

In order to gain a greater understanding of the surface and immediately subsurface geomorphology of the plains of Haryana and the areas around the sites we have been investigating, a preliminary analysis of the environmental and landscape context of a range of archaeological sites in Haryana was carried out during the season. This saw a small team of researchers make assessments of the environmental and landscape context of several sites including Masudpur I and VII, which had been excavated by the project, Rakhigarhi, the hinterland of which has been surveyed by the project, Burj (see below), and the well known Harappan sites of Kunal, Bhirrana, Banawali, as well as several other sites in north Haryana. This site margin survey work took the form of judgementally placed test pits and hand auger profiles, as well as opportunistic findings of exposed and available sections, brick quarry pits, wells and water boreholes. At no point did this investigation intrude on land protected by the ASI. The primary objective of this work was to investigate the local soil and site-formation processes at each of these sites.

In addition to the wide-ranging geomorphological research, the project conducted excavations at the mound site of Burj. The mound of Burj is partly covered by the modern village of the same name (Figures 1 and 2). The site was first visited by Suraj Bhan (1975: 123), who suggested that it was occupied during the Late Harappan and PGW periods (see also Joshi et al. 1984: 526; Possehl 1999: 742). Burj was visited briefly by members of the Land, Water and Settlement Project in May 2009, and at that time a range of Harappan and PGW ceramics were collected from the surface. Precisely which phase of the Harappan period that was represented was unclear, but the site was selected for further investigation as the material recovered from the surface indicated it might have been occupied during both the Late Harappan and PGW phases. The transition between these two phases has only been identified in excavations at a small number of sites, including Bhagwanpura (Joshi 1993), but the nature and chronology of this process is still poorly understood.

The Ghaggar Hinterland Survey 


To establish the geographical context of archaeological sites in the hinterland of the Ghaggar palaeochannel that cuts across parts of northern Haryana, and to gain insight into the spatial and temporal variation of sites within this zone, the Land, Water and Settlement Project carried out a systematic village-to-village survey of a large area on either side of the palaeochannel and a sizable area to the north in November and December 2010. This has been called the Ghaggar Hinterland Survey, and effectively surveys the hinterland of some well known Indus Civilisation settlements including Banawali, Bhirrana, and Kunal. A total of 182 sites were located during this survey (Table 1). Up to 125 of these have not been recorded in previous survey reports and compilations (e.g. Joshi et al. 1984; Possehl 1999; Kumar 2009; Chakrabarti and Saini 2009), meaning that up to 69% of sites within this particular area are new to knowledge. In contrast to the Rakhigarhi Hinterland Survey that was carried out by the same project in 2009, the chronological distribution of these new sites is skewed toward the Early Historic (77 sites, 42% new) and Medieval (136 sites, 74% new) period, suggesting that previous surveys have focussed on the identification of Indus Civilisation sites and have not recorded later period sites. Only one Mature Harappan site was new to knowledge, no new Late Harappan sites were discovered, and 6 new Early Harappan sites were identified out of a total of 17. The number of sites dating to each period is as follows: 17 Early Harappan, 8 Mature Harappan, 2 Late Harappan, 11 PGW, 77 Early Historic and 136 Mediaeval.

Project publications

[1] Singh, R.N., Petrie, C.A., et al. (in press). Survey and excavations at Burj, Fatehabad District, Haryana, March 13 - April 5, 2010, BHU and University of Cambridge Archaeological Project, Indian Archaeology: A Review, 2010-2011.

[2] Singh, R.N., Petrie, C.A., et al. (in press). A preliminary report on the Ghaggar Hinterland Survey 2010, BHU and University of Cambridge Archaeological Project, Indian Archaeology: A Review, 2010-2011.

[3] Petrie, C.A. Singh, R.N. and French, C.A. 2010. Land, Water and Settlement in Haryana, India. In: Archaeology at Cambridge 2009–2010, p. 37. Cambridge: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research.

[4] Singh, R.N., Petrie, C.A., French, C.A., Neogi, S., Pandey, A.K., Parikh, D. and Pawar, V. (2010). Geoarchaeological survey and excavations at Burj, Fatehabad, Haryana. Puratattva, 40:pp. 94–101

[5] Singh, R.N., Petrie, C.A., Pawar, V., Pandey, A.K. and Parikh, D. 2011. New insights into settlement along the Ghaggar and its hinterland: a preliminary report on the Ghaggar Hinterland Survey 2010, Man and Environment 36.2: 89-106.



Updated:2017-03-24. First published:2008-03-14

Copyright © 2008--2008 Cameron Petrie

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