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Department of Archaeology


Rakhigarhi Hinterland Survey (Part 2), Haryana, India

Mound Site, Haryana, IndiaIn March and April 2014, a very small team from the Land, Water and Settlement project revisited the archaeological sites that were first recorded in during the Rakhigarhi Hinterland Survey, which was carried out in 2009. All 127 sites were revisited with the aim of confirming the benefits of the initial methodology, rechecking the GPS locations of the sites and phase attributions that were initially made, and to make clearer plans of sites. In addition, this survey offered an opportunity to assess levels of site preservation since 2009 and to assess the potential for further research and fieldwork within the hinterland of Rakhigarhi. The Stage 2 survey highlighted the fact that there are ongoing issues with site preservation in NW India, and a considerable number of sites showed signs of recent damage, with several having been completely destroyed. The new survey also led to some improvements in the site documentation such that a clearer indication of settlement hierarchy in the hinterland of Rakhigarhi could be obtained.

Old and new temples, Haryana, IndiaPerhaps the most distressing finding from the 2014 survey was the discovery that a large number of the sites had suffered some degree of damage and disturbance, ranging from the digging of pits and irrigation canals, to the flattening of areas for cultivation, and the excavation of large areas for the construction of tanks and buildings. In several instances sites had been completely destroyed by sand mining, field leveling or in one instance, deliberate destruction for the purposes of soil collection. Several sites did, however, show excellent levels of preservation, and appear to have been relatively undisturbed by recent activity.

The survey results confirm that the Early Harappan population of this region appears to centralise to Rakhigarhi in the Mature/urban Harappan period, and then dispersed, possibly directly into the surrounding region during the Late Harappan period. No dramatic increase in local population is evident across this period, confirming that the model of intensified Late Harappan settlement in NW India does not fit the evidence for the Rakhigarhi hinterland. We are well placed to move forward into Land, Water and Settlement Phase 2 (i.e. the TwoRains project).



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

Copyright © 2017--2017 Cameron Petrie

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