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Harappan treasure trove unlocked

Author: Prashant Rupera
Publication: The Times of India
Date: June 13, 2012
URL: http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-06-13/vadodara/32214916_1_indus-valley-sites-digital-mapping

Not knowing about Lothal or Dholavira can be blasphemous. But you could be pardoned if you haven't heard of Dayabhai no dhoro, Dhrosan timba, Vadhi Vala Khetar, Gorivatano timbo. These are just a few of the 750 Indus Valley civilization sites spread across Gujarat.

 This treasure of the state, so far known only to archaeologists, will be now available for people to explore.

 Thanks to MS University's Department of Archaeology and Ancient History and Japan's Research Institute for Humanity and Nature (RIHN), all the Harappan sites of Gujarat dating back to 3,600 BC (5,600 years old) to 1,500 BC (3,500 years old), have been accurately mapped.

As part of the Gujarat Harappan Sites Gazetteer Project, MSU and RIHN will publish a gazetteer to not only locate the sites geographically but also throw light on artefacts collected from these sites, excavators behind the discovery and the period to which they belong.

 "Gujarat has one of the largest concentrations of Harappan sites as the Indus Valley civilization had flourished here for nearly 2,000 years. While there are few sites which date back to 5,600 years, Gujarat has a huge concentration of sites between the 2,500 BC to 1,700 BC period," says MSU's professor P Ajithprasad, who along with the head of RIHN's Indus Project professor T Osada completed the digital mapping.

 The challenge so far was locating the sites. For instance, Zekhda in Patan has also been listed as Amasari no timbu (a local name of the mound where the site is located) by some. "Now, we have mapped the actual location and mentioned all the names of such sites so that there is no confusion," says Ajithprasad, whose team used global positioning and geographic information systems to map the sites.

 This will be uploaded on a popular geographical site and specialized software to make it public. Archaeologists globally have been interested in Gujarat's Harappan treasure as when the urban phase of the Indus Civilization started declining from 1900 BC onwards in other parts of the continent especially the Indus Valley (from Punjab to Arabian coast), the decline did not happen in Gujarat.

"In Gujarat, the civilization continued to flourish for another 400 years or so," he says.
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