Shocking Discovery Rewrites History: Harappan Civilization’s Secret Eastern Frontier Revealed!

For a considerable time, it was widely believed that the Harappan Civilization was limited exclusively to the western regions of the Indian subcontinent, particularly the areas surrounding the Indus River Valley. The scope of this ancient civilization remained largely obscured until 1947 due to limited excavations primarily confined to the Indus Valley itself. However, following India’s independence, extensive research efforts led to the identification of additional Harappan archaeological sites. By the 1960s, these newly discovered sites expanded beyond the confines of the Indus Valley to include the Makran coast in Balochistan, with Sutkagan Dor marking the civilization’s westernmost boundary. To everyone’s astonishment, it was also revealed that the Harappan civilization extended as far as the banks of the Yamuna River in India, with Alamgirpur in Uttar Pradesh serving as its easternmost border.

Initially, scholars promptly classified Alamgirpur as a Late Harappan site, belonging to the final phase of the Harappan civilization. This conveniently aligned with the long-standing theory of an eastward migration of the Harappans towards the Ganga River. However, these assumptions were based on the material culture unearthed during the initial excavation in 1958, as scientific dating methods were not available at the time. Nevertheless, new dating evidence from Alamgirpur, ranging from 2600 to 2200 BCE, challenged the established timeline of Harappan presence in the Ganga-Yamuna Doab.

According to the insights of archaeologist George F. Dales in 1966, during the Late Harappan phase, which is roughly dated from around 1900 to 1500 BCE, “sophisticated Harappan traits were diluted through interaction with local cultures until they practically disappeared.” If Alamgirpur is indeed a Late Harappan site, what significance do these early dates hold? Does this imply that at sites like Alamgirpur, the dilution of Harappan characteristics began as early as 2600-2200 BCE, while its western counterparts were still flourishing?

Such a revision in the timeline challenges the previously established linear progression of cultures. If a site like Alamgirpur, once considered a Late Harappan settlement resulting from the eastward migration of Harappans (dated around 1900 BCE), is now dated parallel to the urban phase known as the Mature Harappan period, it fundamentally alters our understanding of the site and the Harappan civilization’s historical narrative.

Is Alamgirpur truly a Late Harappan site? Over the course of more than a century of research, scholars have divided the Harappan civilization into three distinct phases: Early Harappan, also referred to as the Regionalization Era (approximately 3500-2600 BCE); Mature Harappan, known as the Integration Era (2600-2000/1900 BCE); and Late Harappan (1900-1500 BCE), referred to as the Localization Era. The Late Harappan phase represents the gradual integration of Harappan elements into local cultures, as observed by Dales. In other words, the decline of the Harappan civilization occurred gradually, with features such as planned cities, complex trade networks (both domestic and international), specialized crafts, and distinctive art forms slowly diminishing.

To understand the material consequences of this gradual blending of Harappan traits with local cultures, researchers turned to sites like Alamgirpur.

Known locally as Parasuram-ka-Khera, the archaeological site at Alamgirpur is situated approximately 45 kilometers from Delhi on the left bank of the Hindon River, a tributary of the Ganga, in the upper Ganga-Yamuna Doab region of Uttar Pradesh. The modern settlement is located on an elevated mound adjacent to the investigated area.

In May 1958, the Regional Camp Committee of the Bharat Sewak Samaj conducted an extensive excavation at Alamgirpur. This excavation unearthed various artifacts, including pottery, beads, and other items, which were later analyzed by YD Sharma of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). Subsequently, Sharma decided to re-excavate the site, revealing a four-fold cultural sequence. The earliest excavated culture yielded objects associated with the Harappan civilization, such as a dish-on-stand, goblet with a pointed base, cylindrical vases, and more. The painted motifs included simple bands, intersecting circles, plants, and the depiction of a peacock, typically found on typical Harappan pottery. This discovery raised the intriguing possibility that Alamgirpur was a hub of Harappan culture within the Ganga-Yamuna Doab.

During this excavation, a crushed pile of thick platters and troughs was discovered in a large pit. Some of these artifacts bore short incised inscriptions consisting of two symbols, likely potter’s marks. Impressions of cloth on a trough led to further fascinating finds from this period. Aside from some traces of baked bricks, no structures were found in this layer.

This excavation definitively positioned Alamgirpur on the eastern periphery of the Harappan Civilization. Consequently, it challenged the narrative suggesting that Harappans migrated eastward by approximately 2000 BCE, primarily due to a lack of scientific dating evidence from Alamgirpur, which had relied heavily on pottery and other material remains until the site underwent further investigation.

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