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Sinauli – A Harappan Site

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  • Last Updated : 18 Aug, 2022
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Harappan Civilization:

The Harappan Civilization, which flourished in the Indus River Valley between 3300 and 1300 BCE, covered what is now northeast Afghanistan, Pakistan, and northwest India. Standardized weights and measurements, seal carving, and the use of copper, bronze, lead, and tin in metallurgy are some of this civilization’s most significant inventions. The Indus script is poorly understood, and as a result, little is known about the governmental structures and organizations of the Indus River Valley Civilization. Migration and climatic change were likely the causes of the civilization’s demise.

About 24 kilometers (15 miles) west of Sahiwal in Punjab, Pakistan, lies the archaeological site of Harappa. The location gets its name from a contemporary settlement close to the historic Ravi River channel, which is now 8 kilometers (5.0 miles) to the north. Less than 1 kilometer (0.62 mi) separates the modern settlement of Harappa from the historic location. Today’s Harappa is a little crossroads town with 15,000 residents but still has a British Raj-era railway station. The heart of the Harappan civilization was spread out across a vast region, starting in Gujarat in the south and spreading through Sindh and Rajasthan to Punjab and Haryana. Numerous sites, some as far east as Uttar Pradesh and some as far west as Sutkagen-dor on the Makran coast of Baluchistan, close to Iran, have been discovered beyond the main region.

Location of the Sinauli:

An archaeological site called Sinauli has been found in Uttar Pradesh’s Baghpat area.  It is located near the confluence of the Ganga and Yamuna rivers, about 70 kilometers from New Delhi. The site has uncovered connections to early Vedic Age civilizations, which might be related to the Mahabharata or the Ramayana. The Archaeological Society of India claims that the discovery near Sinauli, Uttar Pradesh, might change our view of modern Harappan society.  Near a burial chamber in Sinauli, Uttar Pradesh, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) claimed to have discovered the remains of two chariots and eight well-preserved bodies. Later on, a huge chunk of objects like pottery, graveyards, and other objects were excavated. Sinauli is regarded as a significant contemporaneous Harappan burial site.

Sinauli Excavation-2005:

  • 116 burial sites were found within a year of the excavations starting in 2005. As a result, throughout the Chalcolithic era, it was considered one of India’s largest known necropolis. 
  • The graveyards are distinct from those of the Indus Valley Civilization. The tombs contained underground rooms, and the coffins had four legs. 
  • Vases, bowls, and jars are found in the tombs strategically placed close to the body. Along with the soldiers’ bodies, rice was discovered buried in those pots. 
  • Eight anthropomorphic figures (things that resemble humans) were discovered in one coffin during excavation. 
  • One remarkable aspect of the tombs is that they resembled Vedic civilization rather than Indus Valley culture. The impressions of fabric show that the bodies were purified, similar to how it is done in modern Hindu traditions.

The excavations came to a conclusion in 2005–2006. In 2018, it was brought to light once more after a farmer claimed to have discovered antiquities in the ground while cultivating a field. According to a story in the Hindustan Times, the ASI acted when the farmer discovered chunks of copper in the ground.

Excavation Findings:

Following reports of copper artifacts, the ASI began the dig. They discovered chariots pulled by horses that were over 5000 years old. The discovered chariots feature a fixed ankle connected to a tiny yoke by a long pole. This ankle, chassis, and wheel resemble current chariots in design. It is believed that animals, especially horses, pulled these chariots. There were several weapons discovered, including battle shields and copper antenna swords. This time, in addition to pottery, they also discovered coffins with wooden legs. The people that resided here controlled the animals, as evidenced by the discovery of a whip used to signal to the local fauna. Female warriors have also been discovered buried with their swords alongside the male fighters. However, before they were buried, their legs had been cut off at the ankles. It is anticipated that the area would be productive and excellent for agriculture. The excavation suggests that a sizable kingdom had stood here.

  • Skeletons of Male and Female Warriors:

So far 125 male skeletons have been found in three phases of excavation. Among these male skeletons, there are many such that have been described as the skeletons of great warriors, which include both men and women. Armored skeletons have been found with their weapons, which were used in war. Three such bodies (skeletons) have been recovered which were buried in royal coffins.

The ASI Survey:

  • ASI conducted a GPR (Ground Penetrating Radar) survey of Sinauli site in May 2018. In the survey, archaeologists gathered information about the evidence found in the depth of one and a half to three and a half meters deep within the ground of the excavation area. 
  • In 2019, excavations were carried out at a new site just two hundred meters away from the cemetery found here, then there were also four copper smelting furnaces and strong evidence of residential areas. 
  • The civilization whose antiquities are being found in this area, some historians are also looking at connecting it to the Mahabharata period. In the Mahabharata, this region has been described as Hastinapur, the capital of the Kuru dynasty.
  • Carbon dating of various objects found here has been done at the Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences in Lucknow, which has the facility of C-14 dating technology. 
  • In addition, some human remains have been inspected at Deccan College, Pune while their DNA samples have been examined in the lab of Hyderabad.


This rare history of the Sinauli site is coming to the world through a web series. The title ‘Secret of Sinauli – Discovery of the Century’ has started on Discovery. In fact, the excavation of the Sinauli site has presented a new dimension to the historians of the whole world, not only in India. There is a great curiosity among archaeologists across the country about this site. Archaeologists say that the type of coffins found in the excavation of Sinauli is a new discovery for the entire Indian subcontinent. They believe that the archaeological material found there is extraordinary and is leading to a new civilization. 

Related Frequently Asked Questions:

Q1: What is the History of Harappan Culture?
Ans: The oldest roots of the Harappan Civilization may be found in 6000 BC cultures like Mehrgarh. Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa, the two most important towns, first appeared around 2600 BC in the Indus River valley in Punjab and Sindh.

Q2: How did the Harappan Culture Fade Away?
Ans: Climate change, according to many academics, is what led to the fall of the Indus Valley Civilization. While some scientists conclude that a major flood occurred in the region, others contend that the main cause of the climatic shift was the drying of the Saraswati River, which started approximately 1900 BCE.

Q3: Are Sinauli and the Mahabharata Related?
Ans: Sinauli is a tranquil village with plenty of vegetation in the Baghpat district, around eight kilometers from the Yamuna river. As the investigation went on, a connection to the Mahabharata emerged. The Mahabharata is said to be 4000 years old.

Q4: For what Archaeological Success is Sinauli Renowned?
Ans: The Ganga-Yamuna Doab at Sinauli, western Uttar Pradesh, India, is the location of the Sinauli excavation site, a prehistoric archaeological site. The Bronze Age solid-disk wheel carts from the site, discovered in 2018, attracted interest because some people thought they were horse-drawn “chariots.”


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