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The ASI team, which has been excavating the archaeologically rich site for the past three months, unveiled the new finding on Monday.
The excavation, which began in March, has also unearthed eight burial sites and several artefacts, including three coffins, antenna swords, daggers, combs, and ornaments, among others. The three chariots found in burial pits indicate the possibility of “royal burials” while other findings confirm the population of a warrior class here, officials said.
“The discovery of a chariot puts us on a par with other ancient civilizations, like Mesopotamia, Greece, etc. where chariots were extensively used. It seems a warrior class thrived in this region in the past,” said SK Manjul who is co-director of Excavations and ASI’s Institute of Archaeology in Delhi.
A coffin found at one of the ‘royal burial’ sites
Manjul termed the digging drive a “path-breaking” one, also because of the copper plated anthropomorphic figures – having horns and peepal-leafed crowns – found on the coffins, that indicated a possibility of “royal burials”.
“For the first time in the entire sub-continent, we have found this kind of a coffin. The cover is highly decorated with eight anthropomorphic figures. The sides of the coffins are also decorated with floral motifs,” Manjul said.
While coffins have been discovered during past excavations in Harappa, Mohenjo-daro and Dholavira (Gujarat), but never with copper decorations, he added.
The findings also shed light on the noteworthy progress the Indian civilsation had made at the time, making it at par with the 2000 BC Mesopotamia.
“We are now certain that when in 2000 BC, the Mesopotamians were using chariots, swords, and helmets in wars, we also had similar things.”
The swords, daggers, shields and a helmet confirmed the existence of a warrior population, and the discovery of earthen and copper pots, semi-precious and steatite beads, combs, and a copper mirror from the burial pits point towards a “sophisticated” craftsmanship and lifestyle.
“It is confirmed that they were a warrior class. The swords have copper-covered hilts and a medial ridge making it strong enough for warfare. We have also found shields, a torch and daggers,” the archaeologist said.
The current site lies 120 metres from an earlier one in the village, excavated in 2005, where 116 burials were found along with antenna swords and pottery.
While it was difficult to ascertain the exact race of the latest buried remains, Manjul asserted that the chariots and coffins did not belong to the Harappan civilisation.
“The findings of the 2005 excavation – pottery, beads and other cultural material – were similar to those of the Harappan civilisation.”
Manjul said the similarities could have been an outcome of the migration of the Harappans to the Yamuna and the upper planes during the late mature Harappan era.