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Dholavira

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TOI, in one of its occassional forays beyond politics, reported:

Well-known archaeologist R S Bisht, who is credited with excavating Dholavira, says, “We found a multipurpose open field which must have been used for everything, from sports like wrestling and bullock cart races, to plays.” The field is 283 metres by about 45 metres and is placed between a citadel or what is known as the upper town, and the middle town in the ruins.

Yadubirsingh Rawat, director of Gujarat government’s department of archaeology who was part of Bisht’s original team, adds, “You can call the field ‘rangbhoomi’ or arena or stadium. We found steps around it which were used as stands for the audience. Also, they seemed to be adding a new layer of mud to the field every year. The mud was imported from outside Dholavira.” This layering gave the stage unique acoustics and sonorous quality.

Adds Bisht, “The stands had gates with stones that look worn out, as if bullock cart after bullock cart had passed over it. The stadium was a very popular part of the Dholavira settlement.”

The long excavation at the site gets into the news every now and then. At the moment it is the stadium which is being systematically explored. In 1998 it was the system of water reservoirs, whose excavation prompted the report in IE:

Archaeologists can’t stop talking about the site. R S Bisht, director (Explorations & Excavations), ASI says: “Even after 5,000 years the 32 steps that lead to the reservoir still retain their geometrical balance.

Seven years of exploration — officially the site was first excavated in 1969-70 by J.P. Joshi, who was looking for a trade route from Pakistan-Sindh to Lothal — have thrown up more than 22,000 artefacts, seals of terracota and steatite, stone pillar members with a plating of chocolate and yellow that line the east and north gate.

“We have also recovered 37 micro beads of gold which cannot be picked up by bare fingers. Look at the size of the beads and you wonder what kind of hammer they used to round them off so perfectly and then what kind of a boring instrument they must have used to drive a hole within,” says Bisht. Bisht says that Dholavira has added an enormous amount of information towards understanding the Harappan culture.

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Written by Arhopala Bazaloides

February 5, 2011 at 4:00 am

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