Preliminary Results of Excavation at Karanpura, a Harappan Settlement in District Hanumangarh, Rajasthan

The results of two seasons of excavations 2012-2014 at a small site to the west of Rakigarhi in Rajasthan, on the modern River Chautang (Drishdavati). Largely destroyed by irrigation construction a few years previously – "it can now be assessed that at least 70% of the fortified settlement was destroyed" write the authors (p. 16) – Karanpura has nevertheless yielded an impressive set of artifacts from about 2800-2000 BCE. This covers early to late Harappan times. "A large-scale conflagration had taken place towards the end of the Early Harappan occupation" (p. 19) which showed evidence of spindle whorls with graffiti marks (similar to the earliest Indus writing found at Harappa. An "enigmatic" crescent-shaped structure was also found, as well as bangle remnants and evidence of raw materials from other Indus sites. Pipal leaf and horned motifs were also discovered. Pottery discs were found of which the authors add: "These kinds of discs have parallels even in the present Karanpura Village, wherein the children play a game with a set of pottery discs known as pittu stacked one upon another in the form of a small tower. The aim of the game is to break the tower and then rebuild it before getting hit by one of the opponents" (p. 25).

There is a thin transitional phase to the Mature Harappan, which includes complete houses, a 6 meter wide mud-brick wall, thousands of bangles, a wide variety of "chocolate-slipped" pottery with extensive painted motifs including fish and a peacock, micro-steatite beads, seals with unicorns and antelopes, a copper mirror and so much more. Considering how much of the site has been lost, the finds are remarkable and the report well worth reading.

Image: 1. Carnelian (etched and plain) beads.
2. Graffiti marks on spindle whorls from the same floor level of an early Harappan house, Karanpura.