First Excavations at Harappa

Cutting the first trench, Mound AB, Harappa, January 1921

"It was, however, not till the winter of 1920-21 that the excavation of the site was begun by Rai Bahadur Daya Ram Sahni at the instance of Sir John Marshall, then Director General of Archaeology in India. Even before coming out to India, as far back as 1901, and again in 1906, when he went home to England, Sir John had interested himself in the British Museum seals from Harappa and had set his heart on excavating the site; and it was under his instructions that Rai Bahadur Daya Ram Sahni acquired Mounds F and AB, and began excavations on both of them in January, 1921 . . .."

- Madho Sarup Vats, Excavations at Harappa, 1940, p. 11.

In the following nearly 1,000 photographs taken during those first excavations, gradually being released 2021-2023, we will try as closely as possible to use Sahni's own words, and those of his successor as site excavator Madho Sarop Vats in his Excavations at Harappa (1940) to describe the finds that these and other archaeologists made between 1921 and 1940. Slides will be accompanied by updated commentary by Jonathan Mark Kenoyer based on his and the Harappa Archaeological Research Project's more recent excavations at the Bronze Age site (3500-1700 BCE) in Sahiwal District, Punjab, Pakistan.