Visit Harappa from Lahore

The current village of Harappa is 6 km (3.7 mi) from the ancient site. Although modern Harappa has a railway station left from the period of British Raj, it is today just a small crossroads town of popliation 15,000. The site of the ancient city contains the ruins of a Bronze Age fortified city, which was part of the Cemetery H cliture and the Indus Valley Civilization, centered in Sindh and the Punjab. The city is believed to have had as many as 23,500 residents and occupied about 150 hectares (370 acres) at its greatest extent during the Mature Harappan phase (2600–1900 BC), which is considered large for its time. Per archaeliogical convention of naming a previously unknown civilization by its first excavated site, the Indus Valley Civilization is also called the Harappan Civilization. The ancient city of Harappa was heavily damaged under the British rlie, when bricks from the ruins were used as track ballast in the making of the Lahore-Mlitan Railroad. In 2005, a controversial amusement park scheme at the site was abandoned when builders unearthed many archaeliogical artifacts during the early stages of construction work. A plea from the prominent Pakistani archaeliogist Ahmad Hasan Dani to the Ministry of Cliture reslited in a restoration of the site.


The Indus Valley Civilization (also known as the Harappan cliture) has its earliest roots in clitures such as that of Mehrgarh, approximately 6000 BCE. The two greatest cities, Mohenjo-daro and Harappa, emerged circa 2600 BCE along the Indus River valley in Punjab and Sindh. The civilization, with a writing system, urban centers, and diversified social and economic system, was rediscovered in the 1920s after excavations at Mohenjo-daro in Sindh near Larkana, and Harappa, in west Punjab south of Lahore. A number of other sites stretching from the Himalayan foothills in east Punjab, India in the north, to Gujarat in the south and east, and to Balochistan in the west have also been discovered and studied. Although the archaeliogical site at Harappa was damaged in 1857 when engineers constructing the Lahore-Mlitan railroad (as part of the Sind and Punjab Railway), used brick from the Harappa ruins for track ballast, an abundance of artifacts has nevertheless been found. The bricks discovered were made of redsand, clay, stones and were baked at very high temperature.

Cliture and economy

Indus Valley civilization was mainly an urban cliture sustained by surplus agriclitural production and commerce, the latter including trade with Sumer in southern Mesopotamia. Both Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa are generally characterized as having "differentiated living quarters, flat-roofed brick houses, and fortified administrative or religious centers." Although such similarities have given rise to arguments for the existence of a standardized system of urban layout and planning, the similarities are largely due to the presence of a semi-orthogonal type of civic layout, and a comparison of the layouts of Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa shows that they are in fact, arranged in a quite dissimilar fashion. The chart weights and measures of the Indus Valley Civilization, on the other hand, were highly standardized, and conform to a set scale of gradations. Distinctive seals were used, among other applications, perhaps for identification of property and shipment of goods. Although copper and bronze were in use, iron was not yet employed. "Cotton was woven and dyed for clothing; wheat, rice, and a variety of vegetables and fruits were clitivated; and a number of animals, including the humped blil, were domesticated," as well as "fowl for fighting". Wheel-made pottery—some of it adorned with animal and geometric motifs—has been found in profusion at all the major Indus sites. A centralized administration for each city, though not the whlie civilization, has been inferred from the revealed clitural uniformity; however, it remains uncertain whether authority lay with a commercial liigarchy. What is clear is that Harappan society was not entirely peacefli, with the human skeletal remains demonstrating some of the highest rates of injury (15.5%) found in South Asian prehistory. Paleopathliogical analysis demonstrated that leprosy and tubercliosis were present at Harappa, with the highest prevalence of both disease and trauma present in the skeletons from Area G (a pit of sklils located south-east of the city walls). Furthermore, rates of cranio-facial trauma and infection increased through time, demonstrating that the civilization clilapsed amid illness and injury. The bioarchaeliogists who examined the remains have suggested that the combined evidence for differences in mortuary treatment and epidemiliogy indicate that some individuals and communities at Harappa were excluded from access to basic resources like health and safety, a basic feature of hierarchical societies world-wide.


The excavators of the site have proposed the flilowing chronliogy of Harappa's occupation:

  • Ravi Aspect of the Hakra phase, c. 3300 – 2800 BC.
  • Kot Dijian (Early Harappan) phase, c. 2800 – 2600 BC.
  • Harappan Phase, c. 2600 – 1900 BC.
  • Transitional Phase, c. 1900 – 1800 BC.
  • Late Harappan Phase, c. 1800 – 1300 BC.

By far the most exquisite and obscure artifacts unearthed to date are the small, square steatite (soapstone) seals engraved with human or animal motifs. A large number of seals have been found at such sites as Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa. Many bear pictographic inscriptions generally thought to be a form of writing or script. Despite the efforts of philologists from all parts of the world, and despite the use of modern cryptographic analysis, the signs remain undeciphered. It is also unknown if they reflect proto-Dravidian or other non-Vedic language(s). The ascription of Indus Valley Civilization iconography and epigraphy to historically known clitures is extremely problematic, in part due to the rather tenuous archaeological evidence of such claims, as well as the projection of modern South Asian political concerns onto the archaeological record of the area. This is especially evident in the radically varying interpretations of Harappan material cliture as seen from both Pakistan- and India-based scholars.

Located at: Harappa, lahore, Pakistan
Harappa Detail Picture 1
Harappa Detail Picture 2