In a joint excavation and analysis undertaken by the department of archaeology of the Deccan College Deemed University in Pune and Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea, archaeologists have discovered a couple’s skeleton in the same grave, which according to them is the first anthropologically confirmed joint burial of a couple in any Harappan cemetery.
The grave was found in the Harappan settlements excavated at Rakhigarhi in Haryana, 150km northwest of Delhi.
According to the archaeologists, the two bodies found during the excavation laid face up, with arms and legs stretched out. They confirmed that pieces of evidence showed that the duo was buried simultaneously or about the same time but they couldn’t confirm whether one was buried before the other.
The findings have been published in the peer-reviewed international journal ACB journal of Anatomy and Cell Biology.
Vasant Shinde, corresponding author of the research, and vice chancellor of DCDU was quoted saying that the archaeologists in India have often debated the historical meaning of joint burials. He said that the Harappans believed in life after death, because of which pottery and bowls were found in the graves. He said those pots may have contained food and water for the dead. “Hence, the contemporary view of life after death may actually be as old as 5,000 years,” he added.
He also mentioned that the manner in which the couple was buried, with the male’s face towards the women, could commemorate their long-lasting affection for each other even after death.
Previously, another Harappan joint burial was discovered in Lothal, one of the southernmost cities of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization, located in the Bhal region of the modern state of Gujarat, but was regarded as a case of a widow’s self-sacrifice over her husband’s death, Shinde informed while speaking to TOI.
“Other archaeologists claimed it was difficult to estimate the sexes of the individuals, and they may not have been a couple. Other than that, none of the joint burials reported from Harappan cemeteries has been anthropologically confirmed to be a couple’s grave,” he said.
Shinde furthered that though couple graves were something which was not uncommon in other ancient civilizations, yet, he considered it strange that they were not discovered in Harappan cemeteries until now.
The skeletons, whose age was estimated to be between 21 and 35 years at the time of burial, were taken to the laboratory of the DCDU for analysis after the field surveys were completed. There, the skeleton’s sex was also determined after studying the pelvic region. The researchers, however, confirmed that they did not find any evidence of trauma or lesions in the skeletons.
Earlier we had reported how studies of Rakhigarhi remains had dismissed the long concluded ‘Aryan Invasion theory’ by testifying through its comprehensive DNA study that no central Asian traces were found in the remains and thus established that the Vedic era that followed it was a fully indigenous period. The study proved the Aryan Invasion Theory was flawed and Vedic era evolution of knowledge and culture happened through indigenous people.