Excavations – Important – Haryana
Banawali (29°31′; 75°30′), Dt Hissar, Haryana.
Banawali is located 15 km n.-w. of Fatehabad, on the left bank of dried up bed of the Saraswati. The excavation at Banawali was undertaken by R.S. Bisht on behalf of the Dept of Archaeology, Haryana during 1974 to 1977, and later on by ASI revealing three Periods.
Period I (c. 2500-2300 B.C.) is indicated by the existence of well-planned houses made of kiln-burnt and moulded brick. In technique, decoration and general appearance the pottery may be divided into two broad groups: one is thin and light in fabric with pink or buff colour and is elaborately painted in black. White pigment has been used to give prominence to the principal motifs. The shapes comprise the vase and jar. The second group represents a finer variety of pottery marked by a superior texture and surface treatment. It is probably made on fast wheel and is comparable with the Harappa ceramics in fineness. The pottery assemblage is quite similar to the assemblage of Kalibangan I. The main finds comprise beads of gold, semiprecious stones, terracotta and steatite and bangles made of clay, shell, faience and copper. A blade of chalcedony has also been found.
In Period II (c. 2300-1700 B.C.), a well-planned fortified township laid in the typical Harappa chess-board pattern was established. It consists of two adjacent fortified areas- one may have been for the ruling class and the other for the common people. The area meant for the common people is subdivided into house blocks, with broad north – south thoroughfares, cut at right angles and connected by east – west lanes. A defence wall has been traced to a length of 105 m with a height of 4.50 m and a thickness of 6 m. The houses are well-planned comprising rooms, store, kitchen and toilet built on both sides of the roads and lanes. The houses generally have floors of rammed earth, mud walls plastered with husk or cowdung and flat earthen roofs on reed cushion supported by wooden beams and rafters. The red ware is typically Harappa and has a sophisticated finish. The shapes comprise the dish-on-stand, fruit-stand, S-shaped jar, storage or refuse jar, perforated jar, vase, cooking handis, beaker, basin, goblet, chalice cup, handled cup, etc. They are painted with animal and floral designs.
Period III (c. 1700-1500/1450 B.C.) represents the BARA ware culture, the remains of which are traceable in the pits cut into the Harappa levels of the mound. The ceramics of Periods II and Ill are different form each other in respect of fabric, slip, potting technique and painting, though certain Harappa traditions continue in pottery,
terracotta nodules and cakes. The excavation makes it clear that the Harappa brought with them their mature and well-developed traditions and lived side by side with the earlier residents. The Bara ware may be termed as post-Harappa or at best a late contemporary of the Harappa.
Kurukshetra, Dt. Hq., Haryana
It has traditional antiquity from Mahabharata time onwards. The area, rich in varied archaeological remains; was first explored in the by A. Cunningham who identified the ancient mounds at Thanesar with spots visited by Hieun Tsang in the 7th century. The site was excavated by number of scholors like D.B.Spooner (1921-23), B.B.Lal and Suraj Bhan with Jim G. Shaffer (1977)
The Dt headquarters at Kurukshetra are studded with a cluster of ancient mound. The most impressive of these are the extensive ruins on the w. of Thanesar (29°58′;76°56′) which are capped by a late medieval tomb associated with Sheikh Chilli. This may have been the fort of Harshavardhana whose earlier capital was Sthanisara (Thaneswar). From the ruins of Dudakheri to the e. of Thanesar town have, been discovered late Harappa pottery and PGW while remains of a Gurjara-Pratihara temple complex have been identified at Sakhaji ka Tila.
The combined sequence of cultures at the twin mounds may be divided into four Periods : Period I (late Harappa), Mirzapur I; Period II (NBPW), I Raja Kama ka Tila I; Period III (early historical Yaudheya- Kushan), Raja Kama ka Tila II and Mirzapur II; and Period IV (late medieval), Raja Kama ka Tila III and Mirzapur (Ill).