DNA samples from 2 human skeletons found in Harappan-era Rakhigarhi burial pits sent for analysis: The Tribune India

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Rakhigarhi (Haryana), May 8

DNA samples taken from two human skeletons discovered in a necropolis at a Harappan-era urban site in Haryana have been sent for scientific examination, the result of which could reveal the ancestry and dietary habits of people who lived in the Rakhigarhi region thousands of years ago. .

The skeletons of two deceased women were found a few months ago at mound number 7 (named RGR 7 by the Archaeological Survey of India), believed to be nearly 5,000 years old. Pots and other artifacts were also found buried next to them in a pit, part of burial rituals from the time of the Harappan civilization, ASI officials said.

“Seven mounds (RGR 1- RGR 7) scattered around two villages (Rakhi Khas and Rakhi Shahpur) in Hisar district are part of the Rakhigarhi archaeological site. RGR 7 is a cemetery site from the Harappan period when it was a well-organized city. The two skeletons were unearthed about two months ago by our team. And DNA samples were taken by experts about two weeks ago,” said the deputy director general of the ASI, SK Manjul.

Currently, RGR 1, RGR 3 and RGR 7 have been investigated.

Manjul, who has led the excavation team at the Rakhigarhi site, about 150 km northwest of Delhi, since they began on February 24, 2022, said the DNA analysis will help answer many questions. questions, anthropological or otherwise. The samples will first be examined by the Birbal Sahni Institute of Paleosciences in Lucknow for preliminary investigation and scientific comparison, before being sent further for forensic analysis from an anthropological perspective, it said. -he declares.

“The result of the DNA analysis will help reveal the ancestry of the people who lived in this ancient city, whether they were indigenous or migrated from elsewhere to settle. In addition, samples taken from the teeth area would indicate their eating habits, what type of food they consumed and other anthropological patterns related to this human settlement which must have been one of the most important, dating from the period of the Harappan civilization,” said Manjul, who had also led the excavations at Sanauli in Uttar Pradesh in 2018 where pre-Iron Age artefacts were discovered.

Arvin Manjul, Regional Manager (North), ASI, said that carbon dating will indicate the age through a scientific process, the excavation site of the RGR 7 mound, according to the current state of the excavation, can be considered. as tentatively dated to nearly 3,000 BC. period, giving the site about 5,000 years old.

“Again, there are techniques to obtain the exact age of skeletal remains, but the two skeletons found in separate burial pits are female. Sex was determined by examination of pelvic structures and other details The age of the two women, when they died, was possibly between 40 and 50 years old, according to our assessment,” she informed.

Both skeletons were found lying supine with their heads pointing north. They were both buried with a plethora of pottery and ornate jewelry like jasper and agate beads and shell bracelets. A symbolic miniature copper mirror was found buried with one of the skeletons, officials said. Animal bones were also found at the site, they said.

A memorandum of understanding is underway between ASI and the government of Haryana whereby the Rakhigarhi antiquities would be exhibited in a museum at the site, the building of which is currently being constructed by the state government near of the RGR 1 mound.

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