Excavations at Banawali

Excavations at Banawali, Haryana (1983-84 and 1986-87)

Banawali (29°37'N; 75°23'E) is situated in Hissar district of Haryana, where the excavation was conducted with two main objectives. First, to build a reasonably acceptable successive culture of the 3rd to 2nd millennium BC in the middle Saraswati valley of Rigvedic fame and secondly, to study the town planning and architecture of an eastern zone site in the Harappan culture.

Period I (C.2500 – 2300 BC)

This period is indicated by the existence of well planned houses made of kiln burnt and moulded bricks. A number of oval and circular hearths, ovens and circular silos, which might have been used as storage jars or for the disposal of refuse, were encountered in the excavations. The pottery assemblage is akin to that of Sothi / Kalibangan (Period I). The small finds comprise beads of semi-precious stones, shell, faience, copper and gold.

Period II (C. 2300 – 1700 BC)

This period is represented by a well planned fortified township laid in typical Harappan pattern. It consists of two adjacent fortified areas – one, probably for the ruling class and the other for the common man. The area meant for the common people is subdivided into house blocks, cut at right angles. A defense wall has been traced to a length of 150m with a height of 4.50m and a thickness of 6m. This wall runs north-south across the mound. The houses generally have floors of rammed earth, mud walls plastered with husk or cow dung and flat earthen roofs on reed cushion supported by wooden beams and rafters. The red ware pottery is typically Harappan and has a sophisticated finish. The shapes comprise dish on stand, S-shaped jars, perforated jars, vase, beakers, etc. They are painted with animal and floral designs. The antiquities recorded from the excavation include long and short blades of chert, weights and measures made of stone, ivory and bone, beads of semi precious stones and metals, seals and sealing, copper objects, rings, bangles and terracotta objects. Another remarkable find is a copper ornament covered with gold foil.

Period III (C.1700 – 1450 BC)

This period represents the Post Harappan phase – BARA culture. The ceramics of Period II and III are different from each other in respect of fabric, technique and paintings. Harappan traditions continue in pottery, terracotta nodules and cakes. The Post Harappan houses are made of pise walls and provided with clay bins in the form of pits with plastered walls.