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‘Harappans in Alamgirpur made clever use of landscape, water availability’


Kolkata, June 27 (IANS) Inhabitants of Harappan settlements found in Uttar Pradesh’s Alamgirpur, the easternmost site of the Indus Valley civilisation, channeled their knowledge of the local landscape and water availability to zero on these sites specifically and not just for the sake of setting up communities in the region, an archaeologist said here on Monday.

"They were utilising the landscape by knowing the landscape very clearly and did not locate the site just for the sake of locating. They had a good idea about the landscape and water availability," said Sayantani Neogi, post doctoral research associate at Murray Edwards College, at the University of Cambridge.

The site of Alamgirpur is located close to the modern river Hindon, a tributary of the Yamuna river.

Speaking at a discussion on geo-archaeology and human-environment adaptation during the Harappan period, organised by the Indian Museum here, Neogi, through on-site and off-site surveys, shed light on how water availability influenced the late Harappan settlements and also on links between the eastward shift of the civilisation around 2000 BC and climatic change.

"All the sites were located along the edges of the river and in a linear fashion on floodplains. They were clever enough to put their sites on levees (natural embankments of the river) to receive the benefits of floods but at the same time the site would be spared from the active floods and in that way they were better able to utilise the local landscape and organise their agriculture activities," she said.

Neogi was sharing insights from her doctoral research work in north-western India, a component of the much larger UKIERI funded project of ‘Land, Water and Settlement: Environmental constraints and human responses in northwest India between 2000 and 300 BC’.

Advocating the promotion of geo-archaeology in Asia, she stressed the implications of the site- specific studies should help address the broader question of the downfall of the urban Harappan civilization.

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