In the year 2000 the Indian Council of
Historical Research cleared our proposal for preparing an Atlas
of the Indus-Saraswati Civilization under its scheme of major
projects for a period of three years. The project is completed
and we are now preparing the manuscript for the publication.
There are as many as 191 site Distribution
maps and 400 page text covering practically all excavated sites
and the areas where the cultural remains of the Indus-Saraswati
Civilization have been found, particularly in India and Pakistan.
However, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Mesopotamia, Bahrain
and Oman have also been included in this Atlas showing sites with
the Indus-Saraswati or Harappan antiquities. The maps covering
India and Pakistan have been prepared according to the present-day
District boundaries, State boundaries and Country boundaries to
help researchers at various levels of their work. The maps show
the location of each site according to their latitude and longitude.
The sites are mentioned in the maps by
their names so that there is no confusion which sometimes occurs
if the sites are mentioned by numbers. This we have done even
in the case of Bahawalpur sites in Pakistan where they are in
large numbers and located very close to each other.
The sites have been grouped broadly under
three groups: the Early Indus-Saraswati, the Mature Indus-Saraswati
and the Late Indus-Saraswati. The Early Indus-Saraswati includes
Hakra as well Kot Diji-Sothi sites.
The dates are broad brackets for each
one of them which are now accepted all over the world since these
are based upon calibrated radiocarbon dates. Richard Meadow and
J.M. Kenoyer (2003) have used these brackets for the periodisation
of Harappa. There are, of course, at least two phases in the Early
Indus-Saraswati and three phases in the Mature Indus-Saraswati
at Harappa but that is not only a matter of details but also site-specific.
There is also a list of all the sites
with their longitudes and latitudes. Gregory Possehl had listed
them in his book The Indus Age. However, in quite a few of them
the coordinates had to be corrected. . We have used GPS, an instrument
which was not available to the old field-workers for recording
exact coordinates; Survey of India maps alone were available to
them. For mapping and plotting we have used a software named Geo-Media
Prof. 4 for greater accuracy than that we get when manually produced.
The geo-physical maps are primarily based
upon satellite imageries and field-work put together and published
in recent years. The rivers, the mountains, the deserts, the seas,
etc. are also based upon satellite imagery as adopted by the internationally
recognised atlas published by Oxford.
The Atlas also includes the West Asian
sites the coordinates of many of which are not available to us.
Moreover, the political situation in Iraq, Kuwait, etc. is presently
in turmoil to make attempts to obtain data required by us. We
had, therefore, to depend on the old available data.
The Atlas of the Indus-Saraswati Civilization
is, however, much more than mere site-distribution maps since
the underlying concept was cultural. It is a cultural atlas. It
embodies the data on the material remains unearthed at the excavated
sites. The remains include major architectural remains such as
the Great Bath at Mohanjodaro as well as the movable antiquities
such as the seals and sealings. There are also the animal bones,
human remains, burials, botanical remains, etc. which find place
in the Atlas.
The data on each cultural item from excavated
sites have been tabulated along with the references of publications
where they appeared. This method has been adopted to present the
mass of data in a restricted space with quick and exact referencing.
This, it is hoped, will help the researchers in locating his material
in practically no time.
There are a few subjects which are basic
to our understanding of the dynamics of the Indus-Saraswati Civilization.
For example, the rationale behind the changed nomenclature—from
the Indus Valley Civilization to the Indus-Saraswati Civilization.
India is a country where Traditions are
still continuing to be practised and where literary traditions
go back in time to thousands of years. The Rigveda is still considered
to be the oldest literary text available to us even though it
is not easy to date it exactly. We all are aware of the fact that
all ancient texts, including epics, could not be totally based
up imagination. With this premise the Holyland Archaeology had
started and new light was thrown on the problems of correlating
literature and archaeology. Some success was always achieved though
not complete success. Hence, the flow of the Saraswati and the
question of drying up of the Saraswati plus the archaeology of
the Harappan Civilization can not be completely brushed aside
even though we can never be sure about many inferences drawn by
scholars unless the script is deciphered and the language is identified.
There are many other aspects and dimensions
of the Indus-Saraswati Civilization, including metals, metallurgy,
technology, urban planning, water management, etc. which are covered
in the Atlas of the Indus-Saraswati Civilization to make it as
much comprehensive as possible but without making it another mega
---- S.P. Gupta