1826 Charles Masson, aka James Lewis, hiding out from British army came across a large city of bricks in the Punjab – wrote about it much later in romanticized account


1831 Alexander Burns, posing as an American engineer, scouted area for possible commercial and strategic potential – area not yet under British control


1849 – Punjab under British control

1853 Sir Alexander Cunningham   – father of Indian archaeology - following up on Masson and Burns finds large ruins

mainly interested in finding Buddhist sites – ignores

1856 revisits site for Archeological Survey of India

6 miles from modern bank of the river Ravi

Named after a near-by village of Harappa


starting in 1850’s – destroyed by 1872

1865 – Karachi-Lahore railroad

100 miles of track laid on crushed brick from Harappa


steatite (soapstone)seals only thing reovered by Cunningham


1914 Sir John Marshall formal survey of Harappa

Basic features:

A high citadel 50 feet above the lower city

Great waterproofed tank or bath



World War I in Europe

systematic excavation of Harappa in 1921

6 levels of occupation

complex contained within a three-mile circumference


1919 R. D. Banerji discovered site 350 miles south of Harappa

Mohenjo-daro in district of Sind

Mohenjo-daro (place or hill of the dead)

Interested in Buddhist stupa

1921 trial dig – down 4 levels

top level – coins from 2nd century A.D.

fourth level 3 seals, one “unicorn”


Marshall publishes illustration of seal in Illustrated London News in 1924

Article read by Earnest MacKay at University of Chicago

Excevation at Kish (Mesopotamia) of temple dedicated to war god Ilbata

Knows that structure dates approximately to 2300 B.C.

Had found identical seal under foundation of temple

First hint at antiquity of ruins


Hints of a glorious past found in the myths and epics of India, and the Vedic texts (c.1500-900)

Describe how remote nomadic invaders conquered mighty citadels



Major excavation of Mohenjo-daro 1925-31 by Marshall

Indus valley civilization – or Harappan culture – perhaps best to refer to Indus Valley Tradition  -

Early urban civilization existing in full flower at the end of the third millennium B.C.