Chandayan (Inde): Human skeleton wearing crown discovered near Harappan site

Sandeep Rai

Source -

The accidental discovery of a human skeleton wearing what appears to be a copper crown with carnelian beads has generated a lot of curiosity in Chandayan village of Baghpat district. Beads of carnelian, a semi-precious stone, are generally associated with the Harappan civilization. However, a crown has never been found in any of the Indus Valley civilization sites.

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Fragments of the crown (above) and skull (below) discovered in Chandayan village  of Uttar Pradesh's Baghpat district [Credit: Times of India]

Amit Rai Jain, director of Baraut-based Shehzad Rai Research Institute told, TOI on Thursday, "Diggers at a brick kiln at Chandayan village, 38 km from Baghpat, struck upon a human skeleton, a few pieces of terracotta pottery and a copper crown attached to the skull." The news spread like wildfire and a crowd of onlookers and treasure-hunters gathered at the site in no time. "By the time the police force could reach the site, villagers had ransacked the area in search of a possible treasure. What all we could gather were a few broken pieces of the crown and a few teeth," Jain said. An Archaeological Survey of India team that visited the site is, however, cautious on the issue. AK Pandey, superintending archaeologist, ASI, said, "Unless we do a thorough survey of the area and find related material which is generally found at Harappan sites, we cannot say with certainty that the discovery really relates to the Harappan age."

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A Harappan-era necklace on display at a museum in Mumbai. Beads of carnelian, a semi-precious  stone, are generally associated with the Harappan civilization. However, a crown has never been found in any of the Indus Valley civilization sites [Credit: Sanjay Hadkar/Times of India]

The ASI team will again be visiting the site in mid-August. Jain said, "Dr Rakesh Tiwari, DG, ASI, has taken up the project and will soon dig out trial trenches at the site." Dr AR Sankhayan, former senior anthropologist with Anthropological Survey of India, is optimistic though. "Initially, the discovery appears to be of copper age and is quite similar to what we found at the ancient burial site in Sinauli village, 20 km from this site. The excavation was undertaken by the ASI in 2005, during which Harappan age pottery and skeletons were unearthed. Because of the proximity of this site to Chandayan village, the link can be established. But even in Sinauli, no crown was found." Dr RS Bisht, former joint director general, ASI, who is credited with maximum work on the Harappan culture, said it was "indeed a beautiful crown but a bit of research is needed to establish its connection with Harappan culture." At present, the crown and set of teeth are in the possession of Satish Jain, an amateur archaeologist and a member of Paelio Research Society. "We will soon be sending the stuff to the Kolkata office of Anthropological Survey of India where the age of the skeleton will be ascertained," he said.