The Harappa site was first briefly excavated by Sir Alexander
Cunningham in 1872-73, two decades after brick robbers carried off the
visible remains of the city. He found an Indus seal of unknown origin. The
first extensive excavations at Harappa were started by Rai Bahadur Daya
Ram Sahni in 1920. His work was followed later in the decade by that of
Madho Sarup Vats, also of the Archaeological Survery of India. M.S. Vats
first excavated the “granary,” and published the results of his and Sahni"s
excavations in 1940. Excavations by other archaeologists continued in the
1930"s, and in 1946 Sir Mortimer Wheeler excavated the so-called
fortification walls and found the first pre-Indus civilisation (Kot Dijian)
After Independence, Harappa was excavated by Mohammed Rafique
Mughal of the Archaeological Survey of Pakistan in 1966. In 1986, the
first systematic, multi-disciplinary excavations of an Indus valley city
were begun by the Harappa Archaeological Project (HARP) under the
direction of George F. Dales and J. Mark Kanoyer. These excavations,
now also co-directed by Richard H. Meadow, have continued almost every
year since then.
There is an enormous amount still to be learned about the site, most of
which remains unexcavated. The earliest deposits on the site go back to
3300 BC and the area seems to have been continuously inhabited ever
since. Archaeologists think that ancient Harappa was the urban center
dominating the upper Indus region, much like Mohenjodaro dominated the
lower Indus valley and Ganweriwala might have been the urban center for
what is now Rajasthan.
Excavations at Mohenjodaro
Mohenjodaro was discovered in 1922 by R. D. Banerji, an officer of the
Archaeological Survey of India, two years after major excavations had
begun at Harappa. Large-scale excavations were carried out at the site
under the direction of John Marshall, K. N. Dikshit, Ernest Mackay, and
numerous other directors through the 1930s. The last major excavation
project at the site was carried out by the late Dr. G. F. Dales in 1964-65,
after which excavations were banned due to the problems of conserving
the exposed structures from weathering.