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Monday, 21 August, 2000, 15:18 GMT 16:18 UK
Search for ancient secrets

By Satish Jacob in Delhi

Indian archaeologists have begun initial excavations at a village, about 100km east of Delhi, in the hope of finding the site of a lost civilisation.

The archaeologists have been encouraged to undertake this work after two villagers working in their field discovered 10 kg of gold.

Harappan civilisation
Flourished in 2500 BC in western India and Pakistan

Home to the largest of the four ancient urban civilisations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, India and China

Discovered in the 1920s at Mohenjo Daro, Pakistan
Scientists say the gold, in the form of jewellery, is perhaps from the era of the Harappan civilisation which existed 4,000 years ago.

The archaeologists are making a small trench to see if there is any more gold left.

If their initial digging determines that the site contained relics of an old settlement, they will start extensive excavations in the month of October after the monsoon season is over.

Gold discovery

The site where the archaeologists are working is a sleepy little village called Mandi, not far from the Indian capital Delhi.

In early June, Mandi became a household name in the country when two farmers working in their field discovered several pieces of jewellery weighing 10 kgs.

Map of UP
Not surprisingly, a gold rush ensued and a serious law and order situation developed.

The police were called in and the farmland was cordoned off.

Now, it is under the direct control of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

ASI director Komal Anand visited the place and was convinced that the jewellery was definitely of the Harappan period.

The existence of the Harappan civilisation was first discovered by a British explorer at Mohenjo Daro in Pakistan in the 1920s.

Ms Anand says she believes that the Harappan civilisation may have begun in the Indus Valley and then perhaps spread to the Gangetic plain near Delhi.

She says when she visited the area, she found what she called traces of fortifications.

She says Mandi is going to be a very exciting site and it needs much further investigation.

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19 Jun 00 | South Asia
Ancient gold treasure found
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