Indus Valley Religion Philosophy


Bronze-age skeletons found in India show civilisation believed in reincarnation

5,000-year-old remains of family excavated in one of world's earliest urban settlements reveal new clues about ancient Harappan Indus culture

The found items are thought to be from the Harrappan Idus civilisation
The found items are thought to be from the Harrappan Idus civilisation Photo: The Art Archive/Alamy
Dean Nelson

By , New Delhi

7:51PM BST 15 Apr 2015

Archaeologists believe they have uncovered the remains of a 5,000-year-old Bronze Age family who died believing they would be reincarnated.

Their remains were discovered intact at one of a number of excavation sites in northern India, and are believed to be from the Harappan Indus civilisation which spread from Sindh in today’s Pakistan to Haryana, close to New Delhi.

The civilisation was first discovered in 1924 by Sir John Marshall’s team of archaeologists excavating ruins at Mohenjodaro, near Larkana, Sindh in modern-day Pakistan.

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They found the world’s oldest surviving city, a planned urban landscape with a grid system of roads, homes with washrooms, ceremonial bathing pools, sculptures and toys.

Their finds indicated a developed, sanitary society with good knowledge of urban planning, design, and engineering. One, the celebrated "Dancing Girl’", a small bronze figurine of a scantily clad woman, indicated a culture of performing arts.

Archaeologists from Deccan College in Pune and Seoul University found many similar artifacts to those discovered at Mohenjodaro in Haryana: women’s jewellery, and children’s toys - including a clay model of a dog on a leash indicating early pet ownership.

But excavations around four skeletons of two men, a woman and a child - possibly a family - have uncovered what appears to be the first evidence of the Harappans’ spiritual beliefs.

“We have found some material like pottery with grains of food, and shell bangles located near or around skeletons which enabled us to conclude that the settlers believed in reincarnation,” Nilesh Jhadav, an archaeologist from Deccan College, told the Hindustan Times.


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