Preserving archaeological sites: ‘People in Indus Valley Civilisation exploited, used fuel resources’

Scholar Dr Carla Lancelotti speaks on the practices

Photo Ayesha Mir/mudaser Kazi February 11, 2017
Built around 2500 BC, Mohen Jo Daro was one of the largest settlements of the ancient Indus Valley civilization. PHOTO: AYESHA MIR/ EXPRESS

MOHEN JO DARO: On the second day of the International Conference on Mohen Jo Daro and Indus Valley Civilisation, currently under way near the archaeological site, experts explored uniquely similar practices of fuel exploitation by locals in one of the important sites of the Indus Valley Civilisation.

The three-day conference on Friday focused on the protection and preservation of the most ancient civilisation.

Dr Carla Lancelotti, during the first session of the conference, said the reconstruction of how people used fuel resources was one of the tools for exploring past socio-ecological systems.

She maintained that the region in the third millennium BC was undergoing a period of aridification, a process in which a region becomes increasingly dry, and fuel wood was also probably scarce.

However, the researcher added that “The material that had been found abundantly at the excavation sites for fire, which served for sustenance, was dung and crop processing leftover.”

The scholar who hails from Spain and had received a PhD degree in Archaeobotany from the University of Cambridge also presented her research paper before the audience.

She said, “There are several practical and also social and cultural motives that compel people to burn specific fuels or apply a determined strategy of fuel exploitation for fire, cooking and rituals in all the sites of the Indus Valley Civilisation.”

Dr Lancelotti added that biological and chemical proxies were combined to analyse fuel-related contexts such as a fireplace, ashy patches, pits and floors from the levels dated to the Harrapan phase of four different sites - Harrapa, Kanmer, Shikarpur and Alamgirpur in Gujarat state - in India.

The international scholar also emphasised while giving a presentation that the results of the archaeological analyses also contribute to form a mosaic of similar social practices related to fuel exploitation and use.

Since Thursday, the ancient Indus Valley civilisation has been brimming with archaeologists and researchers from across the world. Scholars from the United States, Spain, Italy, France, Japan, and from Pakistan are participating in the event.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 11th, 2017.


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