Find of the decade – excavations to restart at Sanauli cemetery

Posted On: Dec 26th, 2018 at 18:14

Excavations are about to restart at Sanauli – a 4,000-year-old cemetery with one of the most extensive collections of bronze artefacts ever found. The bronze swords, daggers, and other artefacts, however, are of little interest compared to the implications from some of the other findings.
Sanauli was actually discovered in 2005 but extensive archaeology did not occur until 2012. This year (2018), however, discoveries made at the vast cemetery are producing difficult questions for Indian historians. Firstly, it was thought the site was a part of the Indus valley culture – the far eastern edge of the collapsing civilisation at that time. It was soon discovered, however, that the Sanauli people were distinct from their cousins in the west, due to the unique artefacts. The Sanauli are seemingly a “warrior class” and the hundreds of bronze weapons suggest that they were indeed wealthy people with an extensive armoury. But the bombshell for Indian archaeology is a chariot wheel, complete with bronze spokes, that hints of a horse-drawn vehicle. If proven to be horse-drawn – hence the rush to start a new dig in a couple of weeks – it will be the earliest evidence of horses in India. The earliest confirmed date of the horse in India is 1600 BC, around 400 years after the Sanauli site, so we await with bated breath for what could be one of the most important archaeological discoveries in India this millennium.