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8,000 Years Old Village, Haryana's Rakhigarhi,
Largest Indus City
INDIA, January 4, 2013 (Live Mint): Rakhigarhi is a cluster of two sprawling villages --Rakhikhas and Rakhi Shahpur--in Haryana, around 106 miles from Delhi. That Rakhigarhi was a large Harappan town was known in 1963, when the area was first surveyed. What archaeologists are finding out now is that it is the biggest ever Harappan city, larger and more extensive than the massive Mohenjo Daro. "The whole site is around 1.55 sq. miles, which is nearly double that of Mohenjo Daro," says Vasant Shivram Shinde, professor of archaeology and joint director of the Deccan College Post-Graduate and Research Institute, Pune. "It's in critical condition because of encroachment and construction."
About 40% of the Rakhigarhi site is protected by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)--which translates to a fenced boundary wall and a guardroom with no guard. The wall is broken in several places, and the protected area is used by the villagers as a place to dry cow dung. The unprotected areas have houses and farmland. The ancient Harappan city lies buried under.
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"People pick up Harappan objects from their fields and sell them for as little as Rs.100," says local villager Wazir Chand Saroae. "They don't mean to do anything illegal; it's just that they have little awareness about it."
All of this is set to change. The Global Heritage Fund (GHF), a non-profit organization based in the US that works to preserve the world's most endangered heritage sites, put Rakhigarhi on its project in 2012. This makes the Harappan site one of GHF's 13 projects worldwide.
GHF will not only coordinate an ambitious excavation and conservation project at the site, led by Prof. Shinde, beginning this month, it will also work with the local community to develop home stays, train tour guides, and establish an on-site lab and museum with the help of the ASI, Deccan College, and other government agencies to turn Rakhigarhi into a heritage tourism hot spot. Even though the Harappan or Indus Valley Civilization is one of the three oldest urban civilizations, along with Egypt and Mesopotamia, it is the least understood. Its script is yet to be deciphered, and the knowledge of social structures and life during that period is scant. Rakhigarhi promises to change this too. It is one of the few Harappan sites which has an unbroken history of settlement starting with the early Harappan farming communities from 6000 to 4500 BC, to the mysterious collapse of the civilization around 1800 BC.
Ancient Migration: Genes Link Australia with
AUSTRALIA, January 14, 2013 (BBC): Australia experienced a wave of migration from India about 4,000 years ago, a genetic study suggests. It was thought the continent had been largely isolated after the first humans arrived about 40,000 years ago until the Europeans moved in in the 1800s. But DNA from Aboriginal Australians revealed there had been some movement from India during this period. The researchers believe the Indian migrants may have introduced the dingo to Australia. In the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, they say that the fossil record suggests the wild dogs arrived in Australia at around the same time. They also suggest that Indians may have brought stone tools called microliths to their new home. To study the early origins of Australia's population, the team compared genetic material from Aboriginal Australians with DNA from people in New Guinea, South East Asia and India. By looking at specific locations, called genetic markers, within the DNA sequences, the researchers were able to track the genes to see who was most closely related to whom. They found an ancient genetic association between New Guineans and Australians, which dates to about 35,000 to 45,000 years ago. At that time, Australia and New Guinea were a single land mass, called Sahul, and this tallies with the period when the first humans arrived. But the researchers also found a substantial amount of gene flow between India and Australia. Prof. Mark Stoneking, from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, said: "We have a pretty clear signal from looking at a large number of genetic markers from all across the genome that there was contact between India and Australia somewhere around 4,000 to 5,000 years ago."
LV: Vedic meet to bring in peace
09th Jan 2013: Rajahmundry: Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams will organise a state-level Vedic meet in presence of Sringeri seer Bharathi Teertha Swamy on the premises of Government Arts College grounds on January 15. Speaking to newsmen here on Tuesday, TTD executive officer L.V. Subrahmanyam said that about 1,000 Vedic scholars from several parts of the country would take part in the meet. They would render four Vedas while five noted persons would also take part in the meet to deliver lectures on Veda shastras. He said that the seer would be given a grand ceremonial welcome during his visit to the town to take part in the meet and added a procession would be taken out with the devotees in the town. Elephants and horses would also be arranged in the procession. Mr Subrahmanyam said, "We are grateful to the seer for accepting our invite to take part in the Vedic meet. We wish that the presence of seer and the Vedic scholars in the meet to be held on the banks of Godavari river will bring in peace and prosperity to the region." He appealed to the people to take part in the meet in large numbers. He also appealed to the donors to come forward to contribute whatever they intended to do to help them to organise the meet in a grand manner. He said that he invited TTD chairman and MP Kanumuri Bapiraju and Trust Board members to attend the meet. Responding to query on why TTD was not providing patronage to several temples meant to promote Hindu dharma, the TTD official said that they were constrained by the limited financial resources. Howev-er, he said that they would provide financial assistan-ce for construction of new temples and their maintenance part should be taken up by the promoters and devotees of those temples. Referring to the norms of the TTD Board, he said that they were permitted to extend financial assistance worth Rs25 lakh to revive two temples which were in a dilapidated condition for each district in a year and added that for any further assistance, they should get the approval from the board.
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