In a first, scientists have generated an accurate facial representation of the Indus Valley Civilisation people by reconstructing the faces of two of the 37 individuals who were found buried at the 4,500-year-old Rakhigarhi cemetry. A multi-disciplinary team of 15 scientists and academics from six different institutes of South Korea, UK and India, applied craniofacial reconstruction (CFR) technique using computed tomography (CT) data of two of the Rakhigarhi skulls, to recreate their faces.
- The case study, led by W J Lee and Vasant Shinde and supported in part by a grant of the National Geographic Society, has been published in a widely reputed journal, Anatomical Science International.
- The report is very significant because till date, we have had no idea about how Indus Valley people looked. But now we have got some idea about their facial features, Shinde, who led the Rakhigarhi archaeological project. Located in Haryana, Rakhigarhi is one of the largest Indus Valley sites.
- It was difficult to establish the physical appearance so far because "Indus Valley cemeteries and graves have not been investigated sufficiently to date" and "the anthropological data obtained from the skeletons still fall short" for recreating morphology of the Indus Valley people.
- Also, except for "the Priest King, a famous figurine found at Mohenjodaro," there is no advanced or developed art from the Indus Valley civilisation that could lead to an accurate representation of the morphology of its population.
- The CFR technology generated faces of the two Rakhigarhi skulls, therefore, is a major breakthrough, Shinde, a professor at Deccan College Post-Graduate and Research Institute, said.
- Going by the 3-D video representation of the faces, the two individuals of the Rakhigarhi settlement appeared to have Caucasian features with hawk-shaped and Roman noses. The study, however, cautioned against drawing any generic conclusions.
- Indus civilization, also called Indus valley civilization or Harappan civilization, the earliest known urban culture of the Indian subcontinent.
- The nuclear dates of the civilization appear to be about 2500–1700 BCE, though the southern sites may have lasted later into the 2nd millennium BCE.
- The civilization was first identified in 1921 at Harappa in the Punjab region and then in 1922 at Mohenjo-daro (Mohenjodaro), near the Indus River in the Sindh (Sind) region.
- Both sites are in present-day Pakistan, in Punjab and Sindh provinces, respectively.
- The ruins of Mohenjo-daro were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1980.
- Rakhigarhi is a village in Hisar District in the state of Haryana in India, situated 150 kilometers to the northwest of Delhi.
- It is the site of a pre-Indus Valley Civilisation settlement going back to about 6500 BCE. Later, it was also part of the mature Indus Valley Civilisation, dating to 2600-1900 BCE.
- The site is located in the Ghaggar-Hakra river plain some 27 km from the seasonal Ghaggar river.