India’s largest burial site – Sinauli

 India’s largest burial site – Sinauli

Saddiqpur Sanauli, or Sanauli, as it is popularly known, first shot to prominence in 2005, as archaeologists carried out excavations here for 13 months. What they found there  was amazing – 116 burials with a wide range of antique items, which seemed to belong to the typical Late Harappan phase. The site was soon identified as a necropolis or a large, well-planned cemetery. It was a city of the dead. Excavations in Sanauli, 68 km from Delhi in UP’s Baghpat, began in 2005 and resumed in 2018, leading to discovery of horse-drawn chariots, burials, four-legged wooden coffins, pottery, a copper antenna sword and war shields


Archeological survey of India, the joint director S K Manjul, who led the excavations at Sanauli, informed The Times of India  that the burials date back to 1900 BC. “Between 2005 and 2006, 116 burials were found while 10 more were discovered in the last two years, making it India’s largest known necropolis.”

The burial pits include  coffins along with systematically arranged vases, bowls and pots. The joint director added that three chariots found at the site “have a fixed axle linked by a long pole to the small yoke” and were run by a pair of animals. “The size and shape of the chariots indicate they were pulled by horses. The axle, chassis and wheels show similarities to contemporary chariots,”

  • Chariot dug up at Sanauli site in Bahgpat by the ASI team


Historian B R Mani, who oversaw excavations in Sanauli in 2005, said that the site should be looked at as an interaction of a period of practices of Ganga Yamuna Doab and Indus Valley cultures

Carbon Dating Shows UP’s Sanauli Had Chariot-Riding Warriors In 1900 BC, Here’s What It Means For Aryan Invasion Theory

Archeologist, Vijay Kumar also states that the pottery found at Sanauli is Ochre colored pottery. OCP (Ochre colored pottery) is a 4000BC – 2000 bronze age culture of Indo-gangetic plains.

Ariel view of sight at Sanauli


Sanauli is key to ancient Indian as Discovery of chariots reveal indigenous warrior tribe 126 burials makes it largest necropolis of chalco-lithic period Anthropomorphic figures on coffin indicate religious belief Gold, copper anthropomorphic figure associated with Vedic gods ASI says Sanaulians (copper hoard people) were warriors Roots of early historic cultures can be traced here Materials found here contemporary to late-mature phase of Harappans The most striking aspect of the excavation has been the discovery of three chariots, which bring up questions regarding the Aryan Invasion theory. The design and size of the chariot indicate they were horse-driven and were contemporary to the Mesopotamian and Sumerian culture. According to historians, the horses were brought from Central Asia by the invading Aryan army around 1500 BC.

Upinder Kaur, who teaches history at Ashoka University, said that the discovery of elaborate burials and remains of chariots was “dramatic and unique”.

She said, “Just how this evidence fits into the cultural jigsaw puzzle of the 2nd millennium BC drawn from texts and archaeology is something that has to be carefully examined. I am looking forward to reading the detailed report of the Sanauli excavations.”




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