SAA2017 | Nazim Jafri : Funerary Practices in Proto-historic India

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In his paper, Nazim Jafri will introduce us to funerary practices in northern India, within the broader context of cultural change between the Harappan (Indus) period and later periods in Indian archaeology.

Nazim Jafri holds a Ph.D from Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, India. His dissertation examined the geography of proto-historic cultures in India. Dr Jafri most recently presented his research at the World Archaeological Congress meetings in Kyoto. He currently serves as Joint Registrar at Aligarh Muslim University.

Cultural Change in Funerary Practices from Harappan to Post-Harappan Phases in Proto-Historic India

Various archaeological sites in the Indian subcontinent namely, Harappa, Kalibangan, Surkotada, Lothal, Daimabad, Bhagwanpura, Navadatoli and Nevasa have been identified as settlements dated to roughly 3000 to 1000 BC. These archaeological sites present evidences of urn burials, which have generally been overlooked in favor of extended burials and cremations, not unlike contemporary funerary practices. In this paper, I examine the distribution pattern of burials and cremations at the above sites, to shed light on cultural changes with respect to funerary practices in proto-historic India. The results suggest a dramatic cultural change in the practice of burials from the north Indian sites to the cremations on the sites in central and Eastern India. This suggests the Harappan Civilization was confined to the northern Indian continent, and its extension towards central and southern India was Post-Harappan expansion with remarkable cultural or religious change.

Image source: Cambridge University Press

Abstracts are also available here: SAA 2017 Session Abstracts (opens new window)

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