Burial practices have been an integral part of human civilizations for thousands of years. Different cultures and societies have had diverse methods of burying their deceased, ranging from cremation to entombment.
One ancient civilization that is known for burying the dead in mounds is the Indus Valley Civilization (IVC). The IVC was one of the earliest urban civilizations in the world, flourishing around 2600 BCE in the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent.
The Mound Burial Tradition
The Indus Valley Civilization practiced a unique tradition of burying their dead in mounds, also known as tumuli. Tumuli are earthen mounds that are raised over a grave or group of graves. These mounds were constructed using soil, mud bricks, and stone slabs and were often surrounded by circular or rectangular stone walls.
Significance of Mound Burials
The mound burials were significant as they served not only as a final resting place for the deceased but also as a symbol of their social status and importance in society. The larger the mound, the higher was the social status of the person buried within it. The IVC believed in an afterlife where individuals could continue their lives, which might have been one reason why they constructed these large burial mounds.
Archaeological excavations have revealed several mound burials across various sites belonging to the Indus Valley Civilization. The largest mound burial discovered to date is located at Dholavira in Gujarat and measures about 22 meters in diameter and 6 meters in height. This burial site also features several smaller mounds surrounding it, indicating that it could have been a royal cemetery.
In conclusion, the Indus Valley Civilization is known for its unique burial tradition of constructing mounds over the graves of the deceased. These earthen mounds not only served as a final resting place but also symbolized the social status and importance of the person buried within them. The archaeological evidence of these mound burials provides an insight into the beliefs and customs of one of the earliest urban civilizations in the world.