Dig this! Harappa comes closer home

Apr 23, 2012, 07:36 IST | Soma Das

Summer workshops for children at the CSMVS will introduce them to the Harappan civilisation through simulated archeological digs, astronomy sessions, and jewellery-making

The Indus Valley Civilisation, which flourished near the Indus River, was one of the earliest urban civilisations (3,000-1,300 BCE) and its inhabitants were respected for their advanced script, knowledge of astronomy, metal craft, pottery, carvings and construction in terms of roads, drainage system
and houses.

Excavations at Harappa and Mohenjodaro, two of the major cities in the Indus Valley Civilisation, led to the unearthing of seals decorated with animal motifs such as elephants and water buffaloes, jewellery and coins. While details about this civilisation are often confined to history books, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS) will now recreate this period to help children learn about the civilisation in a more hands-on way.

At the workshops, children will learn the art of Harappan pottery

Mould them young
“There will be a mobile planetarium that can be visited throughout the day ( April 26-27) while the other activities have fixed dates and registration fees of Rs 250 each. Experts from the Sir JJ School of Art and the Nehru Planetarium will train children in the crafts. One of the highlights will be a session where children will create a newspaper from the Harappan times filled with information relevant to the period after learning their motifs and scripts. There will also be a fashion show for which children will design the ensemble,” says Bilwa Kulkarni, Education Officer, CSVMS.

An image of a water buffalo found on Harappan seals

Some of the sessions will include a simulated archeological excavation where children can solve mysteries and answer questions related to the Harappan civilisation. The event will include sessions about the mythical creatures of the Indus as denoted on the seals, making Harappan toys and games using motifs and designs that have been played by children 5,000 years ago, understanding ancient astronomy and creating of constellation boxes.

On the premises of the museum, a Harappan ceramic corner will be set up which will feature a history gallery where children can learn Harappan pottery under the guidance of a pottery artist.

Turn back time
“Such activities will help the children understand the civilisation instead of learning about it through rote. The sessions have been devised in consultation with the Education Consultant Usha Rajaram. It is a fascinating subject and through these workshops children will get to creatively approach this part of history and think for themselves,” concludes Kulkarni.

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