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This ancient Indian chariot was found at Baghpat and dates to the Bronze Age (2000-1800 BC).

Discovery of Three Chariots in India Suggests Warrior Class of Ancient Civilization


Archaeologists in India have unearthed three copper detailed chariots from the Bronze Age (2000-1800 BC). This is the first known example of this type of transport being found in India from that time period. Even better, the Indian chariots are in good condition and were discovered alongside some other fascinating and unique artifacts. However, the experts are still analyzing the finds to decide to which culture they belong.

First Ever Chariots Found in India From the Time

Outlook India reports that this is the "first ever” physical evidence of chariots” from that time period to be found by Archeological Survey of India. The chariots were uncovered during three months of excavations in Sanauli village of the Baghpat district in Uttar Pradesh.

Archaeologists at the site in Baghpat. (G.N. Jha)

Archaeologists at the site in Baghpat. ( G.N. Jha )

All three of the chariots were placed in burial pits and are of a two-wheeled variety which would have been driven by one person. S. K. Manjul, director of the Delhi-based Institute of Archaeology, explained how the chariots would have worked back in the Bronze Age, “The wheels rotated on a fixed axle linked by a draft pole to the yoke of a pair of animals. The axle was attached with a superstructure consisting of a platform protected by side-screens and a high dashboard.”

The wheels and draft pole have survived the passing of time and continue to bear copper decorations of triangles and the sun’s rays. Manjul says the discovery of the Indian chariots is extremely significant because it allows ancient India to be compared with other contemporary civilizations, “The discovery of a chariot puts us on a par with other ancient civilizations, like Mesopotamia, Greece, etc. where chariots were extensively used. It seems a warrior class thrived in this region in the past.”

One of the ancient Indian chariots. (Archaeological Survey of India)

One of the ancient Indian chariots. ( Archaeological Survey of India )

Elaborately Decorated Coffins

Copper anthropomorphic figures with horns and leaf-crowns also adorn three coffins and floral designs grace the sides of the ancient caskets found during the dig. Coffins have been found at the ancient sites of Harappa, Mohenjo-daro and Gujarat, but Manjul was quick to point out that this is the first known example of this particular design of coffin being found “in the entire sub-continent.”

The motifs found on the chariots and coffins have led the experts to suggest that royalty may have been buried in those three graves. They believe that other finds, such as antenna swords and daggers, provide evidence for warrior graves at the site too. Combs, semi-precious stones and beads, ceramic and copper pots, and a copper mirror were also found amongst the vast array of grave goods.

Swords and daggers were also found in some of the burials. (Times of India)

Swords and daggers were also found in some of the burials. ( Times of India )

Manjul described the significance of the discovery :

“We are now certain that when in 2000 BC, the Mesopotamians were using chariots, swords, and helmets in wars, we also had similar things. It is confirmed that they were a warrior class. The swords have copper-covered hilts and a medial ridge making it strong enough for warfare. We have also found shields, a torch and daggers.”

The archaeologists are still pondering to which culture the recently uncovered artifacts belong. However, they have decided that the coffins and ancient Indian chariots were not created by the Harappan civilization.

One of the burials containing an ancient Indian chariot. (Times of India)

One of the burials containing an ancient Indian chariot. ( Times of India )

Top Image: This ancient Indian chariot was found at Baghpat and dates to the Bronze Age (2000-1800 BC). Source: the pioneer

By Alicia McDermott

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Alicia McDermott holds degrees in Anthropology, Psychology, and International Development Studies and has worked in various fields such as education, anthropology, and tourism. She is the Chief Editor of Ancient Origins Magazine. Traveling throughout Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, and Ecuador, Alicia... Read More

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