I have personally visited the site of the Lothal and the adjoining Archaeological Site Museum of Lothal on 15th February 2020. I visited this museum as a part of a study tour organized by the Department of Ancient Indian Culture, St. Xavier’s College. Dr. Anita Rane-Kothare and Prof. Jason guided us through the museum giving us valuable insights regarding the various artefacts displayed by the museum.
The museum houses amazing artefacts with extremely interesting and detailed cataloguing. The figurine of the Egyptian Mummy was the most fascinating aspect associated with it as it clearly means that Lothal had extensive trade relations with Ancient Egypt; as well as cultural exchange.
The replica of the joint burial discovered at Lothal which is on display in the right-side gallery is the prime attraction in the right-side gallery. It is life-size. This makes it look real. However, this might be a little disturbing for small children as a ‘skeleton’ is not a very nice sight for small children. However, this replica of the joint burial is a treat for historians and students. The two people are buried so close to each other as if they were placed in the grave in an ‘embracing position’.
The sealed model of the site of Lothal is the second most attractive exhibit in the right-side gallery of the museum. It is placed in the centre of the gallery so that the visitors can take a 360-degree round of it and view the model from all sides. The model is placed inside a glass case.
The right-side gallery of the museum also exhibits weights and measures. Even a weighing- scale is on display. When I visited the gallery, I noticed extremely small weights. It really intrigued me; as to why the Harappans needed such tiny weights. Those weights were so tiny that they would not weigh more than 20grams. So, we asked Prof. Jason about these extremely miniature weights. He told us that these tiny weights were used to weigh precious stones, precious metals and other precious and expensive commodities like perfumes. Such precious and expensive commodities are purchased in small quantities, so they need to be weighed and measured in small proportions, hence the extremely miniature weights.
The left-side gallery contains numerous exhibits of bead jewellery, terracotta jewellery and shell jewellery. I noticed that the bead jewellery was much more intricate in design and had more visual and aesthetic appeal; while the terracotta ornaments were comparatively much simpler and less intricate in terms of design. We asked Prof. Jason about this repeated phenomenon in numerous ornaments that we closely observed.
He told us that the bead jewellery was expensive as the procedures to make them were more elaborate and tiresome; plus, the materials used to make bead ornaments were expensive. So, bead ornaments were mostly used by people who belonged to the elite class. Hence these ornaments were intricately created. On the other hand, the terracotta ornaments were worn by the people who belonged to the lower classes of the society. Terracotta ornaments were not made from expensive materials. To further reduce the labour cost in making terracotta ornaments, the makers avoided any intricate designs.
The shell jewellery was adorned by people belonging to the middle class. Prof. Jason made a rough comparison- bead jewellery= today’s gold, shell jewellery= today’s silver and terracotta ornaments= today’s artificial jewellery.
Lothal is an excellent Harappan Civilization site in India. Its site museum is amazing too. However, the information available on the internet pertaining to the museum is not very detailed; neither interesting. According to me, the ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) needs to put in efforts in order to create a website which will contain numerous pictures and detailed information regarding the various exhibitions displayed in the Site Museum of Lothal.
I am Sharon Misquitta from Mumbai. History has been my first love since the time I could read and write. Visiting museums has always fascinated me. One of my keen interest areas are research and documentation. I have penned numerous literary pieces, one of which is published on ‘Academia’ (https://xaviers.academia.edu/SharonMisquitta). I am extremely grateful to the ‘Museum Memories Project’ for giving me this opportunity to document my memories regarding the museums I have visited.
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