As a provocation to the inquiry on past civilization and ways to find out about the past civilization, Grade 3 visited the Harappan Gallery of National Museum in New Delhi. This gallery contains precious and carefully preserved artifacts of that time. As we walked through the huge, well carved wooden doors, we were transferred to an era 4000 years back. The photographs of the excavated sites welcomed us.
The timeline showing the different civilizations enabled children to make connections with their fact sheets on civilizations. They saw the map, located the Indus River and also noted down the important cities of the time. They discussed, debated and concluded about the various things that were so similar to what they see now, like the bricks used for construction and the drainage system.
The children wondered aloud looking at the fine ceramic and terracotta pottery and the various animal, bird and human figures. They debated on how they were made and what they might have been used for. The toys, tools and bronze artifacts also held their attention but what astonished them the most was a huge jar called the ‘ storage jar’ which had a taper at the bottom. Wonderings continued as to the cause of the tapering which some thought was the design, some thought was for attaching a collection tap and some felt was to keep the water cool.
The jewellery, weights, toiletries and kitchen utensils were also observed with a lot of interest, often drawing connections with the present world. A debate sparked off again in front of the seals which were not only of different shapes but also made of different materials. Wonderings continued and very prudently some of them decided that they were different because they either belonged to different denominations or were from different places.
The skeleton of a woman wearing jewellery found buried with her belongings also generated a lot of curiosity. The statue of the dancing girl, the bronze figure of a woman, the head of the priest and the beautiful photographs of the excavated sites………. all what the children wished for was… can we also visit these sites?
The curiosity of the children has been tapped and now they are all extremely excited to find out more about the civilization and share with the larger audience. Wasn’t that what we aimed at?
Article By: Malini Ghosh
Grades 2 & 3 Coordinator