Daily Current Affairs 01.08.2021 (India all set for UNSC presidency term, ‘Erroneous to conclude we have attained herd immunity’, Stellar mid-life crisis: What ails the middle-aged Sun?, Ruins of an Indus Valley civilisation site – Dholavira)

Daily Current Affairs 01.08.2021 (India all set for UNSC presidency term, ‘Erroneous to conclude we have attained herd immunity’, Stellar mid-life crisis: What ails the middle-aged Sun?, Ruins of an Indus Valley civilisation site – Dholavira)


1.India all set for UNSC presidency term

Meetings to focus on maritime security, counterterrorism and peacekeeping

As it begins its month-long presidency of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), India is set to hold high-level meetings and briefings to bring focus to its three priorities: maritime security, counterterrorism and peacekeeping, said India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations T.S. Tirumurti in a video message released on Twitter on Saturday.

On August 9, India will organise a virtual Open Debate for heads of state and government titled, ‘Maintenance of international peace and security: Enhancing maritime security — A case for international cooperation” according to a government press statement. Countries will discuss coordinations to tackle maritime crime and security issues.

Increasing coordination

India will also organise a minister-level meeting titled, “Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts” at the end of August. It is seeking to enhance coordination between the U.N. and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the money-laundering and terror-financing watchdog as well as address the linkages between terror and transnational crime.

Another ministerial open debate on “United Nations Peacekeeping Operations: Technology and Peacekeeping” will be held on August 18. India is one of the top troop contributors to the U.N. missions and is looking for ways to use technology to better protect the forces. It is also looking at ways to address crimes against them. It expects to deploy a mobile app — UNITE AWARE — that will provide terrain information and “improve situational awareness” for peacekeepers, Deputy Permanent Representative K Nagaraj Naidu told the UNSC in May, as per a PTI report.

India had taken a “principled and forward-looking position” on various issues since its tenure at the UNSC began in January, Mr. Tirumurti said in his message.

“We have been proactive. We have focused on issues of our priority. We have made efforts to bridge the different voices within the Council to ensure that it comes together and speaks in one voice on a variety of important issues of the day,” he said.

Navigating this path has meant that India has sometimes abstained from voting at the Council and the larger U.N. system, for which it has been criticised for. For instance, in June, India was one of 36 countries that abstained from a General Assembly vote on an arms embargo on Myanmar, despite condemning the violence and saying there can be “no turning back” on Myanmar’s democratic transition. India, which shares a border with Myanmar and exports arms to the country, said its concerns were not reflected in the draft resolution.

Escalation in conflict

Other meetings related to international peace and security could be convened as needs arise — for example if there is an escalation in conflict. Afghanistan, along with Israel-Palestine, Syria, Lybia and Iraq will come up for discussion: these conflicts are regularly discussed at the Council. India already chairs the Taliban Sanctions Committee and Libya Sanctions Committee for 2021. The future of Afghanistan and the fallout for the region is a priority for India, as the U.S. and allied troops complete their withdrawal process.

The government is keen to showcase the fact that the presidency coincides with its 75th Independence Day. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla are expected to chair Security Council meetings. Mr. Modi will do this virtually, while Mr. Jaishankar could possibly travel to New York City for some of the meetings, depending on the schedule, which will be known on August 1, following the adoption of the work programme, according to government sources that spoke with The Hindu.

Functions and Powers of UNSC

  • To maintain international peace and security in accordance with the principles and purposes of the United Nations;
  • To investigate any dispute or situation which might lead to international friction;
  • To recommend methods of adjusting such disputes or the terms of settlement;
  • To determine the existence of a threat to the peace or act of aggression and to recommend what action should be taken;
  • To take military action against an aggressor;
  • To call on Members to apply economic sanctions and other measures not involving the use of force to prevent or stop aggression;
  • To recommend the admission of new Members;
  • To exercise the trusteeship functions of the United Nations in “strategic areas”;
  • To recommend to the General Assembly the appointment of the Secretary-General and, together with the Assembly, to elect the Judges of the International Court of Justice.

Composition of UNSC

  • Five permanent members: China, France, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States – who enjoy Veto power
  • Ten non-permanent members elected by the General Assembly 
  • The non-permanent members are elected for two-year terms — so every year, the General Assembly elects five non-permanent members out of the total 10.
  • Non-permanent member has to secure the votes of two-thirds of the members present and voting (secret ballot) at the General Assembly session — which is a minimum of 129 votes, if all 193 member states participate.
  • These 10 seats are distributed among the regions of the world: 
    • Five seats for African and Asian countries; (3 are for Africa and 2 for Asia)
    • One for Eastern European countries; 
    • Two for Latin American and Caribbean countries; and 
    • Two for Western European and Other Countries
  • Also, there is an informal understanding between the Asia & Africa groups to reserve one seat for an Arab country. They take turns every two years to put up an Arab candidate.

2.‘Erroneous to conclude we have attained herd immunity’

The fourth sero survey conducted across India found that on an average 67.6% of the population has been infected. Also, over 25% of people have been vaccinated with one dose. In an email, Dr. Srinath Reddy, President of the Public Health Foundation of India and member of the National COVID-19 Technical Taskforce dispels the wrong notion that India is close to reaching herd immunity and explains the uncertainty of protection even among those already infected.

Nearly 29,000 people from the general population and over 7,200 healthcare workers were randomly tested from 70 districts across 21 States.

How representative is the sampling for the whole country?

Scientists from ICMR have clarified that this survey is not representative of the whole country. They have called for State-level, preferably district-level, surveys across the country using standardised methodology. If we wish to have a truly nationally representative survey, we must sample from every postal code area in the country, which is resource-intensive.

The national surveys of ICMR are valuable, even if they are not fully representative of the whole country. By conducting repetitive surveys in the same districts, these studies provide information on how proportions of infected people in the population have increased over time. That helps us to understand how effective our efforts to contain viral transmission have been during the periods between surveys.

The seroprevalence is 67.6%, which is far higher than the last survey figure of over 24%. But this is only an average and a couple of States such as Kerala and Maharashtra have far lower seroprevalence. So is it correct to assume that a vast percentage of the population is uniformly protected?

There is a great deal of variation across the country, between States. If we do district-level surveys, we will find even greater variation. We must bear in mind that, while the sample size may be adequate at the national level, to provide estimates with a narrow uncertainty band (confidence interval), individual State sample numbers would be small and have wider uncertainty bands.

If we accept the figures provided for each State, ignoring such concerns about wider uncertainty bands around the estimates, it is clear that there is no uniformity across the country.

It would, however, be erroneous to conclude that all persons who tested positive are immune to infection by the virus. We do not know for sure how long the antibodies last either after infection or vaccination. More important, the tests employed in the surveys only identify antibodies to two viral proteins (nucleocapsid and the spike) but do not measure the ability of those antibodies to neutralise the virus. Estimating the neutralisation power is important in the context of the variants which are displaying capacity for evading the immune response. Will the antibodies produced against the wild ancestral virus infection in January or the Alpha variant in February be effective against the Delta virus in July? There is a possibility that some of those who tested positive for antibodies, especially children, may have cross-reactive antibodies generated by other corona viruses which produce common cold. Counter-posed against such ‘false positives’, we may also have ‘false negatives’ of persons in whom antibody levels may have fallen some months after infection but still may have immunity from memory T cells and other forms of cellular immunity. So, definitive conclusions about individual or population immunity should not be drawn from antibody surveys.

Are there chances that people who were infected early last year might not have the antibodies and hence might have been missed by the latest survey?

People who were infected early during the pandemic would have a greater chance of testing negative during surveys due to the waning of antibodies over time. The time taken for such disappearance has been variably reported to be between three and six months. There would be a great deal of individual variation, based on the dose of viral exposure, severity of the infection, nature of the variant, age of the infected person, associated health conditions and use of steroids or other immunosuppressive drugs for treatment during the illness. So, there are likely to be several persons who may have been infected some months ago but were missed by the recent survey.

Will infection with the old strain provide sufficient protection particularly against the Delta variant?

The answer has been provided by laboratory studies which have shown a diminished neutralisation efficacy of antibodies produced by previous infections against the Delta variant. The study by the Pasteur Institute in France is particularly informative in this regard. However, some protection is still likely. But we do not know how strong and long lasting that immunity would be in any individual, as there would be considerable variation among those infected.

Will the metros in India with high seropositivity rate record a large number of cases if a third wave begins?

There is no guarantee that seropositivity in a survey is a proof of permanent protection against fresh infection, especially when the virus is frequently changing form. Vaccines provide a greater assurance of protection than a previous infection with a variable viral dose and a different form of the virus than the one that is currently circulating. The numbers infected in the third wave will depend on the numbers of people still susceptible and the nature of variants in circulation. By adopting strong containment measures everywhere, we can protect the susceptible persons even against current and new variants.

Is it at all correct to assume that large parts of the country are quite close to reaching herd immunity due to the high seropositivity rate?

It is erroneous to conclude that we have attained herd immunity as a population, when there are many variations across the country even according to the antibody survey. This is for several reasons. We do not know if all who tested positive for antibodies have neutralising capacity against the currently circulating variants. We do not also know how long those antibodies will last. Even if the antibodies are protective today, that protection could fade in a month or two. The herd immunity threshold (HIT) for the more infectious Delta variant may be 85% or higher. We are below that level in all States that were surveyed.

Considering that two-thirds of India is already infected and over 25% of adults have received one dose of the vaccine, will the third wave be as severe as the second wave?

The third wave should be milder for those reasons, if no new variant sweeps through with higher infectivity and undiminished virulence. Even if there are many infections, the immunity provided by vaccines and prior viral exposure should reduce the risk of severe illness or death.

New Covid-19 strain ‘Delta Plus’ (DP)

  • There is fear that this new variant may spark the third wave of Covid-19.


  • Delta plus (B.1.617.2.1/(AY.1) is a new variant of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus formed due to a mutation in the Delta strain of the virus (B.1.617.2 variant). It is technically the next generation of SARS-COV-2.
    • This mutant of Delta was first detected in Europe in March 2021.
      • The Delta variant that was first detected in India (in February 2021) eventually became a huge problem for the whole world. However, the Delta Plus variant, at present, is limited to smaller areas in the country.
    • It is resistant to monoclonal antibodies cocktail. Since it’s a new variant, its severity is still unknown.
    • People reported symptoms like headaches, sore throats, runny noses, and fever.
    • The World Health Organisation (WHO) is tracking this variant as part of the Delta variant, it is doing so for other Variants of Concern with additional mutations.
  • Transmissibility:
    • It has acquired the spike protein mutation called K417N which is also found in the Beta variant first identified in South Africa.
      • The spike protein is used by SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes Covid-19, to enter the host cells.
    • Some scientists fear that the mutation combined with other existing features of the Delta variant could make it more transmissible.
  • Major Concerns:
    • Multiple studies are ongoing in India and globally to test the effectiveness of vaccines against the Delta plus Covid-19 mutation.
    • India’s health ministry warned that regions where it has been found “may need to enhance their public health response by focusing on surveillance, enhanced testing, quick contact-tracing, and priority vaccination.”
    • There are worries Delta Plus would inflict another wave of infections on India after it emerged from the world’s worst surge in cases only recently.
      • Just over 4% of Indians are fully vaccinated and about 18% have received one dose so far.

Virus Variant

  • Variants of a virus have one or more mutations that differentiate it from the other variants that are in circulation. While most mutations are deleterious for the virus, some make it easier for the virus to survive.
  • The SARS-CoV-2 (Corona) virus is evolving fast because of the scale at which it has infected people around the world. High levels of circulation mean it is easier for the virus to change as it is able to replicate faster.
  • The original pandemic virus (founder variant) was Wu.Hu.1 (Wuhan virus). In a few months, variant D614G emerged and became globally dominant.
  • Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG) is a multi-laboratory, multi-agency, pan-India network to monitor genomic variations in the SARS-CoV-2.
  • Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID) is a public platform started by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2008 for countries to share genome sequences.
    • The GISAID Initiative promotes the international sharing of all influenza virus sequences, related clinical and epidemiological data associated with human viruses, and geographical as well as species-specific data associated with avian and other animal viruses.

3.Stellar mid-life crisis: What ails the middle-aged Sun?

Around mid-life, stars’ magnetic field generation mechanism becomes sub-critical or less efficient

Stars like our Sun can go through a mid-life crisis, according to new research carried out by scientists from IISER Kolkata. This can lead to dramatic changes in their activity and rotation rates. The study also provides an explanation for the breakdown of the long-established relation between rotation rate and age in middle-aged sunlike stars. The work has been published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters.

Stellar middle age

At about 4.6 billion years of age, the sun is middle aged, that is, it will continue to live for roughly the same period. There are accurate methods for estimating the age of the Sun, such as by using radioactive dating of very old meteorites that have fallen on the Earth. However, for more distant stars which are similar in mass and age to the Sun, such methods are not possible. One of the methods used is called gyrochronology. There is a relationship between rotation rate and age, that is the rotation rate of a star slows down with age.

When the stellar wind escapes from the star, it carries away with it a part of the angular momentum of the star, which results in its slowing down. The stellar wind has two drivers: one is the high temperature of the outer atmosphere of stars – the corona – which results in an outward expansion and hence plasma winds that emanate out. The other is the magnetic field. “The magnetic field actually heats the corona and so when magnetic activity is strong the winds are strong and since wind carries away the internal (rotational) angular momentum of the star, it slows down its rotation,” explains Dibyendu Nandi, one of the authors of the paper. This is called magnetic braking. As the star ages, due to this mechanism, its rotation slows down and this relationship is used in gyrochronology to estimate the age of the star.

Age and spin

However, there is a breakdown of the gyrochronology relationship, because after midlife, a star’s rate of spin does not slow down with age as fast as it was slowing down earlier. Another intriguing fact is that the Sun’s activity level has been observed to be much lower than other stars of similar age. A third observation that is part of the puzzle is that there have also been periods in the past when extremely few sunspots were observed on the Sun for several years at a stretch. For instance, during the Maunder minimum which lasted from 1645 to 1715.

The researchers use the dynamo models of field generation designed to explore long-term activity variations and come up with a theory that can possibly explain the above puzzles. According to a press release by the Royal Astronomical Society, they show that at about the age of the Sun, the magnetic field generation mechanism of stars becomes sub-critical or less efficient. This allows stars to exist in two distinct activity states – a low activity mode and an active mode. The star may thus fall into a low-activity mode and suffer drastically reduced angular momentum loss due to magnetized stellar wind.

“We have a hypothesis, a theory backed by simulation results which seems to self-consistently explain the diverse puzzling behaviour witnessed in middle-aged stars. We have provided a clear demonstration that the theory can explain certain observations, and, therefore, is a leading contender [to throw light on] their origin. In the future, independent observations may reconfirm or deny our theory,” says Prof. Nandi.

Context: IISER scientist’s study peeks into Sun’s ‘stellar midlife crisis’ The Sun and other stars constantly spew electrically-charged particles also called the stellar wind. This steady drain causes stars to slow down their rotation over billions of years.

  • Calcutta scientists have proposed an explanation for a mysterious phenomenon called the stellar midlife crisis under which the Sun and many other stars display abrupt, dramatic declines in their output of high energy particles and radiation.
  • At about 4.6 billion years of age, the sun is middle aged, that is, it will continue to live for roughly the same period. There are accurate methods for estimating the age of the Sun, such as by using radioactive dating of very old meteorites that have fallen on the Earth.
  • However, for more distant stars which are similar in mass and age to the Sun, such methods are not possible. One of the methods used is called ‘stellar gyrochronology’. There is a relationship between rotation rate and age, that is the rotation rate of a star slows down with age.
  • Recent observations, however, indicate that this intimate relationship breaks down around middle age because after midlife, a star’s rate of spin does not slow down with age as fast as it was slowing down earlier.
  • This allows stars to exist in two distinct activity states – low activity mode and active mode. A middle-aged star like the sun can often switch to low activity mode resulting in drastically reduced angular momentum losses by magnetised stellar winds.

4.Ruins of an Indus Valley civilisation site – Dholavira

The Harappan city is the first Indus Civilisation site in India that received the World Heritage tag

Discovered in 1968 by the ASI, the site dates back to 3,000 BCE-1,500 BCE, covering nearly 1,500 years of continued habitation

The city is believed to have had trade ties with Mesopotamia and the Oman peninsula

Spread over 70 hectares, the remains are encompassed within an outer fortification and make for the fifth largest Harappan site after Mohenjo-daro, Harappa, Rakhigarhi and Ganweriwala

With its planned streets, intricate water management system and architectural features, the ancient Harappan city located at Dholavira in Gujarat’s Rann of Kutch has a lot to offer on the ancient civilisation. With its inscription on UNESCO’s World Heritage list on July 27, experts hope the lessons from Dholavira will reach a larger audience and that the site will get greater care.

Discovered in 1968 by former Archaeological Survey of India Director General Jagat Pati Joshi, the site dates back to 3,000 BCE to 1,500 BCE, covering nearly 1,500 years of continued habitation. Excavations that were carried out from 1989 to 2005 unearthed a city that showed the “unique and masterpiece ingenuity of the Harappans during the third millennium BCE”, according to India’s nomination submitted to UNESCO. The city is believed to have had trade ties with Mesopotamia and Oman peninsula. Spread over 70 hectares, the remains are encompassed within an outer fortification and make for the fifth largest Harappan site after Mohenjo-daro, Harappa, Rakhigarhi and Ganweriwala, or sixth if Lakhanjo-daro is taken into account, according to the nomination dossier.

The site’s entry onto the World Heritage list has been welcomed by India with delight. “Absolutely delighted by this news,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted on July 27. “Dholavira was an important urban centre and is one of our most important linkages with our past. It is a must visit, especially for those interested in history, culture and archaeology.”

For retired Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) Joint Director General Ravindra Singh Bisht, under whose watch the excavations were carried out, Dholavira getting the World Heritage tag means it will get the attention it deserves. “Certainly, the ASI will take better care of the site. The eyes of the world tourist will be on it.” Along with becoming the 40th Indian site on the list, Dholavira is also the first Indus Valley Civilisation site in India to receive the tag.

Considered one of the best preserved urban settlements from the period, the site has a walled city, a castle, a ceremonial ground, two seasonal streams and houses of different categories, indicating a social hierarchy. The water management system shows the ingenuity of the inhabitants to survive in an otherwise arid region. Excavations have unearthed objects of shell, copper, stone, semi-precious stones, terracotta and gold.

Excellent example

Dholavira was the first such “excellent example of town planning with mathematical precision, both arithmetic and geometry”, Dr. Bisht said. Stone quarries that manufactured beautiful objects were found and objects like beads found in Mohenjo-daro and Harappa seem to have been transported from Dholavira, he said.

The site also has several gates, including the North Gate that had a signboard above it, a first of its kind found at Harappan sites. While the board itself could have been made of wood and decomposed completely, the gypsum letters of the inscription were found, according to Dr. Bisht.

Divided into a citadel, the middle town and lower town, Dholavira was designed for different categories of residents and purposes. There was a castle for an important person, while the middle town housed rich merchants and generals and the lower town was for the common people.

An annexe used as a warehouse, two grounds, bead-making workshop and graves were also found. According to Dr. Bisht, the larger of the two grounds, with seating for spectators all around, much like stands at a stadium today, was used for cart-racing, animal races and races by humans too. But, that wasn’t all it was used for. A large number of beads that would have fallen down from the wearers’ bodies while dancing were also found at the ground, pointing towards festivities, he said. Evidence of the ground being used for trading purposes was also found. Temporary structures of grass and wood would have been put up for bazaars.

The water management system included drains constructed through two monsoon channels and a cascading system of reservoirs, according to Dr. Bisht. In houses in the lower and middle town, septic tanks were found. The castle had a network of drains connected to an arterial drain that was underground.

“All these drains are usually found containing fresh water deposits, and not sewage nor household waste, nor are these connected to house drains. It was only during Stage VI [1,950 BCE – 1,800 BCE] that a house drain seems to be discharging into one of the storm water drains, when those had already become defunct. The purpose of these drains was surely to let out the monsoon run-off, which is why these are found furnished with air ducts at short intervals,” the nomination dossier said.

Memorials at the city

One of the finds that stands out are Dholavira’s memorials. Dr. Bisht said they seem to be constructed a year after the death of the person as there were no skeletons found, though there was evidence of offerings being made. This, he said, was like the shradh ceremony to mark one year of a loved one’s passing. The memorials also had design that was found in Buddhist stupas.

Now with the site getting the World Heritage tag, ASI officials said it would get greater care. However, the ASI’s own nomination dossier raised concerns over the increase in footfall at the site.

“…approximate 20,000 visitors are reported to visit Dholavira annually. The site witnesses minor pressure and vandalism in terms of visitors walking over the excavated remains due to lack of a defined movement plan. This, in future due to increase in tourist footfall, may pose threat to the integrity of the excavated remains,” the nomination dossier that was submitted in 2020 read.

While it remains to be seen what impact a potential increase in visitors will have in the future, the archaeological remains at the site show how important maintenance, or the lack thereof, was in the past. From 2,100 BCE-2,000 BCE, there was a general decline “particularly in the maintenance of the city”, seen more in the citadel, the dossier said. There was evidence of poor quality ceramic wares that became brittle as well as signs of desertion for a few decades. Finally, the area of the city began decreasing and the last phase of habitation had no resemblance with the urban features of Harappan settlements. “The site was never occupied thereafter,” the dossier noted.

Dholavira site

The IVC acropolis is located on a hillock near present-day Dholavira village in Kutch district, from which it gets its name. It was discovered in 1968 by archaeologist Jagat Pati Joshi. The site’s excavation between 1990 and 2005 under the supervision of archaeologist Ravindra Singh Bisht uncovered the ancient city, which was a commercial and manufacturing hub for about 1,500 years before its decline and eventual ruin in 1500 BC.

Distinct features

After Mohen-jo-Daro, Ganweriwala and Harappa in Pakistan and Rakhigarhi in Haryana of India, Dholavira is the fifth largest metropolis of IVC.  The site has a fortified citadel, a middle town and a lower town with walls made of sandstone or limestone instead of mud bricks in many other Harappan sites.

Archaeologist Bisht cites a cascading series of water reservoirs, outer fortification, two multi-purpose grounds — one of which was used for festivities and as a marketplace — nine gates with unique designs, and funerary architecture featuring tumulus — hemispherical structures like the Buddhist Stupas— as some of the unique features of the Dholavira site.

He says that one finds the origin of the Buddhist Stupas in memorials in Dholavira.

While unlike graves at other IVC sites, no mortal remains of humans have been discovered at Dholavira. Bisht says memorials that contain no bones or ashes but offerings of precious stones, etc. add a new dimension to the personality of the Harappans.

Rise and fall of Dholavira

Remains of a copper smelter indicate of Harappans, who lived in Dholavira, knew metallurgy. It is believed that traders of Dholavira used to source copper ore from present-day Rajasthan and Oman and UAE and export finished products. It was also a hub of manufacturing jewellery made of shells and semi-precious stones, like agate and used to export timber.

Bisht says that such beads peculiar to the Harappan workmanship have been found in the royal graves of Mesopotamia, indicating Dholavira used to trade with the Mesopotamians. Its decline also coincided with the collapse of Mesopotamia, indicating the integration of economies. Harappans, who were maritime people, lost a huge market, affecting the local mining, manufacturing, marketing and export businesses once Mesopotamia fell.

He further says that from 2000 BC, Dholavira entered a phase of severe aridity due to climate change and rivers like Saraswati drying up. Because of a drought-like situation, people started migrating toward the Ganges valley or towards south Gujarat and further beyond in Maharashtra.

In those times, Bisht says, the Great Rann of Kutch, which surrounds the Khadir island on which Dholavira is located, used to be navigable, but the sea receded gradually and the Rann became a mudflat.

Other Harappan sites in Gujarat

Before Dholavira was excavated, Lothal, in Saragwala village on the bank of Sabarmati in Dholka taluka of Ahmedabad district, was the most prominent site of IVC in Gujarat.

It was excavated between 1955 and 1960 and was discovered to be an important port city of the ancient civilisation, with structures made of mud bricks. From a graveyard in Lothal, 21 human skeletons were found. Foundries for making copperware were also discovered. Ornaments made of semi-precious stones, gold etc. were also found from the site.

Besides Lothal, Rangpur on the bank of Bhadar river in Surendranagar district was the first Harappan site in the state to be excavated. Rojdi in Rajkot district, Prabhas near Veraval in Gir Somnath district, Lakhabaval in Jamnagar, and Deshalpar in Bhuj taluka of Kutch are among other Harappan sites in the state.



Though it was excavated recently, the Dholavira site has remained free from encroachment in historical periods as well as in the modern era. Bisht says the UNESCO listing became possible because the site was found free from any kind of encroachment, a rarity in India.

In its release, UNESCO termed Dholavira as one of the most remarkable and well-preserved urban settlements in South Asia dating from the 3rd to mid-2nd millennium BCE (Before Common Era). Since the excavation at the site, the ASI has developed a museum here. Dholavira, a village with a population of around 2,000, is the nearest human settlement at present. Near the ancient city is a fossil park where wood fossils are preserved.

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