Preserving Dholavira – A Harrapan City

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), under the Ministry of Culture, is the premier organization for the archaeological research and protection of the cultural heritage of the nation. Maintenance of ancient monuments and archaeological sites and remains of national importance is the prime concern of the ASI.

They have over 3693 monuments under their supervision and have been actively looking for solutions to digitize and archive these historical monuments One of the sites chosen for the initial Pilot was Dholavira a 5000 year Harrapan City.

The archaeological site, one of the best-preserved urban settlements from the period in Southeast Asia, comprises a fortified city and a cemetery. Two seasonal streams provided water, a scarce resource in the region, to the walled city which comprises a heavily fortified castle and ceremonial ground as well as streets and houses of different proportion quality which testify to a stratified social order. A sophisticated water management system demonstrates the ingenuity of the Dholavira people in their struggle to survive and thrive in a harsh environment.


Being over 5000 years the site is deteriorating over time due to weather conditions and human intervention. ASI is doing its best to preserve the site but they were also looking for a solution to digitize and archive the site and ensure it is available to future generations. Introduced to ASI by The Indian Ambassador to Norway Dr.B.Bala Bhasker, Piql along with their plugin digitization partners from Slovakia Studio 727 presented a solution to scan, digitize and archive the site.


Piql along with its partner sent a team to digitize Dholavira and it took over a week to scan the main areas of the 600 acre site. The processed data which has 3D Images, VR, Photographs, Videos, Geo Data points and other details will now be preserved on piqlFilm, a secure and long lasting offline storage medium and will be physically stored in the Arctic World Archive, an offline data vault that ensures the most sensitive and irreplaceable data is protected for the future, located deep inside a mountain on the arctic island of Svalbard, Norway. This vault is one of the safest locations in the world for storing data as it is built to endure the test of time, safe from natural and man-made disasters.

Data stored here can last for centuries with guaranteed future accessibility. Ensuring that the valuable data stored is safely carried on into the distant future for the benefit of future generations.

Dholavira is a UNESCO protected Heritage site and has Outstanding Universal Value as it is one of the very few well preserved urban settlements in South Asia. The significance of depositing Dholavira data in the Arctic World Archive with other World Heritages is very important as Being designated as an “ancient monument” of national importance it’s a treasure that needs to be preserved and shared with the world forever and will be of great help in research and future restoration of the site.