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Indus Priest King
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)

Pakistan, though young in the comity of nations, has a rich and varied history spanning a period of over 9000s. The people of Pakistan today have been around for a long time...much before 1947...much before the medieval Mughuls...much before Muhammad bin Qasim...much before Islam...and much before the emanation of Vedic cultures. Pakistan has a history of over 9000 years, all of which have a unique link with the Indus River; Balochistan's Mehrgarh (7000 BC), Khyber Pakthunkhwa's Rehman Dheri (4000 BC), Punjab's Harappa (3000 BC) and Sindh's Mohenjodaro (2500 BC) combined have more than 50,000 rock carvings and over 10,000 inscriptions. Many other heritage sites ranging from the Neolithic period in present-day Gilgit Baltistan and the the ancient Sharda University in Azad Jammu & Kashmir are also worth mentioning. Pakistan is an ancient land in world history. One of the oldest remains of human activity are found in the Soan Valley of the Potohar region in Punjab. The antiquity of these relics of the Stone Age is estimated at about over 2 million years old. Still within the Stone Age, in Balochistan, we find the remains of a stone age man, who was succeeded through the Mesolithic Age by the people of the Neolithic period. Signs of a continuous process of human activity and the hesitant steps of Neolithic and Chalcolithic/Bronze Age communities towards civilization have been found at Mehrgarh (8000 BC) but somewhere around 2700-2500 BC, this and other settlements began to disintegrate, possibly as a result of migration by people towards the Indus River. This process coincided with the emergence and extension of settled or urban life in the greater Indus Valley, culminating around 2300-1500 BC, in the mature Bronze Age 'Indus Valley Civilisation' represented by the sites of Moenjodaro in Sindh and Harappa in Punjab. They are renowned for being one of the most well developed early urban civilisations in human history. Following the decline of the Indus cities and the arrival of the Aryans in this region, around 1800-800 BC., at Pirak, Balochistan, there are indications of the use of iron by the communities of the region, along with extensive cultivation of rice, sorghum and millet. The fall of the Indus Civilisation was probably caused by Aryan tribes round about 1500 BC. They were pastoral societies which developed into the Rig-Vedic or early historic city-states. Successively, the territories now constituting Pakistan were conquered by Darius-I of Persia, the Mauryan Great King Ashoka, Bactrian Greeks, Scythians, Parthians and Kushans. The Gandhara region in northern Pakistan flourished from the time of the Persian conquest (600 BC to 500 AD) to the invasion of the White Huns. Almost all the invaders favoured Buddhism and Buddhist cultural traditions flourished in the region. One of the most prized art forms of Pakistan 'the Buddhist Art of Gandhara' reached its zenith during the reign of Kanishka. After the conquest of Sindh by Muhammad bin Qasim in 711 AD, Islam gained firm hold in the area. From the 10th century on wards, Ghaznavis, Ghoris, Khiljis and Tughlaks ruled over the Indus until the invasion of Timur, who paved the way for the great Mughal Empire. This empire lasted until the War of Independence of 1857. The Early Muslim rulers of the subcontinent kept the border open for Muslims, which resulted in the spread of Islam and the establishment of Muslim settlements throughout the region. This era has given Pakistan much of its rich ethnic and cultural heritage. The realisation of the two nation theory on the basis of religion saw its dawn in the subcontinent with the arrival of Muhammad bin Qasim. Subsequent Muslim rulers came from Persia and Central Asia, with entirely different cultures, resulting in a harmonious fusion. With the passage of time, two nations developed with a different outlook on life, language and literature, customs and legal system, arts and architecture. The Muslims ruled the subcontinent until the establishment of the British Empire, which lasted until 1947. After Independence in 1947, Islamic traditions and values continued to be a defining force in the collective and individual lives of the people of Pakistan.
 

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Indus Priest King
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Discussion Starter #2
Whether or not the recent new pushing back ancient Chinese civilisation thousands of years is true or not http://www.newhistorian.com/chinese-civilisation-older-thought/2638/, it is likely that the origins of all ancient civilisations will be pushed back in the years to come. We know very little about possible antecedent cultures, whether in Pakistan, Iraq or northern China. Even the Indus chronology itself is only slowly coming together.

 

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Indus Priest King
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Discussion Starter #3
Major Sites and Interaction Networks of the Indus Tradition, Harappan Phase, 2600-1900 BCE.

The Indus Valley had an extensive trading relationships with its neighbours and may have traded as far as Mesopotamia. Over the past century, several large Indus cities have been discovered in Pakistan. Harappa was excavated extensively in the 1920-30s, 1960s, and from 1986-2010. Mohenjo-Daro was excavated extensively in the 1920-30s, with smaller projects in the 1940s and 1960s. Ganweriwala was discovered in the 1970s and has not been excavated. Lakhanjo-Daro was discovered in 1986 but only recent excavations in 2009-2014 have shown that it is probably as big as Mohenjo-Daro.

 

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Indus Priest King
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Mystery at Mound F #2: Although there is no evidence to suggest that Mound F at Harappa or the "granary" at Mohenjo-daro (illustrated below) actually were granaries, this theory by archaeologists like Sir Mortimer Wheeler has taken hold in the public imagination. One can see how this happened in the compelling descriptions offered. Wheeler writes that "the granary stood on the steep verge of the citadel at Mohenjo-daro and at the western end of its north side was a recessed unloading bay. The figures hauling the sack up with a rope indicate the present size of the structure; the other figure (top left) is crouching in the opening of one of the ventilation ducts. Originally there was a reinforcing interlace of timber and the holes and grooves left after the decay of 5-inch square beams are clearly visible." Of the color image, he wrote: "This reconstruction of the granary at Mohenjo-daro is closely based upon the archaeological evidence as can be seen by the remains illustrated opposite [the black and white image]. The bullock carts are of the type still to be seen and are very similar to the toy carts found at Mohenjo-daro. The means by which the sheaves were hauled up into the granary is conjectural, but there is little doubt that this was the method used." (Wheeler, Civilizations of the Indus Valley and Beyond, 1966, pp. 20-21). The last sentence is a neat rhetorical device, so that's it!

 

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Indus Priest King
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Mohenjo-daro has been called the "city of wells." Mark Kenoyer writes: "On the basis of the number of wells found in the excavated areas, Michael Jansen has calculated that the city may have had over 700 wells. In contrast Harappa may have had as few as 30, since only 8 wells have been discovered in the areas excavated so far. The difference between these two cities may be that Mohenjo-daro had less winter rain and may have been situated far away from the Indus river. At Harappa a large depression in the center of the city may represent a large tank or reservoir accessible to the inhabitants from all the different neighborhoods. The site of Dholavira has only a few wells, but most water for the city was collected during the rainy season in large stone cisterns. The drains for collecting rain water were built separately from drains used to take away dirty sewage water." (Kenoyer, Ancient Cities, p. 59)


Private Well, DK-G Area. Each block of buildings at Mohenjo-Daro was supplied with one or more wells such as this one in DK-G Area. When archaeologists excavated the fill around the well they were left standing to show the final levels of use.


Well and platform, DK-G Area. This well was associated with a finely constructed bathing platform. A stairway leads up to the well and platform from a lower room. The walls and well have been covered with mud brick and sprayed with clay slurry to protect them from salt crystallization.
 

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Indus Priest King
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A fascinating new paper examines human tooth enamel from burials at Harappa suggests that children migrated from resource rich hinterlands to urban centers during the Indus civilization. Evidence for Patterns of Selective Urban Migration in the Greater Indus Valley (2600-1900 BC): A Lead and Strontium Isotope Mortuary Analysis by Valentine B, Kamenov GD, Kenoyer JM, Shinde V, Mushrif-Tripathy V, et. al is another example of the use of complex investigative tools and materials analysis to decode patterns of behavior thousands of years ago; we can only expect more surprises as these tools are deployed against Indus artifacts.

 

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Indus Priest King
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Discussion Starter #7
Mohenjodaro's New Story by Andrew Lawler in Archaeology remains an excellent summary of the unanswered questions and new directions for research on the city - it could have been far larger and not as planned as we think, the Buddhist stupa may not be as Buddhist as usually surmised, and the role of raw materials from as far away as Gujarat could have played a critical role in the city's development. In short, the latest theories and debates about Mohenjodaro and what happened later at http://andrewlawler.com/website/wp-content/uploads/Mohenjo-Daro.pdf

 

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Indus Priest King
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Thor Heyerdahl (in his book "The Tigris Expedition") already discovered that below Mohenjo Daro's Buddhist stupa was a stepped pyramid-like structure, much like the Mesopotamian ziggurats.

Interestingly, Imhotep, one of Egypt's first architects (he was pharaoh Djoser's vizier, also a reed-boat builder, a hieroglyph developer and a physician) constructed the first stepped pyramid (the Djoser stepped pyramid) but in phases.

He started with a temple like bottom base made from baked brick, that may have been meant for fire/sun rituals (fire-altars Skt. 'peru' - 'fire'). This base was later expanded and 'built on top of' with the next stepped levels.

There are reasons to believe that there was a great influx of Indus ideas into Egypt brought about by Indus Valley migrants who entered into Egypt via a number of wadis from the Red Sea and from the Nile delta.

 

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Indus Priest King
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The Mounds of Harappa by Indus Period. The earliest settlement, during Period 1 (c. 3300-2800 BC), was on the west side of Mound AB and NW corner of Mound E. During Period 2 (c. 2800-2600 BC) all of Mounds AB and E came to be occupied, and by the end of Period 3 (c. 2600-1900 BC), the Harappan Period, most of the area covered by the plan was in use. During Periods 4 and 5 (c. 1900-1300 BC) there was a retraction of settlement to the areas of Mound AB, modern Harappa Town, and the NW corner of Mound E. This plan also shows the location of the 2000/2001 excavation areas

 

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Indus Priest King
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Seals from Mohenjo-daro showing figure strangling two tigers with bare hands. Mark Kenoyer writes that "discoveries of this motif on seals from Mohenjo-daro definitely show a male figure and most scholars have assumed some connection with the carved seals from Mesopotamia that illustrate episodes from the famous Gilgamesh epic. The Mesopotamian motifs show lions being strangled by a hero, whereas the Indus narratives render tigers being strangled by a figure, sometime clearly males, sometimes ambiguous or possibly female. This motif of a hero or heroine grappling with two wild animals could have been created independently for similar events that may have occurred in Mesopotamia as well as the Indus valley," (Ancient Cities, p. 114). In color is a seal, in black and white two seals and corresponding sealings made from them (Joshi/Parpola, Corpus of Indus seals and inscriptions, Vol. 1, M 306-8).

 

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Indus Priest King
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Discussion Starter #11
Excavated by the Harappa Archaeological Research Project in 1993, this large corbeled drain was built in the middle of an abandoned gateway at Harappa to dispose of rainwater and sewage.

 

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Indus Priest King
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Narrow streets and lanes, DK-G Area, Mohenjo-daro. Buildings and streets were aligned along a north-south and east-west grid with minor variations introduced as new buildings were constructed. The corbeled arch in the background was built to cover a street drain, but was eventually blocked as the cross streets were filled with debris.

 

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Indus Priest King
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Great Bath, looking north. The tank would have been open to the sky, but the surrounding structures would have been roofed. The sidewalls and parts of the floor have been conserved using modern replica bricks. The original eroded wall and corner are visible on the left and center. The colonnades around the tank have also been reconstructed.





 

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Indus Priest King
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Discussion Starter #15
Third century BC stupa discovered at Taxlla
Amjad Iqbal — Published May 09, 2015 06:52am
http://www.dawn.com/news/1180878



TAXILA: A stupa dating back to the 3rd Century BC was discovered at the ancient Buddhist site of Badalpur near Taxila during excavations carried out by the Taxila Institute of Asian Civilisations (TIAC) of Quaid-i-Azam University.

The stupa measuring 25x25 was discovered on the southern side of the main monastery with a centre water tank at the ancient Buddhist site. Coins, pottery and metal objects have also been excavated from the site by graduate and doctorate students of the TIAC. The students were led by the institute’s director, Professor Dr Ashraf Khan, Assistant Professor Dr Sadid Arif and Coordinator Mohammad Ibrahim.

Professor Dr Ashraf Khan told Dawn that the newly discovered monastery was built in Kushan workmanship style known as ‘diaper masonry’, consisting of thin neatly placed layers of schist interspersed with large blocks of stone as well as semi-ashlar masonry.



He said the cells of the monastery are plastered with mud mortar, the first of its kind seen in the Taxila Valley.

In response to a query, Dr Khan said the discovery of metal objects showed the craftsmanship of the people living in the area between the first and fourth century.

Dr Khan said six copper coins from the Kushan period have been discovered in the excavations. He said that according to the carbon study of the newly discovered stupa carried out by the University of Wisconsin-Madison dates it between the 3rd century BC to 1st century AD.

He said during the last season of the excavation, a good number of antiquities such as a bust of Buddha in stucco, copper coins, bones, charcoal, iron objects and pottery were discovered.



The first excavation at the site was carried out in 1916-17 by Natisa Aiyar, superintendent of Frontier Circle, while the second was carried out from 2005 till 2009 by Federal Archaeology in collaboration with Taxila Institute of Asian Civilisations, Quaid-i-Azam University.

He said five seasons of excavations had been successfully conducted by the institute at this ancient Buddhist site.

The most remarkable discovery was an iron nail and animal bones which revealed that Gandhara people knew the use of different metals and that Buddhists used to eat meat, said Dr Khan.

“History of Taxila should be rewritten in the light of the new and substantial evidence obtained,” he said.

Dr Khan said despite limited resources, the university had planned to excavate and preserve the whole site.
 

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Indus Priest King
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Rare discoveries made at Bhamula Stupa site
By Amjad Iqbal
http://www.dawn.com/news/1167502



TAXILA: Archaeologists have discovered the largest statue ever found in Gandhara depicting the death of Buddha as well as a ‘double-halo’ Buddha statue, the first of its kind to have been found at the Bhamala Stupa site.

The rare discovery was made during excavations at the Buddhist stupa and monastery dating back to 4th century AD.

Dr Abdul Samad, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa director, Department of Archaeology and Museums, told Dawn that the latest discoveries by the archaeologists have opened new chapters in the history of the ancient Taxila valley civilisation.

“This is one of the few sites in the world to have the cruciform Stupa which was reserved for Buddha himself.”

Discussing details of the new discoveries, he explained that the death of the Buddha scene is known as ‘Maha Pari Nirvana’. The statue depicting the scene, measures 14 metres in length, and is the largest ever statue of its kind found in the archaeological history of Gandhara civilisation. The image is placed on a 15 metre long platform.

Dr Samad said Buddha’s head is missing as the site appears to have been targeted by illegal treasure hunters.

“Other parts of the statue such as the left leg and arms were also found in a damaged condition,” he said.

He said other images in terracotta have been found near the Par Nirvana scene. He added that Pari Nirvana scene was exposed from a long chamber to the west of the main Stupa facing towards east. He added that access to this chamber is given through three openings at regular intervals. The chamber is made of stone in semi ashlars masonry.

He explained that the statue of Buddha with double halos was unique and such a statue had never been found at this site.

In the past statues, heads of Buddha statues and coins from the Kushan period had been found at the site.

“In the first leg of this excavation, archaeologists have opened a new chapter in the archaeological history of the Taxila valley. Through the recent discoveries, it has been confirmed that the site dates back to 3rd century CE. Recently discovered Buddha heads are made in baked soil which dates to the third century, rejecting archaeologist John Marshal’s claim from 1930 that the site was from 12th century CE.”

Dr Samad said during this leg of excavations, other relics such as a carnelian seal depicting what appears to be the Gaja Lakshmi deity, one of the forms of Hindu goddess Ashta Lakshmi have been discovered.



Other relics with Kashmiri influence have added new dimensions to what we know about these ancient civilisations.

“Several terracotta and stucco Buddha statues and copper coins were discovered at this site which date back to the Kidara-Kushan period (4 to 5 CE). This indicates that Bhamala was not isolated from main Taxila,” he said.

He said the material found in Bhamala could improve our understanding of Buddhist culture, development and contact in this region.

“The success of the Bhamala Stupa study would also encourage other archaeologists to come to Pakistan,” he said.

Dr Samad elaborated upon the importance of this site. He said the Bhamala complex was different from other sites in Taxila valley.

“The stupa, shaped like a cross, resembles Aztec Pyramids and such constructions had only been found in Kashmir, in the past. He said the main stupa was cruciform and there were about 19 small votive stupas in the courtyard surrounding the main stupa.

He further revealed that during the recent excavation, a total of 510 relics were discovered, which included terracotta, stucco sculptures as well as iron objects including nails, hooks, door fittings, hair clips, copper artifacts and 14 coins from the late Kushan period.

He said that samples of organic materials were also taken for radio carbon dating by Professor Dr Mark Kenoyer, Director of the Centre for South Asia and Professor of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin Madison in the US.
 

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Indus Priest King
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Discussion Starter #17
An fascinating introduction to the city of Jiroft in present-day south-eastern Iran which existed at the same time as the ancient Indus civilization gives some idea of the richness of cultures surrounding the ancient Indus civilization. Unfortunately, much of the site was looted before the Iranian authorities cracked down and little is known about them except that theirs was a well-developed culture, possibly linked to ancient Elam or Arrata, and from the third millenium BCE.

 

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Indus Priest King
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It is often said that the ancient Indus people invented latrines, as these examples from Harappa and Mohenjo-daro suggest. Mark Kenoyer writes "Many urban dwellers may have walked outside the city wall to the nearby fields to relive themselves, as is commonly done today throughout much of Asia. But many houses had latrines that were distinct from the bathing areas. The early excavators at Harappa and Mohenjo-daro did not pay much attention to this essential feature of the Indus cities, but current excavations at Harappa are finding what appear to be latrines in almost every house. The commodes were made of large jars or sump pot sunk into the floor, and many of them contained a small jar similar to the modern jar or lota used throughout Pakistan for washing after using the toilet. Sometimes these sump pots were connected to a drain to let sewage flow out, and most had a tiny hole at the bottom to let water seep into the ground. Clean sand was scattered on the floor of the latrine and periodically an entire new floor was installed. These sump pots were probably cleaned out quite regularly by a special class of laborers who also would have periodically cleaned out the large garbage bins and sewage drains in the city streets." (Ancient Cities of the Indus Valley Civilization, p. 60)


Many drains from upper buildings at Harappa were directed to the street through enclosed channels or terracotta pipes. The pipes were made using multiple telescoping segments that fit snugly with the next segment.


Toilets would have been an essential feature in Mohenjo-daro, but the early excavators identified most toilets as post-cremation burial urns or sump pots. This brick structure had a hole in the top that was connected to a small drain leading out of the base into a rectangular basin (not reconstructed). Early excavators suggested this might have been a toilet.



Two structure with a hole and drain located are thought to have been toilets. While these two structures may have been unique examples of toilets, most people would have used old pots set into the ground as commodes.


Latrines located inside a courtyard of modern Harappa town have drains that fall directly into the open street drain.
 

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Indus Priest King
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Discussion Starter #19
Bathing in Mohenjo-daro some 4500 years ago was as sophisticated as had ever been the case in human history. Almost every home in the city had a bathing platform with a water-tight brick floor and drainage system. The Great Bath was only the epitome of a well-executed urban system, not improved upon in the region until modern times. As these captions explain, even the drains were carefully thought out.


Bathing Platform, DK-I Area, Mohenjo-daro. This bathing platform is located next to the street, and is made with bricks laid flat. A small drain running along one side of the bathing floor channels dirty water out to the street. A brick on edge with a notch was placed across the drain hole to keep objects from flowing out with the bath water. It is possible that such bathing floors were also used to wash clothes that may have washed out with the rinse water.


Bath Area, Mohenjo-daro. Almost every house unit at Mohenjo-daro was equipped with a private bathing area with drains to take the dirty water out into a larger drain that emptied into a sewage drain. Many of these bathing areas had water tight floors to keep moisture from seeping into the other rooms nearby or below.


Drain outlets, DK-I Area, Mohenjo-daro. Close-up view of ground floor drain outlet from the street side, showing a brick on edge with a notch was placed across the drain hole to keep objects from flowing out with the bath water.


A bathing platform in the UM area Mohenjo-daro with blocked up doorway leading into the room. The brick floor was made with carefully fitted flat paved bricks and a smaller catchment drain along the side of the platform. A small step was placed at one side of the platform, and a ledge of finely fitted bricks protected the base of the wall.
 

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Indus Priest King
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Discussion Starter #20
What about the platforms? Another perplexing Indus mystery concerns the so-called workingmen's platforms at Harappa, next to the "granary" whose purpose also eludes us. Photographs from the excavations by the Harappa Archaeological Research Project following M.S. Vats work in the 1920s and 1930s led to at least one interesting clue. Additionally, the direction of the bricks suggests water was used here. What do you think?


Detail view of the HARP-excavated platform in Trench 43 with Wheeler's platform to the east (toward the top of the image). Note the mud-brick wall foundations that surround each platform to the east, south, and west (the north walls remain unexposed). Traces of baked brick thresholds can be seen on the right (south)


Circular platforms in the southwestern part of Mound F excavated by M.S. Vats in the 1920s and 1930s, as conserved by the Department of Archaeology and Museums, Government of Pakistan.
 
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