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Charles Masson (1800–1853) was the pseudonym of James Lewis, a East India Company soldier and explorer. He was the first european who discovered the ruins of Harappa near Sahiwal in Punjab, Pakistan.


Early life

He was born in 1800. He was a British national. He joined the Bengal Artillery wing of the East India Company Army in India and served in the Battle of Bharatpur.


In 1827, when he was stationed at Agra, he deserted along with a colleague and started wandering in Punjab that was not under British control at that time. He was the first european who saw the ruins of Harappa in late 1820s. He made some drawings and described it in his book Narrative of Various Journeys in Balochistan, Afghanistan and The Panjab.

He also visited Frontier and Balochistan provinces of Pakistan and Afghanistan serving as an agent of the East India Company. He was an expert numismatist. After some years when he returned back he was forgiven.

See also


  • Elizabeth Errington: Ancient Afghanistan through the Eyes of Charles Masson (1800-1853): The Masson Project at the British Museum in: IIAS-Newsletter 27, Pages 8-9
  • Iranica-Article
  • Charles Masson
  • Charles Masson. Narrative of Various Journeys in Balochistan, Afghanistan and The Panjab.ISBN 978-8121510332


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