Charles Masson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For the Canadian ice hockey player, see Charles Masson (ice hockey).

Charles Masson (1800–1853) was the pseudonym of James Lewis, a British East India Company soldier and explorer. He was the first European to discover the ruins of Harappa near Sahiwal in Punjab, now in Pakistan.

Early life[edit]

British by birth, Masson joined the Bengal Artillery wing of the East India Company Army in India and served in the Battle of Bharatpur.


In 1827, while stationed at Agra, he and a colleague deserted and traveled through parts of the Punjab that were under British control at that time. At Ahmadpur, they were rescued by Josiah Harlan and commissioned as mounted orderlies in his expedition to overthrow the regime in Kabul, Afghanistan. Not long afterward, near Dera Ghazi Khan, he deserted Harlan.

He was the first European to see the ruins of Harappa, described and illustrated in his book Narrative of Various Journeys in Balochistan, Afghanistan and The Panjab. He also visited the North-West Frontier Province and Balochistan, serving as an agent of the East India Company.


Through his wide-ranging travels, Masson built up an extraordinary collection of artefacts largely (although not exclusively) from the modern states of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Numbering about 9000 objects, they are now held by the British Museum.[1]


Books and edited volumes:


See also[edit]