Charles Masson (1800–1853) was the pseudonym of James Lewis, a East India Company soldier and explorer. He was the first European to discover the ruins of Harappa near Sahiwal in Punjab, now in Pakistan.
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 not 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.
Books and edited volumes:
- 1843 Narrative of a journey to Kalât, including an insurrection at that place in 1840; and A Memoir on Eastern Balocistan. Richard Bentley, London.
- 1844 Narrative of various journeys in Balochistan, Afghanistan, the Panjab and Kalat. 4 vols. Richard Bentley, London.
- 1848 Legends of the Afghan countries, in verse. James Madden, London.
- 1841 A memoir on the buildings called topes. In Ariana Antiqua: A descriptive account of the antiquities and coins of Afghanistan, edited by Horace Hayman Wilson. East India Company, London.