It has really only been since the 1980s that a more comprehensive picture of the wide and deep roots of Indus civilization in the larger Sindh and Balochistan region have become apparent. Mehrgarh did not spring out of nowhere but was embedded in a region where fishing, shell collecting, flint mining and other crafts were present and flourishing at different times.
A recent publication by the South Asia Research Group at Kansai University in Japan that includes detailed essays covering a general picture of Indus research today (by Akinori Uesugi), Indus civilization in the Ghaggar Basin (Vivek Dangi) , Indus archaeology in Gujarat (Rajesh S.V.), steatite style variations between Gujarat and the Ghaggar-Hakra Basin (Gregg Jamison) and Indus copper wares (Takekazu Nagae).
A convincing if speculative attempt to bring together a variety of insights from kinship theory and the peculiar nature of recently discovered material remains in Gujarat to offer a theory of how these so-called ‘Sorath’ and ‘Sindhi’ Harappan settlements were peopled.
"Lazurite - the constituent of lapis lazuli that gives the rock its blue color - is a rare mineral in nature," writes Randall Law, and there is likely to have been only one source in the region during ancient times, the Badakhshan mines in Afghanistan.
The least excavated of the five large known ancient Indus cities – Mohenjo-daro and Dholavira, Harappa and Rakigarhi – is Ganweriwala, discovered in the late 1980s by Rafique Mughal. Deep in the desert, far from towns and close to the Indian border, it is hardly written about.
Walking with the Unicorn is an extraordinary volume and tribute to Jonathan Mark Kenoyer and his profound and extensive impact on the field of ancient Indus studies. Contributors include some 80% of the world's leading ancient Indus scholars who contributed some 45 illustrated articles.
On a recent visit to Delhi, I found myself free for two hours and made my way in a rickshaw from Jama Masjid to the National Museum. It was a Sunday afternoon. After paying the entrance fee and breathlessly arriving at the Harappan Civilisation doorway, I found that it was closed for renovations! Momentarily dispirited, it turned out that there was another entrance and much of the gallery was still open – disaster averted.
Do the many female figurines at Indus sites justify the belief that the worship of a "mother Goddess" was prevalent then? One of India's most distinguished archaeologists offers a contrary viewpoint in this deeply informed, multi-faceted analysis of these figurines.
Shereen Ratnagar, in her brand new book The Magic in the Image Women in Clay at Mohenjo-daro and Harappa (soon to be reviewed here) offers an interesting conjecture around a set of male figurines found at the two iconic Indus sites.
Ancient Indus research is constrained by a shortage of funds. One of the longest lasting, most successful projects has been the Harappa Archaeological Research Project (HARP), run by the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Harvard University and New York University since 1986.