14. Why were the Citadel walls so high?

Harappa Wall Excavations

View of excavations on the west side of Trench 54 where brick robbers had removed several massive Harappan Period baked brick walls from 2600-1900 BCE.

Why were there (terracotta) balls on the Citadel wall in Mohenjo-Daro? Have any more statues been found or anything like a temple? Have you found out any more information on the Indus leaders or their names? Submitted by Gharial Abramnova from school student questions

Richard Meadow
The walls were high because they served as retaining walls. As people continued to live in one place, they rebuilt their houses many times on top of the foundations of the earlier structures. Over time these houses would have fallen off of the resulting mound unless massive walls were built to keep the edges of the mound from eroding away. The walls also served to enclose – to separate parts of cities from one another possibly for reasons of status or community differences, to keep animals in during the night and protect them and the population from raiders, to protect sites from floods, etc. Which sites had wall and which did not and why is not clearly understood because when excavating sites, many archaeologists have not looked for perimeter walls, which sometimes may be more heavily eroded than what was inside them, because the trash containing stones, and fired lumps of clay, and bones, and pottery that was dumped into the streets of the settlements and into abandoned areas is more durable than the mud-brick that the walls were often made of.

Terracotta balls are found in many Indus sites. Depending on the size and shape they may be used as spacers for firing pottery in kilns, to be used (if baked hard) as substitutes for stone in the foundations for structures, if not truly balls but more oval as projectiles propelled by slings (round projectiles are much more difficult to fling accurately than are somewhat oblong ones). Since I do not know much about the nature of these balls or the context(s) from which they came, I do not know what they were actually used for.

Mohenjo-daro has produced the majority of the few 3-D or relief sculptures found from Indus sites. They come from the upper levels and there is some thought that they may represent the influence of Central Asian peoples on that site rather late in its occupation.
There is no information on Indus leaders or on their names because we cannot read the script. Most of what we know about the rulers of Egypt and Mesopotamia and of ancient China and Greece comes from their writings which have been deciphered and read now for more than a century.