There are almost no concise, up-to-date accounts of the ancient Indus civilization, locating the latest facts and opinions within a larger intellectual context. Has the Indus script been deciphered? What can we say about the relationship of ancient Indus traditions and modern Hinduism? How did Indus society compare to contemporary Bronze Age Egypt and Mesopotamia? Why do so many questions remain open and so contentious?
Published in 1968, A Day in the Life of Maya of Mohenjo-Daro by Mulk Raj Anand was the first ever children’s story, and the second work of Indus Valley fiction after Murdon ka Teela written by Rangeya
The author writes of his important 284 page thesis, entirely available online: "Through this work, readers will be introduced to both specific and broad overviews of the human-animal based interactions in the Eatern domain of the Indus Valley civilization from its earlier to later phases of existence."
This is an exceptional book, from its high production value to well marshaled arguments and the broad perspective of its author, R. Balakrishnan. He has been researching the materials for decades in a careful and constructive manner. It is also a tribute to the late Iravatham Mahadevan, one of my favorite people in ancient Indus studies and India's most accomplished Indus script scholar.
An amazing catalogue of female figurines from Neolithic times across the world, in places connected and witness to constantly shifting populations. Beautifully illustrated, with focus on Mehrgarh and the Indus Valley pieces which are seen in connection to a long, sophisticated tradition.
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).
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.
A delightful romp through 10 themes in ancient India by a smart and engaging writer who knows her Indus civilization history and all that which followed. These brief essays give some sense of how engaging history can be in the hands of a good writer, not afraid to take risks and push material politically and theoretically while keeping her feet on the ground.
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.
There is so much going on in DNA studies – even if pre-figured by linguistic studies – that having a solid guide to stitch it all together, including papers that landed with a giant thud in 2018, would be so very, very nice. Someone who could put it together for the layman or intelligent observer who finds it hard to sort through headlines and the latest pronouncements (and simplifications).
Case Studies from the Near East, Egypt, the Aegean, and South Asia
Finally, the book we have long – decades, in fact – been waiting for, a comprehensive view of seals and sealings in the ancient world, from the Mediterranean to the Indus Valley. This has been essential because, as the authors argue from the very start, seals were social objects.
An exceptional, beautifully illustrated book of over 200 pieces in the Japanese Katolec Corporation collection of pottery and associated art of the pre- and contemporary to ancient Indus Nal and Kulli cultures of the 3rd millennium BCE Balochistan. The photography is excellent, the specimens extraordinary.
Shereen Ratnagar is one of the most important theoreticians of the Indus valley civilization and its archaeological practice. Book reviewer and author, Sudeshna Guha notes in her review of Early State Perspectives, "Through her earlier research, Ratnagar had shown that the political system of statehood possibly provided the Harappan Civilization its distinctive cultural form."
There is a dearth of ancient Indus-based fiction in English; there are even fewer works in Hindi or Urdu. Yakoob Yawar's Dilmun is among the very few exceptions (indeed, it was the second novel ever to be set in the ancient Indus civilization, 50 years after the Hindi Murdon ka Teela by Rangeya Raghava).
Once in a while a book comes along that so radically shifts your perspective and ways of thinking about a complex subject that it can only be called breathtaking. Against the Grain A Deep History of the Earliest States (2017), by Yale Agrarian Studies Professor James C. Scott is one such book.
Papers of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University, vol. 86.
Of all the untapped veins to mine in ancient Indus studies, none may be as rich as the thousands of figurines excavated from all sites.
This is a very important book by two scholars who have spent years studying ancient Mesopotamian cultures (Steinkeller, Harvard University) or leading explorations of more recently discovered Gulf Arab cultures (Laursen, Moesgaard Museum Denmark).
Geoffrey Bibby was a Cambridge-educated oil executive, who got caught up, against-all-odds, with the tiny Danish Prehistoric Museum of Aarhus, with barely any resources, that nonetheless has emerged as a powerhouse in ancient Dilmun studies, thanks in part to Bibby's initial efforts.