Blog posts relating to the evolution of the ancient Indus Valley civilization society and practices.

Lothal and Mohenjo-daro: 3 Similarities

1. "The word 'Lothal' in Gujarati formed by combining the words Loth and thal (sthal) means 'the mound of the dead'. The word 'Mohenjodaro' in Sindhi also conveys the same meaning." (S.R. Rao, Lothal, p. 18).
2. "Wheeler had also observed that even during the occupation of the citadel [of Mohenjo-daro] the rising water-table had posed a problem and necessitated protecting the platform by a mud-brick embankment or bund, 13 metres-wide, at an early date of the occupation of the city.

Ghats Since Indus Times?

"In my view Hindu bathing places, such as the ghats at Varanasi, may have existed from the time of the Indus civilization. It is supposed that a canal or branch of the Indus flowed next to the lower city of Mohenjo-daro, which appears to have been surrounded by revetments functioning as flood defenses. Next to what Ernest Mackay took to be 'a small fort on the city wall,' he found a "ghat like staircase" that led down at least as far as the present water level" (Wheeler, 1968:47). In any case the derivation of Sanskrit Ghatta- from Dravidian *katta, river bank, embankment, dam,' is fairly

Lothal Sanitation

Lothal's sophisticated sanitary and drainage system was a hallmark of ancient Indus cities. All of Lothal's drainage channels met at right angles, engineered with several steps to separate solid and liquid wastes.

Empire of Cotton

Farmers in the Indus valley were the first to spin and weave cotton. In 1929 archaeologists recovered fragments of cotton textiles at Mohenjo-Daro, in what is now Pakistan, dating to between 3250 and 2750 BCE.

Imagining Life in Lothal

Google Maps image of Lothal with surrounding countryside.
"The two major sectors of the city are the Acropolis and the Lower Town, the former comprising Blocks B, C and D, and the latter Blocks A, E, F, and G. While Block A formed the main bazaar and Block B was occupied by the ruler, the warehouse was built in Block C. The artisans, famers and merchants lived in the reamining blocks." (S.R. Rao, Lothal and the Indus Civilization, p. 62)
"A mud-brick structure consisting of a central courtyard and elven rooms of varying sizes was built in Block F on the western flank of the Acropolis. It served as a bead factory where several lapidaries worked together on a central platform and lived in the rooms built around it. A couple of store-rooms and a guard room were also provided within the factory premises." ((S.R. Rao, Lothal and the Indus Civilization, p. 68).
"The warehouse built in Block C occupies the southwest corner of the Acropolis. This impressive building stands on a 4 metre-high platform covering a floor area of 1930 square metres. Originally it supported 64 cubical blocks of mud-bricks each 3.6 metres square on plan and 1 metre high, serving as a base for a wooden canopy erected for protecting the cargo against sun and rain." (S.R. Rao, Lothal and the Indus Civilization, p. 66).

A reimagining of life in Lothal 4,000 years ago, satellite images of the town in context of today's landscape, and the discoverer, S. R. Rao's drawings of the town plan, bead factory and warehouse. "While exploring the Sabarmati estuary an ancient mound presently known as Lothal was discovered in November, 1954," wrote S. R. Rao. "The excavation conducted here during the following seven years has brought to light the existence of a flourishing port-city of the Indus Civilization with an excellent brick-built dock and nearly laid-out streets.

The First Images of the Announcement: The Illustrated London News

"The two sites where these somewhat startling remains have been discovered are some 400 miles apart – the one being at Harappa in the Montgomery District of the Panjab, and the other at Mohenjo-daro in the Larkana District of Sindh. At both these places there is a vast expanse of artificial mounds evidently covering the remains of once flourishing cities, which . . . must have been in existence for many hundreds of years." The excavations at Mohenjo-daro were made by Mr. Banerji.
"At Harappa, Mr. Daya Ram Sahni's excavations disclosed as many as seven or eight successive levels, demonstrating the long and continuous occupation of the site during many hundreds of years prior to the third century B.C."

The first images of the announcement of the discovery of the ancient Indus Valley civilization in the Illustrated London News, on September 20, 1924. "The remarkable discoveries here illustrated put back by several centuries the date of the earliest known remains of Indian civilization. In his deeply interesting article describing them (on page 528) Sir John Marshall compares them to the work of Schliemann at Tiryns and Mycenae, where likewise it fell to the archaeologist to break new ground and reveal the relics of a long forgotten past.


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