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

First Street, Mohenjo-daro

Looking north along First Street, Mohenjo-daro. "Only the facades of the eastern side of the street have been cleared, this being the limits decided upon for our excavations in this direction. Beyond this line, two-thirds of the mound, still remains untouched and will undoubtedly provide many buildings of interest for future excavations." (Mohenjo-daro, 1938, I, p. 25). The area to the left has been fully excavated and the area to the right is un-excavated. Later street levels are seen in the background.
Ernest Mackay writes (1938) "As far as we can tell at present, this street appears to be the second most important thoroughfare of the city; for although it is longer than the street that crosses it at right angles, coming presumably from the east gate of the city, the latter [First Street] is undoubtedly wider-along it, the grass-covered road to the camp now runs between the HR and VS Areas." The fourth image shows the layers of excavation on this street, looking into the past.

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

Interaction Networks of the Ravi Phase

Sir Mortimer Wheeler noted that "Harappa has produced a hint of an antecedent culture... " The so-called Ravi Phase, an early phase of Indus culture (c. 3300-2800 BCE), elaborated by discoveries in the late 1990's by HARP (the Harappa Archaeological Research Project led by Jonathan Mark Kenoyer, Richard H. Meadow and Rita P. Wright) suggests that even before the the full ancient Indus civilization phase at Harappa, raw materials such as agate, lapis lazuli, steatite, marine shell and copper were transformed into ornaments and tools for local trade. For more see Around the Indus in 90 Slides 2.

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.

Indus City Layers

How old are ancient Indus cities? Excavations at Harappa show activity going back to approximately 3500 BCE, as do excavations at Mohenjo-daro. Neither site has been fully excavated, however. Attempts to go deep at Mohenjo-daro failed. As Sir Mortimer Wheeler wrote, "The lower level of excavations at Mohenjo-daro have never been reached by excavation due to difficulties of a high water-table. The two photographs illustrate an attempt made with pumps in 1950 to reach the lower levels and the subsequent flooding which happened overnight." (Civilizations of the Indus Valley and Beyond, p. 73).

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.

Mohenjo-daro Stupa Mound: Before and After Excavations

The color photograph is a slightly expanded view of the same area from the same angle. The stupa is to the right outside the frame of John Marshall’s original photograph from the 1920's. The new photograph was taken by Mark Kenoyer on Dec. 8, 2013, when Sindh had a Culture Day celebration, and thousands of people were visiting Mohenjo-daro to express their cultural pride in their Sindhi heritage. They were carrying flags and wearing Sindhi ajraks and dancing and singing all over the campus, the museum and the site.

Harappa Mounds Today #2

A collection of photographs of the Harappan Mounds in March 2013. Image A: A circular grey limestone slab found at Harappa and possibly dated to the post Harappan period. It has been identified by local communities as the gem from the finger ring of Baba Noor Shah who is buried in the nearby tomb. It is said to have turned to stone and became very large when someone tried to rob it from his tomb. Visitors toss coins and currency notes as well as rice grains as offerings to the saint. More than 15,000 people live in the modern town of Harappa which is situated on part of the ancient mound.

Night of the Indigo

The Bengali filmmaker Satyajit Ray's book of short stories The Unicorn Expedition, the title story of which concerns Mohenjo-daro, includes another brilliant story which may also have connections to the ancient Indus civilization. It is called Night of the Indigo and begins with "My name is Aniruddha Bose. I am twenty-nine and a bachelor. For the last eight years I've been working in an advertising agency in Calcutta. . . .. The last few months I haven't written at all, but I have read a lot about indigo plantations in Bengal and Bihar in the nineteenth century.