Posts about ancient Indus Valley Civilization homes and houses.

The Streets of Mohenjo-daro

"Inside the major blocks, the streets [of Mohenjo-daro] are not well-aligned. There are many doglegs and some deadends. The walls along the streets and lanes may pinch in on the avenues that grow narrower and narrower, but curves are rare in the Mohenjo-daro system of roads.

"While there is regularity in the layout of Mohenjo-daro it is far from perfect. The regularity itself suggests that the founders of this city started with a clean plate, virgin soil, on which they began the construction of the metropolis." (Gregory Possehl, The Indus Civilization A Contemporary Perspective, p. 191,


Mohenjo-daro - City of Wells I

Wells were made with wedge shaped bricks to make a strong circular structure. Some bricks were made with special grooves to keep the ropes from sliding sideways when drawing water.
 Although most wells were located inside private buildings, the city planners of Mohenjo Daro provided some public wells that could be accessed directly from the main street. This well and nearby walls have been covered with mud brick to protect them from salt crystallization
 Each block of buildings at Mohenjo-Daro was supplied with one or more wells such as this one in DK-G Area. When archaeologists excavated the fill around the well they were left standing to show the final levels of use.
This well was associated with a finely constructed bathing platform. A stairway leads up to the well and platform from a lower room. The walls and well have been covered with mud brick and sprayed with clay slurry to protect them from salt crystallization.

Mohenjo-daro has been called the "city of wells." Mark Kenoyer writes: "On the basis of the number of wells found in the excavated areas, Michael Jansen has calculated that the city may have had over 700 wells. In contrast Harappa may have had as few as 30, since only 8 wells have been discovered in the areas excavated so far. The difference between these two cities may be that Mohenjo-daro had less winter rain and may have been situated far away from the Indus river.

Impressions of Indus Life around a Well

Excavator Ernest Mackay wrote of this well-head in Mohenjo-daro: "Brick lined wells are a common feature, most of the larger buildings and houses having their own, to which the poorer people frequently had access. In the early days of the city it is probably that some of the wells were quite private, as their seems to be no means of reaching them from the street, but later on, as the population grew, they were thrown open to public use.

Low Lane, Mohenjo-daro

"With the exception of First Street, the most impressive thoroughfare in the DK Area, Southern Portion," writes the early excavator of Mohenjo-daro, Ernest J.H. Mackay, "is unquestionably Low Lane which runs practically parallel with it. This is chiefly because the depth to which it has been excavated and its narrow width increase the apparent height of the houses on either side. But the street has preserved its character and identity from the Intermediate III (XVI., 2.) onwards to the Late I Phase (Pl.

Stairways of Mohenjo-daro II

In addition to hundreds of wells, Mohenjo-daro would have had hundreds of staircases. Many houses had stairs leading to upper courtyards of the building or to a second floor. This house in HR area had a double staircase that would allow people to enter and exit the upper courtyard in an orderly fashion. Some scholars feel this may have been a palace or a temple. Two doorways lead to a narrow courtyard at a lower level.

Mohenjo-daro Great Bath Diagram

"The Great Bath, which I have reserved to the last, was part of what appears to have been a vast hydropathic [water therapeutic] establishment and the most imposing of all the remains unearthed at Mohenjo-daro. Its plan is simple: in the centre, an open quadrangle with verandahs on its four sides, and at the back of three of the verandahs various galleries and rooms; on the south, a long allery with a small chamber in each corner; on the east, a single range of small chambers, including one with a well (no 16); on the north, a group of several halls and fair-sized rooms.


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