Posts about ancient Indus Valley Civilization homes and houses.

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.

The First Latrines

It is often said that the ancient Indus people invented latrines, as these examples from Harappa and Mohenjo-daro suggest. Mark Kenoyer writes "Many urban dwellers may have walked outside the city wall to the nearby fields to relive themselves, as is commonly done today throughout much of Asia. But many houses had latrines that were distinct from the bathing areas. The early excavators at Harappa and Mohenjo-daro did not pay mch attention to this essential feature of the Indus cities, but current excavations at Harappa are finding what appear to be latrines in almost every house.

The Great Bath of Mohenjo-daro C

The "great bath" is without doubt the earliest public water tank in the ancient world. The tank itself measures approximately 12 meters north-south and 7 meters wide, with a maximum depth of 2.4 meters. Two wide staircases lead down into the tank from the north and south and small sockets at the edges of the stairs are thought to have held wooden planks or treads. At the foot of the stairs is a small ledge with a brick edging that extends the entire width of the pool. People coming down the stairs could move along this ledge without actually stepping into the pool itself. The floor of the tank

The Harappan Bathroom

"The bathroom itself was usually a small square or rectangular room with a carefully-laid brick pavement sloping towards one corner. In this corner was the outlet for the water, which, in some cases also ran through the latrine."

Urban Construction of Mohenjo-daro

A rarely seen image of deep diggings at Mohenjo-daro in 1950 gives some sense of the density of urban construction in the city. This is in the citadel area, with the so-called Great Granary or large hall in the background, "gradually engulfed by a clutter of later Indus buildings," although we do not know the stratigraphic relationship between these buildings and the large hall. This is close to the Great Bath, off-screen to the left. The two circular structures are wells. (From F.A. Khan, The Indus Valley and Early Iran, 1964, Plate III)

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.
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.

Imagining Life in Lothal

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 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, 1.