Posts about ancient Indus Valley Civilization homes and houses.

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)

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 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 earlry 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.

First Street of Mohenjo-daro: Revisited

John Marshall writes of what he called First Street, "The northern part of this street, 145 feet in length, had been dug by Mr. Hargreaves in 1925-6, the rest of the street, some 300 feet in length, was completely exposed by me down to the Intermediate level, the work involving the removal from the street itself of a 10 ft. thick layer of closely packed debris ... The width of the street averages 30 feet and it is the only street so far excavated at Mohenjo-daro that could have been used for wheeled traffic, if wheeled traffic was permitted inside the town.


Laboratory assistants Mohammad Naim, Shokat Ali, Said Ahmed, and Mukthar Massih carry the cleaned and conserved ringstone to the Harappa Museum for display.
This Harappa phase ringstone was originally found many years ago while local residents were digging a well in Harappa town. After some time it ended up at a house in Harappa town where it eventually became buried in the courtyard. It was located by HARP through information supplied by local residents and was given to the Harappa Museum by the Harappa resident who had it in his courtyard.
Excavation assistant Abdul Jabbar from Harappa town begins cleaning the ringstone after excavation.
Different sizes and colors of ringstones from upper Harappa phase levels of Mound AB, Trench 39N. The smaller rings may have been used to make decorative columns while the larger ones were probably column bases.

Ringstones are among the most fascinating of ancient Indus objects, particularly after recent research has shown some of those at Harappa to have originally been manufactured near Dholavira and then transported some 1,000 kilometers north. We think they might have been used to support wooden pillars. Here a newly re-discovered ringstone from Harappa is being transported to the Harappa Museum.

Stairways of Mohenjo-daro

"A flight of eights steps on the west side of Courtyard 6 leads up to Well No. I (Plate XLIII, b [shown]). This well, 3 ft. 5 in. in diameter, and lined with well-burnt, wedge-shaped bricks, was cleared to a depth of 41 feet, when 4 feet of water was obtained." (H. Hargreaves, HR Area,p. 179 in Marshall, Mohenjo-daro, p. 179).

From the southern steps of the Great Bath showing recesses for wooden treads and stairways to platforms of some among the 700 wells in Mohenjo-daro, glimpses of where the ancient Indus people trod every day.

"A curious feature of the two stairways leading down into the bath is the presence of a channel 9.25 inches wide and 3.25 inches deep, running parallel with and at the based of the lowest step of each. This channel penetrates into the two sides of each stairway for a distance of 3.5 inches.

At either end of each tread there is a recess of the same width as the tread and 3.25 inches high


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