Mysteries and unsolved archaeological puzzles of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization.

Unicorn Amulet Seal

Only a few specimens of this unicorn amulet-type seal have been found. One was during Marshall's excavations at Mohenjo-daro in the 1920s (top), another at Dholavira a few years ago (bottom). It appears to have been worn around the neck, and have had room for something to be put inside. Although Marshall himself did not favor the amulet theory, he wrote of one of these seals: "The amulet theory finds some support, however, in the shape of ... [a] seal [which] measures 0.77 in. square and 0.3 in. thick, excluding its boss.

Buddhist Stupa at Mohenjo-daro

Image niche and stairway to left ascending to platform of stupa at Mohenjo-daro, modern shot and Bison Seal (ca. 2500 BCE). "This image niche is 7 feet deep by 4 ft. 6 inches wide, and occupies a particularly prominent position, being directly opposite to, though slightly above, the approaching stairway. In it Mr. Banerji found some remains of a statue of Buddah, seated cross-legged, probably on a lotus throne. The core of the image, he says, was of brick covered with a coating of mud, which had originally been painted or gilt." (John Marshall, Mohenjo-daro, I, p.

Dyers' Workshop

"This room in VS area was made with bricks set on edge to create a watertight floor. A small well was located in the southeast corner (top right) and circular brick depressions were set into the floor, presumably to hold pottery vessels. The early excavators suggested that the room might have been a dyer's workshop" (Mark Kenoyer). Sir Mortimer Wheeler, the early excavator, wrote: "Of another kind is a building fronting upon one of the main streets, 'First Street', in VR Area (Mohenjo-daro). Its outside dimensions are 87 by 64.5 feet, but within that considerable framework are included not

Cubical Weights

A recreation of an ancient Indus trader using weights to weigh goods (left, by Jonathan Mark Kenoyer), cubical weights in graduated sizes from Allahdino (top right) and Harappa (bottom right). These weights conform to the standard Harappan binary weight system that was used in all of the settlements. The smallest weight in this series is 0.856 grams and the most common weight is approximately 13.7 grams, which is in the 16th ratio (e.g.

Mundigak at the Guimet, Paris

A brand new slide show has just been opened featuring objects from Mundigak, a little-known Bronze Age [c. 4000-2400 BCE] set of mounds in southern Afghanistan. The objects are now at the Guimet, the French National Museum of Asian Art in Paris. Their similarity to objects and motifs in the ancient Indus Valley is remarkable. Examples include the pipal leaf, a rat trap, the humped bull, a bird whistle and classic goblets the Mundigak excavators called "brandy balloons." There is even a stone sculpture which resembles the "priest-king." This 33 slide section Mundigak @ the Guimet is accompanied

An Ancient Indus Die

A cubical die with 1 to 6 dots was found in rubble during excavations at Harappa. Many such dice were also found at Mohenjo-daro. John Marshall writes: "That dicing was a common game at Mohenjo-daro is proved by the number of pieces that have been found. In all cases they are made of pottery and are usually cubical, ranging in size from 1.2 by 1.2 by 1.2 inches to 1.5 by 1.5 by 15 inches. . .. The dice of Mohenjo-daro are not marked in the same way as to-day, i.e. so that the sum of the points on any two opposite sides amounts to seven.

The Great Bath of Mohenjo-daro A

The great bath at Mohenjo-daro at dawn and in context. Surrounded by a brick colonnade, it measures approximately 12 meters north-south and 7 meters wide, with a maximum depth of 2.4 meters. In the background is a massive brick structure with narrow passages that was first identified as a hammam or hot-air bath, and later as the state "granary," but this is not certain. See also The Great Bath of Mohanjo-daro B.

Mystery at Mound F #2

Possible granary in Harappa
Although there is no evidence to suggest that Mound F at Harappa or the "granary" at Mohenjo-daro (illustrated above) actually were granaries, this theory by archaeologists like Sir Mortimer Wheeler has taken hold in the public imagination. One can see how this happened in the compelling descriptions offered. Wheeler writes that "the granary stood on the steep verge of the citadel at Mohenjo-daro and at the western end of its north side was a recessed unloading bay.