One of the nice thing about archaeology is the surprises. Surprises like finding the Ghaggar-Hakra aka Sarasvati River according to some was not flowing in any big way during the Indus period (3500 BCE-1800 BCE).
Mysteries and unsolved archaeological puzzles of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization.
"Between the Buddhist stupa, with its surrounding monastic buildings, and the Great Bath, a considerable stretch of ground which sloped upwards to the east presented interesting possibilities . . ."
Dholavira is a Harappan site located in the Rann of Kutch, Gujarat. This 47 hectares (120 acres) quadrangular city is one of the largest mature Harappan sites. The site was occupied from ca. 2650 BCE, declining slowly after about 2100 BCE.
What was this enormous building in Mohenjo-daro used for? "The northern portion of Block 4 (Image 1)," in the L Area wrote the archaeologist John Marshall, "was originally a large hall of the Intermediate Period which appears to have been entirely covered ink the roof being supported by twenty rectangular piers averaging 5 feet by 3 ft. 4 in. in thickness."
"Much valuable information about the various indoor games indulged in by the Harappans is available from the gamesmen, game-boards and dices found at the major Indus cities. A game involving the use of dice was very popular in the Harappan and later times, especially in the time of the Mahabharata war. The Pandava prince is said to have lost everything including his kingdom in a game of dice. An ealrier reference to the games is contained in the Rdveda whcih mentions the use of Vibhitika wood for making dice.
A new paper by Denys Frenez and Massimo Vidale examines a curious artifact of the newly emerging Halil Rud civilization in Southeastern Iran contemporary with Harappan civilization that includes hallmarks of Indus iconography with notable twists. Translated Symbols. Reminiscences in a Carved Chlorite Artefact of the Halil Rud Civilization shows how much we are slowly beginning to learn about how Indus symbolism and belief systems intersected with the wider Near Eastern region, and suggest that there is so much to still be learned as future artifacts come to light.
Seals as urban passports? Mackay wrote "most of the inhabitants of the Indus valley seem to have worn amulets of some kind or another. The so-called seal (Pl. M), of which many examples have been found, must now be regarded as having served also as an amulet, on account of the animals incised upon it. In most cases only the upper part, bearing the inscription was employed as a seal proper . . .. Objects of this type seem to have belonged to everyone, a fact which would necessitate a certain amount of mass production."
What would you need to mass produce something to denote identity?
"The cylinder seals of Mesopotamia constitute her most original art," wrote the scholar Henri Frankfort, and much the same has been said about the very different square stamp seals used by the ancient Indus civilization. Cylinder seals are "small, barrel-shaped stone object[s] with a hole down the center, rolled on clay when soft to indicate ownership or to authenticate a document . . . used chiefly in Mesopotamia from the late 4th to the 1st millennium BCE." Many of the handful of cylinder seals found at ancient Indus sites or Mesopotamian ones with Indus themes are collected below.
John Marshall could hardly believe his eyes when this red jasper statuette was found by M.S. Vats at Harappa: ". . . it seemed so completely to upset all established ideas about early art. Modelling such as this was unknown to the ancient world up to the Hellenistic age of Greece, and I thought, therefore, that some mistake must surely have been made."
However incredible this may seem, there now seems to be good genetic and material evidence that sailors from India arrived in Australia from either Sindh or South India at the height of the ancient Indus civilization. They brought with them some technologies and a type of dog that forever changed Aborigine culture. As principal scientist Irina Pulgach at the Max Planck Institute writes, "Their findings suggest substantial gene flow from India to Australia 4,230 years ago. i.e. during the Holocene and well before European contact.