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

Ritual Mask or Amulet

Loosely included under the rubric of terracotta "figurines" are the terracotta masks found at some Harappan sites. This mask clearly has a feline face with an open mouth with exposed fangs, a beard, small round ears and upright bovine horns. It is small and has two holes on each side of the face that would have allowed it to be attached to a puppet or worn, possibly as an amulet or as a symbolic mask. The combination of different animal features creates the effect of a fierce composite animal.

A Toponym in Chanhu-daro?

Can potential place-names in Indus inscriptions be isolated? Dr. Asko Parpola, in by far best single book on the subject, Decipering the Indus Script, after discussing how place names survive in people's names in Dravidian-speaking South India today, where "the name of the ancestral village often forms the first element of a person's proper name," continues by saying that "a similar survival of Harappan place-names in the Greater Indus Valley is not at all unlikely (§ 9.4).

Mystery at Mound F: The Granary Fantasy

The phantasm by Sir Mortimer Wheeler (Image 1) , a diagram of the structure by John Marshall (Image 2), photographs by Jonathan Mark Kenoyer and Richard H (Image 3 and 4). The basic function of this structure on Mound F - there is also one in Mohenjo-daro - remains unknown. Still, there has been important work carried out in Harappa that chips away at myths like "the granary." See also Mystery at Mound F #2 and Mystery at Mound F #3.

Mysterious Sandstone Objects

Fragments of a grooved red sandstone object or objects were found in the upper disturbed levels at Harappa. Similar fragments were recovered in the excavations by Rai Bahadur Daya Ram Sahni in 1921-22, but so far none of them fit together into a complete object and their original function is unknown.

The Case of the Split Necklace #1

Among the tragedies of partition was the literal breaking apart of one of the finest necklaces from Mohenjo-daro, with half going to India and half to Pakistan. The piece on the left is from Pakistan's share, 6 of 10 of a light-green jade beads, 3 of 4 of the seven pendants of agate-jasper. There is not even a color photograph of the complete necklace. Now an effort by archaeologists is hoping to have the two pieces put back together and exhibited by rotation in India and Pakistan: India-Pakistan Link to Mohenjodaro Necklace See also The Case of the Split Necklace #2

The Case of the Split Necklace #2

John Marshall writes about one of the greatest of Indus finds, "the jewelry illustrated ... was found in the silver vessel illustrated on the right of the plate, which was unearthed by Mr. Dikshit in a long trench that he dug to connect up sections B and C in the DK Area ... As the walling in this Block is of the Late Period and the depth of the find was only 3 feet below the surface, this hoard of jewelry can definitely be dated to that Period.

Mystery at Mound F #3

A perfect unicorn seal found in Trench 49E, Harappa. The craftsmanship and balance of the three fish signs, the arrow and two strokes with the so-called unicorn's head and sacred relic is remarkable. Excavations in 1997 at the southeast corner of the Mound F "granary" area were undertaken to recover a full sequence of pottery, architectural features, and inscribed objects. Here workers have found a seal near the base of the excavations in Trench 41NE that dates only somewhat later than the original "granary" structure.