Mysteries

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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