"What were the limits of the known world to the people that inhabited this region during the long prehistory for which we have evidence? What changes did they and their successors experience? What more can we say about the lure of distant lands?"
Articles on the evolution, growth and decline of urbanity and fluctuations or changes in over time within the ancient Harappan or Indus Valley Civilization and its antecedents.
Archaeologists studying the emergence of early civilizations often focus on finely crafted art objects in order to understand the aspects of economic, socio-political and religious organization. The importance of such objects is increased when studying early societies for which there are no written records, such as the Indus Valley civilization.
An examination of the city's settlement remains which changed with the onset of urban growth and development in Harappa.
"Correlating ancient textual sources with iconography and archaeological evidence in general is notoriously a controversial exercise, constantly carried out on endemically slippery grounds," writes the author at the very start.
A paper examining and interpreting climate models and the history of water supply as it pertains to the Indus Valley civilization (including dramatic changes in precipitation and shifts in the Ravi River among the rerouting of other streams and tributaries).
"A small showcase of the Zahedan Museum keeps, among other finds, the fragmentary headless torso of a small statuette in a buff-grey limestone, with a strongly weathered surface. Without opening the showcase, I was allowed to take several pictures of the fragment, from various angles," writes the author.
Excavations on two of the major mounds at Harappa have revealed traces of an early settlement, a transitional phase of development, and several phases of full urban and post-urban occupation.
An incisive look at the debate around this issue by one of India's foremost archaeological thinkers. Ratnagar looks at the issue in light of Indian Independence and the various political issues and currents that affect archaeological discourse and interpretations.
"The theme of this volume has forced us to consider and grapple with what activities occur at night and how that can be applicable to the archaeological record of the Indus civilization. In doing so we have focused on water and sewage system maintenance, a traditional nighttime activity of the modern world, to demonstrate how the common spaces and activities of maintenance would have constructed a shared sense of belonging for participants and/or imposed shared identities upon them by outside viewers," write the authors.