The earliest occupation levels of the site currently lie buried below the water table and date to around 3500 BCE, during the Kot Diji phase of the Regionalization era (Chaolong 1990).
These levels were first discovered in the small-scale excavations at the northwest corner of the western "citadel" mound by Wheeler in 1946 (Alcock 1986).
The pottery from the early levels is similar to that found in the Early Harappan (or Kot Dijian) levels of the nearby sites of Jhukar (Mughal 1992) and Kot Diji (Mughal 1970) as well as the site of Amri (Casal 1964).
Visitors to the site are most likely to see the remains of excavations carried out by Marshall and Mackay, which focused on the uppermost levels of the city on the "Citadel" mound (SD and L Areas), and the "Lower Town" (HR area, VS area, and DK-G area).
The majority of the structures correspond to the final occupation of the Integration era, Harappa phase and the Localization era, Late Harappan phase. Only two radiocarbon dates have been processed from the mixed later levels of the site and these indicate that the final occupation in the HR area of the site occurred between 2200-1900 BCE (Dales 1973).
However, the Late Harappan occupation may have continued slightly longer in other areas of the site, since this period is dated to 1700 or even 1300 BCE on the basis of excavations in other regions of the Indus valley.
Environs and Crafts
The ancient city was surrounded by a fertile flood plain suitable for seasonal agricultural and grazing land, abundant wild game and fish as well as considerable wild plant resources.
In the absence of extensive irrigation systems this diverse resource base and economic networks linking the cities to regional production centers is thought to have been an important factor in the rise and survival of such large cities.
Important crafts were carried out in different sectors of all the major mounds and include copper working, shell and ivory carving, lapidary and stone tool production as well as many different types of furnaces for the manufacture of terracotta pottery, stoneware bangles, glazed faience ornaments and fired steatite beads.
Seal manufacturing workshops have been discovered in very restricted locations indicating strong control of production. The variety of raw materials at the site demonstrates the vast trading networks that linked the city to distant resource areas.