"Lazurite - the constituent of lapis lazuli that gives the rock its blue color - is a rare mineral in nature," writes Randall Law, and there is likely to have been only one source in the region during ancient times, the Badakhshan mines in Afghanistan.
The least excavated of the five large known ancient Indus cities – Mohenjo-daro and Dholavira, Harappa and Rakigarhi – is Ganweriwala, discovered in the late 1980s by Rafique Mughal. Deep in the desert, far from towns and close to the Indian border, it is hardly written about.
Walking with the Unicorn is an extraordinary volume and tribute to Jonathan Mark Kenoyer and his profound and extensive impact on the field of ancient Indus studies. Contributors include some 80% of the world's leading ancient Indus scholars who contributed some 45 illustrated articles.
On a recent visit to Delhi, I found myself free for two hours and made my way in a rickshaw from Jama Masjid to the National Museum. It was a Sunday afternoon. After paying the entrance fee and breathlessly arriving at the Harappan Civilisation doorway, I found that it was closed for renovations! Momentarily dispirited, it turned out that there was another entrance and much of the gallery was still open – disaster averted.
Do the many female figurines at Indus sites justify the belief that the worship of a "mother Goddess" was prevalent then? One of India's most distinguished archaeologists offers a contrary viewpoint in this deeply informed, multi-faceted analysis of these figurines.