In the summer of 2019, one of the warmest ever in Paris, I managed to slip one afternoon into the Musee Guimet, and click away on my iPhone at objects usually not seen in colour. This French national museum which contains one of the best collections of Asian Art in the world (as one collector of Indian art, Gursharan Sidhu once put it, the French taste in objects from India is second to none).

The eminent archaeologist George F. Dales (1927-1992, author of Excavations at Mohenjo-Daro, Pakistan: The Pottery) looks at a "creamy buff soft stone" sculpture, just under 10 centimeters in height, that he was shown and photographed in Afghanistan in the early 1970s.

"Illegal excavations and looting of archaeological sites in parts of the Indo-Iranian borderlands and regions of South- Eastern Iran and Central Asia have been rampant over several decades. Archaeologists have attempted to minimise the damage caused by the plundering of sites by studying and publishing artefacts abandoned by looters on-site, or those recovered by security forces," write the authors.

"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.

Was this disc from Mohenjo-daro at the National Museum of Pakistan in Karachi used for counting? The circles with dots in the middle are identical to those found on other ivory objects from Mohenjo-daro thought to have been used as counters.

"Recent work on Mesopotamian chronology supports the theory, maybe first proposed by Bibby (1970: 355), that long-distance trade between the two partners was initiated from the Indus."

An insightful paper that covers a lot of important ground: a brief history of Indus discoveries and excavations in Gujarat, a look at the core vs. periphery model of cultural expansion that has been used to theorize that Indus people from Sindh moved into Gujarat.

"In the study of the archaeology of early complex societies in archaeology three questions concerning power are of interest: (1) Who had power? (2) Why did they have power? And (3) How was power exercised? "

"The scope of this paper is to update and discuss the available evidence for prehistoric fishing along the Arabian Sea coasts of the Sultanate of Oman, Las Bela and Sindh in Pakistan," write the authors. By prehistoric they mean going back to at least the 7th millennium BCE (7000-6000 BCE).

Although cemeteries and burial analysis of Indus peoples is sparse, the authors write, "however, important insights have been gleaned from available mortuary populations. Previous morphological and strontium isotope studies of skeletal material at the sites of Harappa and Lothal suggest residence change may have been common for certain individuals and that increased mobility facilitated gene flow with hinterland groups."


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