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.

This paper reviews the work done since the early 1970s east of Karachi along the Makran coast, containing what were once extensive mangrove areas (where salt and fresh water meet to create unique habitats).

This deeply investigative article published in Walking with the Unicorn (2018) takes on some of the most unusual facts about ancient Indus seals to surmise about their function in the Indus polity as a whole.

"For archaeologists," write the authors, "pottery is one of the most significant sources of data, not only for the durability and abundance of ceramic artefacts in the archaeological record, but also for the vast range of information on ancient societies that can be inferred from its study."

Of all the objects in the National Museum of Pakistan's Indus Gallery in Karachi, none quite so grabs your attention with its innate character as this tiny faience monkey from Mohenjo-daro.

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.

A delightful romp through 10 themes in ancient India by a smart and engaging writer who knows her Indus civilization history and all that which followed. These brief essays give some sense of how engaging history can be in the hands of a good writer, not afraid to take risks and push material politically and theoretically while keeping her feet on the ground.

"Urban society is a highly complex system in terms of its institutions, hierarchy, integration, etc." writes the author. "A vast region is incorporated into one social system which is based on cities."

In the excellent new book The Story of India's Unicorns (Marg, 2018), which is all about the rhinoceros in the subcontinent, Shibani Bose writes in the section Evidence from Indus Sites that what "needs to be explained is the presence, and in cases like Kalibangan, the profusion of rhinoceros remains at some of the major urban sites of the civilization.

Pages

Subscribe to Front page feed