Perhaps some of the best clues to deciphering Indus seals may lie in the Arabian Gulf, where inscribed seals seem to have arrived and taken root just as they disappeared in Indus cities around 2000 BCE. "The Harappan sealing tradition, however, continued in Dilmun long after it had vanished from the Indian subcontinent and lived a vibrant life of its own," writes Steffen Laursen.

Just as we turn to more of the publications about discoveries about ancient Dilmun, another find on an island near Bahrain, with Indus pottery fragments, and a Gulf-type seal that reiterates how important trade relationships by sea were with this area.

Drainage

The drainage system was one of the most remarkable features of the Mature Harappan city. All the streets and lanes across neighbourhoods in Mohenjo-daro had drains. In addition there was also provision for managing wastewater inside the houses with vertical pipes in the walls that led to chutes opening on to the street.

A very interesting paper by Steffen Terp Laursen, an expert on Dilmun, or the civilization in Bahrain contemporaneous with the ancient Indus civilization, suggests that the round, so-called [Arabian] "Gulf seal", often

"I have a feeling that people do not 'discover lost civilizations'; but rather that, when the time is ripe, lost civilizations reveal themselves, using for the purpose whatever resources and people are to hand."

In 1933, Ernest Mackay wrote about his meeting with a craftsman named Sahebdino in Sehwan (Sindh) who showed him how to etch carnelian.

Robin Coningham (Durham University) and Ruth Young (University of Leicester) offer a critical synthesis of the archaeology of South Asia from the Neolithic period (c.6500 BCE), when domestication began, to the spread of Buddhism accompanying the Mauryan Emperor Asoka's reign (third century BCE).

As part of his 1935-36 excavation report on Chanhudaro, Ernest Mackay has a section on "Paste Plaques and Cylinders," two types of objects that were made of the same material, and were found in large quantities and occurring together across the excavated area of Mound II. The material was "...white, porous...with a texture like a fine pumice but sufficiently friable to be scraped away easily with the finger nail."

Jonathan Mark Kenoyer writes of this stunning figurine: "We also see the bun hairstyle on the miniature bronze sculpture of a male spear-thrower or dancer. Traces of eyes and nose are present. The hair is arranged in a bun on the back of the head . . ."

One of the finest ancient Indus painted jars ever found, excavated at Chanhu-daro during the 1935-36 season led by Ernest MacKay, who wrote that "a circle motif takes a prominent place, and in vessels of this kind, about half the painted area is usually occupied by this pattern."

Pages

Subscribe to Front page feed