Figurines c. 3000 BCE & c. 2700 BCE

Indus-Sarasvati Civilization: Mohenjo-Daro 2600–1900 BCE

By Sally Mallam
Contributing Writer

Mohenjo-Daro was one of the most important cities of the Indus civilization. It was located between the two vast river valleys of the Indus and the Sarasvati in the province of Sindh, Pakistan.

Mohenjo-Daro 2600–1900 BCE

Mohenjo-Daro excavation site made from bricks
The Mohenjo-Daro excavation site. The DK-G Area where the Pashupati seal was found lies north-east of the Great Bath seen in the foreground. It is 180 feet by 108 feet, with the actual pool 39 feet by 23 feet and 8 feet in depth.
There is no evidence of palaces, temples, or monuments, no obvious central seat of government or evidence of king or queen.

Constructed on the build up of occupation debris and massive mud brick platforms, the settlement grew to monumental proportions, with high mounds reaching as high as 12 meters above the modern plain level, and probably much higher above the ancient plain. Its design is similar to other Indus-Sarasvati city sites with streets running in a grid pattern. They vary from 9 feet to 34 feet wide, suitable for wheeled traffic. Larger multi-roomed buildings, often two or three storied were situated on either side of the main streets and may have been for administrative or collective functions, with the smaller two-roomed rectangular dwellings on either side of what might be viewed as lanes. There is no evidence of palaces, temples, or monuments, no obvious central seat of government or evidence of king or queen.

During its prime from about 2500 to 1900 BCE Mohenjo-Daro was one of the most important cities of the Indus civilization with as many as 35,000 inhabitants. It spread out over about 250 acres (100 hectares) on a series of mounds, the Great Bath and an associated large building occupied the tallest mound.

 

Settlements flourished along the coastline of Northwest India in particular in the Gujarat region. Here the town of Lothal was established around 2400 BCE on a former course of the Sabarmati River, which provided nearby access to the Arabian Sea and maritime trade routes. Here we find the first known dockyard in history connected to a substantial wharf, which lead up to a warehouse. The warehouse consisted of 64 rooms, 3.5 m x 3.5 m, with spacious passageways in between. Many seals have been found in the vicinity that were most likely used to label and denote ownership of goods being processed there.

map of Aryan migrations

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Harrapan unicorn seal

Harappa.com

Explore the ancient Indus Valley civilization through slideshows, essays and articles from leading scholars from India, Pakistan, US, and Europe.

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Mesopotamia
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Aegean Civilizations
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Further Reading

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