Tuesday, October 5, 2010


As a result of this extensive work almost one-third of the area of the old city was exposed, revealing for the first time the remains of one of the most ancient civilizations in the Indus Valley. Typical of most large and planned cities, Mohenjo-daro had planned city streets and buildings. The settlement was thought to house roughly 5,000 people, and had houses, a granary, baths, assembly halls and towers. The city was divided into two parts, the Citadel included an elaborate tank or bath created with fine quality brickwork and drains; this was surrounded by a verandah. Also located here was a giant granary, a large residential structure, and at least two aisled assembly halls. To the east of the citadel was the lower city, laid out in a grid pattern. The streets were straight, and were drained to keep the area sanitary. The people of the city used very little stone in their construction. They used two types of bricks- mud bricks, and wood bricks, which were created by burning wood. They used timber to create the flat roofs of their buildings; there are brick stairways leading to the roofs of many houses. Some houses were small, and others were larger with interior courtyards. Most had small bathrooms. Potter’s kilns, dyer’s vats, as well as metalworking, bead making, and shell-working shops have all been discovered. The people were good at irrigation and flood control. However, when the Indus River changed its course around 3700 years ago, the civilization died.

All Indus valley sites including Mohenjo-daro and Harappa, were built according to a grid pattern plan. Each city had broad parallel streets which crossed each other to divide the city into compact rectangular blocks, and had an advanced and extensive drainage system. In addition to it's numerous other achievements Mohenjo-daro and other Indus sites made extensive use of baked brick (unlike the sun-dried brick typical of Mesopotamian civilization), which gave greater durability to all of its buildings.
Defensively Mohenjo-daro was a well fortified city. Though it did not have city walls it did have towers to the west of the main settlement, and defensive fortifications to the south. These fortifications taken into consideration, as well as a comparison to the Harappa ruins to the northeast, lead to the question of whether Mohenjo-daro was an administrative center. Both Harappa and Mohenjo-daro share relatively the same architectural layout (Harappa is less well preserved due to early site defilement), and were generally not heavily fortified like other Indus Valley sites. It is obvious from the identical city layouts of all Indus sites, that there was some kind of political or administrative centrality, however the extent and functioning (and even the placement and type) of an administrative center remains relatively.

Mohenjo-Daro was a city located in the south of Modern Pakistan in the Sind Province, on the right bank of the Indus River. It was built between four and five thousand years ago, and lasted until 3,700 BP. It was part of the Harrapan Civilization, and the city had at least 35,000 residents. Mohenjo-Daro means “mound of the dead”. The city was approximately one square mile in size. In 1922-1927 large scale excavations at Mohenjo-daro were carried out by R. D. Banarjee and continued by M. S. Vats and K. N. Dikshit under the direction of Sir John Marshall. E. J. H. MacKay carried out further excavations from 1927 to1931. Sir Mortimer Wheeler made small excavations in1950.
Mohenjo-Daro represent the earliest civilization in the region, called the Indus, or ,civilization, dating to approximately 2500–1500 b.c.e. Excavation of the Indus civilization began in 1921 under the direction of Sir John Marshall. It is the best-preserved city of the Indus civilization.

Its name means the “Mound of the Dead” because the center of the town is an artificial mound about 50 feet high surrounded with a brick wall and fortified with towers. The mound also had a great bath 39 feet by 23 feet, flanked by a large pillared hall, small rooms, and a granary. A well-laid-out town lay below the citadel with streets running in a grid pattern oriented to the points of the compass. The town was divided into wards according to function, such as areas for shops, workshops, and residences. All buildings were made with baked bricks of uniform size. Besides private wells in the courtyards of two-story individual residences, there were also public wells at street intersections. Covered sewers disposed of waste. There was also a cemetery where graves were neatly oriented in the same direction. There were no palaces or royal cemeteries.

Inscribed seals found at Mohenjo-Daro and other Indus cities show pictographic writing, to date undeciphered. So few characters are inscribed on each seal that they would not give much information even if they were deciphered. Thus despite a high-level material culture, the Indus civilization is still considered prehistoric. The absence of palaces and royal cemeteries and the presence of a ceremonial bath and great hall lead specialists to guess that a college of priests ruled. The abundance of small female figurines indicates a fertility cult. The uniform-sized bricks throughout the Indus Valley and nearby regions lead to speculation that some kind of government supervised the entire area; hence the name Indus Empire is also used to describe this civilization.
In Mohenjo-Daro archaeologists have discovered an advanced metal-using culture (bronze and copper), where people used wheel-made pottery vessels, wove cotton cloths, lived under a well-organized municipal government, and traded among one another and with other cultures. Indus seals have been found in Mesopotamia and lapis lazuli, a semiprecious stone used by Indus artisans, is mined in Afghanistan. Conditions in Mohenjo-Daro deteriorated around 1700 b.c.e., shown by hoards of buried jewellery and precious objects, pots and utensils strewn about, evidence of fire, and at least 30 skeletons scattered about indicating that the people were trapped and died or were killed. Whether natural disaster or invaders caused the final disaster, the city was abandoned; hence, posterity’s name Mound of the Dead for its ruins. Mohenjo-Daro is the best preserved of the Indus civilization cities excavated to date.
The mound at Mohenjodaro consists of two distinct features: the Great Bath and the Granary or Meeting hall. The Great Bath is a sunken tank on the top of the mound, the tank measures 12 meters long, 7 meters wide and is sunk 2.4 meters below the depth of the mud bricks. The Great Bath is one of the first aspects of Indus Valley life that can be related to modern Hinduism. The Great Bath may also be related to the concept of River worship, much like the worship of the Ganges today. Mohenjodaro is situated between what use to be two separate rivers it was almost an island. This would have made the rivers a very important resource for the city itself, it would have depended on it for most things: trade, transportation and its way of life. It has been suggested that the people of Mohenjodaro were concerned with ritual purification, much like some Hindus of today. This conclusion draws strength from the existence of the Great Bath on the top of the Citadel and a small stone structure that has been excavated at the great staircase leading to the Citadel. It has been suggested this building was a bathroom for ritual cleansing before you entered the Citadel, as there is a well and drainage system in the building.

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