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Mohenjo Daro, Pakistan

Mohenjo Daro, Pakistan

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Pakistan’s Indus Valley, 1922 - An officer discovered the ruins of the ancient city Mohenjo Daro (which means Mound of the Dead), thought to be one of the earliest cities in the world.

According to archaeologists, the city was built around 2600 BCE and was one of the largest major cities in the area in its day. Who exactly occupied this ancient city during that period of time remains unknown. Among its ruins you cannot find large buildings, palaces or temples; however, the city could accommodate about 34000 inhabitants, had a complex infrastructure including water and sewage systems, and housed wealth, evidence of which has been found in pottery and other archaeological items.

But what ended that civilization? Why did they suddenly disappear? This also remains a mystery. There are speculations that the city was abandoned because of climate change or lack of trade, but other suggestions go beyond our imagination.

Many conspiracy theories suggest—but have not verified—that something much bigger happened in Mohenjo Daro. Scientists in Pakistan believe that the city is much older. They note that during the excavations of 1922, a large number of skeletons were found lying down suggesting that they suffered a sudden death. Furthermore, the bricks found in the ruins show signs of melting from extreme temperature, similar to that found after a nuclear explosion. According to William Sturm, the bricks could not have melted by just fire , but something more intense. Some researchers even claim that some areas at Mojenjo Daro have radiation levels that are higher than expected. None of these arguments have been proven, but the findings certainly raise some interesting questions.

David Davenport , an English researcher, suggested that the great city of Mohenjo Daro refers to one of the Bhagavad Gita sites that suffered a sudden attack and destruction. An attack of that scale—which devastated the whole city—has many similarities to a nuclear holocaust, as is described in Mahabharata. Yet in Mahabharata—although there are many references to fights, instant deaths, strange weapons, and strange flight machines, and gods with super powers—there is no clear reference to an atomic explosion.

Mohenjo Daro still puzzles archaeologists and is open to new discoveries and new evidence that will answer all questions. Whatever truly happened there, it is a mysterious place waiting to be explored.

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    Mohenjo-daro is an archeological site of one of the largest Indus Valley cities, which thrived around 2000 BCE. Pseudohistorians and proponents of ancient advanced civilizations or extraterrestrial visitations claim that there is evidence that its population was killed off by an atomic bomb explosion around 1500 BCE. The proffered evidence is rife with pseudoscience so, unsurprisingly, it has been featured prominently on the History Channel's show Ancient Aliens.

    Exploring Mohenjo Daro and Harappa

    Mohenjo Daro and Harappa are two of the world’s oldest settlements. The infrastructure of both the sites was so robust that it still exists in the form of ruins. In this blog, we will be exploring the two separately.

    Mohenjo Daro

    Credits: Facebook/Mohenjo Daro Travel

    The UNESCO World Heritage site of Mohenjo Daro is found in the province of Sindh, a 37-minute drive from Larkana. It is one of the most famous historical places in Sindh. Moen Jo Daro means ‘Mound of The Dead Men’ in Sindhi, which is a language spoken locally.


    According to the findings of the archeologists, the city of Mohenjo Daro was built around 26th Century BC, making it one of the largest settlements of the ancient times. It was one of the major urban settlements of the Indus Valley Civilization, aka, Harappan Civilization.

    Mohenjo Daro was an advanced city as its ruins show signs of remarkable civil engineering and urban planning tactics. Apart from this settlement, Harappa, Lothal, Kalibangan, Rakhigarhi and Dholavira were the urban centres of the Indus Valley Civilization, extended to the Iranian Border.


    For over 3,700 years, the archaeological gem of Mohenjo Daro remained undocumented. However, after some impediment findings, large-scale excavations to unearth the site of Mohenjo Daro began in the 1920s. It was led by John Marshall, who was the Director General of Archeological Survey of India at that time.

    In 1965, the excavation work at the site of Mohenjo Daro came to a halt as the place was showing the signs of weather damage. In 1980, further probing of the area was done by Italian and German survey groups to dig deeper into the secrets of Mohenjo Daro.

    Only four years ago, in 2015, dry core drilling was conducted by Pakistan’s National Funds at this site, the findings of which surprised everyone. A large part of the historical site has still not been unearthed.

    Urban Infrastructure

    Credits: Facebook/Mohenjo Daro Travel

    Mohenjo Daro had a carefully planned infrastructure. According to an estimation mentioned in Oxford Handbook of Cities in World History, the city had a population of around 40,000 people.

    The ruins of this city hint towards a commendable level of social organization. Mohenjo Daro is known to have large public baths, assembly halls, houses with inner courtyards and also some multiple stories constructions.

    The excavation work done till date in Mohenjo Daro has unearthed over 700 water wells in this city of ancient times. These findings are an evident proof of the effectiveness of the water supply system that existed in Mohenjo Daro.


    Credits: Facebook/ Museum of Artefacts

    A large number of artifacts have been discovered as a result of the excavations done in Mohenjo Daro. These include tools made from copper and stone, figures and sculptures, balance-scale and weights, jewellery articles and toys. These objects have been preserved in the National Museum of Pakistan in Karachi.

    Travelling To Mohenjo Daro

    If you are planning to travel to the historical site of Mohenjo Daro by air from Karachi, then it will take you around an hour to get there. Mohenjo Daro airport lacks advance infrastructure, which means only smaller aircraft could land here. The cost of a one-way ticket to/from Mohenjo Daro is around PKR 6,000.

    With the help of Khushal Khan Khattak express, you can get to Dokri, which is the only nearest railway station to Mohenjo Daro. The train leaves Karachi at around 9 pm every night and it will take you 9 hours to get there. The ticket fare for a non-air-conditioned seat in a train from Karachi to Mohenjo Daro is PKR 400, which goes up to PKR 1000 for an air-conditioned seat.

    Many locals and tourists travel from the city of Larkana to Mohenjo Daro with the help of rickshaws and taxis. Hiring a taxi to travel the distance between Larkana and Mohenjo Daro can cost you around PKR 500-1000. Rickshaw seems to be a more affordable option that can be hired only for around PKR 200.


    Credits: Facebook/Harappa

    Harappa is a very famous archaeological site located at a distance of 24 km from Sahiwal in Punjab. The present-day village that inspired the name of this historical site is situated just at a distance of 1 km from Harappa ruins. Remains of the Bronze Age fortified city, which was a part of the Indus Valley Civilization, have been found at this site.


    Harappan Civilization predates to 6000 BC. It is the oldest known civilization, with economic and social systems and urban centres. The Indus Valley Civilization stretched from Himalayan foothills to Sindh and Punjab in Pakistan and Gujrat in South East India.

    The site of Harappa suffered great damage in the year 1857 as a result of the construction work carried out for the railway link between the cities of Lahore and Multan.


    Harappa was initially discovered in the 1820s but no impediment excavation work was carried out at the site then. However, after the discovery and excavation of Mohenjo Daro, the interest of archaeologists increased in the history of the Indus Valley Civilization. This renewed interest made them rediscover the historical city of Harappa and start excavation work on this site with a fresh perspective.

    Urban Infrastructure

    Credits: Facebook/Ancient Indus

    Comprising an effective urban infrastructure, the city of Harappa was once home to 23,000 residents. This ancient urban settlement covered a total area of 150 hectares, mostly having clay brick houses.

    Both Mohenjo Daro and Harappa had similar urban layouts and planning. The infrastructure of the city of Harappa had individual and combined living quarters, brick houses with flat roofs, fortified religious and administrative centres.


    Some of the most exquisite artefacts have been unearthed from the site of Harappa. These valuable objects include seals engraved with animal and human motifs, stone and copper tools, decorative ornaments, hand-modelled sculptures, toys and jewellery articles. Most of these artefacts have been preserved in the Archaeological Museum located in Harappa, Punjab.

    Travelling to Harappa

    Being the closest city to Harappa, a world famous archaeological site, Sahiwal serves as the main hub for visitors and tourists. Harappa is only 45 minutes’ drive away from Sahiwal. With a fare of only PKR 15, a public bus from Sahiwal to Harappa leaves after every 30 minutes.

    Mohenjo-Daro: Ancient Indian City Destroyed By Nuclear Weapon 4000 Years Ago

    History taught us that most of the ancient civilizations got extinct either due to natural calamities or destroyed in wars with each other. Many people believe that the technology that humans possess in the modern world is the advanced one, never created before. Do you think it’s true? Do you really believe that modern human civilization is the advanced one? The world saw its first nuclear bomb in 1945 after it was successfully tested in Alamogordo, New Mexico, United States. Not so long after this, the US dropped its most powerful weapon on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and wiped out almost all the population that lived there.

    Was it possible to have such an explosion 4000 years ago? We do not have any videotapes or photographs to prove it, but some researchers believe that the ancient South-Asian city Mohenjo-Daro, aka “Mound of the Dead,” once held the most advanced ancient settlement destroyed by the nuclear explosion. The ancient Indian city (now in Pakistan) was densely populated, situated right on the bank of the Indus river. It was one of the fertile lands where the ancient Indus valley civilization lived.

    Mohenjo-Daro, the ancient Indian city that was inhabited by more than 40,000 people 4000 years ago

    The city was discovered in the 1920s along with Harappa in British India. The researchers started excavating the site in the 1920s – 1930s, and then in the 1950s and 1960s. It was the first time when the world came to know about the ancient Indian civilization that existed 4000 years ago, competing with the ancient Egyptian civilization.

    According to archeologists, the city was well-planned, and houses were built with brick furniture. The most interesting thing was the network of sewer systems found at the site that ran through the center of the streets. Besides, it had manmade brick structures of drinking water for the public.

    Aerial view of the ruins of Mohenjo-Daro

    British researcher David Davenport found out that what had happened in Nagasaki also occurred to Mohenjo-Daro in 2000 BC. He spent over 12 years studying the city, reading ancient texts and any available information about it. He published his research on the city in the book “Atomic Destruction in 2000 BC.”

    It is estimated that ancient Mohenjo-Daro was inhabited by 40,000 people, but the numbers could be as big as 100,000. From his research, he cited the mysterious but powerful weapon mentioned in the sacred Hindu text known as Mahabharata. He said the weapon called “Agneya” (Sudārśana), a wheel-like weapon that possessed the power of thunder could be the reason behind this ancient city destruction.

    “The Sudarshan Chakra[ Agneya ] is the only divine weapon which is constantly in motion. It could perform millions of rotations every second and has the capability to travel several million yojanas (1 Yojana = 12 km) at the very blink of an eye. It is not thrown, but with willpower, it is sent against the enemy.”

    The ruins of the city helped Davenport suggesting that Mohenjo-Daro was turned into ashes by the advanced weapons in the past. He found several objects at the site that were heated up to 1500 degrees Celcius. He also found the epicenter of the explosion, where the land and bricks in the 50 yards were fused, crystallized, and melted. All this evidence showed that a powerful blast happened in the area that could be compared to modern atomic bombs.

    An Indus seal (2500–2400 B.C.E.) found at the Mohenjo Daro belonged to Indus Valley Civilization. In this image, a large figure seated on a dais surrounded by a horned buffalo, a rhinoceros, an elephant, and a tiger Image Credit: National Museum Delhi

    In 1966, British author Alexander Gorbovsky reported in his book “Riddles of Ancient History” about the skeleton found in the area, containing radiation 50 times more than a natural level. Davenport’s claim was also supported by a space engineer in Rome named Antonio Castellani who said that what had happened at Mohenjo Daro was not a natural phenomenon. By the way, there was no volcanic activity in the area.

    Mohenjo Daro is one of the world’s earliest major urban settlements of Indus Valley Civilization with modern facilities. It was present at the same time as the civilizations of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Crete. The site was built around 2500 BCE and covered an area of around 300 hectares.

    It was discovered in 1922 by R. D. Banerji, an officer of the Archaeological Survey of India, and major excavation occurred in 1930 under the direction of John Marshall, his car is still adorned in Mohenjo-Daro museums.

    The reason behind the decline of the city is still unknown but archeologist says that the external attacks, terrible flood, Change of the Course of the Indus and earthquakes are some reasons for its destruction.

    Mohenjo-Daro: One of the World’s Earliest Major Cities

    Built around 2500 BCE, Mohenjo-Daro was one of the largest settlements of the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation, and one of the world’s earliest major cities, contemporaneous with the civilizations of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Minoan Crete, and Norte Chico.

    Mohenjo-Daro was abandoned in the 19th century BCE as the Indus Valley Civilization declined, and the site was not rediscovered until the 1920s. Significant excavation has since been conducted at the site of the city, which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980. The site is currently threatened by erosion and improper restoration.

    Mohenjo-Daro is located west of the Indus River in Larkana District, Sindh, Pakistan, in a central position between the Indus River and the Ghaggar-Hakra River

    It is situated on a Pleistocene ridge in the middle of the flood plain of the Indus River Valley, around 28 kilometers (17 mi) from the town of Larkana.

    The ridge was prominent during the time of the Indus Valley Civilization, allowing the city to stand above the surrounding flood, but subsequent flooding has since buried most of the ridge in silt deposits. The Indus still flows east of the site, but the Ghaggar-Hakra riverbed on the western side is now dry.

    Historical context

    Mohenjo-Daro was built in the 26th century BCE. It was one of the largest cities of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization, also known as the Harappan Civilization, which developed around 3,000 BCE from the prehistoric Indus culture.

    At its height, the Indus Civilization spanned much of what is now Pakistan and North India, extending westwards to the Iranian border, south to Gujarat in India, and northwards to an outpost in Bactria, with major urban centers at Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro, Lothal, Kalibangan, Dholavira, and Rakhigarhi.

    Mohenjo-Daro was the most advanced city of its time, with remarkably sophisticated civil engineering and urban planning. When the Indus civilization went into sudden decline around 1900 BCE, Mohenjo-Daro was abandoned.

    Rediscovery and excavation

    The ruins of the city remained undocumented for around 3,700 years until R. D. Banerji, an officer of the Archaeological Survey of India, visited the site in 1919–20 identifying what he thought to be a Buddhist stupa (150–500 CE) known to be there and finding a flint scraper which convinced him of the site’s antiquity.

    This led to large-scale excavations of Mohenjo-Daro led by Kashinath Narayan Dikshit in 1924–25, and John Marshall in 1925–26.

    In the 1930s major excavations were conducted at the site under the leadership of Marshall, D. K. Dikshitar, and Ernest Mackay. Further excavations were carried out in 1945 by Mortimer Wheeler and his trainee, Ahmad Hasan Dani.

    The last major series of excavations were conducted in 1964 and 1965 by George F. Dales. After 1965 excavations were banned due to weathering damage to the exposed structures, and the only projects allowed at the site since have been salvage excavations, surface surveys, and conservation projects.

    In the 1980s, German and Italian survey groups led by Michael Jansen and Maurizio Tosi used less invasive archeological techniques, such as architectural documentation, surface surveys, and localized probing, to gather further information about Mohenjo-Daro.

    A dry core drilling conducted in 2015 by Pakistan’s National Fund for Mohenjo-Daro revealed that the site is larger than the unearthed area.

    Architecture and urban infrastructure

    Mohenjo-Daro has a planned layout with rectilinear buildings arranged on a grid plan. Most were built of fired and mortared brick some incorporated sun-dried mud-brick and wooden superstructures.

    The covered area of Mohenjo-Daro is estimated at 300 hectares. The Oxford Handbook of Cities in World History offers a “weak” estimate of a peak population of around 40,000.

    The sheer size of the city, and its provision of public buildings and facilities, suggest a high level of social organization.

    The city is divided into two parts, the so-called Citadel, and the Lower City. The Citadel – a mud-brick mound around 12 meters (39 ft) high – is known to have supported public baths, a large residential structure designed to house about 5,000 citizens, and two large assembly halls.

    The city had a central marketplace, with a large central well. Individual households or groups of households obtained their water from smaller wells. Wastewater was channeled to covered drains that lined the major streets.

    Some houses, presumably those of more prestigious inhabitants, include rooms that appear to have been set aside for bathing, and one building had an underground furnace (known as a hypocaust), possibly for heated bathing. Most houses had inner courtyards, with doors that opened onto side-lanes. Some buildings had two stories.

    Notable artifacts

    Numerous objects found in excavation include seated and standing figures, copper and stone tools, carved seals, balance-scales and weights, gold and jasper jewelry, and children’s toys.

    Many bronze and copper pieces, such as figurines and bowls, have been recovered from the site, showing that the inhabitants of Mohenjo-Daro understood how to utilize the lost wax technique.

    The furnaces found at the site are believed to have been used for copperworks and melting the metals as opposed to smelting. There even seems to be an entire section of the city dedicated to shell-working, located in the northeastern part of the site. Some of the most prominent copperworks recovered from the site are the copper tablets which have examples of the untranslated Indus script and iconography.

    While the script has not been cracked yet, many of the images on the tablets match another tablet and both hold the same caption in the Indus language, with the example given showing three tablets with the image of a mountain goat and the inscription on the back reading the same letters for the three tablets.

    Pottery and terracotta sherds have been recovered from the site, with many of the pots having deposits of ash in them, leading archeologists to believe they were either used to hold the ashes of a person or as a way to warm up a home located in the site.

    These heaters, or braziers, were ways to heat the house while also being able to be utilized in a manner of cooking or straining, while others solely believe they were used for heating.

    Mother Goddess Idol

    Discovered by John Marshall in 1931, the idol appears to mimic certain characteristics that match the Mother Goddess belief common in many early Near East civilizations.

    Sculptures and figurines depicting women have been observed as part of Harappan culture and religion, as multiple female pieces were recovered from Marshall’s archaeological digs. These figures were not categorized correctly, according to Marshall, meaning that where they were recovered from the site is not actually clear.

    The fertility and motherhood aspects on display on the idols are represented by the female genitalia that is presented in an almost exaggerated style as stated by Marshall, with him inferring that such figurines are offerings to the goddess, as opposed to the typical understanding of them being idols representing the goddess’s likeness.

    Because of the figurines being unique in terms of hairstyles, body proportions, as well as headdresses, and jewelry, there are theories as to who these figurines actually represent.

    Shereen Ratnagar theorizes that because of their uniqueness and dispersed discovery throughout the site that they could be figurines of ordinary household women, who commissioned these pieces to be used in rituals or healing ceremonies to help the aforementioned individual women.

    Dancing Girl

    A bronze statuette dubbed the “Dancing Girl“, 10.5 centimeters (4.1 in) high and about 4,500 years old, was found in the ‘HR area’ of Mohenjo-Daro in 1926 it is now in the National Museum, New Delhi. In 1973, British archaeologist Mortimer Wheeler described the item as his favorite statuette:

    “She’s about fifteen years old I should think, not more, but she stands there with bangles all the way up her arm and nothing else on. A girl perfectly, for the moment, perfectly confident of herself and the world. There’s nothing like her, I think, in the world.”

    John Marshall, another archeologist at Mohenjo-Daro, described the figure as:

    “a young girl, her hand on her hip in a half-impudent posture, and legs slightly forward as she beats time to the music with her legs and feet.”

    The archaeologist Gregory Possehl said of the statuette:

    “We may not be certain that she was a dancer, but she was good at what she did and she knew it”.

    The statue led to two important discoveries about the civilization: first, that they knew metal blending, casting, and other sophisticated methods of working with ore, and secondly that entertainment, especially dance, was part of the culture.


    In 1927, a seated male soapstone figure was found in a building with unusually ornamental brickwork and a wall-niche. Though there is no evidence that priests or monarchs ruled Mohenjo-Daro, archaeologists dubbed this dignified figure a “Priest-King.”

    The sculpture is 17.5 centimeters (6.9 in) tall, and shows a neatly bearded man with pierced earlobes and a fillet around his head, possibly all that is left of a once-elaborate hairstyle or head-dress his hair is combed back.

    He wears an armband, and a cloak with drilled trefoil, single circle, and double circle motifs, which show traces of red. His eyes might have originally been inlaid.

    The Pashupati seal

    A seal discovered at the site bears the image of a seated, cross-legged, and possibly ithyphallic figure surrounded by animals. The figure has been interpreted by some scholars as a yogi, and by others as a three-headed “proto-Shiva” as “Lord of Animals“.

    Seven-stranded necklace

    Sir Mortimer Wheeler was especially fascinated with this artifact, which he believed to be at least 4,500 years old. The necklace has an S-shaped clasp with seven strands, each over 4 ft long, of bronze-metal bead-like nuggets that connect each arm of the “S” in filigree.

    Each strand has between 220 and 230 of the many-faceted nuggets, and there are about 1,600 nuggets in total. The necklace weighs about 250 grams in total and is presently held in a private collection in India.

    *This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Mohenjo-Daro, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License 3.0 (view authors).


    The statue is carved in the soft mineral of steatite, and (despite being apparently unfinished) has been fired or baked at over 1000°C to harden it. The long crack running down the right hand side of the face, already present when it was excavated, may have been caused by this, or by a later shock. There is an uneven break at the bottom of the piece, with the patterned robe continuing further down at the back than the front. The nose is also damaged at the tip, but many other areas are in good condition. It has been compared to other IVC male figures, more fully complete, which show a seated position, with in some cases one raised knee and the other leg tucked beneath the body. The Priest-King may have originally had this shape. [9] Some archaeologists, including Jonathan Mark Kenoyer, believe that this and other statues were "broken and defaced" deliberately, as their subjects lost their repute. [10]

    The eyes are wide but narrow, apparently half-closed there were probably inlaid pieces of shell representing the pupils. The ears are very simply shaped, as on some other heads from the site. The back of the top of the head is flat, probably so that something now missing could be attached, and there are various theories as whether it was a carved "bun" or a more elaborate headdress, perhaps in other materials and only worn at times. Two holes below the ears may have been for attaching this, or perhaps a necklace. Mackay suggested the flattening was because the head was damaged, which few later writers agree with. Another possibility is that it was designed to fit into a niche with a sloping top. [11]

    The figure wears a toga-like outer garment that only covers one shoulder. The interiors of the raised trefoil and other shapes on this were originally filled with a red material. The interiors of the shapes were left rough, to help this adhere. The space around the shapes showed traces, at the time of the original excavation, of a material which by then was "blackish" but may originally have given a green or blue background to the relief shapes. [12]

    Marshall's first thoughts on the IVC had been that the links with Mesopotamia had been very close, and his preliminary reports, up to 1926, called it the "Indo-Sumerian Civilization". He then realized this was wrong, and started to use "Indus Civilization". [13] There has been much discussion of the possible relationship between the Priest-King and somewhat similar Mesopotamian figures. The art historian Benjamin Rowland concluded that "the plastic conception of the head in hard, mask-like planes and certain other technical details are fairly close, and yet not close enough to prove a real relationship". [14]

    According to Gregory Possehl, it is the treatment of the facial hair in particular that suggests the figure was not fully finished. While the main beard is carefully worked with parallel lines, the upper lip is also raised above the level of the surrounding flesh, but no lines have been added to show moustache hair it is simply smooth. On the cheeks the lines for the beard continue more faintly onto the cheek, which in a finished piece would probably have been smoothed away. [7]

    Possible support for interpreting the figure as a religious person are the apparent representation of the eyes as fixed on the tip of his nose, a practice in yoga, and the similarity of the robe worn over one shoulder to later garments, including the Buddhist saṃghāti. [15]

    The sculpture was found at a depth of 1.37 metres by the archaeologist Kashinath Narayan Dikshit (later head of the ASI) in the "D-K B" area of the city, and given the find number DK-1909. The precise findspot was "a small enclosure with some curious parallel walls", possibly the hypocaust for a hammam or sauna. The sculpture was found in a small passage between two of these walls, but this seems unlikely as its normal position, and it is thought that it fell or rolled into this space as the city fell into ruin. [2]

    The finds from Mohenjo-daro were first sent to the Lahore Museum, but later transferred to New Delhi, the new capital of British India, and the headquarters of the ASI, with a view to displaying them in the "Central Imperial Museum" that was planned. Eventually, after the partition of India in 1947, this was established as the National Museum of India. The new Pakistani authorities requested the return of the IVC artefacts, as almost all of those found by the time of independence had come from sites, like Mohenjo-daro, that were now in Pakistan. [16]

    The statue was only returned to Pakistan after the 1972 Simla Agreement between Pakistan and India, represented by their heads of government, respectively Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, the President of Pakistan, and Indira Gandhi, the Prime Minister of India. According to a Pakistani archaeologist, Gandhi refused to return both the Priest-King and the other most iconic Indus sculpture, the Dancing Girl, a smaller bronze sculpture also found at Mohenjo-daro, and told Bhutto he could only choose one of them. [17]

    The statue was exhibited in London at the exhibition of "The Art of India" at the Burlington Fine Arts Club in 1931 (Cat. 114), as was the Dancing Girl (Cat. 136). [18] This first display of IVC finds outside India attracted considerable notice in the press. [19] Other exhibitions include "Art of the First Cities: The Third Millennium B.C. from the Mediterranean to the Indus" in 2003, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (Cat. 272a). [3]

    Replicas of the statue are popular in Pakistan and beyond, [20] and a replica that is much larger than the original has been erected at the entrance to the Mohenjo-daro site.

    The statue is one of the "seven principal pieces of human sculpture from Mohenjo-daro". [21] The others include two small full-length nude bronze female figures, both called "dancer"s by some, but alternative activities have been suggested, such as carrying offerings. [22] There are also three male heads in limestone or alabaster, apparently broken-off, and the headless figure of a Seated Man. Various points of contrast and comparison between these pieces and the Priest-King have been proposed there is a considerable variety in the depiction of details among them. [23] The headless seated man may show the pose of the missing lower part of the Priest-King. [24]

    There are also very numerous small and simple terracotta figures from all over the IVC, most female, generally similar to those produced over much of India later, indeed up to the present day. Elaborate headdresses are a notable feature of these. [25]

    The absence of evidence of a powerful ruling class, despite abundant evidence of highly complex social organization, was one of the most striking aspects of the IVC cities for early excavators, and clear evidence in the usual forms of grand tombs and palaces remains lacking. Whether a ruling class was necessary in Bronze Age conditions to achieve large-scale urbanization remains an unsettled question, also related to the question of whether the IVC was a state, and if so, one state or several. Given the lack of evidence for a military-based monarch or ruling class, the model of some sort of theocracy was widely adopted by the early archaeologists. [26]

    This had support from Mesopotamian archaeology, where indeed the earliest cities of Sumer are still thought to have had rulers combining political and religious roles. [27] Wheeler asserted: [28]

    It can no longer be doubted that, whatever the source of their authority—and a dominant religious element can fairly be assumed—the lords of Harappa administered their city in a fashion not remote from that of the Priest-Kings or governors of Sumer and Akkad.

    Wheeler saw the damage inflicted on the large male figures as deliberate, done during the violent overthrow of the IVC by Aryan invaders, a theory now generally discredited. [29] The British archaeologist Stuart Piggott, who was in India in the 1940s, also thought the IVC was "a state ruled by priest-kings, wielding autocratic and absolute power from two main seats of government". [30]

    Priest-King figures had also been postulated for the Minoan civilization, which was roughly contemporary with the IVC, rising and falling a few centuries later, but whose discovery and excavation had been a couple of decades earlier. Like the IVC, this had no readable texts, so archaeologists had only the physical evidence to go on. In contrast to the IVC, a number of large and lavishly decorated "palaces" were extremely evident, but there was an absence of indications as to who, if anyone, lived in them. The leading excavator, Sir Arthur Evans, had favoured the idea of a Priest-King, and had so titled a fragmentary relief fresco found at Knossos in 1901. This was even more speculative than Wheeler's doing so for the Mohenjo-daro figure most scholars now doubt the fragments all come from a single figure at all, and Prince of the Lilies is now the usual title given to Evans's reconstruction. [31] Like Marshall (who had trained under Evans), [32] he used his "priest-king" as the image on the cover of his main book on his excavations. [33] In the 21st-century, power in the IVC tends to be seen as more widely spread, perhaps between families or clans, and possibly involving councils. [34]

    Mohenjo Daro Is Being Buried Again…On Purpose

    SINDH, PAKISTAN – The ancient lost city of Mohenjo Daro lies in the shifting sands of Pakistan. It’s nearly 5,000 years old, and has been an invaluable source of historical information for archaeologists. Now, the city faces a triple threat that’s on the verge of swallowing it whole, so archaeologists are working together to rebury it in order to protect it.

    Mohenjo Daro was first discovered in the 1920s by an officer working with the Archaeological Survey of India. For fifty years, excavations would uncover a vast, sophisticated city unlike any we had ever seen. Mohenjo Daro belongs to to the Harappan civilization from the Bronze Age. The city features a street grid and an innovative drainage system, and had its golden age around 2500 BC.

    According to archaeologists working on the site, the archaeological site is under “enormous thermo-stress” from the extreme temperatures in the Indus Valley. Salt from the water table below is also slowly eating away at the roots of the city.

    Those aren’t the only threats on the horizon. ISIS destroyed the ancient Roman city of Palmyra in Syria, believing the pre-Islamic religious iconography there to be idolatrous. Experts are worried Mohenjo Daro might be next.

    However, the experts tell us those aren’t even the biggest threats posed to the integrity of the city. It’s not erosion, extreme temperatures, or extremist groups. Nope. It’s tourists.

    Tourists are, perhaps, the most destructive force known to historical sites around the world. They like to carve their names into sites, spray graffiti on ancient temple walls, cross rope fences, stray from their guides – and all of that has been taking its toll. Foot traffic generated by tourism wears at ancient roads and pathways that have stood for thousands of years.

    When the Sindh festival came to Mohenjo Daro in 2014, the Sindh High Court was forced to issue a notice to the workers setting up stages, tents, and installing lights after a ridiculous amount of damage was done to the historical site as they hammered away.

    It’s all getting to be too much for Mohenjo Daro. We run the risk of losing an extremely important part of our history if this site is permanently defaced. It doesn’t matter if it’s by the elements, ISIS, or plain old tourists.

    Several experts and archaeologists are now launching a project to try and rebury the site. As Dr. Richard Meadow from Harvard University said: “[Mohenjo Daro] is actually preserved when its buried”.

    Beneath the sands, it’ll be protected from the harsh heat, and from the footfalls of curious tourists.


    The architecture of the Mohenjo-Daro site give glimpses of an urban infrastructure which those people had in their times. It was evident because of their much planned layout which was primarily based on a street grid for giving the then advanced and developed rectilinear buildings. Most of the construction at that time was done using the mortared and the fired bricks. There are some traces found of the wooden structures and also the use of sun-dried mud brick in a variety of construction projects. The covered area of the site is about 300 hectares. The population of Mohenjo-Daro with a weak estimation at their peak time was around 40000.

    The big geographical area of Mohenjo-Daro and the sophisticated facilities and the public buildings of that time give an indication of having a top level social organization of that time. The city of Mohenjo-Daro is divided into two major parts which are the Lower city and the Citadel city. The names are fictitious because of lack of evidence. In the Citadel City, there is a mud brick mound that is 12 meter in height. It is also known to have the public washrooms and a vast residential structure which can accommodate 5000 people at a time. Moreover, two spacious assembly halls were also there which were used for varied purposes. The Citadel City also had a common marketplace and a big well. The individuals and also the groups of household used the wells for satisfying their water needs. The waste water was intelligently channeled to cover all the drains going through the major lanes/ streets.

    Some of the residential structures which presumably belonged to the wealthy inhibitors of the time used to have attached bath with their rooms. There were also some traces found of an underground furnace (hypocaust) which most probably was used for heated bathing. Most of the residential buildings at the time had courtyards along with doors which opened towards the side-streets. Moreover, there were several houses which were double-story.

    It was during the excavation of 1950, led Sir Mortimer Wheeler who actually identified a vast structure as the ‘Great Granary’. It was a huge wooden structure with wooden wall divisions which served them as a grain storage area. The structures, surprisingly also had the air ducts for the purpose of drying the grain. According to Sir Wheeler, people used carts for bringing grain from remote areas and the offload grain directly in the storage bays. Just next to the Great Granary is a grand public bath which also is known as the Great Bath sometimes.

    The Mohenjo-Daro site is a great heritage site and it is the responsibility of the law-makers to take serious steps about its preservation. There were some recent threats to the site due to some cultural programs arranged in the area by the local Sindh government. However, timely intervention by the head of Archaeology Department from Punjab University Pakistan did a great job in its preservation. There is a need of some serious efforts to make sure the preservation of this incredibly unique Mohenjo-Daro site.

    Watch the video: Indus Valley Civilization. History of Mohenjo-Daro. Know Your World (May 2022).