Contemporary to Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley Civilization City of ‘Mohenjo Daro’: Skilled Urban Planners with a Respect for Water Control

The Indus (or Harappan) Valley Civilization (3300-1300 BCE) spanned 2,000 years and extended from northeast Afghanistan to Pakistan and northwest India . The remains of this vast South Asian civilization are scattered over an area considerably larger than those covered by ancient Egypt or Mesopotamia.

However, little was known about this ancient culture until the 1920s, when modern archaeologists excavated two long-buried cities. These two towns were the towns of Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro.

Prior to the discovery of these Harappan cities, scholars believed that Indian civilization began in the Ganges Valley around 1250 BCE, when Aryan immigrants from Persia and Central Asia settled there. The discovery of ancient Harappan cities pushed the timeline back 1,500 years, placing the Indus Valley Civilization in an entirely different environmental context.

Mohenjo-Daro is believed to have been built in the 26th century BCE; it was not only the largest city of the Indus Valley Civilization, but also one of the first major urban centers in the world. Mohenjo-Daro, located west of the Indus River in Larkana district, was one of the most advanced cities of the time, with advanced engineering and urban planning.

By 2600 BCE, the small communities of the early Harappan had developed into large urban centers. These cities include Harappa, Ganeriwala and Mohenjo-Daro in modern Pakistan and Dholavira, Kalibangan, Rakhigarhi, Rupar and Lothal in modern India. In total, more than 1,052 cities and settlements have been discovered, mostly in the general region of the Indus River and its tributaries.

Excavated ruins of Mohenjo-Daro, with the Great Bath in the foreground and the granary mound in the background. Photo: Saqib Qayyoum

The name Mohenjo-Daro means “mound of dead men”. Mohenjo-Daro, which covered 300 hectares (about 750 acres) and had a peak population of about 40,000 people, was at the time one of the largest and most advanced cities in the world. The city, laid out in a rectilinear grid and built of baked bricks, featured a complex system of water management, including a sophisticated system of drainage and covered sewers, as well as baths in almost every house. The city’s original name is forgotten, though one scholar believes it might be Kukkutarma, or “The City of the Rooster” (aka, Rooster City).

The fact that the manufactured bricks used to build Mohenjo-Daro were all the same size, that standardized weights and measures were found to be used to facilitate trade, that the development of the city showed a high level of civil engineering and town planning, and that these traits are shared with other sites in the Indus-Sarasvati Valley, particularly Harappa, the first site to be excavated, all point to a highly organized civilization with bureaucratic coordination of things as.

The ancient Indus sewerage and drainage systems developed and used in the cities of the Indus region were far more advanced than those found in contemporary urban sites in the Middle East, and even more efficient than those that found today in many parts of Pakistan and India. Individual houses drew water from wells, while sewage was directed to covered drains on major arteries. The houses only opened onto inner courtyards and smaller lanes, and even the smallest houses on the outskirts of town would have been connected to the system, supporting the conclusion that cleanliness was a matter of a great importance.

A cartographic study for Mohenjo Daro.

Given this, it may seem confusing to observe that Mohenjo-Daro lacks palaces, temples, monuments, or anything else resembling a seat of governmental authority. The biggest buildings in town are things like assembly halls, bathhouses (one of which had an underground furnace to heat the pools), a market, old apartment buildings, and the sewage system aforementioned; all this indicates the emphasis on an orderly, modest and orderly civil society.

Unlike the Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations, the Indus Valley Civilization seems to have lacked any temples or palaces that would have provided clear evidence of specific religious rites or deities.

The statue of the Indus priest/king found at Mohenjo-Daro in 1927 is quite interesting. The statue is 17.5 cm tall and is carved from soapstone. Among the various gold, terracotta and stone figurines found was a figure of a king-priest sporting a patterned beard and robe. Another bronze figurine, the Dancing Girl, is only 11 centimeters tall and depicts a female figure in a pose that suggests the existence of a form of choreographed dance that members of civilization enjoyed. There were also terracotta works depicting cows, bears, monkeys and dogs. It is believed that the inhabitants of the Indus Valley also produced necklaces, bracelets and other ornaments in addition to figurines.

Statue of the Priest/King of the Indus. The statue is 17.5 cm tall and is carved from soapstone. It was found in Mohenjo-daro in 1927. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Written records have provided historians with a wealth of information about ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt, but very few written records have been discovered in the Indus Valley. Although the seal inscriptions appear to contain written information, scholars have yet to decipher the Indus script. As a result, they had great difficulty understanding the nature of the state and religious institutions of the Indus Valley Civilization. We know very little about their legal codes, procedures and governance systems.

Mohenjo Daro has also been associated with an atomic explosion. During the search, 44 skeletons were found. Certain areas of the site further indicated expanded dimensions of radioactivity.

Replica of ‘Dancing Girl’ by Mohenjo-daro at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya in Mumbai, India. Photo: Joe Ravi from Wikimedia Commons.

David Davenport, a British-Indian analyst, noticed evidence of what appeared to be the epicenter of the impact: a 50-meter scan of the site revealed that all the objects had been intertwined and vitrified, meaning that the rocks had been dissolved at temperatures of around 1,500 degrees. and turned into a material that looked like glass.

Davenport also clarified that what was found at Mohenjo-Daro precisely mimicked fallout impacts that occurred in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the mid-20th century.

According to the book by A. Gorbovsky “Conundrums of Ancient History”, at least one skeleton discovered at the site contained more radiation than it should have, and many “dark stones”, which were once mud vessels, were discovered together due to unusually hot.

Skeletons found at Mohenjo-Daro.

All things considered, many researchers have refuted these findings with evidence suggesting that the bodies discovered at Mohenjo-Daro were all part of the most botched and despicable type of mass grave. Some people observed that the simple mud block structures should have been completely destroyed by an atomic explosion, despite the fact that some of these structures still stood at a height of 15 feet.

However, there is unquestionably enough evidence for us to consider the possibility that our understanding of human history is incomplete. What could be the origin of this radioactivity? Could there have been people with atomic abilities a very long time ago? Questions can be increased.

What ended the Indus Civilization – and Mohenjo Daro – is also a mystery. Mohenjo Daro went into sudden decline for unknown reasons in 1900 BCE and was later abandoned, possibly due to the drying up of a major Sarawati River.

Following its rediscovery in the 1920s, decades of excavation exposed the historic buildings to extensive weather damage. As a result, all further archaeological work at the site was stopped in 1966; today only salvage excavations, surface surveys and conservation projects are permitted. However, the city is threatened by recent heavy monsoon rains.

Cover photo: Wikipedia