This small statue found at Mohenjo-Daro, dubbed the Priest-King, is one of the very few Indus-period sculptures depicting a human ever found.
"With a possible population of 100,000, Mohenjo-Daro would have been bigger than Egypt's Memphis, Mesopotamia's Ur or Elam's Susa in today's Iran, some of the ancint Near East's largest metropolises. The city boasted wide streets, more than 60 deep wells, strong foundations, and impressive walls, 25 miles of which have been excavated thus far. Overlooking the settlement, on the northwest end, was a high-walled platform that archaeologists dubbed a 'citadel.'..Covering some 625,000 square miles, the Indus surpassed Egypt and Mesopotamia in size, and may have included as many as a million peole, a staggering figure for an agricultural society that depended on the unreliable waters of the Indus River and its tributaries. Indus sites have been identified from the shores of Iran to the mountains of Afghanistan to the outskirts of today's Delhi. Recent work by University of Wisconsin researcher Randall Law demonstrated that stones nd metals from across this vast region circulated throughout ('Letter from Pakistan,' September/October 2008). Indus merchants, mastering monsoon winds, traded goods with Arabians and likely conducted business as far west as today's Iraq. One Mesopotamian text records a court case involving a 'Meluhhan,' thought to be the Sumerian word for someone from the Indus, while another mentions a Meluhhan interpreter at a Mesopotamian court...The citadel that forms the height of Mohenjo-Daro was clearly a planned effort, with enormous walls enclosing a raised platform that is 200 yards long and 400 wide. At its highest point sits a prominent structure that 1920s researchers identified as a Buddhist stupa. These scholars thought the stup, which was built with bricks and ringed by what they called monks' cells, had been constructed in the early centuries AD, when Buddhism was at its peak in the region. This assumption derived mainly from the discovery of coins dating to that era. But in 2007, Giovanni Verardi, a retired archaeologist from the University of Naples, examined the site and noted that the stups is not aligned in typical Buddhist fashion, along the cardinal points. The plinth is high and rectangular, not square as would be expected, and there is little pottery associated with the later period. He also concluded that the materials recovered from the 'monks'' rooms were made in the Indus period. Verardi now thinks there is 'little doubt' that, apart from the mudbrick dome, the 'stupa' is actually an Indus building. He believes that it was likely a stepped pyramid with two access ramps, and that terracotta seals found nearby depicting what appears to be a goddess standing on a tree while a man sacrifices an animal suggest that the building was used for religious activities. Jansen and other archaeologists agree that Verardi's interpretation may be correct, though they add that excavations are necessary to prove that his theory about an Indus-era temple is accurate. If it is, says Jansen, 'this will turn our interpretations upside dow.' No templess have been discovered at any Indus site, an absence unique among major ancient civilizations. But the presence of a stepped platform in the heart of its largest city would link the Indus with a tradition of religious buildings that by 2000 BCE had spread across the Middle East and Central Asia...Only 10 percent of the known site has been dug and no major excavations are in the offing. But Fazal Dad Kakkar, director general of Pakistan's museums and ancient sites, says he hopes to begin coring around the perimeter soon..." (pp.32-37).
When the Indus River swelled two years ago in central Pakistan, the floodwaters came within just three feet of overtopping an earthen embankment protecting the ancient city known as Mohenjo-Daro. At the time, archaeologists breathed a sigh of relief. But in September 2012 monsoon rains again threatened the site, lashing at the exposed walls and sparking new fears that this 4,000-year-old metropolis may be destroyed before it yields its secrets. Those secrets remain legion. Archaeologists still don’t know the city’s true size, who ruled there, or even its ancient name—Mohenjo-Daro (“Mound of the Dead”) is the site’s name in modern Sindhi. To read more.. Dowload .pdf below.
Mohenjo Daro's New story (Andrew Lawler, 2013) Archaeology, January/February 2013 pp.32-37
śankha as a conch; śivalinga, Harappa.
Out of over 2600 archaeological sites of the civilization identified so far, as many as 2000 are on the banks of River Sarasvati.
It will be interesting indeed if further excavations on the 'stupa' area on the citadel mound reveal an Indus-Sarasvati temple at Mohenjo-Daro.
Harappa has revealed 3 stone śivalinga, apart from śankha bangles, śankha trumpet and śankha used as feeding ladles for babies. At Nausharo, two terracotta toys revealed women wearing sindhur at the parting of their hair, attesting a 5000 year-old continuum of a Hindu tradition followed by women in India even today.
So do women in Bengal and Orissa celebrate marriages wearing śankha bangles. One śankha discovered in a burial of a woman yielded a stunning date of 6500 BCE for the burial.
Bhirrana, a site on Sarasvati river basin takes the roots of the civilization to ca. 7500 BCE.
July 30, 2013
Posted 5 hours ago by Srinivasan Kalyanaraman
Labels: Indus Script