Mohenjo-daro, meaning “Mound of the Dead,” is one of the most prominent archaeological sites of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization. Located in the Sindh province of present-day Pakistan, Mohenjo-daro was one of the major cities of the Indus Valley, thriving around 2600 BCE to 1900 BCE. Here are key features and aspects of Mohenjo-daro:
- Indus Valley Civilization: Mohenjo-daro was a key city of the Indus Valley Civilization, one of the world’s oldest urban civilizations. The civilization existed contemporaneously with ancient Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt.
- Urban Planning: The city is known for its well-planned layout, with organized streets and a sophisticated drainage system. The streets were laid out in a grid pattern, and the city had an advanced water supply and sewage system.
- Architecture: Mohenjo-daro featured multi-story brick houses, some of which had an impressive level of sophistication with rooms for bathing and drainage systems. The Great Bath, a large public bathhouse, is one of the most famous structures on the site.
- Great Bath: The Great Bath is a large rectangular tank made of baked bricks. It is believed to have had religious or ceremonial significance, possibly being used for ritualistic bathing.
- Granaries: The city had several large granaries, suggesting an organized system of food storage and distribution. These granaries were elevated to protect stored grains from moisture.
- Artifacts: Numerous artifacts have been excavated from Mohenjo-daro, including pottery, seals, sculptures, and jewelry. The most famous artifacts are the small seals made of steatite, featuring intricate carvings and possibly used for trade and administrative purposes.
- Writing System: The Indus Script, found on seals and other artifacts, is yet to be fully deciphered. The existence of a writing system suggests a level of sophistication in communication and administration.
- Decline: The reasons for the decline of Mohenjo-daro and the broader Indus Valley Civilization are not fully understood. Various theories include environmental changes, such as a shift in the course of the Indus River, and possibly social or political factors.
- Rediscovery: Mohenjo-daro was rediscovered in the 1920s by archaeologists led by Sir John Marshall. Excavations revealed the extent of the city’s urban planning and advanced features.
- UNESCO World Heritage Site: In 1980, Mohenjo-daro was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in recognition of its cultural significance and contributions to human history.
- Preservation Challenges: The site faces challenges of preservation due to weathering, urbanization, and improper restoration efforts. Efforts are ongoing to protect and conserve the archaeological remains.
Mohenjo-daro provides valuable insights into the urban and technological advancements of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization. The mystery surrounding its decline and the enigmatic Indus Script continue to intrigue historians, archaeologists, and scholars.