Facts about Mohenjo-daro
The mound of the dead men
More than five thousand years ago, in the Indus Valley (now Pakistan), there was a mysterious civilization, called the Indus Civilization. It was one of the oldest cultures in the world and the first historical civilization on the Indian subcontinent. It was also the most extensive of the four contemporaneous civilizations of antiquity - alongside Egypt, Mesopotamia, and China. The modern world has not known about its existence for a long time. It was not until the first expedition in 1921 that the ancient city was discovered, which was called Mohenjo-daro, which in the local language means “Mound of the Dead Men”.
1Mohenjo-daro was a proto-city located in the valley of the Indus River.
It is now an archaeological site located west of the Indus River in the Larkana District of Sindh Province, Pakistan.
2Mohenjo-daro was built in the 26th century B.C.
It was one of the largest cities of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization, also known as the Harappan Civilization, which developed around 3000 B.C. from prehistoric Indus culture.
3At its best, the Indus civilization encompassed much of what is today Pakistan and northern India.
It stretched west to the border with Iran, south to Gujarat (a state on the west coast of India) in India, and north to Bactria (an ancient region of Central Asia).
4The main urban centers of this civilization were Harappa, Mohenjo-daro, Lothal, Kalibangan, Dholavira, and Rakhigarhi.
Mohenjo-daro was the most advanced city of its time, with extraordinary urban planning and infrastructure.
5The original name of the city is unknown.
There is some speculation, after analyzing the seals found at Mohenjo-daro, that the ancient name of the city may have been Kukkutarma - “city of the cockerel”. It is believed that cock-fighting could have taken place there, which could have ritual and religious significance for the city, and domesticated roosters were bred there not for consumption, but for ritual purposes. Perhaps Mohenjo-daro was the place from which the breeding of domesticated chickens spread into the world. The modern name of this city can be interpreted as “the mound of the dead men”, but also as “Mohan’s mound”, where Mohan is Krishna - the main deity of Hinduism.
6The Indus Civilization is one of the oldest in the world.
It is believed that it developed parallel to the culture of ancient Egypt, although it is possible that it was older. The research carried out using the radiocarbon method shows that the oldest settlements belonging to this culture come from as many as 8,000 years B.C.
7The culture of Mohenjo-daro was the most extensive of the modern civilizations of antiquity (along with Egypt, Mesopotamia, and China).
It occupied an area of 650 thousand square meters up to 1.5 million square kilometers. Its positions are located throughout the territory of modern Pakistan, in northwest India, and in eastern Afghanistan.
8The civilization of the Indus Valley was completely unknown until the end of the 19th century - the ruins of the city remained hidden from the world for about 3,700 years.
This was due to the specific cultural conditions under which the Hindus learned about the origins of their native tradition from the collection of ancient Sanskrit hymns of the oldest of Vedas (14th century B.C.) - Rigveda. This book considers the arrival of the Proto-Indo-European Aryans to the subcontinent as the beginning of the historical period, not earlier than in the 13th century B.C., after the fall of the Mohenjo-daro culture.
9The first excavations were carried out only in the 1920s by the English archaeologist, John Marshall.
But as early as 1856, workers building a railroad that ran along the Indus Valley encountered many fire-burnt bricks. Not realizing they had ancient artifacts in their hands, they used them in the construction. Soon, among the bricks, they also began to find items made of soapstone, some with high artistic value. Without knowing it, these workers stumbled upon traces of the Indus civilization, also known as the Harappan civilization, from Harappa, the first excavated settlement in British India, presently in Pakistan.
10The last major series of excavations were carried out between 1964 and 1965.
After 1965, the excavations were banned due to the atmospheric destruction of the discovered artifacts. In the 1980s, German and Italian research groups resumed their activities using less invasive archaeological techniques.