Mohenjo-daro: A Mysterious Ancient City

Mohenjo-daro is one of the most fascinating archaeological sites in the world. It was a city of the Indus Valley Civilization, which flourished in South Asia from about 2500 BCE to 1700 BCE. Mohenjo-daro was a large and sophisticated urban center, with impressive buildings, streets, drainage systems, and art. But what was life like in this ancient city? And why did it decline and disappear?

The Discovery of Mohenjo-daro

Mohenjo-daro was not known to modern history until the 1920s, when it was rediscovered by British and Indian archaeologists. The name Mohenjo-daro means "the mound of the dead" in Sindhi, a local language.  The site consists of several mounds and ruins on the right bank of the Indus River, in the province of Sindh, Pakistan. 

The excavations revealed that Mohenjo-daro was once a thriving city, with an estimated population of at least 40,000 people.  It was one of the two main centers of the Indus Valley Civilization, along with Harappa, which was located about 400 miles (640 km) to the northwest.  The Indus Valley Civilization was one of the earliest and most advanced civilizations in human history, contemporary with those of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Minoan Crete, and Norte Chico. 

The Layout and Architecture of Mohenjo-daro

Mohenjo-daro was built with remarkable planning and engineering skills. The city covered an area of about 3 miles (5 km) in circumference, and was divided into about a dozen blocks or "islands", each with its own streets and buildings.  The blocks were separated by wide avenues, which were lined with wells and drains. The city had a sophisticated sanitation system, with underground pipes and sewers that carried waste water away from the houses and public baths. 

The most prominent feature of Mohenjo-daro was the citadel, a raised platform on the western side of the city that housed the religious and administrative buildings.  The citadel was fortified by square towers of baked brick, and contained structures such as a large bath or tank, a granary, a residential complex, and several halls of assembly.  The bath or tank, also known as the Great Bath, was surrounded by a veranda and had steps leading down to the water. It may have been used for ritual bathing or purification ceremonies. 

The houses of Mohenjo-daro were mostly made of mud brick, and ranged from one-room huts to multi-story mansions. Some houses had courtyards, balconies, bathrooms, and wells. The houses were decorated with wall paintings, terracotta figurines, pottery vessels, beads, seals, and jewelry. 

The Culture and Society of Mohenjo-daro

Mohenjo-daro was a cosmopolitan and diverse city, with people from different regions and backgrounds living together. The inhabitants spoke various languages and dialects, but used a common script that has not yet been deciphered.  They practiced various religions and beliefs, but shared some common symbols and motifs, such as the swastika, the pipal tree, and the bull. 

The people of Mohenjo-daro were skilled in various crafts and trades, such as pottery making, metal working, weaving, carpentry, and agriculture. They produced goods such as cotton cloth, bronze tools and weapons, terracotta figurines and toys.

The Trade and Economy of Mohenjo-daro

Mohenjo-daro was not only a cultural and religious center, but also a commercial and economic hub. The city was well-connected to other regions of the Indus Valley Civilization, as well as to distant lands such as Mesopotamia, Central Asia, and the Persian Gulf.  The city's location on the Indus River gave it access to water transport and trade routes. 

The people of Mohenjo-daro were mainly engaged in agriculture, producing crops such as wheat, barley, peas, sesame, and cotton. They also raised animals such as cattle, sheep, goats, and chickens.  They used tools and weapons made of copper and bronze, which they obtained from trade or mining.  They also manufactured goods such as pottery, textiles, beads, jewelry, seals, and toys. 

Mohenjo-daro had a standardized system of weights and measures, which facilitated trade and commerce.  The city also used a common script and symbols to communicate with other regions. The city's wealth and prosperity are evident in the artifacts found at the site, such as gold, silver, ivory, lapis lazuli, carnelian, and turquoise.  These items were either imported from other places or used as currency or ornaments. 

Mohenjo-daro was a dynamic and vibrant city that contributed to the development of the Indus Valley Civilization. It was a center of innovation, creativity, and diversity. It was also a city that faced challenges such as environmental changes, social conflicts, and external invasions. The reasons for its decline and disappearance are still debated by scholars. Some possible factors include floods, droughts, earthquakes, epidemics, wars, or cultural decline.  Whatever the cause may be, Mohenjo-daro remains a fascinating and mysterious ancient city that deserves our attention and admiration.

(1) Mohenjo-daro - Wikipedia.
(2) Mohenjo-daro | Artifacts, Definition, Map, & Facts | Britannica.


What is the mystery of Mohenjo-daro?

Just what ended the Indus civilization—and Mohenjo Daro—is also a mystery. Kenoyer suggests that the Indus River changed course, which would have hampered the local agricultural economy and the city's importance as a center of trade. (These four lost cities were jewels of ancient Africa.

Is Mohenjo-daro an ancient city?

Mohenjo Daro, or "Mound of the Dead" is an ancient Indus Valley Civilization city that flourished between 2600 and 1900 BCE. The site was discovered in the 1920s and lies in Pakistan's Sindh province.

What is the mystery behind the death of Mohenjo-daro?

Historians found its debris after so many years with several skeletons of started, rightened unready & unburied people with their heads facing the ground so we call it Mohenjo-Daro the mound of the dead. Most Common Theories On This Go Like: Flood. Climate Change.

What is Mohenjo-daro famous for?

The name Mohenjo-daro is reputed to signify “the mound of the dead.” The archaeological importance of the site was first recognized in 1922, one year after the discovery of Harappa. Subsequent excavations revealed that the mounds contain the remains of what was once the largest city of the Indus civilization.

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