News ID: 262378
Published: 1208 GMT December 02, 2019

Scientists left baffled over lost ancient city Mohenjo Daro in Pakistan

Scientists left baffled over lost ancient city Mohenjo Daro in Pakistan

Archeologists are still no closer to understanding who occupied the ancient city of Mohenjo Daro in modern-day Pakistan during the third millennium BCE.

Researchers first visited the site in 1911 and various excavations were carried out in the 1920s through to 1931. Subsequent digs took place in 1950 and 1964, which provided fascinating glimpses into the ideology and beliefs of the city’s inhabitants. The well-planned street grid and an elaborate drainage system suggest that the occupants were skilled urban planners, for whom the control of water was of utmost importance, wrote.

The city has no grandiose monuments such as palaces, temples or monuments.

It lacks an obvious central seat of government and there are no indications that the city was ruled over by an established monarchy.

Modesty, order and in particular cleanliness appeared to be qualities that were highly prized by the city’s inhabitants.

A watertight pool called the Great Bath is the closest structure Mohenjo Daro has to a temple.

According to Indus expert Gregory Possehl of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, this suggests an ideology based on cleanliness.

Wells were found throughout the city, and nearly every house contained a bathing area and drainage system, which would appear to back up Possehl’s theory.

During its heyday from about 2500 to 1900 BCE, the city was among the most important to the Indus Civilization.

It spread out over about 250 acres (100 hectares) on a series of mounds, and the Great Bath and an associated large building occupied the tallest mound.

According to University of Wisconsin, Madison, archeologist Jonathan Mark Kenoyer, the mounds grew organically over the centuries as people kept building platforms and walls for their houses.

"You have a high promontory on which people are living," he said.

With no evidence of kings or queens, Mohenjo Daro was likely governed as a city-state, perhaps by elected officials or elites from each of the mounds.

Its wealth and stature is evident in artefacts such as ivory, lapis, carnelian, and gold beads, as well as the baked-brick city structures themselves.

The demise of the Indus Civilization and Mohenjo Daro is also a mystery.

By 1900 BCE many Indus cities had been abandoned, but historians believe things started to fall apart around 1700 BCE.

Some historians think that a collapse of trade with the Indus’ major trading partner, Mesopotamia, was to blame.

Around the time the Indus cities started to fail, Mesopotamia, an advanced civilization in the Middle East, was going through huge political problems.

This led to the unravelling of its trade networks which would have had a huge impact on the Indus cities.

Others surmise that war was the likeliest cause behind the demise of the Indus.


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