Mohenjo-Daro
Introduction to the Site

ESSAY | MAIN
  | by Jonathan Mark Kenoyer  University of Wisconsin, Madison |
 
The site of Mohenjo-Daro (also Moenjo-daro, latitude 27 degrees, 25 minutes north, longitude 67 degrees 35 minutes east), in Larkana District, Sindh, Pakistan, is the largest and most extensively excavated Indus city in Pakistan.

This city would have dominated the major trade routes and agricultural potential of the southern Indus plain, from around 2600-1900 BCE.

The site was excavated over numerous seasons between 1922 through the 1930s by many different officers of the Archaeological Survey of India. In 1946 excavations were undertaken by R. E. M. Wheeler.

The last large scale excavations were made in 1964-65 by G. F. Dales in collaboration with the Department of Archaeology, Government of Pakistan. More recently, salvage excavation, surface surveys and conservation projects have been conducted by the Department of Archaeology and Museums, Government of Pakistan and various teams of international scholars, such as with M. Jansen and M. Tosi, IsMEO-RWTH.

The site covers an area of over 250 hectares, representing various phases of urban growth and reorganization. The Indus river is currently situated to the east of the site, but in antiquity it may have been on the west and one channel of the river cuts through the site dividing the so-called "citadel" mound from the "lower town."

Excavations of the site were conducted by many different individuals and different sectors of the site were given standard designations by Sir John Marshall with some additional names added at later dates.

Mohenjo-Daro Site Chronology

Indus Tradition
EraPeriodYears (Circa)
RegionalizationLowest levels of the site excavated by Wheeler and Alcock3500-2600 BCE
IntegrationMost of the occupation levels of the site2600-1900 BCE
LocalizationMixed uppermost levels of the site 1900-1700 BCE
Indo-Gangetic Tradition
LocalizationKushana Occupation 0-300 CE

Citadel Mound

The high western mound is generally referred to as the "citadel" mound, but it is subdivided into several sectors.

Stupa Area

Buddhist Stupa and associated monastery, this is the highest and most prominently visible structure at the site. Excavated by R. D. Banerji in 1922-23, and then by B. L. Dhama in 1925-26 under the direction of John Marshall.

SD Area

The "Great Bath", so-called "Granary" and associated Harappan structures lying to the west, south and north of the stupa. Excavated under the direction of John Marshall in 1925-26. Further excavations were conducted by E. Mackay in 1927-31.

L Area

This is the southern sector of the "citadel" mound and includes a pillared hall and shell working areas. Originally excavated under the direction of John Marshall in 1925-26. Further excavations were carried out in the low area between L and SD areas by E. Mackay in 1927-31.

ACC Area

This is the southeastern corner of the "citadel" mound and consists of a wall and gateway with associated structures. Excavated by A. H. Dani under the direction of R. E. M. Wheeler in 1950.

REM I

Trenches excavated to the west of the so-called "granary". Excavated by Leslie Alcock, under the direction of R. E. M. Wheeler in 1950.

"Lower Town"

HR Area

These excavations are located at the western edge of a massive series of mounds that extend further to the east and south. Excavated by H. Hargreaves and M. S. Vats in 1925-26.

UM Area

A small excavation area at the southwestern edge of HR Area. Excavated by G. F. Dales in 1964-65, supported by the University of Pennsylvania Museum (UM), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

VS Area

These excavations are located directly north of HR Area and are situated to the west of a major north south street that connects HR and DK Areas. It is also located at the western edge of a massive series of mounds that extend further to the east. Excavated by H. Hargreaves and M. S. Vats in 1925-26.

DK-I

This excavation area, sometimes referred to as Moneer Area, lies at the eastern edge of the mounds that are associated with VS Area. Excavated by Q. M. Moneer in 1934, and later by K. N. Puri in 1936-37.

DK- G Area

This area is situated at the northwestern corner of the "lower town" and to the west of a major north-south street that connects VS and HR areas. It is located along the western edge of a large series of mounded ruins that extend to the east. Originally excavated by K. N. Dikshit in 1924-25. Later excavations were carried out by E. Mackay assisted by N. G. Majumdar, H. L. Srivastava, K. N. Puri, D. D. Mathur in 1927-1931.


Top Image: Close-up of figure in square seal depicting a nude male deity with three faces, seated in yogic position on a throne, wearing bangles on both arms and an elaborate headdress found at Mohenjo-daro.
 
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