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Mohenjo-daro (Pakistan)

The Largest Indus Civilization Site


Dancing Girl of Mohenjo-Daro

Image courtesy Gregory L. Possehl; used by permission.

Gregory L. Possehl (c) 2002
Mohenjo-daro (also spelled Mohanjo-Daro and translated as "Mound of Mohan"; or Moenjo-daro "Mound of the Dead") is an important Indus civilization site, located in the Sindh province of Pakistan in the floodplain of the Indus River. The site is the largest of the known Indus cities, extending over an area of some 250 hectares, and its Indus occupations lasted between about 2600-1900 BC.

The site is one of the best-preserved of the Indus civilization sites, with structures made primarily of fired adobe brick. Mohenjo-daro was first occupied about 3500 BC, and it was continuously occupied until between 1700 and 1300 BC, although the site was likely not completely abandoned until long after the Harappan occupation was ended.

The people at Mohenjo-daro manufactured seals and beads, and worked copper, carved shell and ivory, and produced and stone tools. Stone carvings of seated male figures may represent ancestral leaders of the community, and may not in fact represent priests or kings despite such names as "priest king". Many other figurines, in the form of human and animal figurines were produced at Mohenjo-daro of terracotta, bronze, faience and shell.

Archaeological Ruins at Mohenjo-daro

The most prominent mound on the site is called the citadel; it measures 6.6 hectares in area and was surrounded by a fortified wall with a large brick gateway in the southeast corner.

Excavations at Mohenjo-daro in the region of the citadel mound identified a large colonaded building with a specially designed water tank called 'the Great Bath'. South of the Great Bath is a massive building with solid brick foundations called 'the Granary' which probably operated as a large meeting place rather than for storage.

Mohenjo-daro Research

Mohenjo-Daro was first discovered in 1922 by R.D. Banerji. Large-scale excavations were undertaken JOhn Marshall, K.N. Dikshit, Ernest Mackay and others throughout the 1930s; the most recent was conducted by G.F. Dales in the 1950s.


The best place to read more about Mohenjo-daro is on the Harappa site, including several articles illustrated by an abundance of photos, from J. Mark Kenoyer.

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