Friday, May 18, 2007

Kot Diji: The precursor to Indus Civilization

Situated some 22 kilometers south of the Khairpur city, along the main highway from Hyderabad, lies an ancient site, whose discovery in 1955 had historians rewriting history books about the rise of Indus Civilization in Sindh.

The discovery of the prehistoric site at ‘Kot Diji’, some 60 kilometers northeast of Moenjodaro, have shattered the myth of Moenjodaro and Harappa being the oldest inhabited cities of the famed ‘Indus Civilization’.

In fact, the discovery of Kot Diji site has pushed the birth of the Indus Valley Culture to as far as 3,000 BC, which shows that Kot Dijians were going about their normal daily lives, some 500 years, even before the people of Moenjodaro established their famous city. This has been proved further, by excavations at Kot Diji, that have produced various pottery items and house building patterns, which has also been found at Harappa.

Some of the pottery-decorative designs found at the Harappan site, such as the ‘fish scale’, ‘intersecting circles’ and the ‘piped-leaf’ pattern have been thought to have evolved from the Kot Dijian decorated elements like the horizontal and wavy lines, loops and simple triangular patterns. In fact, the Kot Dijian ceramics, though slightly different, in form and technique, are in no way less artistic, than the sophisticated back-on-red pottery of Harappa or even those of Moenjodaro.

One of the more interesting find at Kot Diji is a toy cart with wheels, which may had been the ultimate precursor to the dynamic bullock carts.

The early residents of the city may have been a hierarchical people, as excavations have lead to the discovery of two clearly defined areas. A citadel on a high level, separated by a defensive wall with bastions at regular intervals, possibly was for the ruling elite. While the lower area or the main town constructed with mud-brick houses built on solid stone foundations would had been the abode of the common man.

Archaelogists agree that Kot Diji and other sites in close proximity can easily be termed as the formative phase of Indus Civilization or as the Early Harappan Civilization. There is, however, no proof yet of the origin or the region from where these Kot Dijians arrived in the Indus Valley, though evidence suggest that Kot Dijian and later on, Harappan culture, both were an offshoot of the dominant Dravidian culture of the Indian subcontinent, but that is still under consideration.

No comments: