- Nov 2016
- Indus Valley, Pakistan
Mohenjo Daro in Sindh, Pakistan and it's northern counterpart Harappa are regarded as the premier examples of the Indus Valley Civilization. Mohenjo Daro indeed gave the civilization it's name on account of being adjacent to the Indus River.
Various theories have been put forward for the demise of Indus Civilization the favourite one at the moment being the drying up of the climate. Whilst that might have been a a factor but I am not entirely convinced of this. My feeling is that whole complex of reasons are behind the demise of Indus. Internal atrophy might have been a siginificant factor. All civilizations eventually decline. Others that were contemperory to Indus also declined like
Nile in Egypt or those on Tigris/Euphrates or Mesopotamia also withered and died died. No single factor can be attributed to fall of those civilizations but gradual decay over time. Can the same have happened to Mohenjo Daro? A slow death of thousand cuts rather than one quick beheading?
Instead of dealing with the wider Indus region I want to just focus on Mohenjo Daro. First because it was premier site of that civilization and second it allows us to focus on the specificity of this site. This reduces the subject area and variables we have to look at in trying to understand what happened. Finally any conclusion we arrive at for Mohenjo Daro might/or might not be applicable to the wider Indus region. Again I reiterate can we focus only the death of Mohenjo Daro.
The first thing that strikes me is how close Mohenjo Daro is to the Indus River today. If we ignore the perimeter of the site and use only one of the excavated points - the distance from River Indus is just over 3,000 feet or slightly less than half a mile. That means Mohenjo Daro is sited right next one of the largest rivers in the world and in many ways similar to Nile in how it flows through sem-arid country giving it life.
So the question that arises is whatever happened 2,500 years ago access to water can't have been a issue as Indus River was and still is adjacent to the site. Indus River has been pretty stable over the last 5,000 years as it is a glacial fed river. There is no reason to believe that it was there, then it made it's escape from Mohenjo Daro and then after taking a hike came back as it is today.
I think we can assume that the alignment has changed over the last 3,000 years like in all rivers. But since it is 3,000 feet from Mohenjo Daro today that tells us any change has been minor and of no drastic consequence. As even today it is only 3,000 feet from Mohenjo Daro.
As comparison further north Harappa in Punjab, Pakistan is about 5 miles from River Ravi today. It is very possible that 3,000 years ago River Ravi was next to Harappa - although frankly even today 5 miles is not a great distance and if it has been moving away rom Harappa over the last 3,000 years it must have been inches per year and Harappans could have easily adjusted to such gradual change.
However going back to the focus of this thread what caused the fall of the mighty Mojenjo Daro? Atrophy or catastrophic event? I go with slow decline like we see in other civilizations. Certainly not water scarcity considering that the mighty Indus was flowing next door.
Saving Pakistan's lost city of Mohenjo Daro | Daily Mail Online