From New World Encyclopedia
Archaeological site of Lothal.

Lothal (Gujarātī: લોથલ, IPA: [ˈloːtʰəl], Eng: Mound or Tell of the Dead) was one of the most prominent cities of the ancient Indus valley civilization. Located in the modern state of Gujarāt and dating from 2400 B.C.E., it stands as one of India's most important archaeological sites of that era. Discovered in 1954, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) excavated Lothal from February 13, 1955 to May 19, 1960.

Lothal's dock—the earliest discovered—connected the city to an ancient course of the Sabarmati river. It was on the trade route between Harappan cities in Sindh and the Saurashtra peninsula when the surrounding Kutch desert had been a part of the Arabian Sea. A vital and thriving trade center in ancient times, its trade of beads, gems, and valuable ornaments reached the far corners of West Asia and Africa. Lothal's people had been responsible for the earliest known portrayals of realism in art and sculpture. Their work tells some of the best known fables. Its scientists used a shell compass and divided the horizon and sky into 8-12 whole parts, possibly pioneering the study of stars and advanced navigation 2,000 years before the Greek civilization. The techniques and tools they pioneered for bead making and metallurgy have stood for more than 4000 years.

District of Gurjarat

Lothal was situated near the modern day village of Saragwala in the Dholka taluka of Ahmedabad district, 6 kilometers (3.7 mi) (south-east) of the Lothal-Bhurkhi railway station on the Ahmedabad-Bhavnagar line. The site has connections by all-weather roads to the cities of Ahmedabad (85 km/53 mi), Bhavnagar, Rajkot and Dholka. The nearest cities are Dholka and Bagodara. Archaeologists resumed excavation in 1961, and unearthed trenches sunk on the northern, eastern and western flanks of the Tell, bringing to light the inlet channels and nullah ("ravine," or "gully") that connected the dock with the river. Their findings consist of a Tell, a township, a marketplace and the dock. Adjacent to the excavated areas stands the Archaeological Museum, where some of the most prominent collections of Indus-era antiquities in modern India are displayed.


Extent and major sites of the Indus Valley Civilization.

The meaning of Lothal (a combination of Loth and (s) thal) in Gujarati, "the mound or Tell of the dead," matches the name of the city of Mohenjodaro in Sindhi. People in villages neighboring to Lothal had known of the presence of an ancient town and human remains. As recently as 1850, boats sailed up to the mound, and timber was shipped in 1942 from Broach to Saragwala via the mound. A silted creek connecting modern Bholad with Lothal and Saragwala represents the ancient flow channel of a river or creek.[1] When India was partitioned in 1947, most of the sites, including Mohenjodaro and Harappa, became part of the state of Pakistan. The Archaeological Survey of India undertook a new program of exploration, and excavated many sites across Gujarat. Between 1954 and 1958, more than 50 sites had been excavated in the Kutch {see also Dholavira}, and Saurashtra peninsulas, extending the limits of Harappan civilization by 500 kilometres (310 mi) to the river Kim, where the Bhagatrav site accesses the valley of the rivers Narmada and Tapti. Lothal stands 270 kilometers (170 miles) from Mohenjodaro, in Sindh.[2] The comparatively small dimensions of the main city has led archaeologists to speculate that Lothal had been a small settlement, its "dock" perhaps serving as an irrigation tank.[3] The ASI and other contemporary archaeologists postulate that the city had been a part of a major river system on the trade route of the ancient peoples from Sindh to Saurashtra in Gujarat. Cemeteries have been found which indicate that its people had been of Dravidian, Proto-Australoid or Mediterranean physiques. Lothal provides the largest collection of antiquities in the archaeology of modern India.[1] Essentially a single culture site with the Harappan culture in all its variances evidenced. An indigenous micaceous Red Ware culture also existed, believed autochthonous and pre-Harappan. Two sub-periods of Harappan culture emerge: the same period (between 2400 and 1900 B.C.E.) identical to the exuberant culture of Harappa and Mohenjodaro.

After the core of the Indus civilization had decayed in Mohenjodaro and Harappa, Lothal seems not only to have survived but also to have thrived for many years. Tropical storms and floods caused immense destruction, destabilizing the culture and ultimately caused its end. Topographical analysis also shows signs that at about the time of its demise, the region suffered from aridity or weakened monsoon rainfall. Thus the cause for the abandonment of the city may have been changes in the climate as well as natural disasters, as suggested by environmental magnetic records.[4] Lothal had been based upon a mound in a salt marsh inundated by tide. Remote sensing and topographical studies revealed an ancient, meandering river adjacent to Lothal, 30 kilometers (19 miles) in length according to satellite imagery—an ancient extension of the northern river channel bed of a tributary of the Bhogavo river. Small channel widths (10–300 meters/30–1000 feet) when compared to the lower reaches (1.2–1.6 kilometers/0.75–1.0 mile) suggest the presence of a strong tidal influence upon the city—tidal waters ingressed up to and beyond the city. Upstream elements of this river provided a suitable source of freshwater for the inhabitants.[4]


To the northwest of Lothal lies the Kutch (Dholavira) peninsula, a part of the Arabian Sea until recently. Owing to that, and the proximity of the Gulf of Khambhat, Lothal's river provided direct access to sea routes. Although now sealed off from the sea, Lothal's topography and geology reflects its maritime past.

Before the arrival of Harappan people (c. 2400 B.C.E.), Lothal had been a small village next to the river providing access to the mainland from the Gulf of Khambhat. The indigenous peoples maintained a prosperous economy, attested by the discovery of copper objects, beads and semi-precious stones. Ceramic wares had been made of fine clay and smooth, micaceous red surface. A new technique of firing pottery under partly-oxidizing and reducing conditions had been improved by them—designated black-and-red ware, to the micaceous Red Ware. Lothal's sheltered harbor, rich cotton and rice-growing environment and bead-making industry attracted the Harappans. The beads and gems of Lothal had been in great demand in the west. The settlers lived peacefully with the Red Ware people, who adopted their lifestyle—evidenced from the flourishing trade and changing working techniques—Harappans began producing the indigenous ceramic goods, adopting the manner from the natives.[1]

Town planning

A flood destroyed village foundations and settlements (c. 2350 B.C.E.). Harappans based around Lothal and from Sindh took that opportunity to expand their settlement and create a planned township on the lines of greater cities in the Indus valley.[5] Lothal planners engaged themselves to protect the area from consistent floods. The town had been divided into blocks of one to two meter-high (3-6 feet) platforms of sun-dried bricks, each serving 20-30 houses of thick mud and brick walls. The city had been divided into a citadel, or acropolis and a lower town. The rulers of the town lived in the acropolis, which featured paved baths, underground and surface drains (built of kiln-fired bricks) and a potable water well. The lower town subdivided into two sectors—the north-south arterial street served as the main commercial area—flanked by shops of rich and ordinary merchants and craftsmen. The residential area had been located to either side of the marketplace. Lothal's years of prosperity periodically enlarged the lower town.

Lothal engineers accorded high priority to the creation of a dockyard and a warehouse for ocean-going trade. While the consensus view amongst archaeologists identifies this structure as a "dockyard," it has also been suggested that owing to small dimensions, that basin may have been an irrigation tank and canal.[3] The dock had been built on the eastern flank of the town, regarded by archaeologists as an engineering feat of the highest order. Located away from the main current of the river to avoid silting, the dock provided access to ships in high tide as well. The warehouse had been built close to the acropolis on a 3.5-meter-high (10.5 foot) podium of mud bricks. The rulers could thus supervise the activity on the dock and warehouse simultaneously. A mud-brick wharf, 220 meters (720 foot) long, built on the western arm of the dock, with a ramp leading to the warehouse facilitated the movement of cargo. An important public building that stood opposite to the warehouse whose superstructure has completely disappeared. Throughout their time, the city had to brace itself through multiple floods and storms. Dock and city peripheral walls had been maintained efficiently. The town's zealous rebuilding ensured the growth and prosperity of the trade. With rising prosperity, Lothal's people failed to upkeep their walls and dock facilities, possibly as a result of over-confidence in their systems. A flood of moderate intensity in 2050 B.C.E. exposed some serious weaknesses in the structure, but the problems remained unaddressed.[1]

Economy and urban culture

An ancient well and city drainage canals.

The uniform organization of the town and its institutions give evidence that the Harappans had been a highly disciplined people.[1] Commerce and administrative duties had been performed according established standards. Municipal administration was strict—the width of most streets remained the same over a long time, and no encroached structures were built. Householders possessed a sump, or collection chamber, to deposit solid waste to prevent the clogging of city drains. Drains, manholes and cesspools kept the city clean and deposited the waste in the river, which washed out during high tide. Harappan artists pioneered a new provincial style of art and painting—new approaches included realistic portrayals of animals in their natural surroundings, the portrayal of stories and folklore. Craftsmen built fire-altars in public places. Metal ware, gold and jewelery and tastefully decorated ornaments attest to the culture and prosperity of the people of Lothal.

Most of their equipment—metal tools, weights, measures, seals, earthenware and ornaments—followed the uniform standard and quality found across the Indus civilization. Lothal had been a major trade centre, importing copper, chert and semi-precious stones from Mohenjo-daro and Harappa, and distributing them to inner villages and towns. It also produced large quantities of bronze celts, fish-hooks, chisels, spears and ornaments. Lothal exported its beads, gemstones, ivory and shells. The stone blade industry catered to domestic needs—fine chert imported from the Sukkur valley or from Bijapur in modern Karnataka. Bhagatrav supplied semi-precious stones while chank shell came from Dholavira and Bet Dwarka. An intensive trade network gave the inhabitants great prosperity—it stretched across the frontiers to Egypt, Bahrain and Sumer.[1] The discovery of typical Persian gulf seals, a circular button seal, provides evidence of trade in Lothal.<[5]

Declining years

The bathroom-toilet structure of houses in Lothal.

While the wider debate over the end of Indus civilization continues, archaeological evidence gathered by the ASI appears to point to natural catastrophes, specifically floods and storms as the source of Lothal's downfall. A powerful flood submerged the town and destroyed most of the houses, with the walls and platforms heavily damaged. The acropolis and the residence of the ruler were leveled (2000-1900 B.C.E.), and inhabited by common tradesmen and newly built makeshift houses. The worst consequence was the shift in the course of the river, cutting off access to the ships and dock. Despite the ruler leaving the city, the leaderless people built a new but shallow inlet to connect the flow channel to the dock for guiding small ships into the basin. Large ships moored away. Houses were rebuilt, yet without removal of flood debris, making them poor-quality and susceptible to further damage. Soakage jars replaced public drains. The citizens respected property ownership, rebuilt public baths, and maintained fire worship. With a poorly organized government, and no outside agency or central government, the public works fell into disrepair. The heavily damaged warehouse had never been repaired properly, and stocks had been stored in wooden canopies, exposed to floods and fire. The economy of the city transformed. Trade volumes reduced greatly. Independent businesses failed, leading to a merchant-centric system of factories to develop where hundreds of craftsmen worked for the same supplier and financier. The bead factory had ten living rooms and a large workplace courtyard. The coppersmith's workshop had five furnaces and paved sinks to enable multiple artisans to work.[1]

The declining prosperity of the town, paucity of resources, and poor administration increased the woes of a people pressured by consistent floods and storms. Increased salinity of soil made the land inhospitable for humans and crops as evidenced in adjacent cities of Rangpur, Rojdi, Rupar and Harappa in Punjab, Mohenjo-daro and Chanhudaro in Sindh. A massive flood (c. 1900 B.C.E.) completely destroyed the flagging township in a single stroke. Archaeological analysis shows that silt and debris sealed the basin and dock, and the buildings had been razed to the ground. The flood affected the entire region of Saurashtra, Sindh and south Gujarat, and affected the upper reaches of the Indus and Sutlej, where scores of villages and townships washed away. The population fled to inner regions.[1]

Later Harappan culture

Harappan peoples still inhabited the site after the disaster. The few people who returned to Lothal lacked the means to reconstruct and repair their city, but surprisingly continued to stay and preserved religious traditions, living in poorly built houses and reed huts. While the trade and resources of the city were almost entirely gone, the people retained several Harappan ways in writing, pottery and utensils. About that time refugees moved in mass from Punjab and Sindh into Saurashtra and to the valley of Sarasvati (1900-1700 B.C.E.).[1] Between 1700 and 1600 B.C.E., trade revived again. In Lothal, Harappan ceramic works of bowls, dishes and jars were mass-produced. Merchants used local materials such as chalcedony instead of chert for stone blades. Truncated sandstone weights replaced hexahedron chert weights. The sophisticated writing was simplified by exempting pictorial symbols, and the painting style reduced itself to wavy lines, loops and fronds.


The people of Lothal made significant and often unique contributions to human civilization in the Indus era, in the fields of city planning, art, architecture, science, engineering and religion. Their work in metallurgy, seals, beads and jewelery was the basis of their prosperity.

Science and engineering

A block of bricks placed in the main drainage canal with four holes, from which the net to filter out solid waste was installed.

A thick ring-like shell object found with four slits each in two margins served as a compass to measure angles on plane surfaces or in the horizon in multiples of 40 degrees, up to 360 degrees. Such shell instruments were probably invented to measure 8-12 whole sections of the horizon and sky, explaining the slits on the lower and upper margins. Archaeologists consider that as evidence that the Lothal experts had achieved something 2,000 years before the Greeks: an 8-12 fold division of horizon and sky, as well as an instrument for measuring angles and perhaps the position of stars, and for navigation.[6] Lothal contributes one of three measurement scales that are integrated and linear (others found in Harappa and Mohenjodaro). An ivory scale from Lothal has the smallest-known decimal divisions in Indus civilization. The scale measures 6 millimeters (0.2 inches) thick, 15 millimeters (0.6 inches) broad and the available length measures 128 millimeters (5.0 inches), but only 27 graduations are visible over 46 mm (1.8 inches), the distance between graduation lines being 1.70 millimeters (0.067 inches) (the small size indicates use for fine purposes). The sum total of ten graduations from Lothal approximates the angula in the Arthashastra. The Lothal craftsmen took care to ensure durability and accuracy of stone weights by blunting edges before polishing.[1]

For their renowned draining system, Lothal engineers provided corbelled roofs, and an apron of kiln-fired bricks over the brick face of the platform where the sewerage entered the cesspool. Wooden screens inserted in grooves in the side drain walls held back solid waste. The well has been constructed with radial bricks, 2.4 meters (7.9 feet) in diameter and 6.7 meters (22 feet) deep. It had an immaculate network of underground drains, silting chambers and cesspools, and inspection chambers for solid waste. The extent of drains provided archaeologists with many clues regarding the layout of streets, organization of housing and baths. On average, the main sewer measures 20–46 centimeters (7.8–18.1 inches) in depth, with outer dimensions of 86 _ 68 _ 33 centimeters (34 _ 27 _ 13 inches). Lothal brick-makers used a logical approach in manufacture of bricks, designed with care in regards to thickness of structures. They were used as headers and stretchers in same and alternate layers. Archaeologists estimate that in most cases, the bricks had a ratio of 1:0.5:0.25 on three sides, in dimensions which were integral multiples of large graduations of Lothal scale of 25 millimeters (1.0 inches).[1]

Religion and disposal of the dead

The people of Lothal worshiped a fire god, speculated to be the horned deity depicted on seals named Atha (Athar) and Arka. The presence of fire-altars where sacrifices of animals and cattle were apparently conducted confirms the worship of a fire god. Archaeologists have discovered gold pendants, charred ashes of terra-cotta cakes and pottery, bovine remains, beads and other signs that may indicate the practice of the Gavamayana sacrifice, associated with the ancient Vedic religion. Evidence points to animal worship but not the worship of the Mother Goddess evidenced in other Harappan cities—experts consider that a sign of the existence of diversity in religious traditions. A sea goddess, perhaps cognate with the general Indus-era Mother Goddess, may have been worshiped. Today, the local villagers likewise worship a sea goddess, Vanuvati Sikotarimata, suggesting a connection with the ancient port's traditions and historical past as an access to the sea. But archaeologists also discovered that the practice had been given up by 2000 B.C.E. (determined by the difference in burial times of the carbon-dated remains). The practice may have occurred only on occasion. Given the small number of graves discovered—only 17 in an estimated population of 15,000—the citizens of Lothal may have also practiced cremation of the dead. Post-cremation burials have been noted in other Indus sites like Harappa, Mehi and Damb-Bhuti.[1] The mummified remains of an Assyrian and an Egyptian corpse have been discovered at the Tell.

Metallurgy and jewellery

A carved stone tool, possibly a chisel-head.

Lothali copper lacks the arsenic typically used by coppersmiths across the rest of the Indus valley. The city imported ingots from sites on the Arabian peninsula. Workers mixed tin with copper for the manufacture of celts, arrowheads, fishhooks, chisels, bangles, rings, drills and spearheads, although leaving little evidence of weapon manufacturing. They also employed advanced metallurgy in following the cire perdue technique of casting, and used more than one-piece molds for casting birds and animals.[1]

Lothal had been one of the most important centers of production for shell-working, owing to the abundance of chank shell of high quality found in the Gulf of Kutch and near the Kathiawar coast. Gamesmen, beads, unguent vessels, chank shells, ladles and inlays were made for export and local consumption. Components of stringed musical instruments like the plectrum and the bridge were made of shell. An ivory workshop operated under strict official supervision, and the domestication of elephants has been suggested. An ivory seal, and sawn pieces for boxes, combs, rods, inlays and ear-studs have been found during excavations.[1] Lothal produced a large quantity of gold ornaments—the most attractive item being microbeads of gold in five strands in necklaces, unique for being less than 0.25 millimeters (0.010 inches) in diameter. Cylindrical, globular and jasper beads of gold with edges at right angles resemble modern pendants used by women in Gujarat in plaits of hair. A large disc with holes recovered from a sacrificial altar compares with the rukma worn by Vedic priests. Studs, cogwheel and heart-shaped ornaments of fainence and steatite were popular in Lothal. A ring of thin copper wire turned into double spirals resembles the gold-wire rings used by modern Hindus for weddings.[7]


Pieces of red clay pottery.

The discovery of etched carnelian beads and non-etched barrel beads in Kish and Ur (modern Iraq), Jalalabad (Afghanistan) and Susa (Iran) attest to the popularity of the Lothal-centric bead industry across West Asia.[1] The lapidaries show a refined taste in selecting stones of variegated colors, producing beads of different shapes and sizes. The methods of Lothal bead-makers were so advanced that no improvements have been noted over 4,000 years—modern makers in the Khambhat area follow the same technique. Double-eye beads of agate and collared or gold-capped beads of jasper and carnelian beads are among those attributed as uniquely from Lothal. It was very famous for micro-cylindrical beads of steatite (chlorite).[1]

Lothal has yielded 213 seals, third in importance amongst all Indus sites, considered masterpieces of glyptic art and calligraphy. Seal-cutters preferred short-horned bulls, mountain goats, tigers and composite animals like the elephant-bull for engravings. A short inscription of intaglio appears in almost every seal. Stamp seals with copper rings inserted in a perforated button sealed cargo, with impressions of packing materials like mats, twisted cloth and cords—a fact verified only at Lothal. Quantitative descriptions, seals of rulers and owners were stamped on goods. A unique seal found Bahrain—circular, with motif of a dragon flanked by jumping gazelles—had been found.[1]

Lothal offers two new types of potter work—a convex bowl with or without stud handle, and a small jar with flaring rim, both in the micaceous Red Ware period—not found in contemporary Indus cultures. Lothal artists introduced a new form of painting closely linked to modern realism. Paintings depict animals in their natural surroundings. Indeed, upon one large vessel, the artist depicts birds—with fish in their beaks—resting in a tree, while a fox-like animal stands below. That scene bears resemblance to the story of the crow and cunning fox in Panchatantra. Careful portrayals suggests artistic imagination—for example, several birds with legs aloft in the sky suggest flight, while half-opened wings suggest imminent flight. The story of the thirsty crow and deer appears on a miniature jar—of how the deer could not drink from the narrow-mouth of the jar, while the crow succeeded by dropping stones in the jar. The features of the animals appear clear and graceful. The positioning of limbs and facial features suggest movements and emotions—in a 15 _ 5 centimeters (6 _ 2 inches) jar without overcrowding.[1]

A complete set of terra-cotta gamesmen, comparable to modern chessmen, has been found in Lothal—animal figures, pyramids with ivory handles and castle-like objects (similar to the chess set of Queen Hatshepsut in Egypt).[1] The realistic portrayal of human beings and animals suggests a careful study of anatomical and natural features. The bust of a male with slit eyes, sharp nose and square-cut beard calls to mind Sumerian figures, especially stone sculptures from Mari. In images of men and women, muscular and physical features appear sharp, prominently marked. Terra-cotta models also identify the differences between species of dogs and bulls, including those of horses. Animal figures with wheels and a movable head were used as toys.

Excavated Lothal

The main well.

On plan, Lothal stands 285 meters (935 feet) north-to-south and 228 meters (748 feet) east-to-west. At the height of its habitation, it covered a wider area since remains have been found 300 meters (1000 feet) south of the Tell. Due to the fragile nature of unbaked bricks and frequent floods, the superstructures of all buildings have receded. Dwarfed walls, platforms, wells, drains, baths and paved floors appear. The loam deposited by persistent floods have preserved the dock walls beyond the great deluge (c. 1900 BCE). Erosion and brick robbery account for the absence of standing high walls. The ancient nullah, the inlet channel and riverbed have been similarly covered up. The flood-damaged peripheral wall of mud-bricks appears near the warehouse area. Burnt bricks in the cesspool comprise the remnants of the north-south sewer. Cubical blocks of the warehouse on a high platform also remain.[1]

The ASI has covered the peripheral walls, the wharf and many houses of the early phase with earth to protect from natural phenomena, but the entire archaeological site nevertheless faces grave threats to preservation. Salinity ingress and prolonged exposure to the rain and sun have been gradually eating away the remains of the site. An absence of barricades prevents the stream of visitors from trudging on the delicate brick and mud work. Stray dogs throng the Tell unhindered. Heavy rain in the region has damaged the remains of the sun-dried mud brick constructions. Stagnant rainwater has lathered the brick and mud work with layers of moss. Due to siltation, the dockyard’s draft has been reduced by 3–4 meters (10–13 feet) and saline deposits have been decaying the bricks. Officials blame the salinity on capillary action and point out that cracks have been emerging and foundations weakening even as restoration work slowly progresses.[8]

Dock and warehouse

The dock, with a canal opening to allow water to flow into the river, thereby maintaining a stable water level.

Ancient architects located the dock away from the main current to avoid deposition of silt. Modern oceanographers have observed that the Harappans must have possessed great knowledge relating to tides to build such a dock on the ever-shifting course of the Sabarmati river, as well as exemplary hydrography and maritime engineering. The earliest known dock found in the world, it had been equipped to berth and service ships. Lothal engineers most likely studied tidal movements, and their effects on brick-built structures, since the walls had been constructed with kiln-burnt bricks. That knowledge also enabled them to select Lothal's location in the first place, as the Gulf of Khambhat has the highest tidal amplitude and ships can be sluiced through flow tides in the river estuary. The engineers built a trapezoidal structure, with north-south arms of average 21.8 meters (71.5 feet), and east-west arms of 37 meters (121 feet).[1] Alternatively, the basin could have served as an irrigation tank as the estimated original dimensions of the "dock" lack the capacity, by modern standards, to house ships and conduct much traffic.[3]

The original height of the embankments measured 4.26 meters (13.98 feet). (Now measuring 3.35 meters (10.99 feet).) The main inlet measures 12.8 meters (42.0 feet) wide, and another sits on the opposite side. To counter the thrust of water, offsets were provided on the outer wall faces. When the river changed its course in 2000 B.C.E., a smaller inlet, 7 meters (23 feet) wide was made in the longer arm, connected to the river by a 2 kilometer (3.2 mile) channel. At high tide a flow of 2.1–2.4 meters (6.9–7.9 feet) of water would have allowed ships to enter. Provision had been made for the escape of excess water through the outlet channel, 96.5 meters (317 feet) wide and 1.7 meters (5.6 feet) high in the southern arm. The dock also possessed a lock-gate system—a wooden door could be lowered at the mouth of the outlet to retain a minimum column of water in the basin so as to ensure flotation at low tides. Central to the city's economy, the warehouse originally sat on sixty-four cubical blocks, 3.6 meters (11.8 feet) square, with 1.2-meter (3.9-feet) passages, and based on a 3.5-meter-high (11.5 feet) mud-brick podium. The pedestal stood high to provide maximum protection from floods. Brick-paved passages between blocks served as vents, and a direct ramp led to the dock to facilitate loading. The warehouse had been located close to the acropolis, to allow careful supervision by ruling authorities. Despite elaborate precautions, the major floods that brought the city's decline destroyed all but twelve blocks, which became the make-shift storehouse.[1]

Acropolis and Lower town

Lothal's acropolis had been the town center, its political and commercial heart, measuring 127.4 meters (418 feet) east-to-west by 60.9 meters (200 feet) north-to-south. Apart from the warehouse, the ruling class established residence there. Three streets and two lanes ran east-west, and two streets ran north-south. Mud-brick structures of 12.2–24.4 meter (40–80 feet) thickness and 2.1–3.6 meters (6.9–11.8 feet) high form the four sides of the rectangular platform on which houses were built. The baths were primarily located in the acropolis—mostly two-roomed houses with open courtyards. The bricks used for paving baths had been polished to prevent seepage. The pavements, lime-plastered, had edges wainscoted (wooden panels) by thin walls. The ruler's residence measures 43.92 square meters (472.8 sq feet) in area with a 1.8-square-meter-bath (19 sq feet) equipped with an outlet and inlet. The remains of that house give evidence to a sophisticated drainage system. The Lower town marketplace sat on the main north-south street 6–8 meters (20–26 feet) wide. Residences and workshops had been built in straight rows on either side of the street, although brick-built drains and early period housing has disappeared. The street maintained a uniform width and did not undergo encroachment during the reconstructive periods after deluges. Multiple two-roomed shops and workplaces of coppersmiths and blacksmiths have been discovered.[1]

The bead factory, important to Lothal's economy, possessed a central courtyard and 11 rooms, a store and a guardhouse. A cinder dump, as well as a double-chambered circular kiln, with stoke-holes for fuel supply had been found. Four flues connect with each other, the upper chamber and the stoke hold. The mud plaster of the floors and walls vitrified owing to intense heat during work. The remnants of raw materials such as reed, cow dung, sawdust and agate gave archaeologists insight on how the kiln operated. A large mud-brick building faces the factory, and its significance has noted by its plan. Four large rooms and a hall, with an overall measurement of 17.1 _ 12.8 meters (56 _ 42 ft). The hall has a large doorway, and a fire-altar posed on a raised floor in the southern corner of the building. A square terra-cotta stump in the center associates with the place of worship found in the sister site of Kalibangan (in Rajasthan), making that a primary center of worship for Lothal's people.[1]


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 S. R. Rao, Lothal: A Harappan Port Town, 1955-62 Volume 2 (Archaeological Survey of India, 1985).
  2. Robert W. Bradnock, Roma Bradnock, and Anil Mulchandani, Rajasthan & Gujarat handbook: The travel guide (Bath: Footprint Handbooks, 2001, ISBN 9781900949927).
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Lawrence S. Leshnik, "The Harappan Port at Lothal: Another View" American Anthropologist 70(5) (October, 1968).
  4. 4.0 4.1 A.S. Khadikar, N. Basaviah, T. K. Gundurao, and C. Rajshekhar, "Paleoenvironments around Lothal" Journal of the Indian Geophysics Union 8(1) (2004).
  5. 5.0 5.1 Bridget Allchin and F. Raymond Allchin, The Rise of Civilization in India and Pakistan (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982, ISBN 9780521242448).
  6. A. Ghosh, (ed.), An Encyclopaedia of Indian Archaeology (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1990, ISBN 9789004092648).
  7. S. R. Rao, Lothal and the Indus Civilization (New York: Asia Pub. House, 1973, ISBN 978-0210222782).
  8. Janyala Sreenivas, "Harappan mound needs the kiss of life" The Indian Express.

ISBN links support NWE through referral fees

  • Allchin, Bridget, and F. Raymond Allchin. The Rise of Civilization in India and Pakistan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982. ISBN 9780521242448
  • Bradnock, Robert W., Roma Bradnock, and Anil Mulchandani. Rajasthan & Gujarat handbook: The travel guide. Bath: Footprint Handbooks, 2001. ISBN 9781900949927
  • Ghosh, A. (ed.). An Encyclopaedia of Indian Archaeology. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1990. ISBN 9789004092648
  • Kenoyer, Jonathan M. Ancient Cities of the Indus valley Civilization. Karachi: Oxford University Press, 1998. ISBN 9780195779400
  • Perna, Massimo, and Enrica Fiandra. Studi in onore di Enrica Fiandra: contributi di archeologia egea e vicinorientale. Paris: de Boccard, 2005. ISBN 9782701801933
  • Rao, S. R. Lothal and the Indus Civilization. New York: Asia Pub. House, 1973. ISBN 978-0210222782
  • Rao, S. R. Lothal: A Harappan Port Town, 1955-62 Volume 1. Archaeological Survey of India, 1979. ASIN B007ZN18Q0
  • Rao, S. R. Lothal: A Harappan Port Town, 1955-62 Volume 2. Archaeological Survey of India, 1985. ASIN B074QCDTJT

External links

All links retrieved April 18, 2023.


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