- Dholavira is crucial to India’s prehistory, as prominent a site of the Indus Valley Civilisation as Mohenjodaro or Harappa. And it happens to be located right on the Tropic of Cancer.
- Dholavira’s location—on the Tropic of Cancer—had an added advantage. The sun is directly overhead at noon at this latitude (23.5 degrees north) during Summer Solstice.
- Dholavira was at that time surrounded by the sea and was a trading port.
In February this year, Current Anthropology published what has been called a “treasure trove” of new discoveries based on a long-term study (2007-2014) of the northwestern Indus region. The findings have been significant enough for the report to say that studying the Indus civilisation might help us understand what it takes for cities to survive dire climate change.
- Excavations have revealed three distinct sections of the township—a citadel, a middle town and a lower town—spread over 100 hectares in the shape of a parallelogram.
- An amphitheatre on the northern side was likely used for sports, community or religious events or as a marketplace.
- The citadel lies to the south, while a castle and bailey (where officials lived), also fortified, are to the east and the west respectively.
- Arterial streets divide the residential units.
- Archaeologists have identified seven cultural stages in the rise and fall of the civilisation at Dholavira. For about 1,200 years, till 1450 BCE, the settlement grew and then faded. Stage IV is considered its apogee.
- The town, by this time, had acquired gateways and towers, large edifices and a drainage system.
- Pottery, seals, weights and measures, beads, gold and silver items, copper, ivory, steatite and stones have been excavated in abundance from the site.
- Excavated evidence suggests, for instance, that the people had spectacular knowledge of hydro-engineering and water harvesting.
- Dholavira lies in an isolated, water-scarce island, Khadir, which is surrounded by the salty expanse of the Great Rann of Kutch. But the site is flanked by two rainfed streams, the Manhar and the Mansar.
- The Dholavira data provide evidence for the significance of water storage and the contribution of small-scale producers at Indus’s major centers.”