Read the passage and answer the following
Who Lived in Mohenjo Daro?1
The Indus river valley, in the northern part of what is today called India, was home to the
largest of the four ancient civilizations in that part of the world. These cultures included Egypt,
Mesopotamia, South Asia, and China. The Indus valley was a place of great extremes and included areas
of desert, mountains, forests and jungles. It was also a place of extreme climates, involving
droughts, floods, and monsoons. Despite, or perhaps because of these various features, people living
in the Indus valley developed a highly complex and successful culture beginning 4,000 to 5,000 years
Although archaeologists first visited Mohenjo Daro in 1911, most of the
excavations occurred in the 1920s through 1931. Small probes, or searches, took place in the 1930s,
and subsequent digs occurred in 1950 and 1964.3
In 1921, excavations1
in the ancient Indus city of Mohenjo Daro, located in modern-day Pakistan. Archaeologists2
discovered a sophisticated street grid and an elaborate drainage system that indicate that the
occupants of Mohenjo Daro were skilled urban planners who knew how to control water and treated it
with immense respect. But just who these people who occupied the ancient city during the third
B.C. were remains a puzzle.4
faceless," says Indus expert Gregory Possehl of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
The city lacks ostentatious4
palaces and temples so common in many ancient regimes.
There's no obvious central seat of government or evidence of a king or queen. Modesty, order,
and cleanliness were apparently preferred. Pottery5
and tools of copper and stone were
standardized. Seals and weights suggest a system of tightly controlled trade. Instead, the
city's wealth and importance is evident from the discovery of artifacts, or ancient objects,
made from precious stones and metals, including gold, as well as the baked-brick city structures
pool called the Great Bath, perched on top of a
pile of dirt and held in place with walls of baked brick, is the closest structure Mohenjo Daro has
to a temple. Possehl believes it suggests a set of beliefs that focus on cleanliness. Wells, dug deep
in the ground, were found throughout the city, and nearly every house contained a bathing area and
The ancient city of Mohenjo Daro sits on elevated ground in the
modern-day Larkana district of Sindh province in Pakistan. According to Possehl, the city was among
the most important to the Indus civilization during its heyday7
from about 2500 to 1900
B.C. It spread out over about 250 acres (100 hectares) on a series of mounds.7
ancient city was divided into two major areas, the "Citadel Mound," an area of land which
rises high above its surroundings, and the "Lower Town." The word "citadel" means
"fort" and one large building on this mound was probably part of a military center designed
to decrease the vulnerability of the city. Another nearby building, called "the Great
Bath," also occupied this elevated area. No one knows for sure what the actual function of the
second building was. Workers who originally excavated it were not carefully supervised, and therefore
didn't keep records; so much of what they found was dispersed to various different locations
before it could be sorted and labeled. Some archaeologists suspect it was an administrative building.
Others think it might have been a temple or a storehouse8
of some sort. There are two
additional buildings on Citadel Mound, both of which appear to have a public function. It is believed
that one of them was probably an educational institute of some sort and the other a large assembly
hall used for large meetings.8
Lower Town is made up of a series of smaller mounds.
These lie to the east and probably suggest the borders of several different walled neighborhoods.
Those who first studied the area thought that the different mounds represented distinct divisions
within the city, each with a separate function. The area along the western margin of the city was
thought to be the administrative center. It was assumed that the lower mounds were areas where most
of the people lived and where industries were located. However, more recent studies have come up with
a different interpretation.9
It is now believed that there were actually a variety of
different things going on in each of the mounds. It appears that a mixture of rich and poor lived in
each of these areas. Large brick homes have been found in many of the mounds, along with many smaller
structures where the less wealthy might have lived. There also appear to be industrial areas in many
of the different mounds. To date, no temples have been discovered. However, one large building with a
double set of stairs may have had some sort of religious function. No cemetery9
been found, although a few individual graves have turned up during excavations.10
According to archaeologist Jonathan Mark Kenoyer, the mounds grew little by little over the
centuries as people kept building platforms and walls for their houses. "Gradually you have a
on which people are living," he says.
With no evidence of kings
or queens, Mohenjo Daro was likely governed as a city-state, perhaps by elected officials or chosen
leaders from each of the mounds.11
Many fascinating artifacts have been discovered in
Mohenjo Daro which may provide clues to its culture and even reasons for its demise. A tiny statue of
a naked female, known as the "dancing girl," was celebrated by archaeologists when it was
discovered in 1926, Kenoyer notes. Of greater interest to him, however, are a few stone sculptures of
seated male figures, such as the carefully carved and colored Priest11
even though there is no evidence he was either a priest or a king. The sculptures were all found
broken, Kenoyer says. "Whoever came in at the very end of the Indus period clearly didn't
like the people who were representing themselves or their elders," he says.12
There is no logical explanation for why Mohenjo Daro and the whole Indus civilization died out.
Kenoyer suggests one thesis---that the Indus River changed course, which would have
the local agricultural economy and the city's importance as a center of
trade. But no evidence exists that flooding destroyed the city, and the city wasn't totally
abandoned, Kenoyer says. And, Possehl says, a changing river course may have been one of the factors
involved, but it doesn't explain the collapse of the entire Indus civilization. Throughout the
valley, the culture changed, he says. "It reaches some kind of obvious archaeological
about 1900 B.C.," he said. "What drives that, nobody
One really amazing thing about Mohenjo Daro is that no one really knows
much about the people who lived there. Some people call it the city without a face. Although a great
many artifacts have been found, they do not form a clear picture of what the people were like or what
they believed in or how they spent their time. As archaeologists persist in their work, they hope to
uncover more clues to the mystery of who lived in Mohenjo
______________________1 Excavation is
the process of digging in the earth to uncover something.
2 An archaeologist is
a person who studies societies and people of the past.
3 A millennium is a
4 If something is ostentatious, it is highly decorated and
5 Pottery includes pots, dishes, and other objects made of baked
6 If something is watertight, it doesn't allow water to leak
7 A city's heyday is its most successful period.
storehouse is a place where food or other important items are kept.
cemetery is a large field where a city buries its dead.
10 A promontory
is a cliff that stands out from the surrounding lower land forms.
priest is a religious leader.
12 When something is hampered, its movement
or progress is slowed.
13 A fruition is an achievement that has finally been