Saturday, April 8, 2017

On the Road and Lothal

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Today we drove from Ahmedabad to Bhavnagar with a stop at Lothal. It’s hot and dusty. We’ve been having unusually warm weather for March -- more like what’s expected in May, before the monsoon clouds start cooling off the day.

This part of India is flat, hot, and dry. It reminds me of west Texas -- right down to the dust devils.
This is also a major salt-making area in India. The seawater is evaporated in large fields, then the salt is carted off to processing plants.


Lothal was a seaport outpost of the Indus Valley Civilization that flourished about 2500 BCE. This was an advanced civilization that stretched from the Indus River (now in Pakistan) to northwest India and down to Gujarat. The civilization was discovered near Harappa (now in Pakistan) when the British were building the East Indian Railway. A local knew of a source of superior bricks -- and those bricks turned out to be 4500 years old! A number of major sites have been uncovered in Pakistan, but the civilization, with its hot-water baths, planned drainage systems, and grid-based urban sites is still mostly an enigma.

The archeological museum at Lothal. It has a nice collection and lots of information, but photographs are not allowed inside.
A Google Maps view of Lothal.
The dock. This basin had a connection to the nearby Sabarmati river and from there it is a short distance to the Arabian Sea.
This portion of the town was slightly higher than the rest and had the homes for the wealthiest inhabitants. In the foreground is a series of bath houses that were fed by heated water and had a drainage system. The walls have been reconstructed.
A reconstructed drainage canal around the wealthy houses.
A reconstructed cooking oven.
The civilization had a written script that has not yet been decoded. It may be the earliest written script. This inscription is a copy of one in the museum and is on all the signage in Lothal.

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