Monday, February 18, 2008

Lothal....the world's earliest dock

Lothal was one of the most important cities of the historical Indus valley civilization. Situated in the modern state of Gujarat and dating from 2400 BC, it is one of India's most notable archaeological site that dates from that period. uncovered in 1954, Lothal was excavated from February 13, 1955 to May 19, 1960 by the Archaeological Survey of India.

Lothal's dock, the world's earliest, joined the city to an historic path of the Sabarmati river on the trade route between Harappan cities in Sindh and the peninsula of Saurashtra when the encompassing Kutch desert of today was a part of the Arabian Sea. It was a vital and thriving trade centre in ancient times, with its trade of beads, gems and valuable decorates reaching the far corners of West Asia and Africa. Lothal's people were responsible for the earliest-known portrayals of realism in art and sculpture, telling some of the most well-known fables of today. Its scientists used a shell compass and divided the horizon and sky into 8 to 12 whole parts, possibly introducing the study of stars and advanced navigation,2000 years before the Greeks. The techniques and tools they introduced for bead-making and in metallurgy have stood the test of time for over 4000 years.

Lothal is located near the village of Saragwala in the Dholka taluka of Ahmedabad district. It is joined by all-weather roads to the cities of Ahmedabad (53 mi), Bhavnagar, Rajkot and Dholka. Nearest cities are Dholka and Bagodara. Reopening excavation in 1961, archaeologists unearthed trenches sunk on the northern, eastern and western flanks of the mound, bringing to light the inlet channels and nullah ("ravine", or "gully") connecting the dock with the river. The findings consist of a mound, a township, a marketplace and the dock. Adjacent to the excavated areas stands the Archaeological Museum, where some of the most important collections of Indus-era antiquities in modern India are displayed.

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