7. The Indus Valley Civilisation

The Indus Valley Civilisation did not represent a unified, centralized state. It rather consisted of individual city-states interconnected by common culture, language, ceramics and effective trade network. The largest communities of The Indus Valley Civilisation could accommodate as many as 40,000 inhabitants. These cities included Harappa, Mohenjodaro, Dholavira, Lhotal and others. All the identified communities share significant common features. The cities were located in the proximity of rivers. In the times of their peak boom, they were divided into three parts - the upper town, the lower town and the free area between the upper and lower towns. The upper town was usually lying in the west, where an artificial hillock (Acropolis) was built of loam and bricks. This hillock was topped with a citadel, so-called granary and sometimes also a water reservoir probably used for ritual baths (Mohenjodaro). The whole of the Acropolis was surrounded by a fortified wall. The lower town, with houses arranged into a regular lattice pattern, was lying adjacent to the upper town with the biggest buildings. One- and two-storey buildings from baked bricks were grouped into blocks around the central courtyard. The houses could be entered only from the side streets, which were crossing the main streets in a regular, rectangular pattern. Most of the houses possessed their own wells. Crafts production in the lower town was generally concentrated to certain areas only. Cemetery was always lying next to the city; the graves were elongate and the dead were buried along with grave vessels, their heads pointing towards the north. Most of the houses had their own bathrooms and flushing toilets. The bathrooms probably served not only hygienic purposes but also ritual purposes (washing).158) Drainage of water was designed on gravity basis with water flowing across inclined floor to the outlet. Household sewage pipes were made from bricks and connected with a sewage system following the main streets and covered with large stone slabs or bricks.159) A characteristic feature of the Indus Valley Civilisation was the employment of baked bricks with a standard size of 1:2:4.

The Indus Valley Civilisation or Indus Sarasvati civilization developed independently of the Sumerian civilisation. Its origins continued older traditions of the local Neolithic and first Chalcolithic groups of population. The first traces of rural-municipal settlements on the Indian subcontinent were found by French and Pakistani archaeologists on the Bolan river in the Baluchistan area (see Plate 4, p. 130 A)). The Mehrgarh archaeological site, lying in this area, was inhabited from the 7th to the 3rd millennium B.C. The earliest settlement at Mehrgarh is represented by finds of marine shells from the Indian Ocean and pendants of central Asian turquoise, later also carnelian and lazurite. At around 3000 B.C., the community of Mehrgarh grew to reach the area of approximately 75 hectares (185 acres). Samples of its typical ceramics, decorated with black colour on red colour, were found as far as in Baluchistan, Sindh and Afghanistan.157) Other cultures preceding, or synchronous with, the spread of the Indus Valley Civilisation appeared in the Kveta valley, communities of Amri, Harappa and Kot Diji in the Indus River valley, Kalibangan in the northern Rajasthan and early agricultural communities from the Sarasvati River valley from the 4th millennium. The Indus Valley Civilisation existed between 3300 (3500) B.C. and 1300 B.C. The oldest phases of the Indus Valley Civilisation were newly defined on the basis of the investigations at Harappa supervised by Dr. Jonathan Mark Kenoyera and Dr. Richard H. Meadowav in 1996-1998 (see Table 16 Chronology of the. Indus Valley Civilisation, p. 104 A) 154)) The Ravi phase, named after the near river of Ravi, is now considered the oldest period of Harappa. Now, a more precise specification of the beginning of this phase to ca. 3500 B.C. is considered: at this time, a small village existed at the site of the later Harappa with a population of several tens of thousands. Finds from this earliest period also include fragments of ceramic vessels (ca. 3300 B.C.) with the first inscriptions. Some inscriptions were made on the bottom of the pottery before firing. Other inscriptions were made after firing.W155)

The Indus Valley Civilisation evolved under somewhat different climatic conditions than the present conditions in the area. Monsoons, carrying precipitations from the Arabian Sea, reach the southernmost part of the former Indus Valley Civilisation (Gulf of Khambhat and penisula Kathiawar) some time after June 10. Farther northwest, monsoons come to the Indus River valley at about July 15. Average monsoonal precipitations decrease from 800 mm to 50 mm from the Gulf of Khambhat to the coast of Makran. The now completely deforested Indus River valley including its peripheral parts and the coast of Makran towards Baluchistan is formed by deserts and semi-deserts and subordinate high-salinity pasturelands. The area between the Pakistani boundary and the Kathiawar Peninsula, 45,652 km2 in area, where Dholavira is located, is called Kutch (Kachchh). A large part of Kutch is formed by Rann of Kutch and Little rann of Kutch covering the area of ca. 23,300 km2. The area ofRann of Kutch is formed for most of the year by arid salty plains covered by omnipresent gypsum-salt silt, with no vegetation and water, with relics of the last surviving Indian wild asses, separated from one another by islets of Quaternary rocks. Summer temperatures in this area reach 46 oC. During monsoonal rains, the area of Rann of Kutch is flooded by ephemeral streams from the surrounding highlands and by high marine waters. Flooding then covers the area of over 30,000 km2. Predominantly arid Kathiawar Peninsula extends further south (see Plate 5 on p. 132 A)). The boundary of the penisula Kathiawar. (viz. obrazová and the rest of the Indian subcontinent, ca. 20 km from the mouth of the Sabarmati River to the Gulf of Khambhat, is the site of the city of Lothal with the southernmost port for marine ships of the Bronze Age.

Such climate was not, however, governing the developing Indus Valley Civilisation. The unparalleled abundance or carefully built brick drains in the Indus towns has been ascribed in part to the need to canalize and disperse freguent and heavy rainfall. 161) Na nalezených pečetítkách je oblíbeným zobrazovaným motivem buvol, slon, nosorožec, tygr a krokodýl, which were obviously familiar to the artists and are regarded as marsh - or jungle - animals. 162) It can be, therefore, stated that the first cities of the Indus Valley Civilisation developed in a monsoon region in forested valleys of the Indus and Sarasvati rivers, with forests retaining sufficient moisture supplied by the two major rivers - Indus and Sarasvati - and many other tributaries flowing from the Himalayas to the area of the present Rann of Kutch.

The Indus Valley Civilisation started to devastate the formerly forested valleys of the Indus and Sarasvati rivers by unrestrained timber exploitation. Wood was used for baking millions of tons of bricks for the construction of cities. No other material was probably able to resist the high humidity in lowlands for a longer time. This is, after all, confirmed by the fact that baked bricks were almost never used in the mountains surrounding the cities. According to Mesopotamian sources, timber for constructions was welcomed merchandise also for Bahrain and Mesopotamia. Obviously, timber was used for constructions in India, too. At the same time, pasturing was on its rise. Pastures on the sites of former forests were devastated by domestic animals (cattle, goats, sheep). Irrigation-aided agriculture resulted in salting of soil. The same process occurred in Mesopotamia. These human-induced civilisation-related landscape alterations necessarily led to the formation of deserts and semi-deserts. In addition, rising of the northern coast of the Arabian Sea occurred starting from the 4th millennium B.C. This fact has been already pointed out by the hydrologist R.L.Raikes. His conclusions confirmed the investigations of G. F. Dalese, who proved that the Indus Valley communities on the coast of Makran factually functioned as ports, although lying far from the sea now: Sotoka -Koh 13 km, Sutkagen -Dor 56 km and Bala -Kot 19 km. Dales noted that three natural forces co-acted here: constant rise of the sea coast, rapid deposition of sediments in the mouths of the Dasht and Shadi Kaur, where two of the communities were located, and permanent aggradation of beaches due to the deposition of wave-transported sand.163) A similar situation also occurred in the mouth of the Indus River and other rivers. Northwesterly monsoons were bringing sand to river mouths. The rise of the coast resulted in stream relocation several times, as evidenced by archaeological finds in Lothal and Mohenjodar. The existence of the disappeared Vedaic mythological Sarasvati River in India, also confirmed by Rgveda. was eventually proved by French satellite-imagery investigations - SPOT remote-sensing technique. Based on extensive geological research connected with the discovery of the abandoned channel of the Vedaic Sarasvati River supported by studies in seismology, gemorphology, geoarchaeology, apleoclimatology and many other scientific disciplines, the chronology of drying of the Sarasvati River hydrological system can be described in more detail. 164) According to Dr. Radhakrishna the drying of the Sarasvati River started at around 3000 B.C. As a result of tectonic movements and other natural processes, the Sarasvati River stopped flowing to the Arabian Sea in the Rann of Kutch area not later than at around 2000 B.C. .165) The shallow gulf of that time continued to rise much like the coast of Makran. The absence of inflow of the Sarasvati waters to the gulf resulted in its drying and the formation of Rann of Kutch. The Sarasvati River deviated to the east and its waters probably started to become captured by the Yamuna River. The channel of the Sarasvati River finally completely dried out at around 1500 B.C. to 1300 B.C. Intensive irrigation-aided agriculture, pasturing, deforestation, timber exploitation and baking of bricks in the valleys and natural processes such as the Sarasvati River drying and Rann of Kutch formation, rise of the northern coast of the Arabian Sea, frequent tectonic movements causing - together with monsoons - extensive floodings, much like the relocations of the Indus River channel and the rise of its waters, accelerated the gradual decline of the Indus Valley Civilisation and the turn of the blooming green valleys of the Indus and Sarasvati rivers into the present miserable land.

The Indus Valley Civilisation meets all the requirements implied from the Sumerian mythological and administrative documents from Egyptian, Assyrian and Greek sources listed in Tables 11, 12, 13 and 15 on pages 93-98 A) describing Dilmun and Atlantis. The region of the Indus Valley Civilisation is identical with the description of Atlantis in the Critias and Timaeus dialogues (see Table 12 on p. 94 A)) and lies in the region where Atlantis was supposed to lie according to Plato (see Map No. 5 Location of Atlantis, p. 59 A)). This civilisation was lying on the coast of the outer world sea (Atlantic Sea of the Greeks). The region of the Indus Valley Civilisation was delimited by the lowland of the Indus River valley in the west and by the valley of the Sarasvati River, now already dry, in the east.. The valley was inclined to the south, as stated by Plato, and the rivers flowed into the Arabian Sea. (The Sarasvati River flowed to the Arabian Sea at the site of the present Rann of Kutch near the Khadir Island .) The region of the Indus Valley Civilisation continued across the Kathiawar Peninsula , where the city of Lothal was located at its boundary with the rest of the Indian subcontinent near the Sabarmati River. Several islands were lying between the mouth of the Sarasvati River and the Kathiawar Peninsula. On one of them, another Indus Valley city was discovered - Dholavira.

The Indus Valley Civilisation was bounded by mountain ranges and protected by the Himalayas in the north - the biggest and most beautiful mountain range in the world according to Plato. In the west, the territory of the Indus Valley Civilisation was bounded by the mountains in Baluchistan and by the Central Makaran Range as far as to the sea.. In the east, the valleys of the Indus and Sarasvati rivers were adjacent to the mountainousRajasthan. The range of Western Ghats steeply falling to the sea, lies on the western coast south of Lothal (see Plate 17, p. 145 A)), as also stated by Plato in the Critias dialogue. Unlike Bahrain, the Indus Valley Civilisation was located in a monsoon region, as was Atlantis according to Plato, and Dilmun according to the Sumerian myth Enki and Ninhursanga It was a region with a plenty of trees used for the production of timber and ship construction, coconut palms (see Plate 15, p. 144 A)) and bananas (see Plate 16, p. 144 A)). Elephants also lived here. The Indus Valley Civilisation was familiar with irrigation-aided agriculture, was building canals and dykes. Indus Valley cities were lying in India east of Mesopotamia, "where the sun rises" according to the Sumerian mythological text "The Flood story" In Sumerian mythology, it is said "Pure is Dilmun land." E1-4). Of all civilisations existing in the 3rd millennium B.C., only the inhabitants of the Indus Valley cities were paying consistent attention to their personal hygiene. They were using bathrooms, flushing toilets and ingenious sewage systems. Their religion was probably also connected with a cleansing bath. The Indus Valley Civilisation can be rightly characterized by words "Pure is Dilmun land". Sumerian text dated approximately to 1900 B.C. mentioned a mina of Dilmun, which had the same weight as the standard weight unit used by the Indus Valley Civilisation.166)

The Indus Valley Civilisation was trading with Mesopotamia, Oman and Africa as early as in the 3rd millennium B.C., exporting especially semi-precious stones, different corals, ivory, products of ivory, copper, silver, gold, dust gold, timber, wooden products, carnelian, lazurite and cloths of cotton, i.e., products generally referred to as the goods from Dilmun. Copper was obtained by the Indus Valley (Dilmun) merchants not only from Rajasthan, but was also imported from Oman. According to Weisgerberg, the copper from Oman contained arsenic. Only in Lothal, arsenic-containing copper was purified by refining and other chemical processes. Out of more than 3000 copper/bronze objects chemically examined and analysed by Dr. B.B. Lal, Chief Archaeological Chemist in India, not a single object contained arsenic. 170)Pure copper processed by such methods was exported by the Indus Valley merchants to Mesopotamia in the form of ingots. Trading with Africa is unequivocally documented by archaeological finds in Lothal, booming at 2400-1900 B.C. Lothal of its time (see Plate 8 on p. 140 A)) was a significant port trading with the whole world. Lothal also boasted of a dock from baked bricks for marine vessels, 216 m long and 37 m wide, encircled by a brick mound 3 m high (see Plate 9 on p. 141 A)). In Lothal, a terracotta figure reminiscent of an Egyptian pottery and a terracotta figure of African gorilla were found.168). A similar figure of African gorilla of fine alabaster was found in the temple of goddess Isthar Kititum at site Nerebtum (Tell Ichcali) east of the Diyala River in Sumer from the period of Isin and Larsa..169) Segmented faience corals, coming in large numbers from the finds in the Indus River valley, also occurred in northern Syria, on Crete and in Egypt between 3000 B.C. and 1500 B.C. 171) Other evidence suggesting contacts between the Indus Valley culture and Sumer, the Mediterranean and Africa includes a local decoration having the shape of a trefoil, which was most probably of astral significance. It was found on a sculpture and a stone pedestal in Mohenjodar as well as on a stone and pottery and wooden products in Mesopotamia, on Crete and in Egypt, dated to the period between 2300 B.C. and 1300 B.C. 173) Connections also existed between Mesopotamia and Africa from the 3rd millennium B.C. already: material of the amber pendant found in the early dynastic layer at Tell Asmar comes from the island of Zanzibar, according to a geological analysis.174)

Blending of mythological motifs occurred among the cultures in Africa, Mesopotamia and the Indus and Sarasvati river valleys. This is evidenced by the find of a pre-dynastic flint knife with a handle of hippopotamus tusk, excavated in the Gabal el Arak area in central Egypt: one side of the handle shows a hero killing two lions, holding them in his arms. The same motif is also recorded on a contemporaneous stele from Uruk. The stele is supposed to possibly depict Gilgamesh: the Epic of Gilgamesh describes Gilgamesh dressed in a lion's fur, killing two lions in a mountain pass on his way to Dilmun. A basically identical motif is shown on a convex terra-cotta tablet coming from Harappa: a hero killing two tigers (instead of lions), holding them in his arms (see Fig. 20, p. 147 A)). In the same epos, Gilgamesh also claimed that he had killed tigers, among others. Myths describing Gilgamesh dressed in a lion's fur and wandering around the whole then known world in the 3rd millennium B.C. could have been known to the Indus Valley Civilisation much like the Heracles' adventures, having many similar parallels with the adventures of Gilgamesh, were later known to the whole Mediterranean region.

The possibility of navigation between Mesopotamia, Oman, India and Africa in the 4th to 3rd millennium B.C. was tested by Thor Hayerdalin his experiment. In late 1977, he built a reed boat Tigris, which was a precise copy of the original vessels of old Sumerians, as recorded on Sumerian seals but also on rock paintings in Egyptian wadis between the River Nile and the Red Sea. During his sorrowful expedition, he started from Iraq to Bahrain, across the Persian Gulf to Oman and from Oman to Pakistan to the mouth of the Indus River. From there, he headed across the Indian Ocean and finished his expedition in Eritrea in March 1978.

Contacts between the Indus Valley Civilisation and Africa are also confirmed by the collections of Vedas, the beginnings of which reach - according to the present estimations of experts - at least to the 3rd millennium B.C. For example, Rigveda gives a description of yet not dried Sarasvati river with green land and developed civilisation. Rigveda also provides reference to different voyages overseas and sections describing greedy merchants sending ships to foreign countries. Rámájana also provides a description of overseas trade between India and other countries. One of them refers to the Yavana Dvips and Suvarna Dvipa, which are usually identified with the islands of Java and Sumatra of the Malaya Archipelago, there is also a reference to Lohita Sagara or the Red Sea. 175)

Based on the above given knowledge, it can be concluded that the Sumerians speaking of "Pure and virginal and pristine is Dilmun land" were most probably meaning the Indus Valley Civilisation or, more exactly, its nearshore cities of Dholavira and Lothal. On the contrary, this civilisation could be never called Meluha. at the same time. Several passages in the Mahbharata refer to the sea and sea-voyages. The Sabha Parva states how Sahadeva, the youngest brother of the five Pandavas went to several islands in the sea and conquered the Mlechcha inhabitants thereof..176) The term Mlechcha probably refers to Meluha. Based on the old Hindu epos, Mlechcha must have been located somewhere in the sea but it was not India.

Only three areas existed at the break of the 4th and 3rd millennia which could trade with Mesopotamia: 1. the Indus Valley Civilisation (Dilmun), Oman and the inner part of the Persian Gulf (Magan), and 3. African countries on the northeastern coast, called Punt by the Egyptians. So, Africa remains as the only candidate for Meluha. This is confirmed by many indications in the Sumerian literature.

The myth "Enki and the world order" emphasizes the tall reed growing in Meluha. It is quite clear that the description applies to papyrus. Papyrus is a plant reaching 6 m in height, having a thick, three-edged stalk ended by a large cone, formerly growing in large quantities along the whole course of the Nile. Meluha is described as a foreign black land in the Akkadian texts. The designation "Black Land" could have referred to the black population inhabiting the northeastern coast of Africa. Also a second explanation is possible: the term black Meluha applies to Egypt, named Takemet (Kemet) or Black Land by the Egyptians themselves. According to Sumerian sources, Mesopatamia also hosted interpreters mediating the communication with the merchants of Meluha. Moreover, Meluha was referred to as a foreign country, unlike Dilmun and Magan. This can be explained by only one fact. The inhabitants of Meluha spoke a foreign language not understandable for the Sumerians and their complexion was black. On the other hand, the inhabitants of Dilmun and Magan were not considered foreigners in Sumer. Therefore, they must have spoken a similar, related language, and they must have looked similar in their physical appearance as well. The founders of the Indus Valley Civilisation, based on the latest research in many scientific disciplines, were Dravidians. Most of the scientists become inclined to the opinion that the Sumerian language could have also stemmed from the Dravidian. The analyses of skeletal fragments in India, Mesopotamia, Oman and Bahrain dating to the 3rd and 2nd millennium B.C. yield basically the same results. Inhabitants of these countries were of two anthropological types - short-skulled type and long-skulled type. Sumerians called themselves "black-headed" owing to the colour of their hair. Dravidians, still living mostly in southern India, also possess exclusively black hair. As shown by the genetic research led by Dr. Hussain, studying genetic changes responsible for Thalassaemia and Fathalassaemia, a clear genetic similarity can be traced among the population from Kuwait across eastern Saudi Arabia to Bahrain and India.

According to Mesopotamian records, Magan functioned as a transfer site for goods for Meluha. This implies that Meluha must have been located farther from Mesopotamia than Magan. It was only Magan to which Sumerians exported a large variety of food products. Therefore, Magan must have been the closest to the Sumerian cities. In most of the Mesopotamian sources, Magan is put into relation with Dilmun, and its proximity to Dilmun is emphasized. The westernmost communities of the Indus Valley Civilisation along the Makran coast towards Iran lie less than 300 km from the coast of Oman - Magan - across the sea. In contrast, Meluha was lying considerably far not only from Magan, which functioned as a mere transfer site for the goods for Meluha, but also from Dilmun. According to Hindu eposes, Meluha, or Mlechcha, was located in the sea far from India. Meluha could have therefore lied only west of the coast of Oman, somewhere on the African coast. Including of the African coast under the name Meluha is perceptible in the 14th century B.C. already, as suggested by its use in the el-Amar correspondence.177) The designation "black land" for Meluha, referring to the complexion of the rulers of Meluha, is also indicated by the inscription of the Assyrian king Sargon II and his successor Sennacherib. They situated Meluha to Upper Egypt, ruled by the 25th dynasty of black monarchs of Nubian origin in years 745-664 B.C. (the present southern Egypt and northern Sudan), who progressively gained power over the whole of Egypt.

A synthesis of the above information shows that the most probable site where Meluha was located in the 3rd millennium B.C. is the northeastern coast of Africa, i.e., the region of eastern Sudan and Eritrea. This is also where the land of Punt is expected, from which similar types of goods were imported by the Egyptian monarchs as early as in the 3rd millennium B.C. as the goods imported from Meluha by the Sumerians and Akkadians. Later, after the geographical knowledge of the Babylonians and Assyrians reached a higher level, Meluha was identified directly with Egypt. Probable locations of Dilmun, Magan and Meluha in the 3rd millennium B.C. are shown on Map No. 8 on p. 115 A). (on Map No. 8 is Indus Valley Civilisation =Protoindická civilizace) A change in the traditional terminology in the designation of Dilmun could have really occurred some time after 2000 B.C. This was followed by the decline of the city of Dholavira with a population of 20,000, probably in connection with the drying of the Sarasvati River and failure of the whole Sarasvati hydrological system. The merchants from Dilmun probably moved to Bahrain in the same period, which could later result in the transfer of the name of Dilmun to Bahrain.

In 1967, Jagat Pati Joshi, the former director of ASI, discovered the Indus Valley city of Dholavira. Dholavira (see Plate 10 on p. 141, Plate 11 on p. 142 A)), with its coloured and loam houses and gigantic water-supply system bringing water through the ramparts to the city, not only fits all data given by Plato for Atlantis and its seat city including the dating, but also corresponds to the description of Dilmun provided by the Mesopotamian sources. Dholavira (23° 53’ N, 70° 13’ E) is situated in an island called Khadir, situated in the Great Rann, Taluka Bhachau, district Kachchh, Gujarat State, India.178) Sea gulf was located in the area of the present Rann of Kutch, surrounding the island of Khadir, in the 3rd millennium B.C. This is evidenced by the concluded geological investigations in the Kutch area related to the find of the lost river of Sarasvati, finds of sea shells and anklets made of oyster shells in Dholavira, and by Sanskrit textsof India. Three major rivers were entering the sea gulf here (from west to east): Indus, Sarasvati a Lavanavat. The island of Khadir was located, as also stated about Dilmun in the Epic of Gilgamesh, at the mouth of these rivers. The desiccating sea around Khadir was of elevated salinity. It can be, therefore, literally called "Salty Sea" as in the inscription of Sargon II or "Death Waters" as in the 11th tablet of the Epic of Gilgamesh, which was the name for the sea surrounding Dilmun.

In the opinion of Bisht, Dholavira poses one of the three most important and largest centres of the Indus Valley Civilisation, and can be compared to Mohenjodar and Harappa in its significance. In the period of its boom, Dholavira had at least 20,000 inhabitants. It was built on a gently inclined surface between two rivers - Mansar in the north and Manhar in the south. The city, surrounded by massive stone and loam wall 5 m thick, was rectangular in plan view and consisted of three independently fortified segments: citadel or Acropolis, central town and lower town (see Plate 12 on p. 142, Plate 13 on p. 143 and Plate 14 on p. 143 A)). According to Bisht, the monarch was living in a strongly fortified inner Acropolis 16 m high, the walls of which were up to 18 m wide. The central town with roomy houses was probably inhabited by merchants. The lower town with densely spaced smaller houses was inhabited by the rest of the population. The city delimited by ramparts with four gates covered an area of approx. 48 hectares (119 acres) but the overall area of the city including the buildings outside the ramparts was reaching 100 hectares (247 acres). (For a plan of Dholavira in its boom period in 3rd millennium B.C. see Map No. 9 on p. 119 A).) Similarly as in Mohenjodar, Dholavira possessed an ingenious sewage system and inner baths. Two stadiums were present in the city, one of which, 300 by 50 m in size being probably the oldest and the largest multifunctional stadium in the world. It may have also served as occasional bazaar. Dholavira was a coloured city, as also mentioned by Plato about the seat town of Atlantis. The buildings and maybe also the roofs were plastered with pink or white clay by the Dholavirans. The urban structure was defined by main streets and secondary streets of standard widths, regularly intersecting at right angles. Reservoirs collecting and distributing water within the limits given by the ramparts covered almost one-third of the city area. Dholavira was lying in monsoon region and was supplied by water from the rivers of Mansar and Manhar. during monsoon periods. Water was brought to the city through the ramparts by two canals with dykes and stored in giant reservoirs carved in rock. This fits the description of two water-supply canals Plato used in the Critias dialogue for the seat town of Atlantis. Giant reservoirs (the largest measuring 263 feet by 39 feet and 24 feet in depth) together held more than 325,000 cubic yards of water. 179) The reservoirs were built along the eastern and western walls of the outer fortification inside the city beyond ramparts. Water was also drained to a reservoir in the Acropolis itself through a canal. Archaeological investigations revealed traces of extensive building repairs after a devastating earthquake, also mentioned in the Timaeus dialogue by Plato.

Dholavira existed for almost the whole duration of the Indus Valley Civilisation from 3000 B.C. (newly 3300 B.C.) to 1900 B.C. In the first phase around 3000 B.C. (year 3300 is suggested on the basis of the latest research), settlers came to Dholavira from outside. According to Gregory Possehl, curator of the University of Pennsylvania Museum, these settlers were already experienced in the planned construction of the city, and built a fortified city from massive stone and bricks. According to Bisht, Dholavira in the times of its biggest fame resembled a lake city surrounded by freshwater reservoirs. It also contained very diligently carved columns of polished stone, which is supposed to have been exploited during the carving of canals and reservoirs into rock, as also reported by Plato. Slow stagnation and deterioration of the urban establishment occurred during the 5th phase at around 2100 B.C., probably related to the gradual filling of the sea gulf at the site of the present Rann of Kutch. After the Sarasvati River stopped flowing to the sea in the present Kachchh area near Dholavira around 2000 B.C., the city became deserted. Dholavira was the city of merchants, as emphasized by Plato. Archaeological investigations in Dholavira revealed 22,000 different artefacts, especially including beautiful ceramics, terra-cotta and clay figures, imported lapis lazuli, gold (no chemical analysis has been made yet), silver, copper, golden microcorals, copper products, corals, ivory, shells, Indus Valley weight and many seals with traditional Indus Valley motifs.

Natural processes causing the uplift of the Arabian Sea coast and drying of the Sarasvati River flowing to the Arabian Sea near Dholavira were accompanied by extensive local floodings in the Kutch area. Shallow marine gulf was progressively turned into swamps, which became inaccessible for the Indus Valley ships exactly as described in the Timaeus dialogue by Plato: But afterwards there occurred violent earthquakes and floods; .... and the island of Atlantis in like manner disappeared in the depths of the sea. For which reason the sea in those parts is impassable and impenetrable, because there is a shoal of mud in the way; and this was caused by the subsidence of the island. T28)

In the Critias dialogue, Plato described regular ritual sacrifice of bulls in Atlantis:There were bulls who had the range of the temple of Poseidon; and the ten kings, being left alone in the temple, after they had offered prayers to the god that they might capture the victim which was acceptable to him, hunted the bulls, without weapons but with staves and nooses; and the bull which they caught they led up to the pillar and cut its throat over the top of it so that the blood fell upon the sacred inscription. Now on the pillar, besides the laws, there was inscribed an oath invoking mighty curses on the disobedient. When therefore, after slaying the bull in the accustomed manner, they had burnt its limbs, they filled a bowl of wine and cast in a clot of blood for each of them; the rest of the victim they put in the fire, after having purified the column all round. Then they drew from the bowl in golden cups and pouring a libation on the fire, they swore that they would judge according to the laws on the pillar,... C) A typical feature of the Indus Valley culture were its steatite seals. The seals were square-shaped, 1.9 to 3.5 cm in size. Their rear sides were usually bearing a round, perforated extension (boss) used for hanging. Some of the seals show elephants, also described in the Critias dialogue by Plato (see Plate 18 on p. 145, Plate 20 on p. 147 A)). The most characteristic motif figured on the seals from the 3rd millennium B.C. found in Dholavira are bulls standing with their heads upright above a hitherto unidentified object (see Plate 21 on p. 148, Plate 22 on p. 148, Plate 23 on p. 149, Plate 24 on p. 150 A)). When performing the image of the bull on the seal, the engravers followed a certain essential canon, which can be summarized in several points:

  1. All the figured bulls were bearing a heart-shaped cover on shoulders.
  2. The bulls were figured in side view, showing only one horn but four legs.
  3. All bulls were bearing several furrows on their necks.
  4. All bulls were turned left, their heads above an unidentifiable object. In some artistically best presented seals, liquid was pouring down from the neck of the bull (sometimes confused with the beard of the beast) on the unidentifiable object.
  5. The unidentifiable object was composed of a grooved column or a plate fit into a huge container with a thin pole.
  6. A short inscription in hitherto undeciphered Indus Valley writing was present above the figure of the bull.

Some scientists believe that the single-horned beast shown on the seals is the mythological unicorn. This fabrication can be readily disproved. A basically identical method of depicting bulls in side view was used in Sumer in the 3rd millennium B.C.: on the Standard of Ur (see Plate 2, p. 137 A)). The bull shows only one horn but four legs and the cover on shoulders. Also the Indus Valley seals undoubtedly illustrate a bull during a sacrificial ceremony, as figured in the same canonized form for centuries. The bull is standing with an incised throat above a plate maybe bearing an inscription and, as Plato wrote, with its "throat over the top of it so that the blood fell upon the sacred inscription.".C) The grooved plate is fit with a thin pole into a huge container, to which the blood of the sacrificed bull was pouring during the ritual. As suggested by the size and the width of the container, blood must have been probably taken out of the container using ladles - exactly as described by Plato.

The seals could not have served as mere signs of merchants. Basic rules of trading in Ancient times entailed the need to accentuate the exclusiveness and identity of the seller and the buyer to avoid possible controversies in the future on the possession of the goods sold or the identity of either of the two parties. This requirement is not met by these more or less identical seals with figured bulls. Much more probable is the explanation motivated by the narration of Plato. The seals show a ritual scene of sacrificing bull's blood, as described in the literature of Vedas. Ritual sacrifice was used regularly and frequently, as indicated by the high number of seals and seal imprints found. Many seals were found in the neighbourhood of the so-called granaries standing in the Indus Valley cities. The granaries stand on grillage foundations made from loam, with alleged air vents at the foot of the building. If these buildings were really granaries, they would not possess air holes near the ground because of the rodents. Rodents would otherwise surely attack the granary and consume the crops. A by far more probable explanation is that the so-called granaries were used as sheds for the bulls appointed for the sacrificial ritual. The buildings then functioned like the today's cowhouses with grillage stalls and no litter. Bulls' faeces could be taken out from the shed through the grills and the openings in the walls. This would also correspond with the effective sewage system in the proximity of the granaries/cowhouses. The seals or seal impressions found in the so-called granaries could be then used for marking feed bales chosen for sacrificial bulls only.

As stated by Plato, an unknown metal of oreichalcumwas mined in Atlantis. It was the second most precious metal after gold. The Indus Valley Civilisation really had such metal at their disposal. Finds from all Indus Valley cities include artefacts (microcorals, a disc, a hollow conical ornament with a loop ring, ornamented pins, rings) made from an alloy of gold and silver containing no copper. This alloy is called elektron. Elektron occurs as a natural element but may be created also artificially by melting and mixing gold with silver. Natural elektron, obtained exclusively by mining, contains approximately 25 to 40 % silver but does not contain any other metals (lead, nickel, copper). Artificially prepared elektron in primitive conditions always contains, besides gold and silver, a very small amount of lead. Two elektron pendants found in Lothal were subjected to a chemical analysis. As a result of this work, it has been found that the two gold pendants Nos. 15180 contain only gold and silver; copper, nickel, lead and zinc have been found to be absent.181)

The above mentioned chemical analysis of elektron products suggest that the Indus Valley goldsmiths probably produced elektron jewellery using elektron obtained from mining, as mentioned by Plato. A mixture of silver and gold was really a precious metal, with the only more valued metal being only gold. Mining for elektron in India has been documented by finds of about 50 elektron deposits exploited as early as in the Neolithic. The products imported from Dilmun mentioned in the Sumerian sources thus included not only golden dust obtained from gold-panning but also golden (elektron) products manufactured by melting of the exploited elektron. Gold mining in India has been mentioned in the Arthaśastra and in ancient Greek sources already.

Describing the war conflict between Athens and Atlantis according to the old Egyptian-Mesopotamian narration, Plato got into an unsolvable situation. The supreme god in the Sumerian, Akkadian, Babylonian as well as Biblical narrations, whether this was An, the Lord, or - as in the case of Plato - Zeus, always had a really fierce punishment for the human race failing to be as religious and obedient as he wished. The humans were always punished by a flood, which was survived by only a single man. It was king Ziusudra, in Sumer, Atrahasis, in the Akkadian version, Utnapishtim in Babylon, and Noe. in the Biblical narration. This saved man with his family became the forefather of a new human race. When Plato wrote the last lines of the unfinished Critias dialogue: Zeus, the god of gods, who rules according to law, and is able to see into such things, perceiving that an honourable race was in a woeful plight, and wanting to inflict punishment on them, that they might be chastened and improve, collected all the gods into their most holy habitation, which, being placed in the centre of the world, beholds all created things. And when he had called them together, he spake as follows:... C), he probably intended Zeus to say these words: "I am bringing the flood of water upon the mankind, lasting for seven days and seven nights, and nobody will survive it"..

Unfortunately, in the first dialogue of Timaeus, Plato described the island of Atlantis being subjected to floods and earthquakes and sinking to the sea only after having been defeated in the war with Athens. And this was the stumbling block. If Plato had followed the Mesopotamian model, the flood of the island would have occurred prior to the war. Then, the population within the limits of Heracles would have fought with the descendants of the Atlanteans who survived the flood. If, however, Plato had insisted on the narration in the preceding dialogue of Timaeus, he would have had the flood come only after the lost war. Plato found himself unable to solve this dilemma. This was probably the reason why he put the text aside and never returned to it to finish it.

And what ending should be given to the study about Atlantis or Dilmun or, more precisely, Dholavira? Only by providing an another legend on sinking of a golden city related to the same sites once occupied by Dholavira and Lothal. An important Hindu sanctuary of Dwarka, one of the seven sacred Hindu cities (sapta-purí) and one of the four sacred sites (dhám), lies in the Gulf of Kutch, on the northwestern end of the coast of the Kathiawar Peninsula. It is the original site of one of the Indus Valley cities. Island of Bet Dwarka is located in the Gulf of Kutch thirty kilometres north of Dwarka, in the direction to Kutch. According to a legend, it is a remnent of an original city and the seat of Sri Krishna, which were flooded by the ocean after his leave. The 11th book of the Hindu epos of Bhágavatapurána describes sinking of the golden city of Dwarka, the seat of Sri Krishna the eighth incarnation of god Vishnu, who adopted human appearance and gained victory of the Pandus over evil, demonic Kurus. According to the Hindu myths, Sri Krishna built the city of Dwarka as a stronghold surrounded by a thick wall in the middle of the sea to protect his relatives. As mentioned in Srimad Bhagavatam this newly built city in the sea possessed usual roads, streets and ailes.182) The city contained a number of palaces with containers full of gold, silver and grains, many green parks and orchards, reservoirs and lakes with varicoloured water lilies. All legends on the flood and paradise including the Biblical narration, Greek or Sumerian myths, place the paradise and the sunken cities somewhere to the east. Only in India, on the coast of the Gulf of Kutch in Gujarat in the area between Dholavira and Lothal, millions of Hindus believe that the golden city of Dwarka, got once sunken to the northwest of here after a major war, exactly as described by Plato.