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About Mohenjo-Daro


Pakistan’s Department of Archaeology has said that Mohenjo-daro might be removed from the world heritage list, if urgent attention towards its conservation and restoration is not given.


GS I: History

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Mohenjo-daro
  2. Other Indus Valley sites
  3. What next for the site?
  4. Losing world heritage tag

About Mohenjo-daro

  • Mohenjo-daro, a group of mounds and ruins, is a 5000-year-old archaeological site located about 80-km off the city of Sukkur.
  • It comprises the remnants of one of two main centres of the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation, the other one being Harappa, located 640 km to the northwest, in Punjab province.
  • Mohenjo-daro, which means ‘mound of the dead’, was one of the oldest cities of the world.
  • Known to be a model planned city of the ancient civilisation, the houses here had bathrooms, toilets and drainage system.
  • The sheer size of the city, and its provision of public buildings and facilities, suggests a high level of social organisation.
  • Though in ruins, the walls and brick pavements in the streets are still in a preserved condition.
  • The ruins of the city remained undocumented for around 3,700 years, until 1920, when archaeologist RD Banerji visited the site.
  •  Its excavation started in 1921 and continued in phases till 1964-65.
  • The site went to Pakistan during Partition.

Other Indus Valley sites

  • The Indus Valley Civilisation spanned much of what is now Pakistan and the northern states of India (Gujarat, Haryana and Rajasthan), even extending towards the Iranian border.
  • Its major urban centres included Harappa and Mohenjo-daro in Pakistan, and Lothal, Kalibangan, Dholavira and Rakhigarhi in India.
  • Mohenjo-daro is considered the most advanced city of its time, with sophisticated civil engineering and urban planning.
  • When the Indus Valley Civilisation went into sudden decline around 19th century BC, Mohenjo-Daro was abandoned.
What next for the site?
  • According to media reports, many streets and sewerage drains of the historical ruins have been badly damaged due to the floods.
  • However, the work of removing the sediments deposited due the flooding is still underway.
  • But if this kind of flooding happens again, the heritage site may once again get buried under the ground, archaeologists say.

Losing world heritage tag

  • There are around 1,100 UNESCO listed sites across its 167 member countries.
  • Last year, the World Heritage Committee, holding its 44th session in China, decided to delete the property ‘Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City’ (UK) from the World Heritage List, due to “the irreversible loss of attributes conveying the outstanding universal value of the property,”.
    • Liverpool was added to the World Heritage List in 2004 in recognition of its role as one of the world’s major trading centres in the 18th and 19th centuries – and its pioneering dock technology, transport systems and port management.
  • Before that, the first venue to be delisted by the UNESCO panel was the Arabian Oryx Sanctuary in Oman, in 2007, after concerns over poaching and habitat degradation.
  • Another site to be removed from the World Heritage list in 2009 was Elbe Valley in Dresden, Germany, after the construction of the Waldschloesschen road bridge across the Elbe river.

-Source: The Hindu

December 2023