This website was launched by Dr. M. Nambirajan, Regional Director (West) on March 31, 2017
Excavated Site - Lothal
22° 31' 21.68'' N, 72° 14' 55.87'' E

A mound in village Saragwala sandwiched between the Sabarmati and the Bhogavo, 10 km up the Gulf of Cambay, though the distance might have been shorter in ancient times. The compact mound rising about 6 m was discovered by S.R. Rao in 1954 and excavated by him on behalf of the ASI from 1954-55 to 1962-63.

The 7 m thick occupational debris has been divided by the excavator into two Periods, A and B, the first belonging to the mature Harappa culture and the second to a decadent stage thereof. The lower town provided accommodation for craftsmen-coppersmiths, goldsmiths, shell-workers and bead-makers, their shops and working-places marked by the remains of their craft. Thus, two coppersmiths had a brick-lined

furnace, a cubical stone anvil, terracotta crucibles and copper implements; a bead factory had hundreds of carnelian beads in different stages of manufacture including finished ones and a circular kiln for the heating of the raw material. The technological skill of the people is attested by bronze drills of the auger type with twisted grooves, besides flanged ones, needles etc.

The acropolis was trapezoid on plan, 117 m e.-w., 136 m on the n. and 111 m on the s. The main residence, of which no trace is left, stood on a 3.5 m high podium, 126 x 30 m, with three streets and three lanes, and had a brick-lined well and elaborate drainage system attached to the baths Lothal had two other notable features distinguishing it from earilier Indus cities-a dock and a warehouse. The former, a trapezoid baked-brick enclosure measuring on an average 214 x 36 m and flanking and running along practically the whole length of the e. city-wall, has been taken to be a dock to berth ships sailing into it at high tide through a 12 m wide gap in the e. flank; in the s. wall at the opposite end was a spill.way for excess water to escape and to lock water when necessary by a (wooden) shutter in the vertical grooves provided in the flanking walls.

The top of the city-wall flanking its e., wider here than elsewhere, has been taken to be a wharf or loading-platform standing on a 4 m high platform with floor-area of 1930 sq m, originally with 64 cubical mud-brick blocks, each 3.6 m square on plan and 1 m high, separated from each other by a 1 m wide passage. As many as 65 terracotta sealings recovered from the warehouse bore impressions of Indus seals on th obverse and of packing material such as bamboo matting, reed, woven cloth and cord on the reverse. substantial part of the warehouse was destroyed in P,III and was never rebuilt. All this elaborate infrastructure for external trade amply reflected in other finds from Lothal. A circular steatite seal of the class known as Persian Gulf seal (Bibby, 1958, pp. 243-4; Wheeler, 1958, p. 246; Rao 1963, p. 37), found aqundantly at Failaka and Rasal Qaila (Bahrain) on the Persian Gillf, is a surface find at Lothal, evidently the Persain Gulf sites were inter mediary in the Indus trade with Mesopotamia. Conversely some of the Indus-like seals found it Mesopotamia may have been imports from Lothal. A bun-shaped copper ingot, weighing 1.438 kg follows the shape, size and weight of Susa ingots, with which tht Lothal specimen shares the lack of arsenic in its composition. In addition to the Indus stone cubes of standard weights. Lothal had another series of weights conforming to the Heavy Assyrian standard for international trade.

Lothal might also have been the intermediary station for the import to the Indus valley of gold from Kolar (Mysore) gold-fields, some semiprecious stones from the Deccan plateau and shell from the w. coast and in turn might have depended on the Indus valley of such items as copper and chert, their sources being nearer the Indus then Lothal.

The cemetery of Lothal lay t,o the n.-w. of the lower city beyond the peripheral wall. Twenty graves-each a rectangular n.-s. pit-were identified. The bodies were kept in an extended position, except three which hild the bodies lying on the side. One of the graves contained two bodies, but in view of the difference among anthropologists whether one was a male and other a emale, these graves being illustrative of the practice of an would remain an open question. One of the skulls as trephined, "either shortly before death or post ortem. The graves were poorly furnished with pottery. One of them had bones of goat besides human remains and another a bovine jaw-bone. The graves belonged to Phase III, the earlier cemeteries remaining identified and the later one being washed away by floods. Considering the limited number of burials it would appear that other methods of the disposal of the dead might have been in vogue. The excavator's date for the mature Harappa culture, Period I, of Lothal is from 2450 to 1900 B.C., and for the decadent phase, Period II, 1900 to 1600 B.C.