Mehrgarh…The Lost Civilization [4 of 4]

Mehrgarh, 30 km west of the town of Sibi and 120 km southeast of Quetta in Balochistan province of Pakistan is important for its antiquity and for being among the earliest sites to show the development of civilised activity like agriculture.
We do not know whether Mehrgarh was a lone beacon of such activity in a “wilderness of hunter-gatherers” since no other such settlement has been found yet. It is, however, likely that it was not alone. There must have been other similar and as yet undiscovered settlements along the Indus valley that would later provide the foundation for the rise of the first civilization in the area, the Indus civilization.
The earliest human activity in Asia after Mehrgarh of which we have archaeological evidence, centered on Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa, chief cities of the Indus valley civilization. An astonishing feature of this pre-Aryan urban culture was its advanced system of public sanitation.
There were numerous wells, bathrooms, public baths, sewers, and chutes for collecting trash. Streets were laid out in regular fashion, and houses were well built and ventilated. Image via




by Mahmood Mahmood


One amazing bit of info about this town is that in 7000 BC it had a population of 25000 people, which was the number of people living in the entire Egypt in 7000BC. [8]

During excavations, the archaeologists discovered clay female figurines associated with fertility rites, and believed to have been worshipped by the natives. Similar figurines have surfaced in other archaeological sites in the province. Several of these statues are carved with necklaces, and have their hands on their breast or waist. Some have children on their laps.

The people of that era used to wear woolen or cotton clothes. Some of the deities had their braid on their back and shoulders. Most of the male statues wore turbans, which is still in vogue in Baluchistan. While the opinion of several archaeologists that several of the statuettes discovered at the site might have been children, there are many who link these terracotta figures to the religious beliefs of Mehrgarh people and the eon-old concept of the power of nature and female deities.

Moreover, terracotta figures of bulls have also been discovered at Mehrgarh pointing to the possible worship of animals or their exalted status as life-givers for the food they yielded. The figurines reveal the attire women possibly put upon; lace-like material round their waists and adorned their upper bodies with necklaces. Archaeologists are still clueless as to how they wove the material and whether they used cotton or wool to make their garments. [9]

The first use of cotton in the history of mankind has been found at Mehrgarh. This shows the deep rooted affiliation of Pakistan’s geography and economy to cotton since old ages. The local cotton which is the present day white gold for Pakistan’s economy has roots in the ancient past. Even today whenever there is good rain in the Suleman range, excellent quality of cotton is grown in the areas adjoining the Baluchistan range over the Suleman range.

The knowledge gained from Mehrgarh excavation is supported further by the nearby discoveries of Nausharo situated on the Kachi plain approximately 10 kilometers southwest of Mehrgarh, Nausharo… was excavated by the French team from 1980 to 1998. This site was first occupied at around 2800 BC before the Harappan period under an influence of the early farming culture of Baluchistan. The material culture of the site indicates that the site fell under Harappan influence or occupation by circa 2500 BC and reverted to the Baluchistan cultures by 2100 – 2000 BC. This is the period when new summer crops such as rice were introduced into the Kachi plain in peripheral regions where the Indus Civilization had formerly flourished.

Additionally, farming in this region involves domestication of the native cattle rather than sheep and goat, and the early layers are a ceramic, at odds with the arrival of a “package” from Southwest Asia. This region’s Neolithic probably developed locally.

The statements cited above show the tendency of the scholars to create confusion as the majority of the scholars are Western trained and interestingly whenever there is a mention of some historical evidence of the age old civilizations, they add a lot of ifs and buts. Same idea was floated by Mortimer and Wheeler in their book Indus Valley civilization written in 1950’s where they attributed the rise of Indus Valley Civilization to the Middle Eastern influences. The research at Mehrgarh was done decades later but the old passions die hard, the new evidence in Mehrgarh is not taken independently and the real place of Mehrgarh is denied due to lack of knowledge and wrong frames of reference.

Recent archaeological evidence especially from Mehrgarh has established that the Indus Civilization was essentially an indigenous development growing out of local cultures in an unbroken sequence from the Neolithic at the end of the eighth millennium BC, through the Chalcolithic (about 5000-3600 BC) and Early Harappan (about 3600-2600 BC) to the commencement of the Mature Harappan period in about 2550 BC.[10]

Mehrgarh has all the ingredients of indigenous and local civilization and symbolic expression of its originality, uniqueness to be placed as foremost place of human heritage and human endurance and struggle to survive in a permanently changing universe and globe.

That the domestication of animals began at Mehrgarh; the artifacts excavated from Mehrgarh fully substantiate this fact. The first pottery evidence is found in Mehrgarh.

The originality and the local and indigenous nature of Mehrgarh is beyond any doubt and there is need to accept it as such not on the bases of nationalistic or ethnic point of view but upon the bases of rational and logical scientific evidence which is in abundance in Mehrgarh. The continuous flow and development of Mehrgarh was entirely local in its scope, development, technological and symbolic expressions. No doubt around 6000 BC there was human activity in Middle East and some areas of Turkey but the developmental level of Mehrgarh in art, symbolism, nature control, and technology was far more developed and continuous as compared to the pastoral, grazing communities of the Middle East and Turkey.

From Mehrgarh the flow of civilization travelled to other areas of Pakistan in the fertile plains of Indus with more hospitable environment and relatively more refined conditions of the civilization taking inspiration and innovation to new heights from the local and independent source of Mehrgarh to its unique contours and expressions.

Indus civilization was most scattered and had a different scope and point of climax, but the uniqueness, originality of Mehrgarh will always hold the crown of being the pioneer in the journey of civilization in present day Pakistan’s past and hidden heritage!


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2. The development of the technique of carbon dating is the most scientific method to gauge the age of the artifacts. It determines the age of old artifacts as per the proportion of carbon in the artifacts
3. Personal observation and experience in Punjab, Pakistan.
4. Walker and Erlandson 1986.
6. This is proven by the examples quoted above in the article
8. This is the first urban civilization of the world see

22 replies to “Mehrgarh…The Lost Civilization [4 of 4]

  1. From the excavations at Mehrgarh it can be inferred that civilization in early 8th Millennium was much more advance than that of Egypt. It can further be inferred that technology of Mehrgarh traveled westward to Egypt with became more advance in 3rd millennium onward.

  2. Actually on the evidence of carbon dating the Mehrgarh (OR Indus or Saraswat OR Harappa-Mohenjodaro)civilization began around 9000-8000 BC not 7000 BC.It is the most oldest ancient civilization of the world.According to ancient Hindu scriptures it began around 12000 to 9000 BC.Please email that you have read (pronounce-red)me for the latest updates of the Indus valley civilization.

    1. Will you please clarify the basis of saying that carbon dating puts the earliest phase of Mehrgarh around 9000 – 8000 BC?

      Which Hindu scripture states (and in which chapter and hymn) that the civilization began around 12000 – 9000 BC?

      A reply by email will be highlt appreciated.

  3. Please dont bother about the if and buts and try to collect scientific evidence of indiginous origin of human intelect to wipe out Max Mulle’s baseless hypothesis .Try to establish the fact that the unique environmental condition that was existing in the region was responsible for the emergence of such a wonderful civilization and human intelect which was almost imposible to emerge in hostile deserts and snow bound areas of the world . Its really a very informative article and is in accordence with the mentioned aim and objdtives of this blog . Thaks

  4. I think this discovery is very exciting and ties in with the slowly melting Ice Age which built up dams of meltwater which burst three times, to geologists knowledge, causing enormous tsunamis which drowned many civilisations on the coasts from the Beringian and Canadian ice blocks, through Japan, China, and the Sunda Shelf, Sri Lanka, India and the Arabian Gulf, producing stories of Krishnas billowing sea which swallowed uo Dwarka, Utnapishtim’s Sumeria and caused a large gap in our knowledge. Perhaps we will find them under the sea in these places. See Graham Hancock and Steven Oppenheimer and Prof B R Rao.

  5. The title of the article is misleading in the sense that we the Hindus claim that we follow a religion called SANATAN DHARMA i.e. It is a religion with no known beginning and no known end. Then how the resultant civilization could be declared as lost civilization? In fact the modern Indian civilization is the manifestation of good old ancient civilization.. Prof B. R. Rao, Prof G. D. Sharma and their colleagues all around the world are working on this wonderful early civilization in that regard.

    1. @Dr. AKT
      This is an historical document & not a religious one. It discusses the Mehrgarh civilization, the oldest one in human history & pertains to the times when nuances of Hindu religion or for that matter of any other religion (which is recognized as established religion today) were hardly recognizable.
      You may claim Mehrgarh civilization as a Hindu civilization but facts remain facts. MehrgaRians had nothing of the sort you believe them to have. So Dr. Sahib, plz try to see history from a humanist angle and not a Hindu angle.
      A biased and a partisan angle of looking at history does neither serve the purpose of a serious study of history nor does it do any service to Hinduism.

  6. Excellant article.What surprises me is the statement that rice was the staple food. It is always Barley and wheat.Please elaborate on this aspect.Since food habits have strong relationship with developmet.

  7. Mehragarh excavations have undoubtedly brought to light the origin of the Indus civilization apart from throwing light to many other intriguing questions related to the Harappan culture. But the migration pattern of the Harappans is still being studied, specially in Indian land. I , Harendra Prasad Sinha, being an archaeologist, am working to locate the remains of Harappans in the state of Jharkhand in India. In fact, Jharkhand is a state where about 32 tribes are found. Among some of the tribes, it has been observed that even today they worship some of the well known Harappan/Indus script signs (Harappan characters) and in their traditional folk songs, they claim their relationships to the Harappans and also that their ancestors came to this land (Jharkhand) via the galleries of the Vindhya range of hills (in Maharashtra state).So, if probed properly, we can get evidences of the remains of the Harappans in Jharkhand.It may help on solving the riddles of the migratory pattern of the Harappans after the fall of the historical cities of Harappa and Mohenjodaro.

  8. plz make it correct, Mehrgarh is not a Pakistani wonder, nor is it in Pakistan…………Mehrgarh is situated in Balochistan, an occupied territory.Maqbuza Balochistan ko app log Pakistan kyon kaytay ho ?

    1. @Waju, Balochistan is part of Pakistan because the Indus Valley Civilisation has interconnected the Baloch lands with Sindh and Punjab since millenia. Claimor by some individuals, scattered groups or tribes for ‘independence’ cannnot and doesn’t change the historical as wll as geographical realities. The gross negligence reaching the proportion of a Balochphobia by successive regimes in Islamabad does not mean that our Baloch brethren should strike on the roots of very tree on which they are roosting since ages.

  9. Pingback: Anonymous

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