Archeology / Mass destruction of unknown origin

2300BC , Duration 500Y

Event #5182: Earthquakes, crustal movement, floods, Indus Valley

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Geographical sites:

  • Mohenjodaro (click here to focus in map) (see also Pleiades #902113570)
    Pleiades_icon Moenjodaro settlement Description: An ancient (third millennium BC) city of the Indian sub-continent connected with the Harappan Civilization. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980.
  • Sehwan (click here to focus in map) (see also GeoNames #1365059)
    Geonames_icon Sehwān area Geocontext: Asia/Karachi
  • Sindh (click here to focus in map) (see also GeoNames #1164807)
    Geonames_icon Sindh first-order administrative division Geocontext: Asia/Karachi
  • Baluchistan (click here to focus in map) (see also GeoNames #1161739)
    Geonames_icon Baluchistan region Geocontext: Asia/Tehran
  • Rajasthan (click here to focus in map) (see also GeoNames #1258899)
    Geonames_icon State of Rājasthān first-order administrative division Geocontext: Asia/Kolkata
  • Khadir (click here to focus in map) (see also GeoNames #1135959)
    Geonames_icon Khōsh Khadīr populated place Geocontext: Asia/Kabul


Text #9016

Mandelkehr. The 2300 BC Event. Series: The 2300 BC Event. Vol. 1
[pp. 76--77]

It appears that crustal movements starting at 2300 BC doomed the incoming Harappans.1 … Mohenjo-daro, a major Harappan city, was found to have seven levels of occupation, separated by unusually thick layers of fine silt (mud). In one case, the silt layer between occupation levels was two meter. The earliest occupation level was found an astounding 30 meters below present surface level. Based on excavations in the region, other Indus sites were also similarly affected by silting. The overwhelming evidence is that the Harappans moved into a bizarre environmental situation that continuously increased the level of fine silt in their settlements and surrounding areas. The Harappans struggled against the encroaching mud, at one point constructing huge mud-brick platforms.2 All indications are that the Harappan civilization was ultimately wiped out because of the silt gradually covering their settlments.

For a time, the prevalent theories centered on the idea of heavy flooding… This approach was discarded since it did not account for the existence of the deposited fine silt. Deeper water would result in higher velocity water movement which would have carried the fine silt along… continuous deep flooding would probably cause general abandonment of the area, rather than a continuous effort to raise the levels of the structures. Raikes, a hydrologist from an engineering firm in Rome, made extensive tests in the area and came to the conclusion that the silt buildup was due to a local uplift starting about 2300 BC. […]

Raikes’ initial theory was that at about 2300 BC, there was a regional uplift, possibly extending over no more than tens of kilometers, inhibiting the water flow to the sea. Water on the plain, rather than flowing fairly quickly to the sea and carrying most of the silt with it, flowed so slowly that essentially all of the silt was left on the flood plain. … The current position is that it is highly likely that there was an uplift or series of uplifts around 2300 BC … The zone of the uplift has been tentatively located in the Sehwan area, north of Amri and Chanhu-daro, two of the affected Harappan sites. Raikes feels that the uplift would explain the reported damage to sites in Sind and Baluchistan around 2300 BC, since it definitely would have caused violent earthquake shocks.[…]

At the same time as the uplift at 2300 BC, Raikes feels that the sea may have extended into parts of the southern Indus valley. This conclusion is based on the absence of Harappan sites in that region… and the peculiar distribution of other Harappan sites… These sites appear to be located around the periphery of an area that might have been flooded at that time. […] repeated flooding apparently occurred until 1900 BC, when all buildings were destroyed and there was a virtual end to site occupation.

  1. R. L. Raikes: “The Mohenjo-daro Flood: The Debate Continues” South Asian Archaeology Vol. 1 (1977), p. 566; see also M. J. Shendge: The Civilized Demons: The Harappans in Rgveda, (Abhinav, 1977), pp. 246, 247.

  2. Raikes, op. cit, pp. 287-290.

Text #9023

"Kalibangan", in Wikipedia.

B. B. Lal, former DG of ASI writes,”Kalibangan in Rajasthan … has also shown that there occurred an earthquake around 2600 BC, which brought to an end the Early Indus settlement at the site.”.1 This is perhaps the earliest archaeologically recorded earthquake.2 At least three pre-historic earthquakes affecting the Indus Valley Civilization at Dholavira in Khadir have been identified during 2900–1800 BC.

KLB-I phase has left 1.6 meters of continuous deposits during five distinct structural strata, the last of which was destroyed perhaps by an earthquake and the site was abandoned around 2600 BCE, soon to be settled again by Harappans.

  1. B. B. Lal, India 1947–1997: New Light on the Indus Civilization (New Delhi: Aryan Books International, 1998)

  2. B.B. Lal 1984. The earliest Datable Earthquake in India, Science Age (October 1984), Bombay: Nehru Centre, pp.8-9.

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