World’s oldest dock for ships found in India
The world’s oldest tidal dock has been found in India during excavations at Lothal in Gujarat. Lothal is one of the important sites of the Indus Valley Civilization in present-day Gujarat, on the western coast of India. Here, a large structure has been identified as a tidal dock for sea-faring ships (a remarkable feat for its time).
There is a great deal of evidence that the Indus Valley cities had extensive trade with other civilisations of that period. Mesopotamian records mention their trade with cities here and objects from the Indus region have been found in West Asian cities as well.
In the fourth millennium BCE, one of the earliest civilisations of the world was developing in the river valleys of the Indian subcontinent. In these fertile valleys, with the growth of agriculture, civilisations prospered. Instead of fighting for survival, people could now begin to improve their lives.
Largest ancient civilisation
The first sites of this culture were discovered in the basin of the River Indus and consequently the name Indus Valley Civilisation has remained. However, scores of other sites have been found in recent decades spread over a vast area, including coastal Gujarat, Maharashtra and eastwards till Uttar Pradesh. Estimations of the area covered by this civilisation vary from 1.2 million square kilometres to 2.5 million square kilometres. In any case, it was the largest area of any civilisation in the world at that time.
The cities which have been excavated reveal a well-planned grid with broad main roads and smaller lanes, intersecting at right angles, revealing a well-developed and sophisticated concept of town planning. There were large networks of hundreds of wells that supplied water to the residents.
A complex drainage system existed and even the smallest houses were connected to it. Houses, some with several storeys, were made of fired-clay bricks. The standardisation of dimensions of these bricks, found in many cities across this civilisation, is remarkable.
Unlike other civilisations in the world of that period and later, excavations across this culture have not revealed evidence that points to military forces or weaponry for warfare. While the art of other early civilisations such as the Mesopotamian and the Egyptian has many images of prisoners, monuments to war victories and other activities related to warfare, the art of the Indus Valley has not yielded a single such depiction.
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