Kot Diji

Across the Indus from Mohenjo Daro is Kot Diji, another 3rd millennium and early Harappan farming community.

Similar sites have been found at Amri, farther downstream, and Kalibangan on the Gahra-Hakra river.


The site of Kot Diji today.


'Pre-Indus Valley' pottery

These short-necked pots with flaring bodies were found at Kot Diji and are characteristic of Early Harappan.

This type of polychrome pottery from the lowest (earliest) levels at Harappa was made around 3300 B.C., before the advent of the Indus Civilization. The pottery was made completely by hand (rather than on a wheel). The designs are painted in shades of white, red and black. The motif of intersecting circles (shown in an early somewhat disjointed form) on the left pot was refined and continued as a popular motif in the pottery of the Indus Civilization. The waterfowl painted on the right pot were probably part of a familiar scene at Harappa, which was located near the Ravi River.

Painted pottery with a variety of motifs appeared in many areas of South Asia prior to the rise of the Indus Civilization. Images of horned deities were sometimes painted on short-necked pots such as this one from the early levels at the site of Rahman Dheri, where fish motifs on pottery were also common.

These globe-shaped, short-necked pots from Kot Diji are characteristic of Early Harappan material culture. On one well-known example, a figure with horns and flowers (or stars?) probably representing a deity is painted below the neck of the pot on a red field.

In the lowest levels pots with short necks were found with decoration (fish, water fowl, horned 'deities') in white, red and black paint.


The mound of Amri is located along the right bank of the River Indus, south of Dadu. The excavations carried out by the French Archaeological Mission at the beginning of the sixties revealed a long sequence of subsequent habitation phases datable from the Copper to the Bronze Age. The typical Amri layers have been radiocarbon-dated to the second half of the fourth millennium BC and are attributed by some authors to the beginning of the Early Harappan Civilization.



Amri pottery

Among the material culture remains of the Amri Culture, the pottery is very distinctive. It consists of very fine wares of a light buff colour, often decorated with different patterns of black-painted geometrical designs, while the unpainted vessels often show a dark red-slipped surface. Also the flint assemblages are very distinctive. The most typical tool is the "Amri" triangle; a unique blade instrument most probably employed for the piercing of stone beads


The site of Kot Diji rises from the alluvial plain of the Indus, along the southwestern fringes of the Rohri Hills, close to the national highway that links Karachi to Sukkur. It consists of a small mound composed of a sequence of overimposed structures and anthropogenic layers. They have been subdivided into two main complexes, the first of which belongs to the Early Harappan, Kot Diji Culture, and the second to the Mature Harappan Civilization.

The site of Kot Diji from the fort

Thanks to the excavations carried out at Kot Diji during the Fifties, a new archaeological aspect of the Early Harappan Civilization was discovered for the first time: that of Kot Diji. The lowermost layers of the site revealed a cultural horizon previously unknown, which was separated by the overlying Mature Harappan ones by a layer of charcoal and ash, probably indicating that the earliest settlement ended in consequence of a great fire.

Kot Diji stone structures

The uppermost layers of the site belong to the Mature Harappan Civilization. This is clearly indicated by the presence of stone-structured walls, typical pottery forms and decorations, which are noticeably different from those of the Kot Diji Culture and the radiocarbon dates. The stratigraphic series of Kot Diji is of key importance for the understanding of the early developments of the Indus Civilization in the area of Upper Sindh.

Structures of the Mature Harappan period