Drought caused decline of Dholavira

Indian researchers have for the first time connected the decline of Harappan city Dholavira to the disappearance of a Himalayan snow-fed river which once flowed in the Rann of Kutch.

They have connected the dots between the growth and decline of Dholavira, the most spectacular and largest excavated Harappan city in India located in the Rann with the fate of this river which resembles the mythical Himalayan River Saraswati.

Studies made so far have been indirect attempts to trace the river's course and its connection to climate and civilization in areas far away from these ancient cities. The research team dated the archaeological remains from all the historical stages and also inferred climate shifts through time which led to the rise and fall of the Harappan city.

"Our data suggest that prolific mangroves grew around the Rann and distributaries of Indus or other palaeochannels dumped water in the Rann near southern margin of Thar Desert. This is the first direct evidence of glacial-fed rivers, quite like the supposedly mythological Saraswati, in the vicinity of Rann" said a researcher.

Team dated the carbonates from human bangles, fish otolith and molluscan shells with an accelerator mass spectrometer and found that the site was occupied from 5,500 years ago (pre-Harappan) up to 3,800 years back (late Harappan).

The Dholavirans were probably the original inhabitants in the region and had a fairly advanced level of culture even at its earliest stage. They built a spectacular city and survived for nearly 1700 years by adopting water conservation, suggested researchers. The city expanded till 4,400 years ago followed by decline nearly 4000 years back, at the onset of the newly-proposed Meghalayan geological stage.

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