Next week I am going to Pakistan for the first project's fieldwork. Actually, it's three projects' fieldwork combined: RAINDROPS (keep reading the blog for more details), ModAgro and PaleoAsia. The three projects are very interrelated as they approach similar research questions from different perspectives and with overlapping, yet different chronologies that will en up covering from the Pleistocene to modern times.
ModAgro (Modelling the Agricultural Origins and Urbanism in South Asia) is a project of Universitat Pompeu Fabra, which studies long-term human-environment interactions in Sindh from the Late Pleistocene throughout the Early and Middle Holocene. The plan is to survey and excavate various localities to reconstruct landuse and environmental changes. This season will be the very first for the project, and will be devoted to selecting appropriate localities for further field research. PaleoAsia (Cultural History of PaleoAsia) is an Integrative research on the formative processes of modern human cultures in Asia is a Scientific Research on Innovative Areas of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport Science and Technology of Japan. The project aims at studying the dispersal of modern human (Homo sapiens) across Asia. Within this project, we will survey Palaeolithic localities in the northern Sindh to reveal chronological and behavioural patterns through the late Pleistocene for understanding the emergence and spread of Homo sapiens in the southern route especially relating to the early migration wave.
I really look forward to going back to Sindh. About a year ago I visited the region for the International Conference on Mohenjodaro and Indus Valley Civilization organised by the National Fund for Mohenjodaro. The moment I could see with my own eyes the great bath and the stupa of
this amazing Harappan site was very emotional for me.
Mohenjodaro is one of the big urban centres of the Indus Valley Cvilization, one of the biggest urban centres of prehistory, which was apparently built in quite a short time in during the first half of the 3d millennium BCE. Contemporaneous of the big urban centres of Mesopotamia and Egypt, it was designated UNESCO world heritage site in 1980 for its complexity and uniqueness. More information on this extraordinary settlement can be found on the its dedicated webpage, which offers a good overview on the site and information on its preservation. A couple of good introductory overviews on the Indus Valley Civilization and its cities are the following books by Rita Wright and Jonathan Mark Kenoyer:
Wright, R. 2010. The Ancient Indus. urbanism, Economy and Society. Cambridge University Press.
Kenoyer, JM. 2006. Ancient Cities of the Indus Valley Civilization. Oxford University Press.
A very rich online source of is the webpage harappa.com, where you could find pictures, articles, books and, in general, many resources related to this amazing, yet not so well-known by the general public, ancient civilisation.
We probably won't have time to go back to Mohenjodaro this time but Sindh has many other archaeological and cultural sites that are worth visiting.
Our coming trip will take us to Khairpur where we will be guests of the chairman of the Department of archaeology of Shah Abdul Latif University (SALU). Prof. Dr. Ghulam Mohiuddin Veesar. This fieldwork is also in partnership with the Endowment Fund trust for Preservation of the Heritage of Sindh. In the next entry I will tell you a bit more on what I am planning to do for RAINDROPS in this first trip. Keep reading!