NEW DELHI, INDIA, September 5, 2022 (INDIAN EXPRESS): The recent spell of heavy rains and floods that ravaged large parts of Pakistan’s Sindh province has also taken a heavy toll on the archaeological site of Mohenjo-daro. In fact, the calamity has pushed the archeological site – situated on the bank of the Indus river – to the “brink of extinction.” Pakistan’s Department of Archaeology has said that Mohenjo-daro might be removed from the world heritage list, if urgent attention towards its conservation and restoration is not given. Consequently, the administration has banned the entry of tourists to the place. According to media reports, many streets and ancient sewerage drains of the historical ruins have been badly damaged due to the floods. However, the work of removing the sediments deposited due the flooding is still underway. But if this kind of flooding happens again, the heritage site may once again get buried under the ground, archaeologists say. It is expected that UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres will visit the site during his visit to Pakistan on September 11. The visit might provide some clarity on if the site has lost some of its attributes that are necessary for it to retain its prestigious world heritage tag.

Mohenjo-daro, a group of mounds and ruins, is a 5,000-year-old archaeological site located about 50 miles from the city of Sukkur. It comprises the remnants of one of two main centers of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization, the other one being Harappa, located 398 miles to the northwest, in Punjab province. Mohenjo-daro, which means mound of the dead, was one of the oldest cities of the world. Known to be a model planned city of the ancient civilization, the houses here had bathrooms, toilets and drainage system. The sheer size of the city, and its provision of public buildings and facilities, suggests a high level of social organization. Though in ruins, the walls and brick pavements in the streets are still in a preserved condition. The ruins of the city remained undocumented for around 3,700 years, until 1920, when archaeologist RD Banerji visited the site. Its excavation started in 1921 and continued in phases till 1964-65.

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