Kot Diji Civilization – Main Features

This article is about one of the ancient civilizations of Pakistan, the Kot Diji Civilization. Particularly, it describes the salient features of Kot Diji Civilization including important information related to its origin, location, and name. 

Origin, Location, and name

The origin of the Kot Diji Civilization Dates back to  3300-2600 BCE. The civilization has been named after Mehegarh, a village on the west bank of the Indus opposite Mohenjodaro and about 24 kilometers south of Khairpur in the province of Sindh.   

What are the salient features of the Kot Diji Civilization? 

The main features of the Kot Diji Civilization are as follows:

1. Practice of Farming

 The people of the Kot Diji Civilization practiced crop cultivation and livestock farming. They grew different kinds of wheat and other grains. Likewise, they also domesticated herd animals.

2. Housing 

Excavations at Mehrgarh suggest that the people of Kot Diji Civilization lived in fortified houses made of unbaked mud bricks.

3. Town design

 The Kot Diji civilization was an urban civilization. The Town design more or less similar to the later Indus Valley civilization. Like that of Indus Valley Civilization, the city consisted of two parts of the citadel and the lower town. 

The citadel was part of the town built on high ground for elites. The citadel contained several bastions at regular intervals.   The outer part of the city consisted of houses of mud bricks on stone foundations. 

6. Art and Crafts

The people of the Kot Diji period had developed art and crafts. 

i. Art 

Excavations reveal that these people had good skills in the manufacture of terracotta figurines of both humans and animals. For instance, a female figurine believed to be a mother goddess has been discovered. Similarly, a toy bullock cart also has been discovered at the site. 

ii. Crafts

The people of Kot Diji Civilization were very good craftsmen. They mastered pottery-making from terracotta and bronze-made pottery items of bronze and terracotta.

A. Pottery made of Bronze

The people of this period mastered the skills of Pottery-making with bronze as the basic substance. Most people manufacture these bronze pots for personal ornaments. The pots were decorated and designed with horizontal, wavy lines, loops, and triangular patterns. The excavations at the site reveal that people of this civilization used the potter’s wheel in the manufacture of pottery.   

B. Pottery made of material other than Bronze

The people of the Kot Dijji period also used terracotta as the basic substance in pottery-making. Pottery objects made of terracotta include pans, storage jars, etc.  

C. Crafts other than pottery 

People of this period produced balls, bangles, beads, bronze arrowheads, and well-fashioned stone implements.

D. Implements made of Lithic material

The term lithic refers to a particular type of rock used to make different tools. The Kot Dijians used to make leaf-shaped arrowheads and well-fashioned stone implements.

7. Forerunner of the Indus Valley Civilization

`According to archaeologists, the Kot Diji Civilization was the forerunner of the Harappan civilization. Findings and discoveries at different sites point towards the gradual transition from Kot Diji tradition to the Harappan tradition. For instance, the town design with a citadel and lower outer urban area is more or less similar.

Likewise, the red slip and black painted designs of Kot Diji Pottery gradually transformed Harappa Phase pottery. Additionally, the archaeologists believe that the early Indus script may have appeared at Kot Diji.

Furthermore, the script on some pottery items and sealings found during excavations also points towards this assumption. Moreover, the use of standardized weights and inscribed seals in the Harappan civilization may have occurred during the Kot Diji period.

Therefore, the archaeologists also consider the Kot Diji Civilization as the Early Harappan Phase (3300 to 2600 BCE) which transited into the Mature Harappan Phase (2600 to 1900 BCE) and then the Late Harappan Phase (1900 to 1300 BCE). The Harrapan Civilization is another name archeologists use for the Indus Valley Civilization.  

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