(Last Updated on : 01/12/2008)
Lothal is an ancient mound, at Saragwala village in Dholka Taluka of Ahmedabad District. The literal meaning of the word Lothal is "Place of the Dead".The site was excavated by Dr. S.R. Rao from 1955-62 which unearthed many structural remains of Harappan town (Circa 2500-1900 BC).
The entire settlement was divided into a citadel or acropolis and Lower town, which were protected against floods by a 13 m thick mud brick wall, on the western side. The Chief lived in the acropolis, where houses were built on 3 m high platforms and provided with all the civic amenities including paved baths, underground drains and a well for potable water. The lower town was sub -divided into two sectors. The main commercial centre in which craftsmen lived and other is residential sector. The most outstanding remains are a large tank identified as a dock and a warehouse.
The dockyard is constructed of fine bricks and is most scientifically designed to carry out the water flow, to withstand the force of the current and the water thrust. It is known for its unique water locking device and measures 214x36m.
The other important structure, the warehouse occupies south west corner of the citadel. It stands on 3.5 m high platform and measures 49 x 40 m. Originally there were 64 cubical blocks of mud bricks existed on the platform for providing wooden canopy to protect the cargo.
The Harappans were attracted to Lothal not only by its sheltered harbour with a rich cotton and rice growing hinterland but also by its bead-making industry. Further on the western side of the settlement there was a river providing access from the hinterland to Gulf of Cambay. The prosperity of this small town depended on its overseas trade of semi-precious stone beads, copper, ivory, shell and cotton goods with West Asia.
Discovery of several objects like a seal of Persian Gulf origin, terracotta figurines of Gorilla and Mummy indicates a strong overseas contact of Lothal.
The town was destroyed by frequent floods in about 1900 BC and completely abandoned by Harappans in 1700 BC.
From the point of view of the number of antiquities, Lothal is one of the richest Harappan site excavated within the Indian borders. A wide spectrum of the Harappan culture can be had from material things revealed during excavation, which are preserved and displayed in the Archaeological Museum, which was established in 1976.
The Museum has three galleries. In the front gallery, a canvas'depicting an artist conjectural idea of Harappan town of Lothal is displayed. There are also introductory write ups and maps to help visitors to understand the importance of Lothal. The left side gallery has showcases with beads, terracotta ornaments, replicas of seals and sealings, shell, ivory, copper and bronze objects, tools and pottery. The right side gallery has games objects, animal and human figurines, weights, painted pottery, miniature pottery, bricks, burial and ritual objects, besides a replica of a joint burial and a scaled model of Lothal site.
Beads made of carnelian, banded agate, amethyst, onyx, semiprecious stones and fiancé are on display. Beside these, micro
beads of steatite which can be seen through magnifying glass are also on display.
Seals and Sealings:
The excavations at Lothal has yielded the third largest collection of seals and sealings after Mohenjodaro and Harappa. These seals are engraved on steatite which consists of an animal figurine and letters from Indus script.
The coast of Gujarat is very rich in shell, which was utilized to make bangles, beads, gamesmen and other objects.
Copper and Bronze Objects:
The Harappans manufactured copper and bronze objects. The Harappans of Lothal imported copper ingot possibly from Oman sources.
Tools: Tools like stone blades, bone points, spindle-whorls, plum bobs etc. recovered from the excavations are on display.
The Harappan pottery is highly utilitarian.
They made several pot forms like huge vessels for storing besides various forms like dish, vases, etc. for day to day use. The Jars with S-profile and perforated jars are significant.
The games objects like marbles, hopscotch, spinning tops, dice and gamesmen, are also recovered and displayed. Some of them were attached to toy-cart which are displayed with the help of models.
Animal and Human figurines:
The Lothal Harappans made number of animal and a few human terracotta figurines. Among them, a mummy, Gorilla and a Sumerian like head are interesting.
Weights & Measures:
The Harappans developed a standardized weight system. The weights are made of various stones like carnelian, jasper, agate etc. in different shapes. They also made scale of ivory with demarcations.
Burial and Ritual Objects:
Harappans deposited pottery, beads and other objects of livelihood with the dead. The excavation of joint burial is unique to Lothal. General Information:
The Museum remains open on all week days from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm except on Friday. Entry fee per person is Rs. 2/-. Children below 15 years are exempted.
How to reach Lothal?
Lothal: Situated at a distance of 6 Km from Lothal-Bhurkhi Railway Station on the Ahmedabad Bhavnagar meter gauge section of the Western Railway. It is well connected by an all weather road with Bhurkhi, Ahmedabad, Dholka and other major towns such as Bhavnagar and Rajkot. Nearest airport is Ahmedabad.