Kot Diji

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Kot Diji
ڪوٽ ڏيجي
کوٹ ڈیجی
Kot Diji Fort from town.jpg
Kot Diji is located in Sindh
Kot Diji
Shown within Sindh
Kot Diji is located in Pakistan
Kot Diji
Kot Diji (Pakistan)
LocationKhairpur District, Sindh, Pakistan
Coordinates27°20′44″N 68°42′24″E / 27.34556°N 68.70667°E / 27.34556; 68.70667Coordinates: 27°20′44″N 68°42′24″E / 27.34556°N 68.70667°E / 27.34556; 68.70667
PeriodsHarappan 1 to Harappan 2
CulturesIndus Valley civilization
Site notes
Excavation dates1955, 1957

The ancient site at Kot Diji (Sindhi: ڪوٽ ڏیجي; Urdu: کوٹ ڈیجی) was the forerunner of the Indus Civilization. The occupation of this site is attested already at 3300 BCE. The remains consist of two parts; the citadel area on high ground (about 12 m [39 ft])), and outer area. The Pakistan Department of Archaeology excavated at Kot Diji in 1955 and 1957.[1]

Located about 45 km (28 mi)) south of Khairpur in the province of Sindh, Pakistan, it is on the east bank of the Indus opposite Mohenjo-daro.

The site is situated at the foot of the Rohri Hills where a fort (Kot Diji Fort) was built around 1790 by the Talpur dynasty ruler of Upper Sindh, Mir Suhrab, who reigned from 1783 to 1830 AD. This fort built on the ridge of a steep narrow hill is well-preserved.

Cultural context[edit]

The earliest site of this culture is Kunal (4000 BCE)[2] in Haryana which is older than Rehman Dheri (3300 BCE).[3] The type site, the first excavated site of this type of culture is Kot Diji.[4] Rehman Dheri, which was considered oldest example of this culture, is now the second oldest example of this culture after Kunal was excavated and found to be older than Rehman Dher with similar older cultural artifacts then the Rehman Dheri.[2]

Kot Diji and Amri are close to each other in Sindh, they earlier developed indigenous culture which had common elements, later they came in contact with Harappan culture and fully developed into Harappan culture. Earliest examples of artifacts belonging to this culture were found at Rehman Dheri, however, later excavations found the oldest example of this culture at Kunal. These are cultural ancestor to site at Harappa. These sites have pre-Harappan indigenous cultural levels, distinct from the culture of Harappa, these are at Banawali (level I), Kot Diji (level 3A), Amri (level II). Rehman Dheri also has a pre Kot Diji phase (RHD1 3300-28 BCE) which are not part of IVC culture. Kot Diji has two later phases that continue into and alongside Mature Harappan Phase (RHDII and RHDII 2500-2100 BCE). Fortified towns found here are dated as follows.[4][2][5][6][7]

  • Kunal (5000/4000 BCE- ),[2] in Hisar district of Haryana in India is the earliest site found with layers in phase I dating back to 5000 BCE[8] and 4000 BCE,[2] site's culture is an older ancestry of the Pre-Harappan site of Rehman Dheri which was dated to 3300 BC. A button seal was discovered at Kunal during 1998-99 excavations by Archaeological Survey of India. The seal is similar to the Rehman Dheri examples. It contained a picture of two deer on one side, and geometrical pattern on other side. The similar specimen from Rehman-Dheri is datable to c. 4000 BCE, which makes Kunal site an older ancestor of Rehman Dheri.[2] The second phase of Kunal corresponds to post-neolithic phase of Hakra culture' (also called Early Harappan Phase, c.3300-2800 BCE or c.5000-2800 BCE) was also found.[9]
  • Kot Diji (3300 BCE),[3] is the type site, located in Sindh in Pakistan.
  • Amri (3600–3300 BCE), also has non-Harappan phases daring 6000 BC to 4000 BC, and later Harappan Phses till 1300 BCE.
  • Kalibangan (3500 BC – 2500 BC),[7] in northwest Rajasthan in India on Ghaggar River.
  • Rehman Dheri, 3300 BCE,[3] near Dera Ismail Khan and close to River Zhob Valleyin Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan.

Kot Diji culture (3300–2600 BCE)[edit]

Kot Diji culture': Based on the pottery found here, it is classified as a separate archaeological culture / subculture.[10]

The site covers 2.6 hectares (6.4 acres). The earliest occupation of this site is termed 'Kot Dijian', which is pre-Harappan, or early formative Harappan.[6]

At the earliest layer, Kot Diji I (2605 BC), copper and bronze were not used.[11] The houses and fortifications were made from unbaked mud-bricks. Lithic material, such as leaf-shaped chert arrowheads, shows parallels with Mundigak layers II-IV. The pottery seems to anticipate Harappan Ware.[11] Later, bronze was used, but only for personal ornaments. Also, use of the potters wheel was already in evidence.

The Early Harappan phase construction consists of two clearly defined areas. There is a citadel on high ground for the elites separated by a defensive wall with bastions at regular intervals. This area measures about 500 by 350 feet (150 m × 110 m). The outer area, or the city proper, consisted of houses of mud bricks on stone foundations.

Pottery found from this site has designs with horizontal and wavy lines, or loops and simple triangular patterns. Other objects found are pots, pans, storage jars, toy carts, balls, bangles, beads, terracotta figurines of mother goddess and animals, bronze arrowheads, and well-fashioned stone implements. A particularly interesting find at Kot Diji is a toy cart, which shows that the potter's wheel permitted the use of wheels for bullock carts.

Progress towards Harappa Phase[edit]

Glazed steatite beads were produced. There was a clear transition from the earlier Ravi pottery to what is commonly referred to as Kot Diji pottery. Red slip and black painted designs replaced polychrome decorations of the Ravi Phase. Then, there was a gradual transformation into what is commonly referred to as Harappa Phase pottery.[12]

Early Indus script may have appeared at Kot Diji on pottery and on a sealing. The use of inscribed seals and the standardization of weights may have occurred during the Kot Diji period.[12]

Late Kot-Diji type pots were found as far as Burzahom in Jammu and Kashmir.

Massive burning[edit]

There are obvious signs of extensive burns over the entire site, including both the lower habitation area and the high mound (the fortified town), which were also observed at other Early Harappan sites: Period III at Gumla, Period II at Amri, Period I at Naushero. Signs of cleavage were observed at Early Harappan phase Period I at Kalibangan. The cause of the disruptions and/or abandonment of these sites toward the end of the Early Harappan phase remains unexplained.[13]

Rani Kot (600-1843 AD)[edit]

Fort of Rani Kot

According to legends, the wall existed during Umayyad rule and later under the Abbasid rule. The Soomro tribe inhabited the fort and later the Samma tribe positioned large infantry formations inside the fort.

The Mughal Emirs armed the walls of the fort with cannons and muskets. They were the first to renovate the entire structure. The Kalhora tribe later gained control of the fort, and finally the Talpurs saw the fort as a strategic asset especially during the reign of Mir Fatih Ali Khan Talpur, until they were defeated and overthrown by the British Empire, in 1843 AD.

The first radiocarbon date from charcoal included in the mortar of a collapsed pillar lying overturned in the riverbed at Sann (Eastern) Gate, Ranikot, confirms that at least this sector of the fort was built, or repaired, between the beginning of the 18th century and the beginning of 19th century, that is between the beginning of the Kalhoras and the beginning of the Talpurs rule. The present note, without positively solving the much debated issue of the age of the fort, points to a new line of research on the topic, which deserves future work, in order to collect more organic material for absolute dating. An Acacia charcoal sample collected from the above exposed surface was sent to Groningen Radiocarbon Laboratory (NL) for AMS dating. It yielded the following result 160±30 uncal BP (GrA-44671). Although its calibration is rather problematic, given that the curve at this point is highly fluctuating with several interceptions, most probabilities indicate that the pillar was erected between cal AD 1720 and 1828 (47.6% at 2 sigmas, according to OxCal 4.10: BRONK RAMSEY, 2009),although another interception suggests a much more recent date (fig.6).[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Possehl, Gregory L. (2004). The Indus Civilization: A contemporary perspective, New Delhi: Vistaar Publications, ISBN 81-7829-291-2, pp.72-4.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Archaeological Survey of, India (2004). "Excavations at Kunal,Haryana" (PDF). Indian Archaeology 1998-99 a Review: 11–12. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 May 2012. Retrieved 13 July 2012.
  3. ^ a b c UNESCO Karez System Cultural Landscape
  4. ^ a b Charles Keith Maisels, Early Civilizations of the Old World: The Formative Histories of Egypt, The Levant, Mesopotamia, India and China. Routledge, 2003 ISBN 1134837305
  5. ^ Higham, Charles (1 January 2009). Encyclopedia of Ancient Asian Civilizations. Infobase Publishing. pp. 9–. ISBN 978-1-4381-0996-1.
  6. ^ a b Sigfried J. de Laet, Ahmad Hasan Dani, eds. History of Humanity: From the third millennium to the seventh century B.C. UNESCO, 1996 ISBN 9231028111 p.674
  7. ^ a b Tejas Garge (2010), Sothi-Siswal Ceramic Assemblage: A Reappraisal. Ancient Asia. 2, pp.15–40. doi:10.5334/aa.10203
  8. ^ Haryana Gazateer, Revennue Dept of Haryana, Capter-V.
  9. ^ Museum at pre-Harappan site soon, The Tribune, 23 Dec 2020.
  10. ^ The Harappan Civilisation: Its Sub-cultures, Daily Pioneer, 10 May 2018.
  11. ^ a b R.K. Pruthi, Indus Civilization. Discovery Publishing House, 2004 ISBN 8171418651 p22
  12. ^ a b Ravi and Kot Diji Phase Developments harappa.com
  13. ^ Possehl, Gregory L. (2004). The Indus Civilization: A contemporary perspective, New Delhi: Vistaar Publications, ISBN 81-7829-291-2, pp.47-50.
  14. ^ Biagi P. and Nisbet R. 2009 - Ranikot Fort (Jamshoro, Sindh): An AMS Radiocarbon Date from Sann (Eastern) Gate. Journal of Asian Civilizations, 32 (2): 1–8. Islamabad.


  • P. Biagi and E. Starnini 2021 - Indus Civilization. In Smith, C. (ed.) Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology. Springer Nature, Switzerland: 1-26. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-51726-1_3491-1
  • Khan, F. A. 2002. The Glory that was Kot Diji Culture of Pakistan. An Archaeological Outline. Khairpur, Shah Abdul Latif University, Department of Archaeology.
  • Occomano C. 1995 - Kot Dihi: stratigraphic and micromorphological features of the west section of the citadel area. Ancient Sindh, 2: 85–92.
  • Madella M. 1995 - A preliminary study of phytolith analysis, agriculture and use of plants at Kot Diji (Sindh-Pakistan). Ancient Sindh, 2: 93–108.

External links[edit]