A new study of the walls of Dholavira is interesting for two reasons: One, it proves our ancestors knew how to tackle a tsunami, and, two, that a select group of historians who subscribe to the flawed Aryan invasion theory have always been wrong.
Dholavira is an Indus Valley Civilization site located in Kutch, Gujarat. Discovered in 1967-68, Dholavira is the fifth largest of the eight major Indus Valley sites.
It was occupied from 2650 BC till 1900 BC and for a brief period for 200 years till 1450 BC.
There is a fortification around the middle town of the city leading archaeologists and historians to believe that it was to keep out invaders.
The British postulated the Aryan invasion theory (blaming Aryans behind the disappearance of the Harappa people) and it has since been held as the prime reason for the end of Indus Valley Civilization.
So historians concluded that the people of Dholavira built the wall to defend themselves.
Now the scientists from the CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography did a study of the ‘fortifications’ and found out that the walls were not built to keep the Aryans at bay but tsunami.
The study was conducted in February this year on the walls which measure about 15-18 metres in thickness.
Tsunami was a genuine threat to the city because during the Indus Valley age Dholavira was on the Makaran coast.
Dr. Rajiv Nigam, Consultant and former Head of Marine Archaeology Unit told Indian Express: “When we tried to probe using Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) and basic excavation we realized that the walls were unusually thicker for prevention of an enemy attack.
He also pointed out that the theory that the walls could be part of a reservoir were wrong because there is “nothing to show signs of a reservoir”.
Tsunami was not uncommon in the area along the Makran Coast. According to the scientists, a tsunami had struck the area sometime before the people of Dholavira settled in the area.
“So when the Dholavira was raised, the builders who had knowledge about the former catastrophe wanted to secured the walls from Tsunami and storm,” Nigam said.
One can note the similarity of the walls of Dholavira with that of the 400 kilometre ‘sea-wall’ being built by Japan to protect the coast from tsunami.
“The idea is the same. It means our ancestors were aware of Tsunami and succeeded in creating a defence to it,” Nigam said.
The Rann of Kutch was once an arm of the Arabian Sea. Much of what is now salty marshland was once under the water.
Dholavira is located bang in middle of an island in the Rann of Kutch lake. Over thousands of years, the Arabian Sea has receded to just 80 kms away from Dholavira to the west.