Lothal is the name of an ancient mound
situated in the revenue jurisdiction of Saragwala Village in Dholka Taluka
of Ahmedabad District in Gujarat State. The word 'Lothal' meaning 'place of
(he dead' in Gujarati language is said to have been formed by combining the
words Loth and thal (sthal).
Lothal is essentially a single culture site. The Harappan
Culture in all its variant forms is well represented here.
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.
The Indus dichotomy of dividing the city into
a citadel or Acropolis and a Lower Town was followed in planning Lothal. The
Ruler and his entourage 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 which also enjoyed civic
amenities was subdivided into two sectors. The north-south arterial street
Hanked by shops was the main commercial centre in which the rich merchant
and ordinary craftsmen lived together. The residential sector lay to the
east and west of bazaar.
While planning the town, Lothal engineers
accorded high priority to two other needs. The fulfillment of which depended
the economic prosperity of the inhabitants. The first one was a dock for
berthing ships and the second a warehouse for storing and examining cargo.
The dock built on the eastern flank of the town is an engineering feat of
the highest order. Its very location away from the main current avoided
silting but at the same time ships could have access to the dock in high
The second need, namely the warehouse, arose
from the large volume of cargo which Lothal had to handle. Hence, a
warehouse was built close to the acropolis on a 3.5 m high podium of
mud-bricks to serve as a clearing house for incoming and outgoing cargo.
With the birth of a planned Harappan
port-town in Phase II (2350 BC) Lothal enjoyed great prosperity owing to
foreign trade. It became a busy industrial centre importing pure copper and
producing bronze celts, fish-hooks, chisels, spearheads and ornaments which
were supplied through normal trade channels all over the western province