Back of Buddhist stupa at Mohenjodaro. RD Banerji collected distinctive Indus seals that were stratigraphically beneath the monument / Image credit: J. Marshall 1924: 529

The Making of ‘Long Forgotten’ Mohenjodaro: Archaeology in Colonial India


The first ancient city in colonial India was excavated in 1924 by Rakhaldas Banerji. Banerji made the discovery as an officer in the western circle of the Archaeological Survey of India. Being the earliest ancient city in the colony, Mohenjodaro was introduced into public space as a long forgotten ancient civilization. In following years, Mohenjodaro served as scientific query for competing excavators and institutions, as well as fuel for popular interest. I examine the making of ‘long forgotten’ Mohenjodaro in popular imagination, and in scientific knowledge at the heels of nationalist movements in early 20th century India.

Carlsberg Academy, Copenhagen, Denmark