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The Oxford Companion To Archaeology
Gregory L. PossehlGregory L. Possehl


Nindowari was discovered in 1957 during Beatrice de Cardi’s survey of Kalat. It is located on a tributary of the Porali River in the Ornach Valley of southern Baluchistan, Pakistan. Nindowari, or Nindo Damb, is now an oval roughly 3,280 by 1,640 feet (1,000 by 500 m), or 124 acres (50 ha) in extent, and 75 feet (23 m) high. It is the largest of the sites of the Kulli Complex so far reported. The Kulli Complex has been proposed to have been the highland manifestation of the Harappan civilization (2500 BC–2000 BC). Size and the remarkable architecture found there make it an extraordinary place.

Jean-Marie Casal conducted three seasons of fieldwork in Nindowari in collaboration with the Pakistan Department of Archaeology (1962–1965). He found that it was built of both river-washed and flat slabs of schist, some of which were set vertically, fencelike. The main mound gradually rises from the river to a central prominence sitting on a rectangular platform that is bordered with remains of large structures. The central mound, which rises 82 feet (25 m) above the river, is composed of large, raw (unworked) stones, some of them being 5 to 8 feet (1.5 to 2.5 m) long and weighing more than a ton. At the summit is a circular depression ringed with stone. Around that central prominence are the remains of stone walls suggesting a succession of terraces that rise stepwise from the riverbank. Staircases of significant scale lead from the platform base to the summit of the mound, suggesting that this was conceived as a single monument.

Excavation was conducted in five areas: Area A, buildings bordering the eastern side of the quadrangular platform; Area B, the quadrangular platform; Area R, an exploratory trench cut on the outer enclosure running parallel to the river; Area T, a large stone box in the northern sector; and Area KD, a separate mound about 590 feet (180 m) south of the main mound, deriving its name from Kulliki-an Damb, “Mound of Potteries.” Area T was found to probably be Iron Age or later. Area KD, with an impressive fortification, contained Londo ware, associated with Partho-Sassanian times in the region.

Area B was made up of a series of cells, paved with schist flags, separated by broad passages. According to Jean-François Jarrige, “The presence of hundreds of grinding stones in the cells and on the stone platforms would indicate that these small square cells are part of a granary” (1983). Casal noticed that there were also numerous broken vessels here, with deposits in the bottoms that looked like plant remains. Evidence for what might be a pre-Kulli occupation came from this area in the form of Nal pottery. Three seals were found in the granary area. Two of them were typical Harappan unicorn-stamp seals. The third had a pattern of circles.

The material from Nindowari has not been fully published, but it includes the distinctive Kulli-Harappan ware of the second half of the third millennium BC, along with distinctive figurines (C. Jarrige, 1984). Nal ware, both monochrome and polychrome, was found and suggests an Early Harappan occupation (ca. 3200 BC–2500 BC) as well.

[See also Asia: Prehistory and Early History of South Asia; Harappa.]


Casal, Jean-Marie. “Nindo Damb.” Pakistan Archaeology 5 (1968): 51–55. Casal, Jean-Marie. “Nindowari—a Chalcolithic Site in South Baluchistan.” Pakistan Archaeology 3 (1966): 10–21. De Cardi, Beatrice. Archaeological Surveys in Baluchistan, 1957. Jarrige, Catherine. “Terracotta Human Figurines from Nindowari.” In South Asian Archaeology 1981, edited by Bridget Allchin, pp. 129–34, 1984. Jarrige, Jean-François. “Nindowari, A Third-Millennium Site in Southern Baluchistan.” Newsletter of Baluchistan Studies 1 (1983): 47–50. Possehl, Gregory L. Kulli: An Exploration of Ancient Civilization in South Asia, 1986.

Gregory L. Possehl

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