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Counter-intuitive influence of Himalayan river morphodynamics on Indus Civilisation urban settlements.

Singh, A. and Thomsen, K.J. and Sinha, R. and Buylaert, J.P. and Carter, A. and Mark, D.F. and Mason, P.J. and Densmore, A.L. and Murry, A.S. and Jain, M. and Paul, D. and Gupta, S. (2017) 'Counter-intuitive influence of Himalayan river morphodynamics on Indus Civilisation urban settlements.', Nature communications., 8 (1). p. 1617.

Abstract

Urbanism in the Bronze-age Indus Civilisation (~4.6–3.9 thousand years before the present, ka) has been linked to water resources provided by large Himalayan river systems, although the largest concentrations of urban-scale Indus settlements are located far from extant Himalayan rivers. Here we analyse the sedimentary architecture, chronology and provenance of a major palaeochannel associated with many of these settlements. We show that the palaeochannel is a former course of the Sutlej River, the third largest of the present-day Himalayan rivers. Using optically stimulated luminescence dating of sand grains, we demonstrate that flow of the Sutlej in this course terminated considerably earlier than Indus occupation, with diversion to its present course complete shortly after ~8 ka. Indus urban settlements thus developed along an abandoned river valley rather than an active Himalayan river. Confinement of the Sutlej to its present incised course after ~8 ka likely reduced its propensity to re-route frequently thus enabling long-term stability for Indus settlements sited along the relict palaeochannel.

Item Type:Article
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Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-017-01643-9
Publisher statement:Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Date accepted:06 October 2017
Date deposited:07 September 2017
Date of first online publication:28 November 2017
Date first made open access:No date available

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