Aberystwyth scientists discover long lost river

SCIENTISTS from the Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences, at Aberystwyth University have helped in discovering the reason behind the collapse of an ancient Indian urban civilization and the disappearance of a legendary sacred river.  The Harappan civilization stretched from what is known today as Pakistan to eastern Afghanistan, covering more than 625,000 square miles, rivaling the ancient civilisations of Egypt and Mesopotamia.

The aim of  this research was to look into the reasons for the decline of the Harappan empire. Some have suggested that the decline was a result of strife or invasion, whilst others hypothesised that environmental factors may have been at play. The particular research in which IGES staff were helping with was studying the theory that climate change was the driving factor.

Prof Macklin explains how they went about the work:

“By using satellite photos and topographical data, we prepared digital maps of the Indus River landscape, and collected field samples to determine the age of sediments in the region and whether their structure was shaped by rivers or the wind. The information was then overlaid across prior archaeological findings, providing a chronology of 10,000 years of human history and landscape changes.”

The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.