Ancient civilisation's modern ideas on show
Inhabitants of ancient Pakistan were building well-planned cities with private homes along broad streets laid out in modern-looking grid patterns as long as 4,000 years ago, according to latest archaeological findings.
Relics found in the Indus River valley have revealed a little-known civilisation thrived at the same time that monumental tombs, temples and palaces were built in Egypt and Mesopotamia.
The technically-sophisticated civilisation flourished for more than seven centuries before vanishing so completely from history that its very existence was forgotten until archaeologists began unearthing its treasures.
This evidence is now going on public show for the first time in an exhibition called Great Cities, Small Treasures: The Ancient World of the Indus Valley which has just started its world tour in the United States.
More than 100 artefacts from the lost civilisation include sculptures, ceramics, examples of metalwork and seals.
'The collection introduces to the public important and virtually unknown archaeological remains of the Indus Valley civilisation in the area that is now Pakistan,' Vishakha Desai, spokesman for the Asia Society exhibition, said.
'The discovery of Indus Valley cities like Mohenjo-daro and Harappa has pushed back the history of urbanism in the region by nearly two thousand years.
'This exhibition brings to the fore the importance of a civilisation that is practically unknown in the West but is in reality on a par with the great civilisations in the world.
'Many of the objects in the exhibition are small in size, but they significantly help historians understand how urban centres have shaped the evolution of civilisation.' High-fired stoneware bangles and tiny beads with perfectly centred holes reveal an advanced knowledge of technology, as do the elaborate systems of wells, public baths and underground sewage drains.