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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, Andrew and Mark, D.F. and Mason, P.J. and Densmore, A.L. and Murray, 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 (1617), pp. 1-13. ISSN 2041-1723.

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    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.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Science > Earth and Planetary Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Earth and Planetary Sciences, Institute of
    Depositing User: Andy Carter
    Date Deposited: 29 Nov 2017 12:43
    Last Modified: 04 Jul 2020 01:39
    URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/20498

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