Lothal is located near the village Saragwala in the Dholka taluk of Ahmedabad district and between the Sabarmati and its tributary

Lothal is located near the village Saragwala in the Dholka taluk of Ahmedabad district and between the Sabarmati and its tributary, the Bhogavo, though neither of them presently flows past Lothal. There is evidence to suggest that in the past a river was flowing close to the western fringe of the settlement and it joined the Bhogavo after some distance. The Bhogavo then joined the Sabarmati which falls in the Gulf of Cambay, an inlet of the Arabian Sea, this linking Lothal ultimately to the Arabian Sea. It has been noticed that till as late as 1850, boats could sail up to the mound and that in 1942 timber was shipped from Broach to saragwala via the mound.
A silted creek connecting modern Bholad with Lothal and Saragwala represents the ancient flow channel of the river or creek. Recent palaeogeographical and remote – sensing studies confirm that Lothal was situated upon a mound that was a salt marsh inundated by tide, and that there was meandering river adjacent to the settlement which seems to be the riverbed of the tributary of the Bhogavo.
The Lothal mound is about 5.5 m high from the surrounding fields. However, the excavations have revealed that the occupational deposits go dow further by 3 m. This confirms that the area has been silting over the time, and thus the exact extent of settlement is difficult to determine. The remains of the Harappan period are found scattered to about 300 m further towards the east and southeast of the mound.
Lothal was discovered in 1954 by S.R.Rao who excavated the site from 1955-59 to 196162. The occupational deposits have been divided by S.R.Rao into two sub – periods called A and B. Sub – period A has four structural phases while B has just one phase.
One of the most important and unique structures that have been discovered at Lothal is the dockyard sunk in the earth. This dockyard, located just adjoining the eastern fortification wall of the town, is a kiln – fired brick structure which, trapezoidal in shape, is 215 and 212 m north – south in length and 37 and 35 m east – west in width. At the foundation level, the width of the western wall was1.8 m but all the other walls had a width of 1.5 m. The width of all the four walls at the top was uniformly about 1.1 m. The depth of this kiln – fired brick structure was about 3.3 m. It must be mentioned here that walls are as all straight and have no steps or slopes for entry into this structure.
There are two large entrances into this dockyard – one from the northern side and the other from the eastern side measuring 12.8 m and 7 m respectively. These entry channels to the dock were connected to the river Bhogavo, flowing towards the western vicinity of the mound through a nullah running along the northern side of the settlement.
As mentioned earlier, the Bhogavo emptied itself into the Gulf of Cambay. A spill channel with a sluice gate was built in the southern wall which was also connected to the river through a channel of about 97 cm width at a height of about 1.7 m. The sluice gate design made sure that a lockgate system in which a wooden door could be lowered at the mouth of the outlet to retain a minimum column of water in the dockyard was there to ensure the floatation of ships at low tide.

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