Image: Lynn Fawcett
Image: Lynn Fawcett

In this composite Indus sign, a pictograph of a hut is placed under the sky. Such huts can still be found in the Thar Desert. My suggested translation is the noun countryside.

Image: Akhtar Hafeez/The Third Pole, CC BY NC ND
Image: Akhtar Hafeez/The Third Pole, CC BY NC ND

Huts in the Achhro Thar Desert, Sindh.

Illustrative Text Reference:

Mohenjo-daro: Seal: M-18 a: Jagat Pati Joshi and Asko Parpola, 1987: Corpus of Indus Seals and Inscriptions: Volume 1: Page 12: Collections in India: Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia.


This is Mahadevan's sign number 318, which I have redrawn to better reflect the original. There is only one extant example of this Indus sign.


For a long time, I thought that this Indus sign resembled a picture of a hut from the Thar Desert. However, it was only when I read Bridget Allchin's obituary¹ that I realised that there was evidence of economic links between the peoples of the desert and the Indus civilisation.

Allchin found evidence of flint workshops in the Rohri Hills, which border the Thar Desert. The workshops supplied parallel-sided blades to the Indus Civilisation². Perhaps such blades were the goods referred to in inscription M-18, which might be read as 'many goods [from the] countryside'.

Image Credits:

Indus Sign: Hut: Lynn Fawcett, 2017.


Photograph: Huts in the Achhro Thar Desert, Sindh: Akhtar Hafeez/The Third Pole, CC BY NC ND, 2020: Accessed: 15 February 2021.


1. Bridget Allchin obituary: Accessed: 14 October 2017.

2. Bridget Allchin, 1976: The Geographical Journal Vol. 142 No. 3: Page 471: The Discovery of Palaeolithic Sites in the Plains of Sind and Their Geographical Implications.