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Sutkagen Dor

Sutkagen Dor is an archaeological site of the Indus Valley Civilization found in 1875 by the British as the western most city of the Indus culture some 5000 years ago. The site is accessible via the Pak-Iran highway coming from Jiwani. Seventeen kilometres before the border with Iran.

The site is near the western bank of the #Dasht River and its confluence with a smaller stream, known as the #Gajo #Kaur. It was a smaller settlement with substantial stone walls and gateways.

 It is located about 480 km west of Karachi on the Makran coast near Gwadar, close to the Iranian border, in Pakistan's Baluchistan Province. The site is near the western bank of the Dasht River and its confluence with a smaller stream, known as the Gajo Kaur. It was a smaller settlement with substantial stone walls and gateways.

Sutkagen dor means "a burned door" in Balochi language  It is an archaeological site of the Indus Valley Civilization.

There are two sides of Sutkagen Dor, One side is situated near the Pak-Iran border. The other side, known as Sutkagen Koh, meaning burned mountain, is on the right side of the road leading from Pasni towards Shadi Kor and Turbat.

This site measures approximately 4.5 hectares (300 × 150 m).Along with the typical "citadel" and "lower town", there is a massive fortification wall of semi-dressed stones.
Archaeologists consider it to be a junction between Mesopotamian cities in 3500BC and Makkan present-day Makran.


Sutkagan Dor was discovered in 1875 by Major Edward Mockler, who conducted small-scale excavation.

In 1928 Aurel Stein visited the area as part of his Gedrosia tour, and carried out further digs. In October 1960, Sutkagan Dor was more extensively excavated by George F. Dales as a part of his Makran Survey, uncovering structures made from stone and mud bricks without straw. Sir Martimer Wheeler has mentioned Sutkagen Dor is western most site of the Indus valley civilization and has described in detail in his book.


This site measures approximately 4.5 hectares (300 × 150 m). Along with the typical "citadel" and "lower town",[3] there is a massive fortification wall of semi-dressed stones. This citadel wall varies in height and thickness due to the irregular contours of the natural rock foundation, but at one point about midway along the eastern wall, it is approximately 7.5 m thick at the base. The inner face of the wall is slightly battered, whereas the outer face has a decided slope, varying from 23° to 40°.

Coastal route

Though inland at present, the site may have been near navigable water in ancient times, on a trade route between other centers. A coastal route existed linking sites such as Lothal and Dholavira to Sutkagan Dor on the Makran coast. It has been suggested that the site may well have been an important trading post, connecting seaborne trade from the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea to the hinterland.


Stein recovered 127 flint blades without cores measuring up to 27.5 cm.[1] Stone vessels, stone arrowheads, copper arrowheads, shell beads, pottery, and various other items were found. A copper-bronze disc probably associated with the Bactria–Margiana Archaeological Complex (BMAC) was also discovered there.

An article about visit of Sutkagen Dor site as an ancient port city

In a published reports of Stein and of Major Mockler, who discovered and partially excavated it in 1876-77; remapped the major structures and natural features; and conducted four small-scale operations to learn more about the fortifications of the citadel and to obtain stratigraphic information concerning the occupational history of the city.

The site, situated on the eastern edge of the vast Dasht River alluvial plain, was built on and around a natural rock outcrop of soft, decayed sandstone which just up at a thirty-five degree angle from the horizontal to a height of about sixty feet above the present level of the plain. It forms a steep, jagged base upon which was built a massive fortification wall of semi-dressed stones. This citadel wall, the sides of which are oriented closely to the magnetic points of the compass, encloses an area nearly large enough to hold four football fields. It varies in height and thickness because of the irregular contours of the natural rock foundation, but at one point about midway along the eastern wall (Operation B) it is approximately twenty-four feet thick at the base. The inner face of the wall is slightly battered whereas the outer face has a decided slope, varying from twenty-three to forty degrees. Our Operation A-A/1, along the inner face of the western citadel wall showed that a large mud-brick platform, approximately seven feet thick, was built there. We observed traces of bastions or towers along the western and eastern walls. Contrary to the observations of Stein, who stated that the inside of the citadel had been washed away, we uncovered stratigraphic evidence of at least three major building phases in Operation A-A/1. The occupational debris at this point is over eight feet thick. Furthermore, stone foundations of regularly laid out structures are visible over most of the surface within the citadel.

The principal entrance to the citadel apparently was in the southwest corner where there are the remains of a sizeable gateway. A narrow passage-way about five and a half feet wide, passes for almost forty feet between what must have been massive towers guarding the entrance. Outside the southern citadel walls, but still on top of the rocky outcrop, are the foundations of other regularly laid out structures.

The “lower town” outside the citadel complex seems to have been concentrated along the eastern side of the site. A trench, Operation C, excavated to a depth of fifteen feet below the foundation of a structure visible on the surface, produced only sterile alluvial deposit. However, the pottery shreds collected from the citadel and the lower town provide a suggestion concerning the inhabitants of the site. The pottery from the stratigraphic trench A-A/1, inside the citadel wall and from the clearing of one of Stein’s trenches, Operation D, probed to be of pure Harappan stock. Less than a handful of shreds from the surface of the Citadel are of Baluchistan rather than Harappan manufacture. The pottery from the lower town, however, appears to be more closely related to the various Baluchistan traditions which are at least partly contemporaneous with the Harappan period.

From our observations at the site itself, we were indeed skeptical about the possibility of Sutkagen-dor ever having been a seaport, but after travelling down the Dasht Valley to the sea, surveying the rest of the Makran Coast, and then checking our guesses against the results of the latest geological surveys, we came to quite the opposite conclusion. The incredible amount of alluvial buildup in the valley gives us now a misleading impression of the geographical situation four thousand years ago. Sutkagen-dor could well have been an actual port, or at least control point at or near the mouth of the Dasht River. In fact, certain features suggest that it may have been an island during Harappan times.

Early in the morning of October 20th we loaded our supplies and ourselves aboard seven camels and started the slow trek down the Dasht Valley to the Arabian Sea Coast. By noon we had reached Kalatu, where, after securing drinking water and resting for an hour in the shade of a rather thickly treed area, we visited the remains of the fort that gives the place its name. All that remains is a square mud-brick defensive-type tower perched precariously atop a severely eroded sandstone outcrop. How much larger the original fortification was it is impossible to say, but this tower at least seems to have been an isolated structure. Situated in the center of the vast plain, it afforded a lookout against any movement in the area. The date of the fort is unknown but the accounts of travelers mention the ruins over eighty years ago. At the base of the steep outcrop are the remains of a settlement of recent date. Until about twenty-five years ago this had been the location of the village of Kalatu, but the entire village moved to its present location nearer the river because of an epidemic. This local disaster provided us with an interesting opportunity to observe what is left behind when a settlement has had to be abandoned. The study of such recently abandoned settlements can be helpful in our efforts to interpret the remains of similar ancient settlements. For example, we obtained an interesting bit of information–confirmed at other Makran settlements–from the thousands of potsherds lying on the surface. Most of them are of micaceous clay painted with black-on-red design, identifying them immediately with the modern pottery of Sind, the lower Indus Valley area around Karachi. Pottery is not manufactured today at any point along the Makran Coast. Some is brought down from the Kej Valley but the greater part is imported all the way from Karachi. Indeed, as we recalled our boat trip from Karachi to Gwadar we remembered noticing that practically all the passengers had at least one of the colorful, but fragile pottery vessels with them. The old notion that pottery cannot be transported over long distance does not hold along this coastal area today. The same situation probably prevailed in Harappan times, with pottery being exported to the western outposts along the coast by boat.

A two and one-half hour ride later in the afternoon, through a mild dust storm, brought us to Gabd, also on the east bank of the Dasht–a fairly sizeable reed-hut village stocked with quantities of cattle, sheep, chickens, and children. After a bath in the lukewarm water of the river, and a tasty curry dinner, we settled down for a welcome night’s sleep in a grove of trees just outside the village. The next morning we visited the site of old Gabd, about a quarter mile to the east of the present location. It was abandoned some twenty-five years ago because of bad water. Just as we had observed at old Kalatu, no discernible tell of occupational debris had been built up. Both sites were marked only by the bits of broken pottery, glass, stone, and metal that lay on the surface of the ground. It demonstrated that it literally takes a pile of living to make a tell.

At five o’clock that afternoon, after a tiring march across the barren, featureless plain, we arrived at a dried-up hole named Chatani Bal, about twelve miles south of Gabd. Hoping to reach Jiwani by nightfall, we continued on to the south, but halted after another half hour. We were at the northern edge of the “swamp,” a huge area just north of the Jiwani Promontory which doesn’t even support camel forage. Although within sight of the search light at the Jiwani airport we were still hours away from our destination by camel, and our drivers refused to continue through this area after dark. We unloaded our supplies near a lonesome scrubby tree and camped out under the stars.

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