Lapis lazuli from Afghanistan in its natural state
Ruins of houses at Mehrgarh, Balochistan
Lapis lazuli seen through a microscope (x240 magnification)
Site location of Mehrgarh.
Ancient Egyptian cult image of Ptah; 945–600 BC; lapis lazuli; height of the figure: 5.2 cm, height of the dais: 0.4 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City)
Female figure from Mehrgarh; c.3000 BCE; terracotta; height: 9.5 cm (33⁄4 in). Part of the Neolithic ‘Venus figurines’ tradition, this figure's abundant breasts and hips suggest links to fertility and procreation. Her hair was probably painted black; brown ochre would have covered the body, and her necklace was probably yellow. Her seated posture, with arms crossed under the breasts, is common throughout the region, as is her extravagant hairstyle
Crystals of lazurite (the main mineral in lapis lazuli) from the Sar-i Sang mine in Afghanistan, where lapis lazuli has been mined since the 7th Millennium BC
Seated Mother Goddess ,3000–2500 BC. Mehrgarh.
A polished block of lapis lazuli
Mehrgarh painted pottery. 3000-2500 BC.
Natural ultramarine pigment made from ground lapis lazuli. During the Middle Ages and Renaissance it was the most expensive pigment available (gold being second) and was often reserved for depicting the robes of Angels or the Virgin Mary
19th-century lapis lazuli and diamond pendant
Sumerian bald clean-shaven male worshipper head; 2600-2500 BC; gypsum, shell, lapis lazuli and bitumen; from Nippur (Iraq); Museum of the Oriental Institute (Chicago)
Sumerian necklace beads; 2600–2500 BC; gold and lapis lazuli; length: 54 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City)
Sumerian necklace; 2600–2500 BC; gold and lapis lazuli; length: 22.5 cm; from the Royal Cemetery at Ur (Iraq); Metropolitan Museum of Art
Ancient Egyptian scarab finger ring; 1850–1750 BC; lapis lazuli scarab set in gold plate and on a gold wire ring lapis-lazuli; diameter: 2.5 cm, the scarab: 1.8 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art
Neo-Babylonian conical seal; 7th–6th century BC; lapis lazuli; height: 2.7 cm, diameter: 2.1 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art
Ancient Egyptian plaque with an Eye of Horus; 664–332 BC; lapis lazuli; length: 1.8 cm, width: 1.6 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art
Greek or Roman ring stone; lapis lazuli; 2.1 x 1.6 x 0.3 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art
Roman bead ornament; gold and lapis lazuli; 3 × 1.8 × 0.5 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art
20th century silver ring with polished lapis oval; 2 x 2.4 x 1 cm
Elephant carved from lapis lazuli. Length 7 cm.
Large lapis lazuli specimen from Afghanistan's Hindu Kush mountains. National Museum of Natural History (Washington, D.C.)

Lapis beads have been found at Neolithic burials in Mehrgarh, the Caucasus, and as far away as Mauritania.

- Lapis lazuli

Ornaments of sea shell, limestone, turquoise, lapis lazuli and sandstone have been found, along with simple figurines of women and animals.

- Mehrgarh
Lapis lazuli from Afghanistan in its natural state

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Excavated ruins of Mohenjo-daro, Sindh province, Pakistan, showing the Great Bath in the foreground. Mohenjo-daro, on the right bank of the Indus River, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the first site in South Asia to be so declared.

Indus Valley Civilisation

Bronze Age civilisation in the northwestern regions of South Asia, lasting from 3300 BCE to 1300 BCE, and in its mature form from 2600 BCE to 1900 BCE.

Bronze Age civilisation in the northwestern regions of South Asia, lasting from 3300 BCE to 1300 BCE, and in its mature form from 2600 BCE to 1900 BCE.

Excavated ruins of Mohenjo-daro, Sindh province, Pakistan, showing the Great Bath in the foreground. Mohenjo-daro, on the right bank of the Indus River, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the first site in South Asia to be so declared.
Miniature votive images or toy models from Harappa, c. 2500 BCE. Terracotta figurines indicate the yoking of zebu oxen for pulling a cart and the presence of the chicken, a domesticated jungle fowl.
Major sites and extent of the Indus Valley Civilisation
Alexander Cunningham, the first director general of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), interpreted a Harappan stamp seal in 1875.
R. D. Banerji, an officer of the ASI, visited Mohenjo-daro in 1919–1920, and again in 1922–1923, postulating the site's far-off antiquity.
John Marshall, the director-general of the ASI from 1902 to 1928, who oversaw the excavations in Harappa and Mohenjo-daro, shown in a 1906 photograph
Early Harappan Period, c. 3300–2600 BCE
Terracotta boat in the shape of a bull, and female figurines. Kot Diji period (c. 2800–2600 BC).
Mature Harappan Period, c. 2600–1900 BCE
Skull of a Harappan, Indian Museum
Harappan weights found in the Indus Valley, (National Museum, New Delhi)
Male dancing torso; 2400-1900 BC; limestone; height: 9.9 cm; National Museum (New Delhi)
red jasper male torso
Stamp seals and (right) impressions, some of them with Indus script; probably made of steatite; British Museum (London)
human deity with the horns, hooves and tail of a bull
Archaeological discoveries suggest that trade routes between Mesopotamia and the Indus were active during the 3rd millennium BCE, leading to the development of Indus–Mesopotamia relations.
Boat with direction-finding birds to find land. Model of Mohenjo-daro seal, 2500–1750 BCE.(National Museum, New Delhi)
Ten Indus characters from the northern gate of Dholavira, dubbed the Dholavira signboard
The Pashupati seal, showing a seated figure surrounded by animals
Swastika seals of Indus Valley Civilisation in British Museum
Late Harappan Period, c. 1900–1300 BCE
Late Harappan figures from a hoard at Daimabad, 2000 BCE (Prince of Wales Museum, Bombay)
Painted pottery urns from Harappa (Cemetery H culture, c. 1900–1300 BCE), National Museum, New Delhi
Impression of a cylinder seal of the Akkadian Empire, with label: "The Divine Sharkalisharri Prince of Akkad, Ibni-Sharrum the Scribe his servant". The long-horned buffalo is thought to have come from the Indus Valley, and testifies to exchanges with Meluhha, the Indus Valley civilisation. Circa 2217–2193 BCE. Louvre Museum.
Ceremonial vessel; 2600-2450 BC; terracotta with black paint; 49.53 × 25.4 cm; Los Angeles County Museum of Art (US)
Cubical weights, standardised throughout the Indus cultural zone; 2600-1900 BC; chert; British Museum (London)
Mohenjo-daro beads; 2600-1900 BC; carnelian and terracotta; British Museum
Ram-headed bird mounted on wheels, probably a toy; 2600-1900 BC; terracotta; Guimet Museum (Paris)
Reclining mouflon; 2600–1900 BC; marble; length: 28 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City)
The Priest-King; 2400–1900 BC; low fired steatite; height: 17.5 cm; National Museum of Pakistan (Karachi)
The Dancing Girl; 2400–1900 BC; bronze; height: 10.8 cm; National Museum (New Delhi)
Seal; 3000–1500 BC; baked steatite; 2 × 2 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City)
Stamp seal and modern impression: unicorn and incense burner (?); 2600-1900 BC; burnt steatite; 3.8 × 3.8 × 1 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art
Seal with two-horned bull and inscription; 2010 BC; steatite; overall: 3.2 x 3.2 cm; Cleveland Museum of Art (Cleveland, Ohio, US)
Seal with unicorn and inscription; 2010 BC; steatite; overall: 3.5 x 3.6 cm; Cleveland Museum of Art

The early Harappan cultures were populated from Neolithic cultures, the earliest and best-known of which is Mehrgarh, in Balochistan, Pakistan.

Trade networks linked this culture with related regional cultures and distant sources of raw materials, including lapis lazuli and other materials for bead-making.