I was shocked and saddened to read this BBC report on Mohenjo Daro, a 4,500-year-old village so well-preserved that you can walk the streets and visit the marketplace. You can, but no one does because it’s in Pakistan, which isn’t everyone’s favourite tourist destination right now. The sad news is that having been buried for thousands of years, now that it’s been uncovered, the bricks are disintegrating fast. The only answer seems to be to bury it.
I once wrote a story called The Pillar of Heliodorus set in Taxila, another ancient city in Pakistan. I was fascinated by the mix of cultures when, for a few centuries, Greeks left behind in the wake of Alexander the Great’s conquests went on to rule the Indus Valley and some of northern India. Taxila was one of the main Indo-Greek cities. But the events in my story were taking place 2,500 years after Mohenjo Daro was at its height.
I love the sense of wonder I feel when reading the best science fiction. But the layering of deep time in our own history is just as astonishing.