The preliminary analysis of cores obtained from Mohenjodaro in Pakistan in 2015-’16 suggested that the site in present-day Sindh was likely the world’s largest settlement of its time between 2600 and 1900 BC, the Dawn reported on Friday.

“Interpretations offered strong indications that the site was considerably larger than formerly acknowledged by archaeologists, and that the sediments that blanketed the terrain near the known city centre were both deep and of alluvial [floodplain] origin,” said Syed Sardar Ali Shah, the minister for culture, archives and heritage of Pakistan Sindh province. “Based on earlier fieldwork and remote imagery, it was hypothesised that major [and intact] portions of the settlement lay buried beneath many metres of flood deposit.”

Around 60 cores were drilled in Mohenjodaro in 2012 as part of a Unesco-commissioned study, Shah said, adding that several sets of cores were excavated over the years but not analysed in detail. Michael Jansen of the University of Technology in Muscat and other experts partially studied these samples and came to the newest conclusion about Mohenjodaro.

The Sindh minister said the aim of the latest study was to identify how and when the region flooded, which may have “accounted for technical innovations” that “probably allowed for permanent settlement within the proximity of the Indus” valley. Shah said it was necessary to understand the path of the stream and the flooding that affected the settlement.