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The influence of soluble salts on the decay of Moenjodaro, Pakistan

Enrico Fodde (Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering, BRE Centre for Innovative Construction Materials, University of Bath, Bath, UK)

Structural Survey

ISSN: 0263-080X

Article publication date: 11 July 2008




The World Heritage site of Moenjodaro, located in the Indus flood plain and dating to the early Bronze Age, is believed to be the most important urban centre of the Indus valley culture. The purpose of the paper is to discuss the main conservation threats and the mechanisms of decay affecting the site and to understand the influence of soluble salts on materials such as fired brick and soil. Furthermore, the paper aims to describe the repair methods employed against salt attack and provides a scheme for site management.


In the paper a literature review is followed by laboratory experiments.


The main result is the experimental assessment of the repair materials and methods traditionally employed in Moenjodaro. No evaluation was undertaken prior to this study and this makes the work the more relevant.

Research limitations/implications

A more complete and detailed study of the materials examined here might have been achieved if more samples had been analysed. The present study is therefore characterised by this limitation which, however, does not undermine the significance of the work.

Practical implications

The results have practical applicability to the conservation of Moenjodaro in a variety of ways. The experimental analysis of materials will be essential to determine the type of intervention required for conserving the site.


The value of this paper derives from the originality of the work done, being the first of its kind for Moenjodaro. It will be especially useful to those conservators working in the site, but also in similar sites. It stresses the importance of testing before any conservation work is carried out.



Fodde, E. (2008), "The influence of soluble salts on the decay of Moenjodaro, Pakistan", Structural Survey, Vol. 26 No. 3, pp. 223-241.



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Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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