Indus Valley Civilization
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The Indus Valley Civilisation (IVC), also known as the Indus Civilisation was a
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a historic period, lasting approximately from 3300 BC to 1200 BC, characterized by the use of bronze Bronze is an alloy consisting primarily of copper, commonly with about 12–12.5% tin and often with the addition of ...
civilisation A civilization (or civilisation) is any complex society characterized by the development of State (polity), a state, social stratification, urban area, urbanization, and Symbol, symbolic systems of communication beyond natural language, natur ...
in the northwestern regions of
South Asia South Asia is the southern subregion of Asia Asia (, ) is one of the world's most notable geographical regions, which is either considered a continent in its own right or a subcontinent of Eurasia, which shares the continental land ...
, lasting from 3300 
BCE Common Era (CE) and Before the Common Era (BCE) are year notations for the Gregorian calendar The Gregorian calendar is the calendar used in most parts of the world. It was introduced in October 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII as a modificatio ...
to 1300 BCE, and in its mature form 2600 BCE to 1900 BCE. Together with
ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization in Northeast Africa situated in the Nile Valley. Ancient Egyptian civilization followed prehistoric Egypt and coalesced around 3100Anno Domini, BC (according to conventional Egyptian chronology) with the ...
and
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن or ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in the northern part of the F ...
, it was one of three early civilisations of the
Near East The ''Near East''; he, המזרח הקרוב; arc, ܕܢܚܐ ܩܪܒ; fa, خاور نزدیک, Xāvar-e nazdik; tr, Yakın Doğu is a geographical term which roughly encompasses a transcontinental region in Western Asia, that was once the hist ...
and
South Asia South Asia is the southern subregion of Asia Asia (, ) is one of the world's most notable geographical regions, which is either considered a continent in its own right or a subcontinent of Eurasia, which shares the continental land ...
, and of the three, the most widespread. Its sites spanned an area from much of
Pakistan Pakistan ( ur, ), officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan ( ur, , label=none), is a country in South Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, fifth-most populous country, with a population of almost 24 ...
, to northeast
Afghanistan Afghanistan, officially the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,; prs, امارت اسلامی افغانستان is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central Asia and South Asia. Referred to as the Heart of Asia, it is bordere ...
, and northwestern
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by area, seventh-largest country by area, the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populous ...
. The civilisation flourished both in the
alluvial plain An alluvial plain is a largely flat landform created by the deposition of sediment over a long period of time by one or more rivers coming from highland regions, from which Alluvium, alluvial soil forms. A floodplain is part of the process, bein ...
of the
Indus River The Indus ( ) is a transboundary river of Asia and a trans- Himalayan river of South and Central Asia. The river rises in mountain springs northeast of Mount Kailash in Western Tibet, flows northwest through the disputed region of Ka ...
, which flows through the length of Pakistan, and along a system of perennial
monsoon A monsoon () is traditionally a seasonal reversing wind accompanied by corresponding changes in precipitation but is now used to describe seasonal changes in Atmosphere of Earth, atmospheric circulation and precipitation associated with annu ...
-fed rivers that once coursed in the vicinity of the Ghaggar-Hakra, a seasonal river in northwest India and eastern Pakistan. The term ''Harappan'' is sometimes applied to the Indus civilisation after its
type site In archaeology, a type site is the archaeological site, site used to define a particular archaeological culture or other Typology (archaeology), typological unit, which is often named after it. For example, discoveries at La Tène (archaeological ...
Harappa, the first to be excavated early in the 20th century in what was then the Punjab province of
British India The provinces of India, earlier presidencies of British India and still earlier, presidency towns, were the administrative divisions of British governance on the Indian subcontinent. Collectively, they have been called British India. In one ...
and is now
Punjab, Pakistan Punjab (; , ) is one of the Administrative units of Pakistan, four provinces of Pakistan. Located in Geography of Pakistan, central-eastern region of the country, Punjab is the second-largest province of Pakistan by land area and the Demographi ...
. The discovery of Harappa and soon afterwards Mohenjo-daro was the culmination of work that had begun after the founding of the
Archaeological Survey of India The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is an Indian government agency that is responsible for archaeology, archaeological research and the conservation and preservation of cultural historical monuments in the country. It was founded in 1861 ...
in the
British Raj The British Raj (; from Hindi ''rāj'': kingdom, realm, state, or empire) was the rule of the British Crown on the Indian subcontinent; * * it is also called Crown rule in India, * * * * or Direct rule in India, * Quote: "Mill, who was himsel ...
in 1861. There were earlier and later cultures called Early Harappan and Late Harappan in the same area. The early Harappan cultures were populated from
Neolithic The Neolithic period, or New Stone Age, is an Old World archaeological period and the final division of the Stone Age. It saw the Neolithic Revolution, a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen independently in several pa ...
cultures, the earliest and best-known of which is
Mehrgarh Mehrgarh (; ur, ) is a Neolithic archaeological site (dated ) situated on the Kacchi Plain of Balochistan, Pakistan, Balochistan in Pakistan. It is located near the Bolan Pass, to the west of the Indus River and between the modern-day Pakistan ...
, in
Balochistan Balochistan ( ; bal, بلۏچستان; also romanised as Baluchistan and Baluchestan) is a historical region in Western Asia, Western and South Asia, located in the Iranian plateau's far southeast and bordering the Indian Plate and the Arabian S ...
, Pakistan. Harappan civilisation is sometimes called ''Mature Harappan'' to distinguish it from the earlier cultures. The cities of the ancient Indus were noted for their
urban planning Urban planning, also known as town planning, city planning, regional planning, or rural planning, is a technical and political process that is focused on the development and design of land use and the built environment, including air, water, ...
, baked brick houses, elaborate
drainage Drainage is the natural or artificial removal of a surface's water and groundwater, sub-surface water from an area with excess of water. The internal drainage of most agricultural soils is good enough to prevent severe Waterlogging (agricult ...
systems,
water supply Water supply is the provision of water by public utility, public utilities, commercial organisations, community endeavors or by individuals, usually via a system of pumps and Water pipe, pipes. Public water supply systems are crucial to properly ...
systems, clusters of large non-residential buildings, and techniques of handicraft and
metallurgy Metallurgy is a domain of Materials science, materials science and engineering that studies the physical and chemical behavior of metallic Chemical element, elements, their Inter-metallic alloy, inter-metallic compounds, and their mixtures, which ...
.
Mohenjo-daro Mohenjo-daro (; sd, موئن جو دڙو'', ''meaning 'Mound of the Dead Men';Harappa Harappa (; Urdu/ pnb, ) is an archaeological site An archaeological site is a place (or group of physical sites) in which evidence of past activity is preserved (either prehistoric or recorded history, historic or contemporary), and which ...
very likely grew to contain between 30,000 and 60,000 individuals, and the civilisation may have contained between one and five million individuals during its florescence. A gradual
drying Drying is a mass transfer Mass transfer is the net movement of mass from one location (usually meaning stream, Phase (matter), phase, fraction or component) to another. Mass transfer occurs in many processes, such as Absorption (chemistry), ab ...
of the region during the 3rd millennium BCE may have been the initial stimulus for its urbanisation. Eventually it also reduced the water supply enough to cause the civilisation's demise and to disperse its population to the east. Although over a thousand Mature Harappan sites have been reported and nearly a hundred excavated,. "Today, the count of Harappan sites has risen to about 1,022, of which 406 are in Pakistan and 616 in India. Of these, only 97 have so far been excavated." there are five major urban centres: Mohenjo-daro in the lower Indus Valley (declared a
UNESCO World Heritage Site A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area with legal protection by an international convention administered by the UNESCO, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). World Heritage Sites are designated by UNES ...
in 1980 as "Archaeological Ruins at Moenjodaro"), Harappa in the western
Punjab region Punjab (; Punjabi Language, Punjabi: پنجاب ; ਪੰਜਾਬ ; ; also Romanization, romanised as ''Panjāb'' or ''Panj-Āb'') is a geopolitical, cultural, and historical region in South Asia, specifically in the northern part of the I ...
, Ganeriwala in the Cholistan Desert,
Dholavira Dholavira ( gu, ધોળાવીરા) is an archaeological site An archaeological site is a place (or group of physical sites) in which evidence of past activity is preserved (either prehistoric or recorded history, historic or contemp ...
in western Gujarat (declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2021 as "Dholavira: A Harappan City"), and
Rakhigarhi Rakhigarhi or Rakhi Garhi is a village and an archaeological site belonging to the Indus Valley civilisation The Indus Valley Civilisation (IVC), also known as the Indus Civilisation was a Bronze Age civilisation in the northwestern ...
in
Haryana Haryana (; ) is an Indian state located in the northern part of the country. It was carved out of the former state of East Punjab on 1 Nov 1966 on a linguistic basis. It is ranked 21st in terms of area, with less than 1.4% () of India's land ...
. The Harappan language is not directly attested, and its affiliation uncertain as the
Indus script The Indus script, also known as the Harappan script, is a corpus of symbols produced by the Indus Valley Civilisation. Most inscriptions containing these symbols are extremely short, making it difficult to judge whether or not they constituted ...
has remained undeciphered. A relationship with the Dravidian or Elamo-Dravidian language family is favoured by a section of scholars.


Name

The Indus civilisation is named after the
Indus The Indus ( ) is a transboundary river of Asia and a trans-Himalayan river of South Asia, South and Central Asia. The river rises in mountain springs northeast of Mount Kailash in Western Tibet, flows northwest through the disputed region ...
river system in whose
alluvial plain An alluvial plain is a largely flat landform created by the deposition of sediment over a long period of time by one or more rivers coming from highland regions, from which Alluvium, alluvial soil forms. A floodplain is part of the process, bein ...
s the early sites of the civilisation were identified and excavated. Following a tradition in archaeology, the civilisation is sometimes referred to as the ''Harappan,'' after its
type site In archaeology, a type site is the archaeological site, site used to define a particular archaeological culture or other Typology (archaeology), typological unit, which is often named after it. For example, discoveries at La Tène (archaeological ...
,
Harappa Harappa (; Urdu/ pnb, ) is an archaeological site An archaeological site is a place (or group of physical sites) in which evidence of past activity is preserved (either prehistoric or recorded history, historic or contemporary), and which ...
, the first site to be excavated in the 1920s; this is notably true of usage employed by the Archaeological Survey of India after India's independence in 1947. The term "Ghaggar-Hakra" figures prominently in modern labels applied to the Indus civilisation on account of a good number of sites having been found along the
Ghaggar-Hakra River The Ghaggar-Hakra River is an intermittent river in India and Pakistan that flows only during the monsoon season. The river is known as Ghaggar in India, before the Ottu barrage, and as the Hakra in Pakistan, downstream of the barrage, ending i ...
in northwest India and eastern Pakistan. The terms "Indus-Sarasvati Civilisation" and "Sindhu-Saraswati Civilisation" have also been employed in the literature after a posited identification of the Ghaggar-Hakra with the river
Saraswati Saraswati ( sa, सरस्वती, ) is the Hinduism, Hindu Devi, goddess of knowledge, music, art, speech, wisdom, and learning. She is one of the Tridevi, along with the goddesses Lakshmi and Parvati. The earliest known mention of Sa ...
described in the early chapters of
Rigveda The ''Rigveda'' or ''Rig Veda'' ( ', from ' "praise" and ' "knowledge") is an ancient Indian collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns (''sūktas''). It is one of the four sacred canonical Hindu texts ('' śruti'') known as the Vedas F ...
, a collection of hymns in archaic Sanskrit composed in the second-millennium BCE. Recent geophysical research suggests that unlike the
Sarasvati Saraswati ( sa, सरस्वती, ) is the Hindu Hindus (; ) are people who religiously adhere to Hinduism.Jeffery D. Long (2007), A Vision for Hinduism, IB Tauris, , pages 35–37 Historically, the term has also been used a ...
, whose descriptions in the Rig Veda are those of a snow-fed river, the Ghaggar-Hakra was a system of perennial monsoon-fed rivers, which became seasonal around the time that the civilisation diminished, approximately 4,000 years ago.


Extent

The Indus Valley Civilisation was roughly contemporary with the other riverine civilisations of the ancient world:
Ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization in Northeast Africa situated in the Nile Valley. Ancient Egyptian civilization followed prehistoric Egypt and coalesced around 3100Anno Domini, BC (according to conventional Egyptian chronology) with the ...
along the
Nile The Nile, , Bohairic , lg, Kiira , Nobiin language, Nobiin: Áman Dawū is a major north-flowing river in northeastern Africa. It flows into the Mediterranean Sea. The Nile is the longest river in Africa and has historically been considered ...
,
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن or ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in the northern part of the F ...
in the lands watered by the
Euphrates The Euphrates () is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia. Tigris–Euphrates river system, Together with the Tigris, it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia ( ''the land between the rivers'') ...
and the
Tigris The Tigris () is the easternmost of the two great rivers that define Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن or ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western A ...
, and
China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, most populous country, with a Population of China, population exceeding 1.4 billion, slig ...
in the drainage basin of the
Yellow River The Yellow River or Huang He (Chinese: , Standard Beijing Mandarin, Mandarin: ''Huáng hé'' ) is the second-longest river in China, after the Yangtze River, and the List of rivers by length, sixth-longest river system in the world at th ...
and the
Yangtze The Yangtze or Yangzi ( or ; ) is the longest list of rivers of Asia, river in Asia, the list of rivers by length, third-longest in the world, and the longest in the world to flow entirely within one country. It rises at Jari Hill in th ...
. By the time of its mature phase, the civilisation had spread over an area larger than the others, which included a core of up the alluvial plain of the Indus and its tributaries. In addition, there was a region with disparate flora, fauna, and habitats, up to ten times as large, which had been shaped culturally and economically by the Indus. Around 6500 BCE, agriculture emerged in
Balochistan Balochistan ( ; bal, بلۏچستان; also romanised as Baluchistan and Baluchestan) is a historical region in Western Asia, Western and South Asia, located in the Iranian plateau's far southeast and bordering the Indian Plate and the Arabian S ...
, on the margins of the Indus alluvium. In the following millennia, settled life made inroads into the Indus plains, setting the stage for the growth of rural and urban human settlements. The more organized sedentary life, in turn, led to a net increase in the birth rate. The large urban centres of Mohenjo-daro and Harappa very likely grew to containing between 30,000 and 60,000 individuals, and during the civilisation's florescence, the population of the subcontinent grew to between 4–6 million people. During this period the death rate increased as well, for close living conditions of humans and domesticated animals led to an increase in contagious diseases. According to one estimate, the population of the Indus civilisation at its peak may have been between one and five million. The civilisation extended from Pakistan's
Balochistan Balochistan ( ; bal, بلۏچستان; also romanised as Baluchistan and Baluchestan) is a historical region in Western Asia, Western and South Asia, located in the Iranian plateau's far southeast and bordering the Indian Plate and the Arabian S ...
in the west to India's western
Uttar Pradesh Uttar Pradesh (; , 'Northern Province') is a state in northern India. With over 200 million inhabitants, it is the most populated state in India as well as the most populous country subdivision in the world. It was established in 195 ...
in the east, from northeastern Afghanistan in the north to India's
Gujarat Gujarat (, ) is a States of India, state along the Western India, western coast of India. Its coastline of about is the longest in the country, most of which lies on the Kathiawar peninsula. Gujarat is the List of states and union territories ...
state in the south.. The largest number of sites are in
Gujarat Gujarat (, ) is a States of India, state along the Western India, western coast of India. Its coastline of about is the longest in the country, most of which lies on the Kathiawar peninsula. Gujarat is the List of states and union territories ...
,
Haryana Haryana (; ) is an Indian state located in the northern part of the country. It was carved out of the former state of East Punjab on 1 Nov 1966 on a linguistic basis. It is ranked 21st in terms of area, with less than 1.4% () of India's land ...
,
Punjab Punjab (; Punjabi Language, Punjabi: پنجاب ; ਪੰਜਾਬ ; ; also Romanization, romanised as ''Panjāb'' or ''Panj-Āb'') is a geopolitical, cultural, and historical region in South Asia, specifically in the northern part of the I ...
,
Rajasthan Rajasthan (; lit. 'Land of Kings') is a States and union territories of India, state in northern India. It covers or 10.4 per cent of India's total geographical area. It is the List of states and union territories of India by area, largest ...
,
Uttar Pradesh Uttar Pradesh (; , 'Northern Province') is a state in northern India. With over 200 million inhabitants, it is the most populated state in India as well as the most populous country subdivision in the world. It was established in 195 ...
, Jammu and Kashmir states in India, and
Sindh Sindh (; ; ur, , ; historically romanized as Sind) is one of the Administrative units of Pakistan, four provinces of Pakistan. Located in the Geography of Pakistan, southeastern region of the country, Sindh is the third-largest province of ...
,
Punjab Punjab (; Punjabi Language, Punjabi: پنجاب ; ਪੰਜਾਬ ; ; also Romanization, romanised as ''Panjāb'' or ''Panj-Āb'') is a geopolitical, cultural, and historical region in South Asia, specifically in the northern part of the I ...
, and
Balochistan Balochistan ( ; bal, بلۏچستان; also romanised as Baluchistan and Baluchestan) is a historical region in Western Asia, Western and South Asia, located in the Iranian plateau's far southeast and bordering the Indian Plate and the Arabian S ...
provinces in Pakistan. Coastal settlements extended from Sutkagan Dor in Western Baluchistan to
Lothal Lothal () was one of the southernmost sites of the ancient Indus Valley civilization, Indus Valley civilisation, located in the Bhal region, Bhāl region of the modern state of Gujarat, Gujarāt. Construction of the city is believed to have be ...
in Gujarat. An Indus Valley site has been found on the
Oxus River The Amu Darya, tk, Amyderýa/ uz, Amudaryo// tg, Амударё, Amudaryo ps, , tr, Ceyhun / Amu Derya grc, Ὦξος, Ôxos (also called the Amu, Amo River and historically known by its Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language b ...
at Shortugai in northern Afghanistan, in the
Gomal River Gomal River ( ur, , ps, ګومل سیند، ګومل دریاب) is a river in Afghanistan and Pakistan. It rises in the northern part of Afghanistan's Paktika Province. It joins the Indus River 20 miles south of Dera Ismail Khan, Khyber Pakh ...
valley in northwestern Pakistan, at Manda, Jammu on the
Beas River The Beas River (Sanskrit: ; Hyphasis in Ancient Greek) is a river in north India. The river rises in the Himalayas in central Himachal Pradesh, India, and flows for some to the Sutlej River in the Indian state of Punjab, India, Punjab. Its to ...
near
Jammu Jammu is the winter capital A summer capital is a city used as an administrative capital city, capital during extended periods of particularly hot summer weather. The term is mostly of relevance in historical contexts of political systems ...
, India, and at Alamgirpur on the
Hindon River Hindon River, a tributary of Yamuna river, is a river in India that originates in the Saharanpur district, from the Shakumbhari devi range Sivalik Hills, Upper Sivaliks in Uttar Pradesh. The river is entirely rainfed and has an approximate draina ...
, only from Delhi. The southernmost site of the Indus Valley Civilisation is Daimabad in Maharashtra. Indus Valley sites have been found most often on rivers, but also on the ancient seacoast, for example, Balakot (
Kot Bala Kot Bala (Urdu: کوٹ بالا; Hindi: कोट बाला), or Balakot (Hindi: बालाकोट) is an archaeological site located in Lasbela District, Balochistan (Pakistan), Balochistan, Pakistan. It is near the Makran coast of the A ...
), and on islands, for example,
Dholavira Dholavira ( gu, ધોળાવીરા) is an archaeological site An archaeological site is a place (or group of physical sites) in which evidence of past activity is preserved (either prehistoric or recorded history, historic or contemp ...
.


Discovery and history of excavation

The first modern accounts of the
ruins Ruins () are the remains of a civilization's architecture. The term refers to formerly intact structures that have fallen into a state of partial or total disrepair over time due to a variety of factors, such as lack of maintenance, deliberate ...
of the Indus civilisation are those of Charles Masson, a deserter from the
East India Company The East India Company (EIC) was an English, and later British, joint-stock company founded in 1600 and dissolved in 1874. It was formed to Indian Ocean trade, trade in the Indian Ocean region, initially with the East Indies (the Indian subco ...
's army. In 1829, Masson traveled through the
princely state A princely state (also called native state or Indian state) was a nominally sovereign entity of the British Raj, British Indian Empire that was not directly governed by the British, but rather by an Indian ruler under a form of indirect rule, ...
of Punjab, gathering useful intelligence for the Company in return for a promise of clemency. An aspect of this arrangement was the additional requirement to hand over to the Company any historical artifacts acquired during his travels. Masson, who had versed himself in the
classics Classics or classical studies is the study of classical antiquity. In the Western world, classics traditionally refers to the study of Classical Greek and Roman literature and their related original languages, Ancient Greek Ancient ...
, especially in the military campaigns of
Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc, wikt:Ἀλέξανδρος, Ἀλέξανδρος, Alexandros; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king of the Ancient Greece, ancient Greek kingdom of Maced ...
, chose for his wanderings some of the same towns that had featured in Alexander's campaigns, and whose archaeological sites had been noted by the campaign's chroniclers. Masson's major archaeological discovery in the Punjab was Harappa, a metropolis of the Indus civilisation in the valley of Indus's tributary, the
Ravi river The Ravi River () is a transboundary river crossing northwestern India and eastern Pakistan. It is one of five rivers associated with the Punjab region. Under the Indus Waters Treaty of 1960, the waters of the Ravi and two other rivers were ...
. Masson made copious notes and illustrations of Harappa's rich historical artifacts, many lying half-buried. In 1842, Masson included his observations of Harappa in the book ''Narrative of Various Journeys in Baluchistan, Afghanistan, and the Punjab''. He dated the Harappa ruins to a period of recorded history, erroneously mistaking it to have been described earlier during Alexander's campaign. Masson was impressed by the site's extraordinary size and by several large mounds formed from long-existing erosion. Two years later, the Company contracted Alexander Burnes to sail up the Indus to assess the feasibility of water travel for its army. Burnes, who also stopped in Harappa, noted the baked bricks employed in the site's ancient masonry, but noted also the haphazard plundering of these bricks by the local population. Despite these reports, Harappa was raided even more perilously for its bricks after the British annexation of the Punjab in 1848–49. A considerable number were carted away as
track ballast Track ballast forms the trackbed upon which railroad ties (sleepers) are laid. It is packed between, below, and around the ties. It is used to bear the load from the railroad ties, to facilitate drainage of water, and also to keep down vegetat ...
for the railway lines being laid in the Punjab. Nearly of railway track between
Multan Multan (; ) is a city in Punjab, Pakistan, on the bank of the Chenab River. Multan is Pakistan's seventh largest city as per the 2017 census, and the major cultural, religious and economic centre of southern Punjab. Multan is one of the List ...
and
Lahore Lahore ( ; pnb, ; ur, ) is the second List of cities in Pakistan by population, most populous city in Pakistan after Karachi and 26th List of largest cities, most populous city in the world, with a population of over 13 million. It is th ...
, laid in the mid 1850s, was supported by Harappan bricks. In 1861, three years after the dissolution of the East India Company and the establishment of Crown rule in India, archaeology on the subcontinent became more formally organised with the founding of the
Archaeological Survey of India The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is an Indian government agency that is responsible for archaeology, archaeological research and the conservation and preservation of cultural historical monuments in the country. It was founded in 1861 ...
(ASI).
Alexander Cunningham Major General Major general (abbreviated MG, maj. gen. and similar) is a military rank used in many countries. It is derived from the older rank of sergeant major general. The disappearance of the "sergeant" in the title explains the app ...
, the Survey's first director-general, who had visited Harappa in 1853 and had noted the imposing brick walls, visited again to carry out a survey, but this time of a site whose entire upper layer had been stripped in the interim. Although his original goal of demonstrating Harappa to be a lost Buddhist city mentioned in the seventh century CE travels of the Chinese visitor,
Xuanzang Xuanzang (, ; 602–664), born Chen Hui / Chen Yi (), also known as Hiuen Tsang, was a 7th-century Chinese Bhikkhu, Buddhist monk, scholar, traveler, and translator. He is known for the epoch-making contributions to Chinese Buddhism, the trave ...
, proved elusive, Cunningham did publish his findings in 1875. For the first time, he interpreted a Harappan
stamp seal __NOTOC__ The stamp seal is a carved object, usually stone, first made in the 4th millennium BC, and probably earlier. They were used to impress their picture or inscription into soft, prepared clay. Seal devices have seldom survived through ti ...
, with its unknown script, which he concluded to be of an origin foreign to India. Archaeological work in Harappa thereafter lagged until a new viceroy of India,
Lord Curzon George Nathaniel Curzon, 1st Marquess Curzon of Kedleston, (11 January 1859 – 20 March 1925), styled Lord Curzon of Kedleston between 1898 and 1911 and then Earl Curzon of Kedleston between 1911 and 1921, was a British Conservative Party (UK) ...
, pushed through the
Ancient Monuments Preservation Act 1904 The Ancient Monuments Preservation Act, 1904 was passed on 18 March 1904 by British India The provinces of India, earlier presidencies of British India and still earlier, presidency towns, were the administrative divisions of British govern ...
, and appointed
John Marshall John Marshall (September 24, 1755July 6, 1835) was an American politician and lawyer who served as the fourth chief justice of the United States, Chief Justice of the United States from 1801 until his death in 1835. He remains the List of Justi ...
to lead the ASI. Several years later, Hiranand Sastri, who had been assigned by Marshall to survey Harappa, reported it to be of non-Buddhist origin, and by implication more ancient. Expropriating Harappa for the ASI under the Act, Marshall directed ASI archaeologist Daya Ram Sahni to excavate the site's two mounds. Farther south, along the
main stem In hydrology, a mainstem (or trunk) is "the primary downstream segment of a river, as contrasted to its Tributary, tributaries". Water enters the mainstem from the river's drainage basin, the land area through which the mainstem and its tributari ...
of the Indus in
Sind Sindh (; ; ur, , ; historically romanized as Sind) is one of the Administrative units of Pakistan, four provinces of Pakistan. Located in the Geography of Pakistan, southeastern region of the country, Sindh is the third-largest province of ...
province, the largely undisturbed site of
Mohenjo-daro Mohenjo-daro (; sd, موئن جو دڙو'', ''meaning 'Mound of the Dead Men';D. R. Bhandarkar (1911),
R. D. Banerji Rakhal Das Banerji, also Rakhaldas Bandyopadhyay (12 April 1885 – 23 May 1930), was an Indian archaeologist and an officer of the Archeological Survey of India (ASI). In 1919, he became the second ASI officer deputed to survey the site of M ...
(1919, 1922–1923), and M. S. Vats (1924). In 1923, on his second visit to Mohenjo-daro, Baneriji wrote to Marshall about the site, postulating an origin in "remote antiquity," and noting a congruence of some of its artifacts with those of Harappa. Later in 1923, Vats, also in correspondence with Marshall, noted the same more specifically about the seals and the script found at both sites. On the weight of these opinions, Marshall ordered crucial data from the two sites to be brought to one location and invited Banerji and Sahni to a joint discussion. By 1924, Marshall had become convinced of the significance of the finds, and on 24 September 1924, made a tentative but conspicuous public intimation in the ''Illustrated London News'':
"Not often has it been given to archaeologists, as it was given to Schliemann at
Tiryns Tiryns or (Ancient Greek: Τίρυνς; Modern Greek: Τίρυνθα) is a Mycenaean civilization , Mycenaean archaeological site in Argolis in the Peloponnese, and the location from which the mythical hero Heracles performed his Labours of Her ...
and
Mycenae Mycenae ( ; grc, Μυκῆναι or , ''Mykē̂nai'' or ''Mykḗnē'') is an archaeological site near Mykines, Greece, Mykines in Argolis, north-eastern Peloponnese, Greece. It is located about south-west of Athens; north of Argos, Peloponne ...
, or to Stein in the deserts of
Turkestan Turkestan, also spelled Turkistan ( fa, ترکستان, Torkestân, lit=Land of the Turks), is a historical region in Central Asia corresponding to the regions of Transoxiana and Xinjiang. Overview Known as Turan to the Persians, western Turke ...
, to light upon the remains of a long forgotten civilisation. It looks, however, at this moment, as if we were on the threshold of such a discovery in the plains of the Indus."
In the next issue, a week later, the British Assyriologist
Archibald Sayce The Rev. Archibald Henry Sayce (25 September 18454 February 1933) was a pioneer British Assyriologist and linguist Linguistics is the science, scientific study of human language. It is called a scientific study because it entails a com ...
was able to point to very similar seals found in Bronze Age levels in Mesopotamia and Iran, giving the first strong indication of their date; confirmations from other archaeologists followed. Systematic excavations began in Mohenjo-daro in 1924–25 with that of K. N. Dikshit, continuing with those of H. Hargreaves (1925–1926), and Ernest J. H. Mackay (1927–1931). By 1931, much of Mohenjo-daro had been excavated, but occasional excavations continued, such as the one led by
Mortimer Wheeler Sir Robert Eric Mortimer Wheeler Companion of Honour, CH Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire, CIE MC Territorial Decoration, TD (10 September 1890 – 22 July 1976) was a British archaeologist and officer in the British Army. Over t ...
, a new director-general of the ASI appointed in 1944, and including Ahmad Hasan Dani. After the partition of India in 1947, when most excavated sites of the Indus Valley Civilisation lay in territory awarded to Pakistan, the Archaeological Survey of India, its area of authority reduced, carried out large numbers of surveys and excavations along the Ghaggar-Hakra system in India. Some speculated that the Ghaggar-Hakra system might yield more sites than the Indus river basin. According to archaeologist Ratnagar, many Ghaggar-Hakra sites in India and Indus Valley sites in Pakistan are actually those of local cultures; some sites display contact with Harappan civilisation, but only a few are fully developed Harappan ones. As of 1977, about 90% of the Indus script seals and inscribed objects discovered were found at sites in Pakistan along the Indus river, while other sites accounts only for the remaining 10%. By 2002, over 1,000 Mature Harappan cities and settlements had been reported, of which just under a hundred had been excavated,. "There are 1,056 Mature Harappan sites that have been reported of which 96 have been excavated." mainly in the general region of the
Indus The Indus ( ) is a transboundary river of Asia and a trans-Himalayan river of South Asia, South and Central Asia. The river rises in mountain springs northeast of Mount Kailash in Western Tibet, flows northwest through the disputed region ...
and Ghaggar-Hakra rivers and their tributaries; however, there are only five major urban sites:
Harappa Harappa (; Urdu/ pnb, ) is an archaeological site An archaeological site is a place (or group of physical sites) in which evidence of past activity is preserved (either prehistoric or recorded history, historic or contemporary), and which ...
,
Mohenjo-daro Mohenjo-daro (; sd, موئن جو دڙو'', ''meaning 'Mound of the Dead Men';Dholavira Dholavira ( gu, ધોળાવીરા) is an archaeological site An archaeological site is a place (or group of physical sites) in which evidence of past activity is preserved (either prehistoric or recorded history, historic or contemp ...
, Ganeriwala and
Rakhigarhi Rakhigarhi or Rakhi Garhi is a village and an archaeological site belonging to the Indus Valley civilisation The Indus Valley Civilisation (IVC), also known as the Indus Civilisation was a Bronze Age civilisation in the northwestern ...
.. "More than 1,000 settlements belonging to the Integrated Era have been identified (Singh, 2008: 137), but there are only five significant urban sites at the peak of the settlement hierarchy (Smith, 2.006a: 110) (Figure 6.2). These are Mohenjo-daro in the lower Indus plain, Harappa in the western Punjab, Ganweriwala in Cholistan, Dholavira in western Gujarat and Rakhigarhi in Haryana. Mohenjo-daro covered an area of more than 250 hectares, Harappa exceeded 150 hectares, Dholavira 100 hectares and Ganweriwala and Rakhigarhi around 80 hectares each." As of 2008, about 616 sites have been reported in India, whereas 406 sites have been reported in Pakistan. Unlike India, in which after 1947, the ASI attempted to "Indianise" archaeological work in keeping with the new nation's goals of national unity and historical continuity, in Pakistan the national imperative was the promotion of Islamic heritage, and consequently archaeological work on early sites was left to foreign archaeologists. After the partition, Mortimer Wheeler, the Director of ASI from 1944, oversaw the establishment of archaeological institutions in Pakistan, later joining a
UNESCO The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a List of specialized agencies of the United Nations, specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) aimed at promoting world peace and security through international coope ...
effort tasked to conserve the site at Mohenjo-daro. Other international efforts at Mohenjo-daro and Harappa have included the German ''
Aachen Aachen ( ; ; Aachen dialect: ''Oche'' ; French and traditional English: Aix-la-Chapelle; or ''Aquisgranum''; nl, Aken ) is, with around 249,000 inhabitants, the 13th-largest city in North Rhine-Westphalia, and the 28th-largest city of Ge ...
Research Project Mohenjo-daro'', the ''Italian Mission to Mohenjo-daro'', and the US ''Harappa Archaeological Research Project (HARP)'' founded by George F. Dales. Following a chance flash flood which exposed a portion of an archaeological site at the foot of the
Bolan Pass Bolān Pass ( ur, ) is a valley and a natural gateway, through the Toba Kakar range in Balochistan, Pakistan, Balochistan province of Pakistan, south of the Afghanistan border. The pass is an stretch of the Bolan river valley from Dhadar, Rind ...
in
Balochistan Balochistan ( ; bal, بلۏچستان; also romanised as Baluchistan and Baluchestan) is a historical region in Western Asia, Western and South Asia, located in the Iranian plateau's far southeast and bordering the Indian Plate and the Arabian S ...
, excavations were carried out in
Mehrgarh Mehrgarh (; ur, ) is a Neolithic archaeological site (dated ) situated on the Kacchi Plain of Balochistan, Pakistan, Balochistan in Pakistan. It is located near the Bolan Pass, to the west of the Indus River and between the modern-day Pakistan ...
by French archaeologist Jean-François Jarrige and his team in the early 1970s.


Chronology

The cities of the ancient Indus had "social hierarchies, their writing system, their large planned cities and their long-distance trade hichmark them to archaeologists as a full-fledged 'civilisation.'" The mature phase of the Harappan civilisation lasted from c. 2600–1900 BCE. With the inclusion of the predecessor and successor cultures – Early Harappan and Late Harappan, respectively – the entire Indus Valley Civilisation may be taken to have lasted from the 33rd to the 14th centuries BCE. It is part of the Indus Valley Tradition, which also includes the pre-Harappan occupation of Mehrgarh, the earliest farming site of the Indus Valley. Several periodisations are employed for the IVC. The most commonly used classifies the Indus Valley Civilisation into Early, Mature and Late Harappan Phase. An alternative approach by Shaffer divides the broader Indus Valley Tradition into four eras, the pre-Harappan "Early Food Producing Era", and the Regionalisation, Integration, and Localisation eras, which correspond roughly with the Early Harappan, Mature Harappan, and Late Harappan phases.


Pre-Harappan era: Mehrgarh

Mehrgarh Mehrgarh (; ur, ) is a Neolithic archaeological site (dated ) situated on the Kacchi Plain of Balochistan, Pakistan, Balochistan in Pakistan. It is located near the Bolan Pass, to the west of the Indus River and between the modern-day Pakistan ...
is a
Neolithic The Neolithic period, or New Stone Age, is an Old World archaeological period and the final division of the Stone Age. It saw the Neolithic Revolution, a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen independently in several pa ...
(7000 BCE to c. 2500 BCE) mountain site in the Balochistan province of
Pakistan Pakistan ( ur, ), officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan ( ur, , label=none), is a country in South Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, fifth-most populous country, with a population of almost 24 ...
, which gave new insights on the emergence of the Indus Valley Civilisation. Mehrgarh is one of the earliest sites with evidence of farming and herding in
South Asia South Asia is the southern subregion of Asia Asia (, ) is one of the world's most notable geographical regions, which is either considered a continent in its own right or a subcontinent of Eurasia, which shares the continental land ...
. Mehrgarh was influenced by the Near Eastern Neolithic, with similarities between "domesticated wheat varieties, early phases of farming, pottery, other archaeological artefacts, some domesticated plants and herd animals." Jean-Francois Jarrige argues for an independent origin of Mehrgarh. Jarrige notes "the assumption that farming economy was introduced full-fledged from Near-East to South Asia," and the similarities between Neolithic sites from eastern Mesopotamia and the western Indus valley, which are evidence of a "cultural continuum" between those sites. But given the originality of Mehrgarh, Jarrige concludes that Mehrgarh has an earlier local background, and is not a "'backwater' of the Neolithic culture of the Near East". Lukacs and Hemphill suggest an initial local development of Mehrgarh, with a continuity in cultural development but a change in population. According to Lukacs and Hemphill, while there is a strong continuity between the neolithic and
chalcolithic The Copper Age, also called the Chalcolithic (; from grc-gre, χαλκός ''khalkós'', "copper" and  ''líthos'', "Rock (geology), stone") or (A)eneolithic (from Latin ''wikt:aeneus, aeneus'' "of copper"), is an list of archaeologi ...
(Copper Age) cultures of Mehrgarh, dental evidence shows that the chalcolithic population did not descend from the neolithic population of Mehrgarh, which "suggests moderate levels of gene flow." Mascarenhas et al. (2015) note that "new, possibly West Asian, body types are reported from the graves of Mehrgarh beginning in the Togau phase (3800 BCE)." Gallego Romero et al. (2011) state that their research on lactose tolerance in India suggests that "the west Eurasian genetic contribution identified by Reich et al. (2009) principally reflects gene flow from Iran and the Middle East." They further note that " e earliest evidence of cattle herding in south Asia comes from the Indus River Valley site of Mehrgarh and is dated to 7,000  YBP."


Early Harappan

The Early Harappan Ravi Phase, named after the nearby
Ravi River The Ravi River () is a transboundary river crossing northwestern India and eastern Pakistan. It is one of five rivers associated with the Punjab region. Under the Indus Waters Treaty of 1960, the waters of the Ravi and two other rivers were ...
, lasted from BCE until 2800 BCE. It started when farmers from the mountains gradually moved between their mountain homes and the lowland river valleys, and is related to the Hakra Phase, identified in the Ghaggar-Hakra River Valley to the west, and predates the
Kot Diji The ancient site at Kot Diji ( sd, ڪوٽ ڏیجي; ur, کوٹ ڈیجی) was the forerunner of the Indus Valley civilization, Indus Civilization. The occupation of this site is attested already at 3300 BCE. The remains consist of two parts; the ...
Phase (2800–2600 BCE, Harappan 2), named after a site in northern
Sindh Sindh (; ; ur, , ; historically romanized as Sind) is one of the Administrative units of Pakistan, four provinces of Pakistan. Located in the Geography of Pakistan, southeastern region of the country, Sindh is the third-largest province of ...
, Pakistan, near
Mohenjo-daro Mohenjo-daro (; sd, موئن جو دڙو'', ''meaning 'Mound of the Dead Men';Indus script The Indus script, also known as the Harappan script, is a corpus of symbols produced by the Indus Valley Civilisation. Most inscriptions containing these symbols are extremely short, making it difficult to judge whether or not they constituted ...
date to the 3rd millennium BCE. The mature phase of earlier village cultures is represented by Rehman Dheri and Amri in Pakistan.
Kot Diji The ancient site at Kot Diji ( sd, ڪوٽ ڏیجي; ur, کوٹ ڈیجی) was the forerunner of the Indus Valley civilization, Indus Civilization. The occupation of this site is attested already at 3300 BCE. The remains consist of two parts; the ...
represents the phase leading up to Mature Harappan, with the citadel representing centralised authority and an increasingly urban quality of life. Another town of this stage was found at
Kalibangan Kalibangān is a town located at on the left or southern banks of the Ghaggar (Ghaggar-Hakra River) in Tehsil Pilibangān, between Suratgarh and Hanumangarh in Hanumangarh District, Rajasthan, India 205 km. from Bikaner. It is also identifi ...
in India on the Hakra River. Trade networks linked this culture with related regional cultures and distant sources of raw materials, including
lapis lazuli Lapis lazuli (; ), or lapis for short, is a deep-blue metamorphic rock used as a Gemstone, semi-precious stone that has been prized since ancient history, antiquity for its intense color. As early as the 7th millennium BC, lapis lazuli was mine ...
and other materials for bead-making. By this time, villagers had domesticated numerous crops, including
pea The pea is most commonly the small spherical seed or the seed-pod of the flowering plant species ''Pisum sativum''. Each pod contains several peas, which can be green or yellow. Botanically, pea pods are fruit, since they contain seeds and d ...
s,
sesame seed Sesame ( or ; ''Sesamum indicum'') is a flowering plant in the genus ''Sesamum'', also called benne. Numerous wild relatives occur in Africa and a smaller number in India. It is widely naturalization (biology), naturalized in tropical regions a ...
s,
dates Date or dates may refer to: *Date (fruit), the fruit of the date palm (''Phoenix dactylifera'') Social activity *Dating, a form of courtship involving social activity, with the aim of assessing a potential partner **Group dating *Play date, an ...
, and cotton, as well as animals, including the
water buffalo The water buffalo (''Bubalus bubalis''), also called the domestic water buffalo or Asian water buffalo, is a large bovid originating in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. Today, it is also found in Europe, Australia, North America, So ...
. Early Harappan communities turned to large urban centres by 2600 BCE, from where the mature Harappan phase started. The latest research shows that Indus Valley people migrated from villages to cities. The final stages of the Early Harappan period are characterised by the building of large walled settlements, the expansion of trade networks, and the increasing integration of regional communities into a "relatively uniform" material culture in terms of pottery styles, ornaments, and
stamp seal __NOTOC__ The stamp seal is a carved object, usually stone, first made in the 4th millennium BC, and probably earlier. They were used to impress their picture or inscription into soft, prepared clay. Seal devices have seldom survived through ti ...
s with
Indus script The Indus script, also known as the Harappan script, is a corpus of symbols produced by the Indus Valley Civilisation. Most inscriptions containing these symbols are extremely short, making it difficult to judge whether or not they constituted ...
, leading into the transition to the Mature Harappan phase.


Mature Harappan

upright=1.5, Mature Harappan Period, c. 2600–1900 BCE According to Giosan et al. (2012), the slow southward migration of the monsoons across Asia initially allowed the Indus Valley villages to develop by taming the floods of the Indus and its tributaries. Flood-supported farming led to large agricultural surpluses, which in turn supported the development of cities. The IVC residents did not develop irrigation capabilities, relying mainly on the seasonal monsoons leading to summer floods. Brooke further notes that the development of advanced cities coincides with a reduction in rainfall, which may have triggered a reorganisation into larger urban centres. According to J.G. Shaffer and D.A. Lichtenstein, the Mature Harappan civilisation was "a fusion of the Bagor, Hakra, and Kot Diji traditions or 'ethnic groups' in the Ghaggar-Hakra valley on the borders of India and Pakistan". Also, according to a more recent summary by Maisels (2003), "The Harappan oecumene formed from a Kot Dijian/ Amri-Nal synthesis". He also says that, in the development of complexity, the site of Mohenjo-daro has priority, along with the Hakra-Ghaggar cluster of sites, "where Hakra wares actually precede the Kot Diji related material". He sees these areas as "catalytic in producing the fusion from Hakra, Kot Dijian and Amri-Nal cultural elements that resulted in the gestalt we recognize as Early Harappan (Early Indus)." By 2600 BCE, the Early Harappan communities turned into large urban centres. Such urban centres include
Harappa Harappa (; Urdu/ pnb, ) is an archaeological site An archaeological site is a place (or group of physical sites) in which evidence of past activity is preserved (either prehistoric or recorded history, historic or contemporary), and which ...
, Ganeriwala,
Mohenjo-daro Mohenjo-daro (; sd, موئن جو دڙو'', ''meaning 'Mound of the Dead Men';Dholavira Dholavira ( gu, ધોળાવીરા) is an archaeological site An archaeological site is a place (or group of physical sites) in which evidence of past activity is preserved (either prehistoric or recorded history, historic or contemp ...
,
Kalibangan Kalibangān is a town located at on the left or southern banks of the Ghaggar (Ghaggar-Hakra River) in Tehsil Pilibangān, between Suratgarh and Hanumangarh in Hanumangarh District, Rajasthan, India 205 km. from Bikaner. It is also identifi ...
,
Rakhigarhi Rakhigarhi or Rakhi Garhi is a village and an archaeological site belonging to the Indus Valley civilisation The Indus Valley Civilisation (IVC), also known as the Indus Civilisation was a Bronze Age civilisation in the northwestern ...
, Rupar, and
Lothal Lothal () was one of the southernmost sites of the ancient Indus Valley civilization, Indus Valley civilisation, located in the Bhal region, Bhāl region of the modern state of Gujarat, Gujarāt. Construction of the city is believed to have be ...
in modern-day India. In total, more than 1,000 cities and settlements have been found, mainly in the general region of the Indus and Ghaggar-Hakra Rivers and their tributaries.


Cities

A sophisticated and technologically advanced urban culture is evident in the Indus Valley Civilisation, making them the first urban centre in the region. The quality of municipal town planning suggests the knowledge of
urban planning Urban planning, also known as town planning, city planning, regional planning, or rural planning, is a technical and political process that is focused on the development and design of land use and the built environment, including air, water, ...
and efficient municipal governments which placed a high priority on
hygiene Hygiene is a series of practices performed to preserve health. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), "Hygiene refers to conditions and practices that help to maintain health and prevent the spread of diseases." Personal hygiene refer ...
, or, alternatively, accessibility to the means of religious ritual. As seen in Harappa, Mohenjo-daro and the recently partially excavated
Rakhigarhi Rakhigarhi or Rakhi Garhi is a village and an archaeological site belonging to the Indus Valley civilisation The Indus Valley Civilisation (IVC), also known as the Indus Civilisation was a Bronze Age civilisation in the northwestern ...
, this urban plan included the world's first known urban sanitation systems. Within the city, individual homes or groups of homes obtained water from wells. From a room that appears to have been set aside for bathing, waste water was directed to covered drains, which lined the major streets. Houses opened only to inner
courtyard A courtyard or court is a circumscribed area, often surrounded by a building or complex, that is open to the sky. Courtyards are common elements in both Western and Eastern building patterns and have been used by both ancient and contemporary ...
s and smaller lanes. The housebuilding in some villages in the region still resembles in some respects the housebuilding of the Harappans. The ancient Indus systems of sewerage and drainage that were developed and used in cities throughout the Indus region were far more advanced than any found in contemporary urban sites in the Middle East and even more efficient than those in many areas of Pakistan and India today. The advanced architecture of the Harappans is shown by their impressive dockyards,
granaries A granary is a storehouse or room in a barn for threshing, threshed cereal, grain or compound feed, animal feed. Ancient or primitive granaries are most often made of pottery. Granaries are often built above the ground to keep the stored food ...
, warehouses, brick platforms, and protective walls. The massive walls of Indus cities most likely protected the Harappans from floods and may have dissuaded military conflicts. The purpose of the citadel remains debated. In sharp contrast to this civilisation's contemporaries,
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن or ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in the northern part of the F ...
and
ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization in Northeast Africa situated in the Nile Valley. Ancient Egyptian civilization followed prehistoric Egypt and coalesced around 3100Anno Domini, BC (according to conventional Egyptian chronology) with the ...
, no large monumental structures were built. There is no conclusive evidence of palaces or temples. Some structures are thought to have been granaries. Found at one city is an enormous well-built bath (the "
Great Bath The Great Bath is one of the best-known structures among the ruins of the Harappan Civilization excavated at Mohenjo-daro in Sindh, Pakistan.
"), which may have been a public bath. Although the citadels were walled, it is far from clear that these structures were defensive. Most city dwellers appear to have been traders or artisans, who lived with others pursuing the same occupation in well-defined neighbourhoods. Materials from distant regions were used in the cities for constructing seals, beads and other objects. Among the artefacts discovered were beautiful glazed faïence beads.
Steatite Soapstone (also known as steatite or soaprock) is a talc-schist, which is a type of metamorphic rock. It is composed largely of the magnesium rich mineral talc. It is produced by dynamothermal metamorphism and metasomatism, which occur in the zo ...
seals have images of animals, people (perhaps gods), and other types of inscriptions, including the yet un-deciphered writing system of the Indus Valley Civilisation. Some of the seals were used to stamp clay on trade goods. Although some houses were larger than others, Indus civilisation cities were remarkable for their apparent, if relative,
egalitarianism Egalitarianism (), or equalitarianism, is a school of thought within political philosophy that builds from the concept of social equality, prioritizing it for all people. Egalitarian doctrines are generally characterized by the idea that all hum ...
. All the houses had access to water and drainage facilities. This gives the impression of a society with relatively low wealth concentration.


Authority and governance

Archaeological records provide no immediate answers for a centre of power or for depictions of people in power in Harappan society. But, there are indications of complex decisions being taken and implemented. For instance, the majority of the cities were constructed in a highly uniform and well-planned grid pattern, suggesting they were planned by a central authority; extraordinary uniformity of Harappan artefacts as evident in pottery, seals, weights and bricks; presence of public facilities and monumental architecture; heterogeneity in the mortuary symbolism and in grave goods (items included in burials). These are some major theories: * There was a single state, given the similarity in artefacts, the evidence for planned settlements, the standardised ratio of brick size, and the establishment of settlements near sources of raw material. * There was no single ruler but several cities like Mohenjo-daro had a separate ruler, Harappa another, and so forth. * Society in the Indus Valley Civilisation was egalitarian.


Metallurgy

Harappans evolved some new techniques in
metallurgy Metallurgy is a domain of Materials science, materials science and engineering that studies the physical and chemical behavior of metallic Chemical element, elements, their Inter-metallic alloy, inter-metallic compounds, and their mixtures, which ...
and produced copper,
bronze Bronze is an alloy consisting primarily of copper, commonly with about 12–12.5% tin and often with the addition of other metals (including aluminium, manganese, nickel, or zinc) and sometimes non-metals, such as phosphorus, or metalloids such ...
, lead, and
tin Tin is a chemical element with the Chemical symbol, symbol Sn (from la, :la:Stannum, stannum) and atomic number 50. Tin is a silvery-coloured metal. Tin is soft enough to be cut with little force and a bar of tin can be bent by hand wit ...
. A touchstone bearing gold streaks was found in Banawali, which was probably used for testing the purity of gold (such a technique is still used in some parts of India).


Metrology

The people of the Indus civilisation achieved great accuracy in measuring length, mass, and time. They were among the first to develop a system of uniform weights and measures. A comparison of available objects indicates large scale variation across the Indus territories. Their smallest division, which is marked on an ivory scale found in
Lothal Lothal () was one of the southernmost sites of the ancient Indus Valley civilization, Indus Valley civilisation, located in the Bhal region, Bhāl region of the modern state of Gujarat, Gujarāt. Construction of the city is believed to have be ...
in Gujarat, was approximately 1.704 mm, the smallest division ever recorded on a scale of the
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a historic period, lasting approximately from 3300 BC to 1200 BC, characterized by the use of bronze Bronze is an alloy consisting primarily of copper, commonly with about 12–12.5% tin and often with the addition of ...
. Harappan engineers followed the decimal division of measurement for all practical purposes, including the measurement of mass as revealed by their hexahedron weights. These
chert Chert () is a hard, fine-grained sedimentary rock composed of microcrystalline or cryptocrystalline quartz Quartz is a hard, crystalline mineral composed of silica ( silicon dioxide). The atoms are linked in a continuous framework of S ...
weights were in a ratio of 5:2:1 with weights of 0.05, 0.1, 0.2, 0.5, 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 units, with each unit weighing approximately 28 grams, similar to the English Imperial ounce or Greek uncia, and smaller objects were weighed in similar ratios with the units of 0.871 . However, as in other cultures, actual weights were not uniform throughout the area. The weights and measures later used in
Kautilya Chanakya (Sanskrit: चाणक्य; IAST: ', ; 375–283 BCE) was an ancient Indian polymath who was active as a teacher, author, strategist, philosopher, economist, jurist, and royal advisor. He is traditionally identified as Kauṭilya o ...
's ''
Arthashastra The ''Arthashastra'' ( sa, अर्थशास्त्रम्, ) is an Ancient Indian Sanskrit treatise on statecraft, political science, economic policy and military strategy. Kautilya, also identified as Vishnugupta and Chanakya ...
'' (4th century BCE) are the same as those used in
Lothal Lothal () was one of the southernmost sites of the ancient Indus Valley civilization, Indus Valley civilisation, located in the Bhal region, Bhāl region of the modern state of Gujarat, Gujarāt. Construction of the city is believed to have be ...
.


Arts and crafts

Various sculptures, seals, bronze vessels,
pottery Pottery is the process and the products of forming vessels and other objects with clay and other ceramic materials, which are fired at high temperatures to give them a hard and durable form. Major types include earthenware, stoneware and porc ...
, gold jewellery, and anatomically detailed figurines in
terracotta Terracotta, terra cotta, or terra-cotta (; ; ), in its material sense as an earthenware substrate, is a clay-based unglazed or glazed ceramic A ceramic is any of the various hard, brittle, heat-resistant and corrosion-resistant materials m ...
, bronze, and steatite have been found at excavation sites. The Harappans also made various toys and games, among them cubical
dice Dice (singular die or dice) are small, throwable objects with marked sides that can rest in multiple positions. They are used for generating Statistical randomness, random values, commonly as part of tabletop games, including List of dice game ...
(with one to six holes on the faces), which were found in sites like Mohenjo-daro. The terracotta figurines included cows, bears, monkeys, and dogs. The animal depicted on a majority of seals at sites of the mature period has not been clearly identified. Part bull, part zebra, with a majestic horn, it has been a source of speculation. As yet, there is insufficient evidence to substantiate claims that the image had religious or cultic significance, but the prevalence of the image raises the question of whether or not the animals in images of the IVC are religious symbols.Keay, John, India, a History. New York: Grove Press, 2000. Many crafts including, "shell working, ceramics, and agate and glazed steatite bead making" were practised and the pieces were used in the making of necklaces, bangles, and other ornaments from all phases of Harappan culture. Some of these crafts are still practised in the subcontinent today. Some make-up and toiletry items (a special kind of combs (kakai), the use of
collyrium In human eye, eye care, collyrium is an antique term for a lotion or liquid eyewash, wash used as a cleanser for the human eye, eyes, particularly in diseases of the eye. The word ''collyrium'' comes from the Greek language, Greek , eye-salve. The s ...
and a special three-in-one toiletry gadget) that were found in Harappan contexts still have similar counterparts in modern India. Terracotta female figurines were found (c. 2800–2600 BCE) which had red colour applied to the "manga" (line of partition of the hair). The finds from Mohenjo-daro were initially deposited in the
Lahore Museum The Lahore Museum ( pa, ; ur, ; ''"Lahore Wonder House"'') is a museum located in Lahore, Pakistan. Founded in 1865 at a smaller location and opened in 1894 at its current location on The Mall, Lahore, The Mall in Lahore during the British Ra ...
, but later moved to the ASI headquarters at New Delhi, where a new "Central Imperial Museum" was being planned for the new capital of the British Raj, in which at least a selection would be displayed. It became apparent that Indian independence was approaching, but the
Partition of India The Partition of British India in 1947 was the Partition (politics), change of political borders and the division of other assets that accompanied the dissolution of the British Raj in South Asia and the creation of two independent dominions: ...
was not anticipated until late in the process. The new Pakistani authorities requested the return of the Mohenjo-daro pieces excavated on their territory, but the Indian authorities refused. Eventually an agreement was reached, whereby the finds, totalling some 12,000 objects (most
sherd In archaeology, a sherd, or more precisely, potsherd, is commonly a history, historic or prehistory, prehistoric fragment of pottery, although the term is occasionally used to refer to fragments of stone and glass vessels, as well. Occasionally ...
s of pottery), were split equally between the countries; in some cases this was taken very literally, with some necklaces and girdles having their beads separated into two piles. In the case of the "two most celebrated sculpted figures", Pakistan asked for and received the so-called ''Priest-King'' figure, while India retained the much smaller ''Dancing Girl''. Though written considerably later, the arts treatise ''
Natya Shastra The ''Nāṭya Śāstra'' (, ''Nāṭyaśāstra'') is a Sanskrit treatise on the performing arts. The text is attributed to sage Bharata Muni, and its first complete compilation is dated to between 200 BCE and 200 CE, but estimates vary ...
'' () classifies musical instruments into four groups based on their means of acoustical production—strings, membranes, solid materials and air—and it is probable that such instruments had existed since the IVC. Archeological evidence indicates the use of simple
rattle Rattle may refer to: Instruments * Crotalus (liturgy), a liturgical percussion instrument * Rattle (percussion instrument), a type of percussion instrument * Rattle (percussion beater), a part of some percussion instruments * Ratchet (instrume ...
s and
vessel flute A vessel flute is a type of flute with a body which acts as a Helmholtz resonator. The body is vessel-shaped, not tube- or cone-shaped; that is, the far end is closed. Most flutes have Bore (wind instruments)#Cylindrical bore, cylindrical or Bor ...
s, while iconographical evidence suggests early harps and drums were also used. An
ideogram An ideogram or ideograph (from Ancient Greek, Greek "idea" and "to write") is a graphic symbol that represents an idea or concept, independent of any particular language, and specific words or phrases. Some ideograms are comprehensible onl ...
in the IVC contains the earliest known depiction of an arched
harp The harp is a stringed musical instrument that has a number of individual string (music), strings running at an angle to its sound board (music), soundboard; the strings are plucked with the fingers. Harps can be made and played in various way ...
, dated sometime before 1800 BCE. File:Ceremonial Vessel LACMA AC1997.93.1.jpg, Ceremonial vessel; 2600-2450 BC; terracotta with black paint; 49.53 × 25.4 cm;
Los Angeles County Museum of Art The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is an art museum located on Wilshire Boulevard in the Miracle Mile vicinity of Los Angeles. LACMA is on Museum Row, adjacent to the La Brea Tar Pits (George C. Page Museum). LACMA was founded in 1 ...
(US) Poids cubiques harappéens - BM.jpg, Cubical weights, standardised throughout the Indus cultural zone; 2600-1900 BC; chert;
British Museum The British Museum is a public museum dedicated to human history, art and culture located in the Bloomsbury area of London. Its permanent collection of eight million works is among the list of largest art museums, largest and most comprehens ...
(London) Harappan carnelian and terracotta beads - Mohenjo-daro.jpg,
Mohenjo-daro Mohenjo-daro (; sd, موئن جو دڙو'', ''meaning 'Mound of the Dead Men';carnelian Carnelian (also spelled cornelian) is a brownish-red mineral commonly used as a semi-precious gemstone. Similar to carnelian is sard, which is generally harder and darker (the difference is not rigidly defined, and the two names are often us ...
and
terracotta Terracotta, terra cotta, or terra-cotta (; ; ), in its material sense as an earthenware substrate, is a clay-based unglazed or glazed ceramic A ceramic is any of the various hard, brittle, heat-resistant and corrosion-resistant materials m ...
; British Museum Oiseau a tete de belier monte sur roues Indus Guimet.jpg, Ram-headed bird mounted on wheels, probably a toy; 2600-1900 BC; terracotta;
Guimet Museum The Guimet Museum (full name in french: Musée national des arts asiatiques-Guimet; MNAAG; ) is an art museum located at 6, place d'Iéna in the XVIe arrondissement, 16th arrondissement of Paris, France. Literally translated into English, its ful ...
(Paris)


Human statuettes

A handful of realistic statuettes have been found at IVC sites, of which much the most famous is the
lost-wax casting Lost-wax casting (also called "investment casting", "precision casting", or ''cire perdue'' which has been adopted into English from the French language, French, ) is the process by which a duplicate metal sculpture (often silver, gold, bras ...
bronze Bronze is an alloy consisting primarily of copper, commonly with about 12–12.5% tin and often with the addition of other metals (including aluminium, manganese, nickel, or zinc) and sometimes non-metals, such as phosphorus, or metalloids such ...
statuette of a slender-limbed '' Dancing Girl'' adorned with bangles, found in Mohenjo-daro. Two other realistic incomplete statuettes have been found in Harappa in proper stratified excavations, which display near- Classical treatment of the human shape: the statuette of a dancer who seems to be male, and the ''Hapappa Torso'', a red jasper male torso, both now in the Delhi National Museum. Sir John Marshall reacted with surprise when he saw these two statuettes from Harappa: These statuettes remain controversial, due to their advanced style in representing the human body. Regarding the red jasper torso, the discoverer, Vats, claims a Harappan date, but Marshall considered this statuette is probably historical, dating to the Gupta period, comparing it to the much later Lohanipur torso. A second rather similar grey stone torso of a dancing male was also found about 150 meters away in a secure Mature Harappan stratum. Overall, anthropologist
Gregory Possehl Gregory Louis Possehl (July 21, 1941 – October 8, 2011) was a professor emeritus of anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania and curator of the Asian Collections at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. H ...
tends to consider that these statuettes probably form the pinnacle of Indus art during the Mature Harappan period. Reclining mouflon MET DT252770.jpg, Reclining mouflon; 2600–1900 BC; marble; length: 28 cm;
Metropolitan Museum of Art The Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York City, colloquially "the Met", is the List of largest art museums, largest art museum in the Americas. Its permanent collection contains over two million works, divided among 17 curatorial departments. ...
(New York City) File:Mohenjo-daro Priesterkönig.jpeg, The ''Priest-King''; 2400–1900 BC; low fired steatite; height: 17.5 cm;
National Museum of Pakistan The National Museum of Pakistan ( ur, ) is located in Karachi, Pakistan. History The National Museum of Pakistan was established in Frere Hall on 17 April 1950, replacing the defunct Victoria Museum, Karachi, Victoria Museum. Frere Hall itself ...
(
Karachi Karachi (; ur, ; ; ) is the List of cities in Pakistan by population, most populous city in Pakistan and 12th List of largest cities, most populous city in the world, with a population of over 20 million. It is situated at the Geography of ...
) File:Harappa 13 grey stone male dancer statuette.jpg, Male dancing torso; 2400-1900 BC; limestone; height: 9.9 cm; National Museum (
New Delhi New Delhi (, , ''Naī Dillī'') is the Capital city, capital of India and a part of the NCT Delhi, National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCT). New Delhi is the seat of all three branches of the government of India, hosting the Rashtrapati B ...
) Dancing girl of Mohenjo-daro.jpg, The '' Dancing Girl''; 2400–1900 BC; bronze; height: 10.8 cm; National Museum (New Delhi)


Seals

Thousands of
steatite Soapstone (also known as steatite or soaprock) is a talc-schist, which is a type of metamorphic rock. It is composed largely of the magnesium rich mineral talc. It is produced by dynamothermal metamorphism and metasomatism, which occur in the zo ...
seals have been recovered, and their physical character is fairly consistent. In size they range from squares of side . In most cases they have a pierced boss at the back to accommodate a cord for handling or for use as personal adornment. In addition a large number of sealings have survived, of which only a few can be matched to the seals. The great majority of examples of the
Indus script The Indus script, also known as the Harappan script, is a corpus of symbols produced by the Indus Valley Civilisation. Most inscriptions containing these symbols are extremely short, making it difficult to judge whether or not they constituted ...
are short groups of signs on seals. Seals have been found at
Mohenjo-daro Mohenjo-daro (; sd, موئن جو دڙو'', ''meaning 'Mound of the Dead Men';Pashupati seal, sitting cross-legged in what some call a
yoga Yoga (; sa, योग, lit=yoke' or 'union ) is a group of Asana, physical, mental, and Spirituality#Asian traditions, spiritual practices or disciplines which originated in History of India, ancient India and aim to control (yoke) and Ś ...
-like pose (see image, the so-called ''Pashupati'', below). This figure has been variously identified. Sir John Marshall identified a resemblance to the Hindu god, Shiva. A human deity with the horns, hooves and tail of a bull also appears in the seals, in particular in a fighting scene with a horned tiger-like beast. This deity has been compared to the Mesopotamian bull-man
Enkidu Enkidu ( sux, ''EN.KI.DU10'') was a legendary figure in Mesopotamian mythology, ancient Mesopotamian mythology, wartime comrade and friend of Gilgamesh, king of Uruk. Their exploits were composed in Sumerian language, Sumerian poems and in t ...
. Several seals also show a man fighting two lions or tigers, a "
Master of Animals The Master of Animals, Lord of Animals, or Mistress of the Animals is a Motif (visual arts), motif in ancient art showing a human between and grasping two confronted animals. The motif is very widespread in the art of the Ancient Near East and E ...
" motif common to civilisations in Western and South Asia. MET 1984 482 237872.jpg, Seal; 3000–1500 BC; baked
steatite Soapstone (also known as steatite or soaprock) is a talc-schist, which is a type of metamorphic rock. It is composed largely of the magnesium rich mineral talc. It is produced by dynamothermal metamorphism and metasomatism, which occur in the zo ...
; 2 × 2 cm;
Metropolitan Museum of Art The Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York City, colloquially "the Met", is the List of largest art museums, largest art museum in the Americas. Its permanent collection contains over two million works, divided among 17 curatorial departments. ...
(New York City) File:Stamp seal and modern impression- unicorn and incense burner (?) MET DP23101 (cropped).jpg, Stamp seal and modern impression: unicorn and incense burner (?); 2600-1900 BC; burnt steatite; 3.8 × 3.8 × 1 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art Clevelandart 1973.160.jpg, Seal with two-horned bull and inscription; 2010 BC; steatite; overall: 3.2 x 3.2 cm;
Cleveland Museum of Art The Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA) is an art museum in Cleveland, Ohio, located in the Wade Park District, in the University Circle neighborhood on the city's east side. Internationally renowned for its substantial holdings of Asian art, Asian and ...
(
Cleveland Cleveland ( ), officially the City of Cleveland, is a city in the United States, U.S. U.S. state, state of Ohio and the county seat of Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Cuyahoga County. Located in the northeastern part of the state, it is situated along ...
,
Ohio Ohio () is a U.S. state, state in the Midwestern United States, Midwestern region of the United States. Of the List of states and territories of the United States, fifty U.S. states, it is the List of U.S. states and territories by area, 34th-l ...
, US) File:Clevelandart 1973.161.jpg, Seal with unicorn and inscription; 2010 BC; steatite; overall: 3.5 x 3.6 cm; Cleveland Museum of Art


Trade and transportation

IVC may have had
bullock cart A bullock cart or ox cart (sometimes called a bullock carriage when carrying people in particular) is a two-wheeled or four-wheeled vehicle pulled by oxen. It is a means of transportation used since ancient times in many parts of the world. They ...
s identical to those seen throughout South Asia today, as well as boats. Most of these boats were probably small, flat-bottomed craft, perhaps driven by sail, similar to those one can see on the Indus River today;. An extensive canal network, used for irrigation, has however also been discovered by H.-P. Francfort. During 4300–3200 BCE of the
chalcolithic The Copper Age, also called the Chalcolithic (; from grc-gre, χαλκός ''khalkós'', "copper" and  ''líthos'', "Rock (geology), stone") or (A)eneolithic (from Latin ''wikt:aeneus, aeneus'' "of copper"), is an list of archaeologi ...
period (copper age), the Indus Valley Civilisation area shows ceramic similarities with southern
Turkmenistan Turkmenistan ( or ; tk, Türkmenistan / Түркменистан, ) is a country located in Central Asia, bordered by Kazakhstan to the Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan border, northwest, Uzbekistan to the Turkmenistan–Uzbekistan border, north, eas ...
and northern Iran which suggest considerable mobility and trade. During the Early Harappan period (about 3200–2600 BCE), similarities in pottery, seals, figurines, ornaments, etc. document intensive caravan trade with
Central Asia Central Asia, also known as Middle Asia, is a region of Asia Asia (, ) is one of the world's most notable geographical regions, which is either considered a continent in its own right or a subcontinent of Eurasia, which shares the c ...
and the
Iranian plateau The Iranian plateau or Persian plateau is a geology, geological feature in Western Asia, Central Asia, and South Asia. It comprises part of the Eurasian Plate and is wedged between the Arabian Plate and the Indian Plate; situated between th ...
. Judging from the dispersal of Indus civilisation artefacts, the trade networks economically integrated a huge area, including portions of
Afghanistan Afghanistan, officially the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,; prs, امارت اسلامی افغانستان is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central Asia and South Asia. Referred to as the Heart of Asia, it is bordere ...
, the coastal regions of
Persia Iran, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, and also called Persia, is a country located in Western Asia. It is bordered by Iraq and Turkey to the west, by Azerbaijan and Armenia to the northwest, by the Caspian Sea and Turkmeni ...
, northern and
western India Western India is a loosely defined region of India consisting of its western part. The Ministry of Home Affairs (India), Ministry of Home Affairs in its Western Zonal Council Administrative divisions of India, Administrative division includes ...
, and
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن or ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in the northern part of the F ...
, leading to the development of Indus-Mesopotamia relations. Studies of tooth enamel from individuals buried at Harappa suggest that some residents had migrated to the city from beyond the Indus Valley. Ancient DNA studies of graves at Bronze Age sites at Gonur Depe, Turkmenistan, and
Shahr-e Sukhteh Shahr-e Sukhteh ( fa, شهر سوخته, meaning " heBurnt City"), c. 3200–2350 BCE, also spelled as ''Shahr-e Sūkhté'' and ''Shahr-i Sōkhta'', is an archaeological site of a sizable Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a historic period, ...
, Iran, have identified 11 individuals of South Asian descent, who are presumed to be of mature Indus Valley origin. There was an extensive maritime trade network operating between the Harappan and Mesopotamian civilisations as early as the middle Harappan Phase, with much commerce being handled by "middlemen merchants from
Dilmun Dilmun, or Telmun, (Sumerian language, Sumerian: , later 𒉌𒌇(𒆠), ni.tukki = DILMUNki; ar, دلمون) was an ancient East Semitic-speaking civilization in Eastern Arabia mentioned from the 3rd millennium BC onwards. Based on contextual ...
" (modern
Bahrain Bahrain ( ; ; ar, البحرين, al-Bahrayn, locally ), officially the Kingdom of Bahrain, ' is an island country in Western Asia. It is situated on the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, Persian Gulf, and comprises a small archipelago made u ...
,
Eastern Arabia Eastern Arabia, historically known as al-Baḥrayn ( ar, البحرين) until the 18th century, is a region stretched from Basra to Khasab along the Persian Gulf coast and included parts of modern-day Bahrain Bahrain ( ; ; ar, البح ...
and Failaka located in the
Persian Gulf The Persian Gulf ( fa, خلیج فارس, translit=xalij-e fârs, lit=Gulf of Persis, Fars, ), sometimes called the ( ar, اَلْخَلِيْجُ ٱلْعَرَبِيُّ, Al-Khalīj al-ˁArabī), is a Mediterranean sea (oceanography), me ...
). Such long-distance sea trade became feasible with the development of plank-built watercraft, equipped with a single central mast supporting a sail of woven rushes or cloth.Maurizio Tosi, "Black Boats of Magan. Some Thoughts on Bronze Age Water Transport in Oman and beyond from the Impressed Bitumen Slabs of Ra's al-Junayz", in A. Parpola (ed), South Asian Archaeology 1993, Helsinki, 1995, pp. 745–761 (in collaboration with Serge Cleuziou) However, the evidence of sea-borne trade involving the Harappan civilisation is not firm. In their book ''Rise of Civilization in India and Pakistan'' archaeologists Bridget Allchin and Raymond Allchin write:
... (p. 173) the settlement at Lothal ... along the east side was a brick basin. It is claimed by its excavator to have been a dockyard, connected by channels to a neighbouring estuary. ... On its edge the excavator discovered several heavily-pierced stones, similar to modern anchor stones employed by traditional seafaring communities of Western India. This interpretation, however, has been challenged, and indeed the published levels of the basin and its entrance relative to the modern sea level seem to argue against it. Leshnik has cogently suggested that it was a tank for the reception of sweet water, channelled from higher ground inland to an area where the local water supplies were anciently, as still today, saline. We regard either interpretation as still unproven, but favour the latter. ... (p. 188–189) The discussion of trade focuses attention upon methods of transport. Several representations of ships are found on seals and graffiti at Harappa, Mohenjo-daro (Figs. 7.15–7.16], etc, and a terracotta model of a ship, with a stick impressed socket for the mast and eyeholes for fixing rigging comes from Lothal. We have already seen above that the great brick tank, interpreted by Rao as a dock at Lothal, cannot yet be certainly identified. The evidence of sea trade and contact during the Harappan period is largely circumstantial, or derived from inferences from the Mesopotamian texts, as detailed above. (Figure 7. 15 had caption: Mohenjo-daro: representation of ship on a stone seal (length 4.3 cm) (after Mackay). Figure 7.16 Mohenjo-daro: representation of ship on terracotta amulet (length 4.5 cm) after Dales)
And Daniel T. Potts writes:
It is generally assumed that most trade between the Indus Valley (ancient Meluhha?) and western neighbors proceeded up the Persian Gulf rather than overland. Although there is no incontrovertible proof that this was indeed the case, the distribution of Indus-type artifacts on the Oman peninsula, on Bahrain and in southern Mesopotamia makes it plausible that a series of maritime stages linked the Indus Valley and the Gulf region. If this is accepted, then the presence of
etched carnelian beads Etched carnelian beads, or sometimes bleached carnelian beads, are a type of ancient decorative beads made from carnelian with an etched design in white, which were probably manufactured by the Indus Valley civilization during the 3rd millennium BC ...
, a Harappan-style cubical stone weight, and a Harappan-style cylinder seal at Susa (Amiet 1986a, Figs. 92-94) may be evidence of maritime trade between Susa and the Indus Valley in the late 3rd millennium BCE. On the other hand, given that similar finds, particularly etched carnelian beads, are attested at landlocked sites including Tepe Hissar (Tappe Heṣār), Shah Tepe (Šāh-Tappe), Kalleh Nisar (Kalla Nisār), Jalalabad (Jalālābād), Marlik (Mārlik) and Tepe Yahya (Tappe Yaḥyā) (Possehl 1996, pp. 153-54), other mechanisms, including overland traffic by peddlers or caravans, may account for their presence at Susa.
In the 1980s, important archaeological discoveries were made at Ras al-Jinz (
Oman Oman ( ; ar, عُمَان ' ), officially the Sultanate of Oman ( ar, سلْطنةُ عُمان ), is an Arabian country located in southwestern Asia. It is situated on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, and spans the mouth of t ...
), demonstrating maritime Indus Valley connections with the
Arabian Peninsula The Arabian Peninsula, (; ar, شِبْهُ الْجَزِيرَةِ الْعَرَبِيَّة, , "Arabian Peninsula" or , , "Island of the Arabs") or Arabia, is a peninsula of Western Asia, situated northeast of Africa Africa is t ...
.


Agriculture

According to Gangal et al. (2014), there is strong archeological and geographical evidence that neolithic farming spread from the Near East into north-west India, but there is also "good evidence for the local domestication of barley and the
zebu The zebu (; ''Bos indicus'' or ''Bos taurus indicus''), sometimes known in the plural as indicine cattle or humped cattle, is a species or subspecies of domestic cattle originating in the Indian sub-continent. Zebu are characterised by a fatty h ...
cattle at Mehrgarh." According to Jean-Francois Jarrige, farming had an independent local origin at Mehrgarh, which he argues is not merely a "'backwater' of the Neolithic culture of the Near East", despite similarities between Neolithic sites from eastern Mesopotamia and the western Indus valley which are evidence of a "cultural continuum" between those sites. Archaeologist Jim G. Shaffer writes that the Mehrgarh site "demonstrates that food production was an indigenous South Asian phenomenon" and that the data support interpretation of "the prehistoric urbanisation and complex social organisation in South Asia as based on indigenous, but not isolated, cultural developments". Jarrige notes that the people of
Mehrgarh Mehrgarh (; ur, ) is a Neolithic archaeological site (dated ) situated on the Kacchi Plain of Balochistan, Pakistan, Balochistan in Pakistan. It is located near the Bolan Pass, to the west of the Indus River and between the modern-day Pakistan ...
used domesticated wheats and
barley Barley (''Hordeum vulgare''), a member of the grass family, is a major cereal grain grown in temperate climates globally. It was one of the first cultivated grains, particularly in Eurasia Eurasia (, ) is the largest continental area o ...
, while Shaffer and Liechtenstein note that the major cultivated cereal crop was naked six-row barley, a crop derived from two-row barley. Gangal agrees that "Neolithic domesticated crops in Mehrgarh include more than 90% barley," noting that "there is good evidence for the local domestication of barley." Yet, Gangal also notes that the crop also included "a small amount of wheat," which "are suggested to be of Near-Eastern origin, as the modern distribution of wild varieties of wheat is limited to Northern Levant and Southern Turkey." The cattle that are often portrayed on Indus seals are humped
Indian aurochs The Indian aurochs (''Bos primigenius namadicus'') ( sd, انڊين جهنگلي ڏاند) is an extinct aurochs subspecies that is considered the wild ancestor of the domestic zebu cattle, which is mainly found in the Indian subcontinent and has ...
(''Bos primigenius namadicus''), which are similar to
Zebu The zebu (; ''Bos indicus'' or ''Bos taurus indicus''), sometimes known in the plural as indicine cattle or humped cattle, is a species or subspecies of domestic cattle originating in the Indian sub-continent. Zebu are characterised by a fatty h ...
cattle. Zebu cattle is still common in India, and in Africa. It is different from the European cattle (''Bos primigenius taurus''), and are believed to have been independently domesticated on the Indian subcontinent, probably in the Baluchistan region of Pakistan. Research by J. Bates et al. (2016) confirms that Indus populations were the earliest people to use complex multi-cropping strategies across both seasons, growing foods during summer (rice, millets and beans) and winter (wheat, barley and pulses), which required different watering regimes. Bates et al. (2016) also found evidence for an entirely separate domestication process of rice in ancient South Asia, based around the wild species ''Oryza nivara''. This led to the local development of a mix of "wetland" and "dryland" agriculture of local ''Oryza sativa indica'' rice agriculture, before the truly "wetland" rice ''Oryza sativa japonica'' arrived around 2000 BCE.


Food

According to archeological finds, Indus valley civilization had dominance of meat diet of animals such as cattle, buffalo, goat, pig and chicken. Remnants of dairy products were also discovered. According to Akshyeta Suryanarayan et al., available evidence indicates culinary practices to be common over the region; food-constituents were dairy products (in low proportion), ruminant carcass meat, and either non-ruminant adipose fats, plants, or mixtures of these products. The dietary pattern remained same throughout the decline. Seven food-balls (“ laddus”) were found in intact form, along with two figurines of bulls and a hand-held copper adze, during excavations in 2017 from western Rajasthan. Dated to about 2600 BCE, they were likely composed of legumes, primarily mung, and cereals. The authors speculated the food-balls to be of a ritualistic significance, given the founds of bull figurines,
adze An adze (; alternative spelling: adz) is an ancient and versatile cutting tool similar to an axe but with the cutting edge perpendicular to the handle rather than parallel. Adzes have been used since the Stone Age. They are used for smoothing o ...
and a seal in immediate vicinity.


Language

It has often been suggested that the bearers of the IVC corresponded to proto-Dravidians linguistically, the break-up of proto-Dravidian corresponding to the break-up of the
Late Harappan The Indus Valley Civilisation (IVC), also known as the Indus Civilisation was a Bronze Age civilisation in the northwestern regions of South Asia, lasting from 3300 Common Era, BCE to 1300 BCE, and in its mature form 2600 B ...
culture. Finnish Indologist
Asko Parpola Asko Parpola (born 12 July 1941, in Forssa) is a Finnish Indologist, current professor emeritus of South Asian studies at the University of Helsinki. He specializes in Sindhology, specifically the study of the Indus script. Biography Parpola is ...
concludes that the uniformity of the Indus inscriptions precludes any possibility of widely different languages being used, and that an early form of Dravidian language must have been the language of the Indus people. Today, the
Dravidian language The Dravidian languages (or sometimes Dravidic) are a language family, family of languages spoken by 250 million people, mainly in South India, southern India, north-east Sri Lanka, and south-west Pakistan. Since the colonial era, there have b ...
family is concentrated mostly in
southern India South India, also known as Dakshina Bharata or Peninsular India, consists of the peninsular southern part of India. It encompasses the States and union territories of India, Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and T ...
and northern and eastern
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka (, ; si, ශ්‍රී ලංකා, Śrī Laṅkā, translit-std=ISO (); ta, இலங்கை, Ilaṅkai, translit-std=ISO ()), formerly known as Ceylon and officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is an ...
, but pockets of it still remain throughout the rest of India and Pakistan (the
Brahui language Brahui (; brh, , links=no; also known as Brahvi or Brohi) is a Dravidian language spoken by some of the Brahui people. The language is spoken primarily in the central part of the Balochistan, Pakistan, Balochistan Province of Pakistan, with smal ...
), which lends credence to the theory. According to Heggarty and Renfrew, Dravidian languages may have spread into the
Indian subcontinent The Indian subcontinent is a list of the physiographic regions of the world, physiographical region in United Nations geoscheme for Asia#Southern Asia, Southern Asia. It is situated on the Indian Plate, projecting southwards into the Indian O ...
with the spread of farming. According to David McAlpin, the Dravidian languages were brought to India by immigration into India from
Elam Elam (; Linear Elamite: ''hatamti''; Elamite cuneiform, Cuneiform Elamite: ; Sumerian language, Sumerian: ; Akkadian language, Akkadian: ; he, עֵילָם ''ʿēlām''; peo, 𐎢𐎺𐎩 ''hūja'') was an ancient civilization centered i ...
. In earlier publications,
Renfrew Renfrew (; sco, Renfrew; gd, Rinn Friù) is a town west of Glasgow in the west central Lowlands of Scotland. It is the historic county town of Renfrewshire (historic), Renfrewshire. Called the "Cradle of the House of Stewart, Royal Stewarts" ...
also stated that proto-Dravidian was brought to India by farmers from the Iranian part of the Fertile Crescent, but more recently Heggarty and Renfrew note that "a great deal remains to be done in elucidating the prehistory of Dravidian." They also note that "McAlpin's analysis of the language data, and thus his claims, remain far from orthodoxy." Heggarty and Renfrew conclude that several scenarios are compatible with the data, and that "the linguistic jury is still very much out." In a 2021 study, Bahata Ansumali Mukhopadhyay presented a linguistic analysis to posit a Proto-Dravidian presence in the ancient Indus area, using Dravidian root words for tooth, toothbrush and elephant in various contemporary ancient civilisations.


Possible writing system

Between 400 and as many as 600 distinct Indus symbols have been found on
stamp seal __NOTOC__ The stamp seal is a carved object, usually stone, first made in the 4th millennium BC, and probably earlier. They were used to impress their picture or inscription into soft, prepared clay. Seal devices have seldom survived through ti ...
s, small tablets, ceramic pots and more than a dozen other materials, including a "signboard" that apparently once hung over the gate of the inner citadel of the Indus city of Dholavira. Typical Indus inscriptions are around five characters in length, most of which (aside from the Dholavira "signboard") are tiny; the longest on any single object (inscribed on a copper plate) has a length of 34 symbols. While the Indus Valley Civilisation is generally characterised as a literate society on the evidence of these inscriptions, this description has been challenged by Farmer, Sproat, and Witzel (2004) who argue that the Indus system did not encode language, but was instead similar to a variety of non-linguistic sign systems used extensively in the Near East and other societies, to symbolise families, clans, gods, and religious concepts. Others have claimed on occasion that the symbols were exclusively used for economic transactions, but this claim leaves unexplained the appearance of Indus symbols on many ritual objects, many of which were mass-produced in moulds. No parallels to these mass-produced inscriptions are known in any other early ancient civilisations. In a 2009 study by P.N. Rao et al. published in ''Science'', computer scientists, comparing the pattern of symbols to various linguistic scripts and non-linguistic systems, including DNA and a computer programming language, found that the Indus script's pattern is closer to that of spoken words, supporting the hypothesis that it codes for an as-yet-unknown language. Farmer, Sproat, and Witzel have disputed this finding, pointing out that Rao et al. did not actually compare the Indus signs with "real-world non-linguistic systems" but rather with "two wholly artificial systems invented by the authors, one consisting of 200,000 randomly ordered signs and another of 200,000 fully ordered signs, that they spuriously claim represent the structures of all real-world non-linguistic sign systems". Farmer et al. have also demonstrated that a comparison of a non-linguistic system like
medieval In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted approximately from the late 5th to the late 15th centuries, similar to the post-classical period of global history. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire ...
heraldic signs with
natural language In neuropsychology, linguistics, and philosophy of language, a natural language or ordinary language is any language that has linguistic evolution, evolved naturally in humans through use and repetition without conscious planning or premeditati ...
s yields results similar to those that Rao et al. obtained with Indus signs. They conclude that the method used by Rao et al. cannot distinguish linguistic systems from non-linguistic ones.'Conditional Entropy' Cannot Distinguish Linguistic from Non-linguistic Systems
Retrieved on 19 September 2009.
The messages on the seals have proved to be too short to be decoded by a computer. Each seal has a distinctive combination of symbols and there are too few examples of each sequence to provide a sufficient context. The symbols that accompany the images vary from seal to seal, making it impossible to derive a meaning for the symbols from the images. There have, nonetheless, been a number of interpretations offered for the meaning of the seals. These interpretations have been marked by ambiguity and subjectivity. Photos of many of the thousands of extant inscriptions are published in the ''Corpus of Indus Seals and Inscriptions'' (1987, 1991, 2010), edited by
Asko Parpola Asko Parpola (born 12 July 1941, in Forssa) is a Finnish Indologist, current professor emeritus of South Asian studies at the University of Helsinki. He specializes in Sindhology, specifically the study of the Indus script. Biography Parpola is ...
and his colleagues. The most recent volume republished photos taken in the 1920s and 1930s of hundreds of lost or stolen inscriptions, along with many discovered in the last few decades; formerly, researchers had to supplement the materials in the ''Corpus'' by study of the tiny photos in the excavation reports of Marshall (1931), MacKay (1938, 1943), Wheeler (1947), or reproductions in more recent scattered sources.


Religion

The religion and belief system of the Indus Valley people has received considerable attention, especially from the view of identifying precursors to deities and religious practices of
Indian religions Indian religions, sometimes also termed Dharmic religions or Indic religions, are the religions that originated in the Indian subcontinent. These religions, which include Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism,Adams, C. J."Classification of ...
that later developed in the area. However, due to the sparsity of evidence, which is open to varying interpretations, and the fact that the Indus script remains undeciphered, the conclusions are partly speculative and largely based on a retrospective view from a much later Hindu perspective. Early and influential work in the area that set the trend for Hindu interpretations of archaeological evidence from the Harappan sites was that of
John Marshall John Marshall (September 24, 1755July 6, 1835) was an American politician and lawyer who served as the fourth chief justice of the United States, Chief Justice of the United States from 1801 until his death in 1835. He remains the List of Justi ...
, who in 1931 identified the following as prominent features of the Indus religion: a Great Male God and a Mother Goddess; deification or veneration of animals and plants; a symbolic representation of the phallus (
linga A lingam ( sa, लिङ्ग , lit. "sign, symbol or mark"), sometimes referred to as linga or Shiva linga, is an abstract or aniconic representation of the Hindu Hindus (; ) are people who religiously adhere to Hinduism.Jeffery ...
) and vulva (
yoni ''Yoni'' (; sometimes also ), sometimes called ''pindika'', is an abstract or aniconic representation of the Hinduism, Hindu Hindu deities, goddess Shakti. It is usually shown with ''linga'' – its masculine counterpart. Together, they symbol ...
); and, use of baths and water in religious practice. Marshall's interpretations have been much debated, and sometimes disputed over the following decades. One Indus Valley seal shows a seated figure with a horned headdress, possibly tricephalic and possibly
ithyphallic A phallus is a penis A penis (plural ''penises'' or ''penes'' () is the primary sexual organ that male animals use to inseminate females (or hermaphrodites) during Copulation (zoology), copulation. Such organs occur in many animals, ...
, surrounded by animals. Marshall identified the figure as an early form of the Hindu god
Shiva Shiva (; sa, शिव, lit=The Auspicious One, Śiva ), also known as Mahadeva (; Help:IPA/Sanskrit, ɐɦaːd̪eːʋɐ, or Hara, is one of the Hindu deities, principal deities of Hinduism. He is the Supreme Being in Shaivism, one o ...
(or
Rudra Rudra (; sa, रुद्र) is a Rigvedic deities, Rigvedic deity associated with Shiva, the wind god, wind or weather god, storms, Vayu, medicine, and hunting god, the hunt. One translation of the name is 'the roarer'. In the Rigveda, Ru ...
), who is associated with
asceticism Asceticism (; from the el, Wiktionary:ἄσκησις, ἄσκησις, áskesis, exercise', 'training) is a lifestyle characterized by abstinence from sensual pleasures, often for the purpose of pursuing spiritual goals. Ascetics may withdraw ...
,
yoga Yoga (; sa, योग, lit=yoke' or 'union ) is a group of Asana, physical, mental, and Spirituality#Asian traditions, spiritual practices or disciplines which originated in History of India, ancient India and aim to control (yoke) and Ś ...
, and
linga A lingam ( sa, लिङ्ग , lit. "sign, symbol or mark"), sometimes referred to as linga or Shiva linga, is an abstract or aniconic representation of the Hindu Hindus (; ) are people who religiously adhere to Hinduism.Jeffery ...
; regarded as a lord of animals, and often depicted as having three eyes. The seal has hence come to be known as the Pashupati Seal, after '' Pashupati'' (lord of all animals), an epithet of Shiva. While Marshall's work has earned some support, many critics and even supporters have raised several objections. Doris Srinivasan has argued that the figure does not have three faces or yogic posture and that in
Vedic literature upright=1.2, The Vedas are ancient Sanskrit texts of Hinduism. Above: A page from the '' Atharvaveda''. The Vedas (, , ) are a large body of religious texts originating in ancient India. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the texts constitute t ...
Rudra was not a protector of wild animals. Herbert Sullivan and Alf Hiltebeitel also rejected Marshall's conclusions, with the former claiming that the figure was female, while the latter associated the figure with ''Mahisha'', the Buffalo God and the surrounding animals with
vahana ''Vahana'' ( sa, वाहन, or animal vehicle, literally "that which carries, that which pulls") denotes the being, typically an animal or mythical, a particular Hindus, Hindu God is said to use as a vehicle. In this capacity, the vahana ...
s (vehicles) of deities for the four cardinal directions. Writing in 2002, Gregory L. Possehl concluded that while it would be appropriate to recognise the figure as a deity, its association with the water buffalo, and its posture as one of ritual discipline, regarding it as a proto-Shiva would be going too far. Despite the criticisms of Marshall's association of the seal with a proto-Shiva icon, it has been interpreted as the
Tirthankara In Jainism, a ''Tirthankara'' (Sanskrit: '; English language, English: literally a 'Ford (crossing), ford-maker') is a saviour and spiritual teacher of the ''Dharma (Jainism), dharma'' (righteous path). The word ''tirthankara'' signifies the ...
Rishabhanatha Rishabhanatha, also ( sa, ऋषभदेव), Rishabhadeva, or Ikshvaku is the first (Supreme preacher) of Jainism and establisher of Ikshvaku dynasty. He was the first of twenty-four teachers in the present half-cycle of time in Jain co ...
by some scholars of
Jainism Jainism ( ), also known as Jain Dharma, is an Indian religions, Indian religion. Jainism traces its spiritual ideas and history through the succession of twenty-four tirthankaras (supreme preachers of ''Dharma''), with the first in the current ...
like Vilas Sangave. Historians such as
Heinrich Zimmer Heinrich Robert Zimmer (6 December 1890 – 20 March 1943) was a German Indologist and linguist, as well as a historian of South Asian art, most known for his works, ''Myths and Symbols in Indian Art and Civilization'' and ''Philosophies of India ...
and Thomas McEvilley believe that there is a connection between first Jain Tirthankara Rishabhanatha and the Indus Valley Civilisation. Marshall hypothesised the existence of a cult of Mother Goddess worship based upon excavation of several female figurines and thought that this was a precursor of the Hindu sect of
Shaktism Shaktism ( sa, शाक्त, , ) is one of several major Hindu denominations, wherein the metaphysical reality is considered metaphorically a woman and Shakti ( Mahadevi) is regarded as the supreme godhead. It includes many goddesses, al ...
. However the function of the female figurines in the life of Indus Valley people remains unclear, and Possehl does not regard the evidence for Marshall's hypothesis to be "terribly robust". Some of the baetyls interpreted by Marshall to be sacred phallic representations are now thought to have been used as pestles or game counters instead, while the ring stones that were thought to symbolise ''yoni'' were determined to be architectural features used to stand pillars, although the possibility of their religious symbolism cannot be eliminated. Many Indus Valley seals show animals, with some depicting them being carried in processions, while others show chimeric creations. One seal from Mohenjo-daro shows a half-human, a half-buffalo monster attacking a tiger, which may be a reference to the Sumerian myth of such a monster created by goddess Aruru to fight
Gilgamesh Gilgamesh ( akk, , translit=Gilgameš; originally sux, , translit= Bilgames)). His name translates roughly as "The Ancestor is a Young-man", from ''Bil.ga'' "Ancestor", Elder and ''Mes/Mesh3'' "Young-Man". See also . was a hero in Mesopotamian m ...
. In contrast to contemporary Egyptian and
Mesopotamian Mesopotamia ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن or ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in the northern part of the F ...
civilisations, Indus Valley lacks any monumental palaces, even though excavated cities indicate that the society possessed the requisite engineering knowledge. This may suggest that religious ceremonies if any, may have been largely confined to individual homes, small temples, or the open air. Several sites have been proposed by Marshall and later scholars as possibly devoted to religious purposes, but at present only the
Great Bath The Great Bath is one of the best-known structures among the ruins of the Harappan Civilization excavated at Mohenjo-daro in Sindh, Pakistan.
at Mohenjo-daro is widely thought to have been so used, as a place for ritual purification. The funerary practices of the Harappan civilisation are marked by fractional burial (in which the body is reduced to skeletal remains by exposure to the elements before final interment), and even cremation.


Late Harappan

Around 1900 BCE signs of a gradual decline began to emerge, and by around 1700 BCE most of the cities had been abandoned. Recent examination of human skeletons from the site of Harappa has demonstrated that the end of the Indus civilisation saw an increase in inter-personal violence and in infectious diseases like
leprosy Leprosy, also known as Hansen's disease (HD), is a Chronic condition, long-term infection by the bacteria ''Mycobacterium leprae'' or ''Mycobacterium lepromatosis''. Infection can lead to damage of the Peripheral nervous system, nerves, respira ...
and
tuberculosis Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease usually caused by ''Mycobacterium tuberculosis'' (MTB) bacteria. Tuberculosis generally affects the lungs, but it can also affect other parts of the body. Most infections show no symptoms, in ...
. According to historian
Upinder Singh Upinder Singh is an Indian historian who is Professor of History and Dean of Faculty at Ashoka University. She is the former head of the History Department at the University of Delhi. She is also the recipient of the inaugural Infosys Prize in t ...
, "the general picture presented by the late Harappan phase is one of a breakdown of urban networks and an expansion of rural ones." During the period of approximately 1900 to 1700 BCE, multiple regional cultures emerged within the area of the Indus civilisation. The
Cemetery H culture The Cemetery H culture was a Bronze Age culture in the Punjab region Punjab (; Punjabi Language, Punjabi: پنجاب ; ਪੰਜਾਬ ; ; also Romanization, romanised as ''Panjāb'' or ''Panj-Āb'') is a geopolitical, cultural, a ...
was in
Punjab Punjab (; Punjabi Language, Punjabi: پنجاب ; ਪੰਜਾਬ ; ; also Romanization, romanised as ''Panjāb'' or ''Panj-Āb'') is a geopolitical, cultural, and historical region in South Asia, specifically in the northern part of the I ...
,
Haryana Haryana (; ) is an Indian state located in the northern part of the country. It was carved out of the former state of East Punjab on 1 Nov 1966 on a linguistic basis. It is ranked 21st in terms of area, with less than 1.4% () of India's land ...
, and
Western Uttar Pradesh Western Uttar Pradesh is a region in India that comprises the western districts of Uttar Pradesh state, including the areas of Rohilkhand and those where Khariboli, Braj and Kannauji are spoken. The region has some demographic, economic and cult ...
, the Jhukar culture was in
Sindh Sindh (; ; ur, , ; historically romanized as Sind) is one of the Administrative units of Pakistan, four provinces of Pakistan. Located in the Geography of Pakistan, southeastern region of the country, Sindh is the third-largest province of ...
, and the Rangpur culture (characterised by Lustrous Red Ware pottery) was in
Gujarat Gujarat (, ) is a States of India, state along the Western India, western coast of India. Its coastline of about is the longest in the country, most of which lies on the Kathiawar peninsula. Gujarat is the List of states and union territories ...
. Other sites associated with the Late phase of the Harappan culture are
Pirak Pirak ( ur, ) is an archaeological site belonging to the Indus Valley civilization located in Balochistan (Pakistan), Balochistan, Pakistan. It is 20 km south of Sibi east of the Nari River. The mound is 8m high and covers approximately . T ...
in
Balochistan, Pakistan Balochistan (; bal, بلۏچستان; ) is one of the four provinces of Pakistan. Located in the southwestern region of the country, Balochistan is the largest province of Pakistan by land area but is the least populated one. It shares land ...
, and Daimabad in
Maharashtra Maharashtra (; , abbr. MH or Maha) is a states and union territories of India, state in the western India, western peninsular region of India occupying a substantial portion of the Deccan Plateau. Maharashtra is the List of states and union te ...
, India. The largest Late Harappan sites are Kudwala in
Cholistan The Cholistan Desert ( ur, ; Punjabi: ), also locally known as Rohi (), is a desert in the southern part of Punjab Punjab (; Punjabi Language, Punjabi: پنجاب ; ਪੰਜਾਬ ; ; also Romanization, romanised as ''Panjāb'' or ' ...
,
Bet Dwarka Bet Dwarka (also spelled Beyt Dwarka) or Shankhodhar is an inhabited island at the mouth of the Gulf of Kutch, situated off the coast of the town of Okha, India, Okha, Gujarat, India, and north of the city of Dwarka. Northeast to southwest, the i ...
in
Gujarat Gujarat (, ) is a States of India, state along the Western India, western coast of India. Its coastline of about is the longest in the country, most of which lies on the Kathiawar peninsula. Gujarat is the List of states and union territories ...
, and Daimabad in
Maharashtra Maharashtra (; , abbr. MH or Maha) is a states and union territories of India, state in the western India, western peninsular region of India occupying a substantial portion of the Deccan Plateau. Maharashtra is the List of states and union te ...
, which can be considered as urban, but they are smaller and few in number compared with the Mature Harappan cities. Bet Dwarka was fortified and continued to have contacts with the
Persian Gulf The Persian Gulf ( fa, خلیج فارس, translit=xalij-e fârs, lit=Gulf of Persis, Fars, ), sometimes called the ( ar, اَلْخَلِيْجُ ٱلْعَرَبِيُّ, Al-Khalīj al-ˁArabī), is a Mediterranean sea (oceanography), me ...
region, but there was a general decrease of long-distance trade. On the other hand, the period also saw a diversification of the agricultural base, with a diversity of crops and the advent of
double-cropping In agriculture, multiple cropping or multicropping is the practice of growing two or more crops in the same piece of land during one year, instead of just one crop. When multiple crops are grown simultaneously, this is also known as intercropping ...
, as well as a shift of rural settlement towards the east and the south. The pottery of the Late Harappan period is described as "showing some continuity with mature Harappan pottery traditions," but also distinctive differences. Many sites continued to be occupied for some centuries, although their urban features declined and disappeared. Formerly typical artifacts such as stone weights and female figurines became rare. There are some circular
stamp seal __NOTOC__ The stamp seal is a carved object, usually stone, first made in the 4th millennium BC, and probably earlier. They were used to impress their picture or inscription into soft, prepared clay. Seal devices have seldom survived through ti ...
s with geometric designs, but lacking the
Indus script The Indus script, also known as the Harappan script, is a corpus of symbols produced by the Indus Valley Civilisation. Most inscriptions containing these symbols are extremely short, making it difficult to judge whether or not they constituted ...
which characterised the mature phase of the civilisation. Script is rare and confined to potsherd inscriptions. There was also a decline in long-distance trade, although the local cultures show new innovations in
faience Faience or faïence (; ) is the general English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family, with its earliest forms spoken by the inhabitants of early medieval England. It ...
and glass making, and carving of stone beads. Urban amenities such as drains and the public bath were no longer maintained, and newer buildings were "poorly constructed". Stone sculptures were deliberately vandalised, valuables were sometimes concealed in
hoard A hoard or "wealth deposit" is an archaeological Archaeology or archeology is the scientific study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. The archaeological record consists of artifacts, architecture, ...
s, suggesting unrest, and the corpses of animals and even humans were left unburied in the streets and in abandoned buildings. During the later half of the 2nd millennium BCE, most of the post-urban Late Harappan settlements were abandoned altogether. Subsequent material culture was typically characterised by temporary occupation, "the campsites of a population which was nomadic and mainly pastoralist" and which used "crude handmade pottery." However, there is greater continuity and overlap between Late Harappan and subsequent cultural phases at sites in
Punjab Punjab (; Punjabi Language, Punjabi: پنجاب ; ਪੰਜਾਬ ; ; also Romanization, romanised as ''Panjāb'' or ''Panj-Āb'') is a geopolitical, cultural, and historical region in South Asia, specifically in the northern part of the I ...
,
Haryana Haryana (; ) is an Indian state located in the northern part of the country. It was carved out of the former state of East Punjab on 1 Nov 1966 on a linguistic basis. It is ranked 21st in terms of area, with less than 1.4% () of India's land ...
, and western
Uttar Pradesh Uttar Pradesh (; , 'Northern Province') is a state in northern India. With over 200 million inhabitants, it is the most populated state in India as well as the most populous country subdivision in the world. It was established in 195 ...
, primarily small rural settlements.


Aryan migration

In 1953 Sir
Mortimer Wheeler Sir Robert Eric Mortimer Wheeler Companion of Honour, CH Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire, CIE MC Territorial Decoration, TD (10 September 1890 – 22 July 1976) was a British archaeologist and officer in the British Army. Over t ...
proposed that the invasion of an Indo-European tribe from Central Asia, the "
Aryans Aryan or Arya (, Proto-Indo-Iranian language, Indo-Iranian *''arya'') is a term originally used as an ethnocultural self-designation by Indo-Iranians in ancient times, in contrast to the nearby outsiders known as 'non-Aryan' (*''an-arya''). ...
", caused the decline of the Indus civilisation. As evidence, he cited a group of 37 skeletons found in various parts of Mohenjo-daro, and passages in the Vedas referring to battles and forts. However, scholars soon started to reject Wheeler's theory, since the skeletons belonged to a period after the city's abandonment and none were found near the citadel. Subsequent examinations of the skeletons by Kenneth Kennedy in 1994 showed that the marks on the skulls were caused by erosion, and not by violence. In the
Cemetery H culture The Cemetery H culture was a Bronze Age culture in the Punjab region Punjab (; Punjabi Language, Punjabi: پنجاب ; ਪੰਜਾਬ ; ; also Romanization, romanised as ''Panjāb'' or ''Panj-Āb'') is a geopolitical, cultural, a ...
(the late Harappan phase in the Punjab region), some of the designs painted on the funerary urns have been interpreted through the lens of
Vedic literature upright=1.2, The Vedas are ancient Sanskrit texts of Hinduism. Above: A page from the '' Atharvaveda''. The Vedas (, , ) are a large body of religious texts originating in ancient India. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the texts constitute t ...
: for instance, peacocks with hollow bodies and a small human form inside, which has been interpreted as the souls of the dead, and a hound that can be seen as the hound of
Yama Yama (Devanagari: यम) or Yamarāja (यमराज), is a deity of death, dharma, the south direction, and the underworld who predominantly features in deva (Hinduism), Hindu and deva (Buddhism), Buddhist religion, belonging to an early s ...
, the god of death. This may indicate the introduction of new religious beliefs during this period, but the archaeological evidence does not support the hypothesis that the Cemetery H people were the destroyers of the Harappan cities.


Climate change and drought

Suggested contributory causes for the localisation of the IVC include changes in the course of the river, and
climate change In common usage, climate change describes global warming—the ongoing increase in global average temperature—and its effects on Earth's climate system. Climate variability and change, Climate change in a broader sense also includes ...
that is also signaled for the neighboring areas of the Middle East. many scholars believe that drought, and a decline in trade with Egypt and Mesopotamia, caused the collapse of the Indus civilisation. The climate change which caused the collapse of the Indus Valley Civilisation was possibly due to "an abrupt and critical mega-drought and cooling 4,200 years ago," which marks the onset of the Meghalayan Age, the present stage of the
Holocene The Holocene ( ) is the current geological epoch. It began approximately 11,650 cal years Before Present Before Present (BP) years, or "years before present", is a geologic time scale, time scale used mainly in archaeology, geology and othe ...
. The Ghaggar-Hakra system was rain-fed, and water-supply depended on the monsoons. The Indus Valley climate grew significantly cooler and drier from about 1800 BCE, linked to a general weakening of the
monsoon A monsoon () is traditionally a seasonal reversing wind accompanied by corresponding changes in precipitation but is now used to describe seasonal changes in Atmosphere of Earth, atmospheric circulation and precipitation associated with annu ...
at that time. The Indian monsoon declined and aridity increased, with the Ghaggar-Hakra retracting its reach towards the foothills of the Himalaya, leading to erratic and less extensive floods that made inundation agriculture less sustainable. Aridification reduced the water supply enough to cause the civilisation's demise, and scatter its population eastward. According to Giosan et al. (2012), the IVC residents did not develop irrigation capabilities, relying mainly on the seasonal monsoons leading to summer floods. As the monsoons kept shifting south, the floods grew too erratic for sustainable agricultural activities. The residents then migrated towards the Ganges basin in the east, where they established smaller villages and isolated farms. The small surplus produced in these small communities did not allow the development of trade, and the cities died out.


Continuity and coexistence

Archaeological excavations indicate that the decline of Harappa drove people eastward. According to Possehl, after 1900 BCE the number of sites in today's India increased from 218 to 853. According to Andrew Lawler, "excavations along the Gangetic plain show that cities began to arise there starting about 1200 BCE, just a few centuries after Harappa was deserted and much earlier than once suspected." According to Jim Shaffer there was a continuous series of cultural developments, just as in most areas of the world. These link "the so-called two major phases of urbanisation in South Asia". At sites such as Bhagwanpura (in
Haryana Haryana (; ) is an Indian state located in the northern part of the country. It was carved out of the former state of East Punjab on 1 Nov 1966 on a linguistic basis. It is ranked 21st in terms of area, with less than 1.4% () of India's land ...
), archaeological excavations have discovered an overlap between the final phase of Late Harappan pottery and the earliest phase of
Painted Grey Ware The Painted Grey Ware culture (PGW) is an Iron Age in India, Iron Age Indian Archaeological culture, culture of the western Gangetic plain and the Ghaggar-Hakra River, Ghaggar-Hakra valley in the Indian subcontinent, conventionally dated 1200 to ...
pottery, the latter being associated with the Vedic culture and dating from around 1200 BCE. This site provides evidence of multiple social groups occupying the same village but using different pottery and living in different types of houses: "over time the Late Harappan pottery was gradually replaced by Painted Grey ware pottery," and other cultural changes indicated by archaeology include the introduction of the horse, iron tools, and new religious practices. There is also a Harappan site called Rojdi in
Rajkot Rajkot () is the fourth-largest city in the Indian state of Gujarat after Ahmedabad, Vadodara, and Surat, and is in the centre of the Saurashtra (region), Saurashtra region of Gujarat. Rajkot is the 35th-largest metropolitan area in India, w ...
district of Saurashtra. Its excavation started under an archaeological team from Gujarat State Department of Archaeology and the Museum of the University of Pennsylvania in 1982–83. In their report on archaeological excavations at Rojdi,
Gregory Possehl Gregory Louis Possehl (July 21, 1941 – October 8, 2011) was a professor emeritus of anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania and curator of the Asian Collections at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. H ...
and M.H. Raval write that although there are "obvious signs of cultural continuity" between the Harappan civilisation and later South Asian cultures, many aspects of the Harappan "sociocultural system" and "integrated civilization" were "lost forever," while the Second Urbanisation of India (beginning with the
Northern Black Polished Ware The Northern Black Polished Ware culture (abbreviated NBPW or NBP) is an urban Iron Age Indian culture of the Indian Subcontinent, lasting c. 700–200 BCE (proto NBPW between 1200 and 700 BCE), succeeding the Painted Grey Ware culture and Black ...
culture, c. 600 BCE) "lies well outside this sociocultural environment".


Post-Harappan

Previously, scholars believed that the decline of the Harappan civilisation led to an interruption of urban life in the Indian subcontinent. However, the Indus Valley Civilisation did not disappear suddenly, and many elements of the Indus civilisation appear in later cultures. The
Cemetery H culture The Cemetery H culture was a Bronze Age culture in the Punjab region Punjab (; Punjabi Language, Punjabi: پنجاب ; ਪੰਜਾਬ ; ; also Romanization, romanised as ''Panjāb'' or ''Panj-Āb'') is a geopolitical, cultural, a ...
may be the manifestation of the Late Harappan over a large area in the region of
Punjab Punjab (; Punjabi Language, Punjabi: پنجاب ; ਪੰਜਾਬ ; ; also Romanization, romanised as ''Panjāb'' or ''Panj-Āb'') is a geopolitical, cultural, and historical region in South Asia, specifically in the northern part of the I ...
,
Haryana Haryana (; ) is an Indian state located in the northern part of the country. It was carved out of the former state of East Punjab on 1 Nov 1966 on a linguistic basis. It is ranked 21st in terms of area, with less than 1.4% () of India's land ...
and western
Uttar Pradesh Uttar Pradesh (; , 'Northern Province') is a state in northern India. With over 200 million inhabitants, it is the most populated state in India as well as the most populous country subdivision in the world. It was established in 195 ...
, and the Ochre Coloured Pottery culture its successor. David Gordon White cites three other mainstream scholars who "have emphatically demonstrated" that Vedic religion derives partially from the Indus Valley Civilisations. , archaeological data suggests that the material culture classified as Late Harappan may have persisted until at least c. 1000–900 BCE and was partially contemporaneous with the
Painted Grey Ware The Painted Grey Ware culture (PGW) is an Iron Age in India, Iron Age Indian Archaeological culture, culture of the western Gangetic plain and the Ghaggar-Hakra River, Ghaggar-Hakra valley in the Indian subcontinent, conventionally dated 1200 to ...
culture. Harvard archaeologist Richard Meadow points to the late Harappan settlement of
Pirak Pirak ( ur, ) is an archaeological site belonging to the Indus Valley civilization located in Balochistan (Pakistan), Balochistan, Pakistan. It is 20 km south of Sibi east of the Nari River. The mound is 8m high and covers approximately . T ...
, which thrived continuously from 1800 BCE to the time of the invasion of
Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc, wikt:Ἀλέξανδρος, Ἀλέξανδρος, Alexandros; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king of the Ancient Greece, ancient Greek kingdom of Maced ...
in 325 BCE. In the aftermath of the Indus civilisation's localisation, regional cultures emerged, to varying degrees showing the influence of the Indus civilisation. In the formerly great city of Harappa, burials have been found that correspond to a regional culture called the
Cemetery H culture The Cemetery H culture was a Bronze Age culture in the Punjab region Punjab (; Punjabi Language, Punjabi: پنجاب ; ਪੰਜਾਬ ; ; also Romanization, romanised as ''Panjāb'' or ''Panj-Āb'') is a geopolitical, cultural, a ...
. At the same time, the Ochre Coloured Pottery culture expanded from
Rajasthan Rajasthan (; lit. 'Land of Kings') is a States and union territories of India, state in northern India. It covers or 10.4 per cent of India's total geographical area. It is the List of states and union territories of India by area, largest ...
into the
Gangetic Plain The Indo-Gangetic Plain, also known as the North Indian River Plain, is a fertile plain encompassing northern regions of the Indian subcontinent, including most of northern and eastern India, around half of Pakistan, virtually all of Bangla ...
. The Cemetery H culture has the earliest evidence for
cremation Cremation is a method of Disposal of human corpses, final disposition of a Cadaver, dead body through Combustion, burning. Cremation may serve as a funeral or post-funeral rite and as an alternative to burial. In some countries, including India ...
; a practice dominant in
Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religions, Indian religion or ''dharma'', a religious and universal order or way of life by which followers abide. As a religion, it is the Major religious groups, world's third-largest, with over 1.2–1.35 billion ...
today. The inhabitants of the Indus Valley Civilisation migrated from the river valleys of Indus and Ghaggar-Hakra, towards the Himalayan foothills of the Ganga-Yamuna basin.


See also

*
Cradle of civilization A cradle of civilization is a location and a culture where civilization was created by mankind independent of other civilizations in other locations. The formation of urban settlements (cities) is the primary characteristic of a society that ...
*
History of Hinduism The history of Hinduism covers a wide variety of related Hindu denominations, religious traditions native to the Indian subcontinent. It overlaps or coincides with the development of religion in the Indian subcontinent since the Iron Age in Indi ...
*
History of Afghanistan The history of Afghanistan as a State (polity), state began in 1823 as the Emirate of Afghanistan after the exile of the Durrani dynasty, Sadozai monarchy to Herat (1793-1863), Herat. The Sadozai monarchy ruled the Afghan Durrani Empire, conside ...
*
History of India According to consensus in modern genetics, anatomically modern humans first arrived on the Indian subcontinent from Africa between 73,000 and 55,000 years ago. Quote: "Y-Chromosome and Mt-DNA data support the colonization of South Asia by m ...
*
History of Pakistan The history of preceding the country's independence in 1947 is shared with that of Afghanistan, India, and Iran. Spanning the western expanse of the Indian subcontinent and the eastern borderlands of the Iranian plateau, the region of prese ...
*
List of Indus Valley Civilisation sites Over 1400 Indus Valley civilisation sites have been discovered, of which 925 sites are in India and 475 sites in Pakistan, while some sites in Afghanistan are believed to be trading colonies. Only 40 sites on the Indus valley were discovered ...
*
List of inventions and discoveries of the Indus Valley Civilisation This list of inventions and discoveries of the Indus Valley Civilisation lists the technological and civilisational achievements of the Indus Valley Civilisation, an ancient civilisation which flourished in the Bronze Age The Bronze A ...
* Religion of the Indus Valley Civilization *


Notes


References


Bibliography

* * * * * *
Archaeological Survey of India The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is an Indian government agency that is responsible for archaeology, archaeological research and the conservation and preservation of cultural historical monuments in the country. It was founded in 1861 ...
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (50th ICES Tokyo Session) * * * * * * * * * * * *Singh, Kavita, "The Museum Is National", Chapter 4 in: Mathur, Saloni and Singh, Kavita (eds), ''No Touching, No Spitting, No Praying: The Museum in South Asia'', 2015, Routledge
PDF on academia.edu
(nb this is different to the article by the same author with the same title in ''India International Centre Quarterly'', vol. 29, no. 3/4, 2002, pp. 176–196
JSTOR
which does not mention the IVC objects) * * * * * * * * *


Further reading

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External links


Harappa and Indus Valley Civilization
at harappa.com {{Authority control Ancient Hinduism Bronze Age Asia Prehistoric India Prehistoric Pakistan Prehistoric Afghanistan Bronze Age civilizations Cradle of civilization States and territories established in the 4th millennium BC States and territories disestablished in the 16th century BC History of Sindh History of South Asia