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    While the Indus (or Harappan) civilization may be considered the culmination of a long process indigenous to the Indus valley, a number of parallels exist between developments on the Indus River and the rise of civilization in Mesopotamia. It is striking to compare the Indus with this better-known and more fully documented region and to see how closely the two coincide with respect to the emergence of cities and of such major concomitants of civilization as writing, standardized weights and measures, and monumental architecture. Yet nearly all the earlier writers have sensed the Indian-ness of the civilization, even when they

    The Indus civilization

    The Indus civilization Character and significance

    Explore the language, architecture, and culture of the Indus civilization, in the Indus River basinSee all videos for this article

    While the Indus (or Harappan) civilization may be considered the culmination of a long process indigenous to the Indus valley, a number of parallels exist between developments on the Indus River and the rise of civilization in Mesopotamia. It is striking to compare the Indus with this better-known and more fully documented region and to see how closely the two coincide with respect to the emergence of cities and of such major concomitants of civilization as writing, standardized weights and measures, and monumental architecture. Yet nearly all the earlier writers have sensed the Indian-ness of the civilization, even when they were largely unable to articulate it. Thus, historian V. Gordon Childe wrote that:

    India confronts Egypt and Babylonia by the 3rd millennium with a thoroughly individual and independent civilization of her own, technically the peer of the rest. And plainly it is deeply rooted in Indian soil. The Indus civilization represents a very perfect adjustment of human life to a specific environment. And it has endured; it is already specifically Indian and forms the basis of modern Indian culture. (New Light on the Most Ancient East, 4th ed., 1952.)

    Mohenjo-daro: Great Bath

    The force of Childe’s words can be appreciated even without an examination of the Indus valley script found on seals; the attention paid to domestic bathrooms, the drains, and the Great Bath at Mohenjo-daro can all be compared to elements in the later Indian civilization. The bullock carts with a framed canopy, called ikkas, and boats are little changed to this day. The absence of pins and the love of bangles and of elaborate nose ornaments are all peculiarly South Asian. The religion of the Indus also is replete with suggestions of traits known from later India. The significance of the bull, the tiger, and the elephant; the composite animals; the seated yogi god of the seals; the tree spirits and the objects resembling the Shiva linga (a phallus symbolic of the god Shiva) of later times—all these are suggestive of enduring forms in later Indian civilization.

    It is still impossible to do more than guess at the social organization or the political and administrative control implied by this vast area of cultural uniformity. The evidence of widespread trade in many commodities, the apparent uniformity of weights and measures, the common script, and the uniformity—almost common currency—of the seals all indicate some measure of political and economic control and point to the great cities Mohenjo-daro and Harappa as their centres. The presence of the great granaries on the citadel mounds in these cities and of the citadels themselves suggests—partly on the analogies of the cities of Mesopotamia—the existence of priest-kings, or at least a priestly oligarchy, that controlled the economy and civil government. The intellectual mechanism of this government and the striking degree of control implicit in it are still matters of speculation. Nor can scholars yet speak with any certainty regarding relations between the cities and surrounding villages. Much more research needs to be done, on many such topics, before the full character of the Indus civilization can be revealed.


    The first serious attempt at establishing a chronology for the Indus civilization relied on cross-dating with Mesopotamia. In this way, Cyril John Gadd cited the period of Sargon of Akkad (2334–2279 BCE) and the subsequent Isin-Larsa Period (2017–1794 BCE) as the time when trade between ancient India and Mesopotamia was at its height. Calibration of the ever-growing number of radiocarbon dates provides a reasonably consistent series from site to site. The broad picture thus obtained suggests that the mature Indus civilization emerged between 2600 and 2500 BCE and continued in full glory to about 2000 BCE. Thereafter the evidence is still somewhat unclear, but the late stage of the mature culture probably continued until about 1700 BCE, by which time it is probably accurate to speak of the Post-Urban, or Post-Harappan, stage.


    All the earlier writers have stressed the remarkable uniformity of the products of the Harappan civilization, and for this reason they provide a definite hallmark for its settlements. The more-recent evidence suggests that, if the outermost sites are joined by lines, the area enclosed will be a little less than about 500,000 square miles (1,300,000 square km)—considerably larger than present-day Pakistan—and if, as is generally inferred, this cultural uniformity coincided with some sort of political and administrative unity, the size of the resulting “empire” is truly vast. Within this area, several hundred sites have been identified, the great majority of which are on the plains of the Indus or its tributaries or on the now dry course of the ancient Saraswati River, which flowed south of the Sutlej River and then, perhaps, southward to the Indian Ocean, east of the main course of the Indus itself. Outside the Indus system a few sites occur on the Makran Coast, the westernmost of which is at Sutkagen Dor, near the present-day frontier with Iran. These sites were probably ports or trading posts, supporting the sea trade with the Persian Gulf, and were established in what otherwise remained a largely separate cultural region. The uplands of Baluchistan, while showing clear evidence of trade and contact with the Indus civilization, appear to have remained outside the direct Harappan rule.

    स्रोत : www.britannica.com

    What was the Indus Valley Civilization?

    The Indus Valley Civilization — famous for its large, well-planned cities — is considered one of the six early pristine state-level civilizations.

    What was the Indus Valley Civilization?

    By Tom Garlinghouse published May 31, 2022

    The Indus Valley Civilization arose about 5,000 years ago.

    A photo of the Indus Valley Civilization's large settlement, Mohenjo-Daro, in what is now Sindh province, Pakistan. The settlement was abandoned in the 19th century B.C. (Image credit: Pavel Gospodinov via Getty Images)

    Jump to: Map and rivers Discovery Society and culture

    Writing system and seals

    Ancient DNA Demise

    Additional resources


    The Indus Valley Civilization is one of the oldest civilizations in human history. It arose on the Indian subcontinent nearly 5,000 years ago — roughly the same time as the emergence of ancient Egypt and nearly 1,000 years after the earliest Sumerian cities of Mesopotamia. The Indus Valley Civilization, in its mature phase, thrived for about 700 years

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    , from around 2600 B.C. to 1900 B.C.


    "The Indus Valley Civilization, also called the Saraswati or Harappan civilization, is one of the 'pristine' civilizations on our planet," William Belcher, an anthropologist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, told Live Science.

    A pristine civilization is one that arose indigenously or independently of other civilizations. More specifically, it is one that developed on its own, without conquest, and without the benefit of cultural exchange or immigration with another established society. Generally, the six pristine civilizations recognized by archaeologists and historians are in the following areas: Egypt, Mesopotamia, China, Mesoamerica (which includes parts of Mexico and Central America), the Andean region and the Indus Valley. These civilizations arose at different times — the earliest of these, Mesopotamia, arose some 6,000 years ago, while the earliest Andean civilization, the Chavin,

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    developed in approximately 900 B.C.

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    This map depicts the geographical span of the Indus Valley Civilization (IVC), showing the location of Rakhigarhi (blue), other significant IVC sites (red), and sites to the north and west from other archaeological cultures (other colors). The yellow labels indicate two sites where a minority of buried individuals yielded ancient DNA matched that of the Rakhigarhi individuals. (Image credit: Vasant Shinde / Deccan College Post Graduate and Research Institute)

    The Indus Valley Civilization derives its name from the Indus River, one of the longest rivers in Asia. Many of the Indus Valley Civilization's large, well-planned cities, such as Mohenjo-Daro, Kot Diji and Chanhu-Daro, were situated along the course of the Indus River, which flows from the mountains of western Tibet, through the disputed region of Kashmir and southwestward before emptying into the Arabian Sea near the modern city of Karachi, Pakistan. Other Indus Valley Civilization cities were located next to different major rivers, such as the Ghaggar-Hakra, Sutlej, Jhelum, Chenab and the Ravi rivers, or on the alluvial floodplains between rivers. Today, much of this area is part of the Punjab region, which is translated as the "land of the five rivers" in what is now Pakistan. Other Indus Valley Civilization cities are located in northwest India, and a few additional cities are in northeastern Afghanistan, near archaeological sites where tin and lapis lazuli, a blue metamorphic rock, were mined.



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    "The Indus Valley Civilization covers approximately 1 million square kilometers [386,000 square miles] and extends throughout northwest India, Pakistan and parts of Afghanistan," Belcher said. "This really makes it one of the largest 'Old World' civilizations in terms of geographic extent."


    Indus Valley Civilization cities were characterized by sophisticated urban planning and included water control systems and grid-focused neighborhoods, with roads and alleyways laid out on the cardinal directions. Many of the roads were broad avenues that were paved in baked brick with elaborate drainage systems. Although archaeologists don't know the exact number of inhabitants that these cities contained, the larger urban centers, like Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa, might have had between 30,000 and 40,000 people, or possibly more, Belcher said.


    "The Indus Valley Civilization first came to the attention of the world through the work of British officer-archaeologists during the mid-1820s," Belcher said.

    The first of these, according to World History Encyclopedia

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    , was a man who went by the alias of Charles Masson (his real name was James Lewis). Masson was a soldier of artillery who deserted the British army in 1827 and subsequently roamed the Punjab region. He was an avid coin collector, and he excavated ancient Indian archaeological sites looking for coins. His travels eventually took him, in 1829, to the Indus city of Harappa, in modern-day Pakistan, where he looked for coins and other artifacts. Most of the city was buried by that time, but Masson made a record of the city's ruins in his field notes, which included drawings. Masson had no idea how old the city was or who built it — he attributed it to Alexander the Great, according to World History Encyclopedia.

    स्रोत : www.livescience.com

    Indus Valley Civilization

    Indus Valley Civilization

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    Indus Valley Civilization

    08 Jul 2019 13 min read Tags: GS Paper - 1

    Ancient Indian History


    The history of India begins with the birth of the Indus Valley Civilization (IVC), also known as Harappan Civilization.

    It flourished around 2,500 BC, in the western part of South Asia, in contemporary Pakistan and Western India.

    The Indus Valley was home to the largest of the four ancient urban civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, India and China.

    In 1920s, the Archaeological Department of India carried out excavations in the Indus valley wherein the ruins of the two old cities, viz. Mohenjodaro and Harappa were unearthed.

    In 1924, John Marshall, Director-General of the ASI, announced the discovery of a new civilisation in the Indus valley to the world.

    Important Sites of IVCSiteExcavated by Location Important Findings


    Daya Ram Sahini in 1921 Situated on the bank of river Ravi in Montgomery district of Punjab (Pakistan).

    Sandstone statues of Human anatomy

    Granaries Bullock carts

    Mohenjodaro (Mound of Dead)

    R.D Banerjee in 1922 Situated on the Bank of river Indus in Larkana district of Punjab (Pakistan).

    Great bath Granary Bronze dancing girl

    Seal of Pasupathi Mahadeva

    Steatite statue of beard man

    A piece of woven cotton


    Stein in 1929 In southwestern Balochistan province, Pakistan on Dast river

    A trade point between Harappa and Babylon


    N.G Majumdar in 1931 Sindh on the Indus river

    Bead makers shop

    Footprint of a dog chasing a cat


    N.G Majumdar in 1935 On the bank of Indus river

    Antelope evidence Kalibangan

    Ghose in 1953 Rajasthan on the bank of Ghaggar river

    Fire altar Camel bones Wooden plough Lothal

    R.Rao in 1953 Gujarat on Bhogva river near Gulf of Cambay

    First manmade port Dockyard Rice husk Fire altars Chess playing Surkotada

    J.P Joshi in 1964 Gujarat

    Bones of horses Beads Banawali

    R.S Bisht in 1974 Hisar district of Haryana

    Beads Barley

    Evidence of both pre-Harappan and Harappan culture

    Dholavira R.S Bisht in 1985 Gujarat in Rann of Kachchh

    Water harnessing system

    Water reservoir

    Phases of IVC

    Three phases of IVC are:

    the Early Harappan Phase from 3300 to 2600 BCE,

    the Mature Harappan Phase from 2600 to 1900 BCE, and

    the Late Harappan Phase from 1900 to 1300 BCE.

    The Early Harappan Phase is related to the Hakra Phase, identified in the Ghaggar-Hakra River Valley.

    The earliest examples of the Indus script date back to 3000 BC.

    This phase stands characterized by centralized authority and an increasingly urban quality of life.

    Trade networks had been established and there are also evidences of the cultivation of crops. Peas, sesame seeds, dates, cotton, etc, were grown during that time.Kot Diji represents the phase leading up to Mature Harappan Phase.

    By 2600 BC, the Indus Valley Civilization had entered into a mature stage.

    The early Harappan communities were turning into large urban centers, like Harappa and Mohenjodaro in Pakistan and Lothal in India.

    The signs of a gradual decline of the Indus River Valley Civilization are believed to have started around 1800 BC and by 1700 BC, most of the cities were abandoned.

    However, one can see the various elements of the Ancient Indus Valley Civilization in later cultures.

    Archaeological data indicates the persistence of the Late Harappan culture till 1000-900 BC.

    Town Planning and Structures

    The Harappan culture was distinguished by its system of town planning.

    Harappa and Mohenjodaro each had its own citadel or acropolis, which was possibly occupied by members of the ruling class.

    Below the citadel in each city lay a lower town containing brick houses, which were inhabited by the common people.

    The remarkable thing about the arrangement of the houses in the cities is that they followed the grid system.

    Granaries constituted an important part of the Harappan cities.

    The use of burnt bricks in the Harappan cities is remarkable, because in the contemporary buildings of Egypt mainly dried bricks were used.

    The drainage system of Mohenjodaro was very impressive.

    In almost all cities every big or small house had its own courtyard and bathroom.

    In Kalibangan many houses had their wells.

    At sites such as Dholavira and Lothal (Gujarat), the entire settlement was fortified, and sections within the town were also separated by walls.


    The Harappan villages, mostly situated near the flood plains, produced sufficient foodgrains.

    स्रोत : www.drishtiias.com

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