Indus Valley Civilization

harappa Indus Valley Civilization mohenjo daro history lothal

  • Harappan Sites discovered by – Dayaram Sahni (1921) – Montgomori district, Punjab, Pakistan.
  • Mohanjodaro discovered by – R. D. Banerji (1922) – Larkana district, Sind, Pakistan.
  • The Indus Valley Civilization was established around 3300 BC.
  • It flourished between 2700 BC and 1900 BC (Mature Indus Valley Civilization).
  • It started declining around 1900 BC and disappeared around 1400 BC.
  • Pre-Harappan civilization has been found at Mehrgarh, Pakistan which shows the first evidence of cotton cultivation.
  • The 1,400 settlements of this civilization discovered so far are distributed over a very wide geographical area.
  • It is covering almost 1,600 km (east to west) and 1,400 km (north to south).

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Area of Indus Valley Civilization

  • Harappan civilization extent starts from:
    • Sutkagendor (Baluchistan) in the west to Alamgirpur (Meerut, Uttar Pradesh) in the east and
    • Manda (Akhnoor District, Jammu and Kashmir) in the north to Daimabad (Ahmadnagar District, Maharashtra) in the south.
  • The total geographical stretch of Harappan civilization is about 1,250,000 sq. km
  • It is more than 20 times of the area of Egyptian and more than 12 times of the combined area of Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations.
  • Mostly, the Harappan settlements were located on river banks of which:
    • Only 40 settlements were located on the Indus and its tributaries;
    • As many as 1,100 (80%) settlements were located on the vast plain between the Indus and the Ganga, comprising mainly the Saraswati river system (which no more exist)

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harappa Indus Valley Civilization mohenjo daro history lothal

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Indus Valley Civilization Sites & Specialities

Harappa

  • Seals out of stones
  • Citadel outside on banks of river Ravi
  • Granary outside the fort
  • Coffin burial &  Graveyard

harappa Indus Valley Civilization mohenjo daro history lothal

Mohenjodaro

  • Great Bath, Great Granary, Assembly hall
  • Dancing Girl, Man with Beard / Priest king statue
  • Pashupati seal
  • Ivory weight balance
  • Cotton,  Prepared Garments
  • Term means ”Mount of the dead”
  • On the bank of river Indus
  • Believed to have been destructed by flood or invasion(Destruction was not gradual).

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Chanhudaro

  • Bank of Indus river
  • It was discovered by Gopal Majumdar and Mackey (1931)
  • Pre-harappan culture – Jhangar Culture and Jhukar Culture
  • Only cite without citadel.
  • Bangle factory.
  • Ink pot.
  • Carts with seated driver

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Kalibangan

  • At Rajastan on the banks of river Ghaggar, discovered by A.Ghosh (1953)
  • Lower fortified town
  • Fire Altars
  • Bones of camel
  • Evidence of furrows  (irrigation)
  • Wooden plough
  • Wooden drainage.
  • Copper ox.
  • Evidence of earthquake.
  • Horse remains (even though Indus valley people didn’t use horses).
  • Known as third capital of Indus valley civilization.

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Lothal

  • At Gujarat near Bhogava river, Beside the tributary of Sabarmati discovered by S.R. Rao (1957)
  • Rice husk
  • Fire Altars
  • Dockyard and earliest port
  • double burial
  • House had front entrance (exception).
  • Ivory weight balance.
  • Copper dog.

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Dholavira

  • Biggest site in India, until the discovery of Rakhigarhi.
  • Located in Khadir Beyt, Rann of Kutch, Gujarat.
  • Only site to be divided into 3 parts.
  • Giant water reservoir, Dams.
  • Unique water harnessing system.
  • Embankments.
  • A stadium.
  • Rock – cut architecture.
  • Large letters of the Harappan script (sign boards).

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Rangpur

  • Evidence of Rice.
  • Saurashtra in Gujarat,

harappa Indus Valley Civilization mohenjo daro history lothal

Surkotada

  • Horse bone.
  • Stone covered grave.
  • Bhuj, Gujarat

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Malwan

  • Canals
  • located at Valsad, Gujarat

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Ropar

  • Punjab, on the banks of river Sutlej.
  • Dog buried with humans.
  • Buildings made of stone and soil

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Banawali

  • Haryana, on banks of lost river Saraswathi
  • Barley Cultivation.
  • Oval shaped settlement.
  • Only city with radial streets.
  • Toy plough.

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Rakhigarhi

  • As per latest excavation, this is the biggest site of Indus Valley
  • Site location in Haryana

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Daimabad

  • Bronze Buffalo
  • bank of Pravara River, tributary of Godavari in Ahmednagar, Maharashtra

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Balakot

  • Bangle factory.

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Amri

  • Remains of Rhinoceros
  • Sindh province of Pakistan

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Alamgirpur

  • Impression of cloth on a trough.

harappa Indus Valley Civilization mohenjo daro history lothal

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Generalization

  • Most cities had similar patterns. There were two parts: a citadel and the lower town.
  • Most cities had a Great Bath.
  • There were also granaries, 2-storied houses made of burnt bricks, closed drainage lines, excellent storm water and waste water management system, weights for measurements, toys, pots, etc.
  • A large number of seals have been discovered.
  • Agriculture was the most important occupation.
  • It’s the first civilization to cultivate cotton.
  • Animals were domesticated like sheep, goats and pigs.
  • Crops were wheat, barley, cotton, ragi, dates and peas.
  • Trade was conducted with the Sumerians.
  • Metal products were produced including those with copper, bronze, tin and lead.
  • Gold and silver were also known.
  • Iron was not known to them.
  • No structures like temples or palaces have been found.
  • The people worshipped male and female deities.
  • A seal which was named ‘Pashupati Seal’ has been excavated and it shows an image of a three-eyed figure.
  • Marshall believed this to be an early form of Lord Shiva.
  • Excellent pieces of red pottery designed in black have been excavated.
  • Faience was used to make beads, bangles, earrings and vessels.
  • Standardized brick size in 1:2:4 ratio
  • The civilization also was advanced in making art works.
  • A statuette named ‘Dancing Girl’ has been found from Mohenjodaro and is believed to be 4000 years old.
  • A figure of a bearded Priest-King has also been found from Mohenjodaro.
  • Disposal of the dead was by burial in wooden coffins.
  • Later on, in the Symmetry culture, bodies were cremated in urns.
  • The Indus Valley script has not yet been deciphered.

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Causes of the Decline

  • Archaeologists now believe that the civilization did not come to an abrupt end but gradually declined.
  • People moved eastwards and cities were abandoned. Writing and trade declined.
  • Mortimer Wheeler suggested that Aryan invasion led to the decline of the Indus Valley.
  • This theory has now been debunked.
  • Robert Raikes suggests that tectonic movements and floods caused the decline.
  • Lambrick suggests a change in the course of the river Indus caused its decline.
  • Other causes cited include a drying up of the rivers, deforestation and a destruction of the green cover.
  • It is possible that some cities were destroyed by floods but not all.
  • New cities emerged only about 1400 years later.

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