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, c. 2500 BCE.
Terracotta Terracotta, terra cotta, or terra-cotta (; Italian language, Italian: "baked earth", from the Latin ''terra cocta''), a type of earthenware, is a clay-based ceramic glaze, unglazed or glazed ceramic, where the Pottery firing, fired body is porous ...

Terracotta
figurines indicate the yoking of
zebu A zebu (; ''Bos taurus indicus''), sometimes known as indicine cattle or humped cattle, is a species or subspecies of domestic cattle Cattle, or cows (female) and bulls (male), are the most common type of large domesticated Domesticati ...

zebu
oxen for pulling a cart and the presence of the
chicken The chicken (''Gallus gallus domesticus''), a subspecies of the red junglefowl, is a type of domestication, domesticated fowl, originally from Asia. Rooster or cock is a term for an adult male bird. A younger male may be called a cockerel; a ...
, a domesticated jungle fowl. The Indus Valley Civilisation (IVC), also known as the Indus Civilisation, was a
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the Three-age syst ...
civilisation  A civilization (or civilisation) is a complex society that is characterized by Urban area, urban development, social stratification, a form of government, and Symbol, symbolic systems of communication (such as writing system, writing). ...
in the northwestern regions of
South Asia South Asia is the southern region of Asia, which is defined in both geography, geographical and culture, ethno-cultural terms. The region consists of the countries of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lan ...

South Asia
, lasting from 3300 BCE to 1300 BCE, and in its mature form from 2600 BCE to 1900 BCE. Together with
ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization of Ancient history, ancient North Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile, Nile River, situated in the place that is now the country Egypt. Ancient Egyptian civilization followed prehistoric ...
and
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in the ...

Mesopotamia
, it was one of three early civilisations of the
Near East The Near East ( ar, الشرق الأدنى, al-Sharq al-'Adnā, he, המזרח הקרוב, arc, ܕܢܚܐ ܩܪܒ, fa, خاور نزدیک, Xāvar-e nazdik, tr, Yakın Doğu) is a geographical term which roughly encompasses a transcontinental r ...
and
South Asia South Asia is the southern region of Asia, which is defined in both geography, geographical and culture, ethno-cultural terms. The region consists of the countries of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lan ...

South Asia
, and of the three, the most widespread, its sites spanning an area stretching from today's northeast
Afghanistan Afghanistan (; Pashto/Dari language, Dari: , Pashto: , Dari: ), officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country at the crossroads of Central Asia, Central and South Asia. Afghanistan is bordered by Pakistan to the eas ...
, through much of
Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia South Asia is the southern region of Asia, which is defined in both geography, geographical and culture, e ...

Pakistan
, and into western and northwestern
India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populous country, the List of countries and dependencies by area, seventh-largest ...

India
. It flourished in the basins of the
Indus River The Indus ( ) is a transboundary river A transboundary river is a river that crosses at least one political border, either a border within a nation or an international boundary. Bangladesh has the highest number of these rivers, including tw ...

Indus River
, which flows through the length of Pakistan, and along a system of perennial, mostly
monsoon A monsoon () is traditionally a seasonal reversing wind accompanied by corresponding changes in precipitation, but is now used to describe seasonal changes in atmospheric circulation and precipitation associated with the asymmetric heating ...

monsoon
-fed, rivers that once coursed in the vicinity of the seasonal
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 in ...
in northwest India and eastern Pakistan. The civilisation's cities were noted for their
urban planning Urban planning, also known as regional planning, town planning, city 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, a ...
,
baked brick A brick is a type of block used to build walls, pavements and other elements in masonry Masonry is the building of structures from individual units, which are often laid in and bound together by mortar; the term ''masonry'' can also ref ...
houses, elaborate
drainage Drainage is the natural or artificial removal of a surface's water and sub-surface water from an area with excess of water. The internal drainage of most agricultural soils is good enough to prevent severe waterlogging (anaerobic conditio ...
systems,
water supply Water supply is the provision of water Water is an Inorganic compound, inorganic, Transparency and translucency, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and Color of water, nearly colorless chemical substance, which is the main constituent of ...
systems, clusters of large non-residential buildings, and new techniques in handicraft (
carnelian Carnelian (also spelled cornelian) is a brownish-red mineral commonly used as a semi-precious gemstone A gemstone (also called a gem, fine gem, jewel, precious stone, or semi-precious stone) is a piece of mineral crystal which, in cut and po ...
products, seal carving) 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 ...
(
copper Copper is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same nu ...

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 (such as aluminum, manganese, nickel or zinc) and sometimes non-metals or metalloids such as arsenic, phosphorus or ...
, lead, and tin). The large cities of
Mohenjo-daro Mohenjo-daro (; sd, موئن جو دڙو'', ''meaning 'Mound of the Dead Men';
and
Harappa Harappa (; Urdu Urdu (; ur, , ALA-LC: ) is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in South Asia South Asia is the southern region of Asia, which is defined in both geography, geographical and culture, ethno-cultural terms. The regi ...

Harappa
very likely grew to contain between 30,000 and 60,000 individuals, and the civilisation itself during its florescence may have contained between one and five million individuals. Gradual
drying Drying is a mass transfer process consisting of the removal of water or another solvent by evaporation from a solid, semi-solid or liquid. This process is often used as a final production step before selling or packaging products. To be considered " ...
of the region's soil during the 3rd millennium BCE may have been the initial spur for the urbanisation associated with the civilisation, but eventually weaker monsoons and reduced water supply caused the civilisation's demise, and caused its population to scatter eastward and southward. The Indus civilisation is also known as the Harappan Civilisation, after its
type site In archaeology Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. Archaeology is often considered a branch of socio-cultural anthropology, but archaeologists also draw from biolo ...
, Harappa, the first of its sites 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 in the Indian subcontinent. Collectively, they have been called British India. In one ...
and is now in Pakistan. The discovery of Harappa and soon afterwards Mohenjo-daro was the culmination of work beginning in 1861 with the founding of the Archaeological Survey of India during the
British Raj The British Raj (; from Hindi language, Hindi ''rāj'': kingdom, realm, state, or empire.) was the rule of the The Crown, British Crown on the Indian subcontinent from 1858 to 1947.''Oxford English Dictionary'', 3rd edition (June 2008), on- ...
. There were however earlier and later cultures often called Early Harappan and Late Harappan in the same area; for this reason, the Harappan civilisation is sometimes called the Mature Harappan to distinguish it from these other cultures. By 2002, over 1,000 Mature Harappan cities and settlements had been reported, of which just under a hundred had been 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." However, there are only five major urban sites: Harappa, Mohenjo-daro (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 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). World Heritage Sites are designated by UNESCO for ha ...
in 1980 as "Archaeological Ruins at Moenjodaro"),
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 contempora ...

Dholavira
(declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2021 as "Dholavira: A Harappan City"),
Ganeriwala Ganweriwala ( ur, pa, ) is an Indus Valley Civilization site in the Cholistan Desert of southern Punjab, Pakistan. Facts Ganweriwala is situated near the Indian border on the dry river bed of the Ghaggar-Hakra River, Ghaggar-Hakra, now part ...
, and
Rakhigarhi Rakhigarhi, Rakhi Garhi (''Rakhi Shahpur'' + ''Rakhi Khas''), is a village in Hisar District in the state of Haryana in India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of cou ...
. The early Harappan cultures were preceded by local
Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen independently in several parts of the world. It is first seen about 12,000 years ago when the first developments of ...
agricultural villages, from which the river plains were populated. The
Harappan language The Harappan language is the unknown language or languages of the Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civ ...
is not directly attested, and its affiliation uncertain as the
Indus script Collection of seals The Indus script (also known as the Harappan script) is a corpus of symbols produced by the Indus Valley Civilization oxen for pulling a cart and the presence of the chicken The chicken (''Gallus gallus domest ...

Indus script
has remained undeciphered. A relationship with the
Dravidian Dravidian, Dravidan, or Dravida may refer to: Language and culture *Dravidian languages, a family of languages spoken mainly in South India and northeastern Sri Lanka *Proto-Dravidian language, a model of the common ancestor of the Dravidian langu ...
or Elamo-Dravidian language family is favoured by a section of scholars.


Name

The Indus Valley Civilisation is named after the
Indus#REDIRECT Indus River
{{Redirect category shell, {{R from move {{R from miscapitalisation {{R unprintworthy ...

Indus
river system In geomorphology incised into shale at the foot of the North Caineville Plateau, Utah, within the pass carved by the Fremont River and known as the Blue Gate. GK Gilbert studied the landscapes of this area in great detail, forming the observati ...
in whose alluvial plains 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 Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. Archaeology is often considered a branch of socio-cultural anthropology, but archaeologists also draw from biolo ...
,
Harappa Harappa (; Urdu Urdu (; ur, , ALA-LC: ) is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in South Asia South Asia is the southern region of Asia, which is defined in both geography, geographical and culture, ethno-cultural terms. The regi ...

Harappa
, 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 in ...
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 a part of the tridevi of Saraswati, along with Lakshmi and Parvati. The earliest known mention of S ...

Saraswati
described in the early chapters of
Rig Veda ) manuscript in Devanagari, early 19th century. After a scribal benediction ('), the first line has the first pada, RV 1.1.1a ('). The pitch-accent is marked by underscores and vertical overscores in red. The ''Rigveda'' or ''Rig Veda'' (Sa ...
, a collection of hymns in archaic Sanskrit composed in the second-millennium BCE. Recent geophysical research suggests that unlike the Sarasvati, 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 Civilisation was roughly contemporary with the other riverine civilisations of the ancient world:
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identif ...
along the
Nile The Nile ( ar, النيل, an-Nīl, , Bohairic , lg, Kiira , Nobiin: Áman Dawū) is a major north-flowing river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In som ...

Nile
,
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in the ...

Mesopotamia
in the lands watered by the
Euphrates The Euphrates () is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia Western Asia, also West Asia, is the westernmost subregion of Asia. It is entirely a part of the Greater Middle East. It includes Anatolia, the A ...
and the
Tigris The Tigris, () is the eastern of the two great river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end ...

Tigris
, and
China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most populous country, with a population of around 1.4 billion. Covering approximately 9.6& ...
in the drainage basin of the
Yellow River The Yellow River (Chinese: , Jin Chinese, Jin: uə xɔ 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 ...
and the
Yangtze The Yangtze or Yangzi ( or ) is the longest river in Asia, the third-longest in the world and the longest in the world to flow entirely within one country. It rises at Jari Hill in the Tanggula Mountains (Tibetan Plateau) and flows in a ...
. 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, بلوچِستان; also romanised as Baluchistan) is an arid desert upright=1.5, alt=see caption, Sand dunes in the Rub' al Khali ("Empty quarter") in the United Arab Emirates">Rub'_al_Khali.html" ;"title="Sand du ...
, 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 Indus Valley Civilisation (IVC) extended from Pakistan's
Balochistan Balochistan (; bal, بلوچِستان; also romanised as Baluchistan) is an arid desert upright=1.5, alt=see caption, Sand dunes in the Rub' al Khali ("Empty quarter") in the United Arab Emirates">Rub'_al_Khali.html" ;"title="Sand du ...
in the west to India's western
Uttar Pradesh Uttar Pradesh (; 'Northern Province') is a state in northern India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populous ...

Uttar Pradesh
in the east, from northeastern Afghanistan in the north to India's
Gujarat Gujarat (, ) is a States of India, state on the Western India, western coast of India with a coastline of – most of which lies on the Kathiawar peninsula – and a population of 60.4 million. It is the List of states and union territori ...

Gujarat
state in the south.. The largest number of sites are in
Gujarat Gujarat (, ) is a States of India, state on the Western India, western coast of India with a coastline of – most of which lies on the Kathiawar peninsula – and a population of 60.4 million. It is the List of states and union territori ...

Gujarat
,
Haryana Haryana () is a States and union territories of India, state in India located in the northern part of the country. It was carved out of the former state of East Punjab on 1 November 1966 on a linguistic basis. It is ranked 22nd in terms of area, ...

Haryana
,
Punjab Punjab (; ; ; ; also romanised Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and m ...
,
Rajasthan Rajasthan ( ; literally, "Land of Kings") is a States and union territories of India, state in northern India. The state covers an area of or 10.4 percent of the total geographical area of India. It is the List of states and union territories ...

Rajasthan
,
Uttar Pradesh Uttar Pradesh (; 'Northern Province') is a state in northern India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populous ...

Uttar Pradesh
,
Jammu and Kashmir Jammu is the winter capital of the Indian union territory of Jammu and Kashmir (union territory), Jammu and Kashmir. It is the headquarters and the largest city in Jammu district of the union territory. Lying on the banks of the river Tawi River ...
states in India, and
Sindh Sindh (; sd, سنڌ; ur, , ; historically romanized as Sind) is one of the four Administrative units of Pakistan, provinces of Pakistan. Located in the Geography of Pakistan, southeastern region of the country, Sindh is the third-largest ...

Sindh
,
Punjab Punjab (; ; ; ; also romanised Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and m ...

Punjab
, and
Balochistan Balochistan (; bal, بلوچِستان; also romanised as Baluchistan) is an arid desert upright=1.5, alt=see caption, Sand dunes in the Rub' al Khali ("Empty quarter") in the United Arab Emirates">Rub'_al_Khali.html" ;"title="Sand du ...
provinces in Pakistan. Coastal settlements extended from Sutkagan Dor in Western Baluchistan to
Lothal Lothal () was one of the southernmost cities of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization oxen for pulling a cart and the presence of the chicken The chicken (''Gallus gallus domesticus''), a subspecies of the red junglefowl, is a t ...

Lothal
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, or Jay-hoon, and historically known by its Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical ...
at Shortugai in northern Afghanistan, in the
Gomal RiverGomal may refer to: * Gomal River, flowing from Afghanistan to Pakistan ** Gomal Dam, located on the Gomal River in South Waziristan, Pakistan * Gomal District, a district of Paktika Province, Afghanistan * Gomal University, located in Dera Ismai ...
valley in northwestern Pakistan, at
Manda, Jammu Manda is a village and an archaeological site in Jammu Jammu is the winter capital of the Indian union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. It is the headquarters and the largest city in Jammu district of the union territory. Lying on the banks ...
on the
Beas River The Beas River (Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European lang ...
near
Jammu Jammu is the winter capital of the Indian union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. It is the headquarters and the largest city in Jammu district of the union territory. Lying on the banks of the river Tawi, the city of Jammu, with an area of , ...

Jammu
, India, and at
Alamgirpur Alamgirpur is an archaeological site of the Indus Valley Civilization oxen for pulling a cart and the presence of the chicken The chicken (''Gallus gallus domesticus''), a subspecies of the red junglefowl, is a type of domesticatio ...
on the
Hindon River Hindon River, a tributary of Yamuna river The Yamuna ( Hindustani: ) is the second-largest tributary A tributary or affluent is a stream or river that flows into a larger stream or main stem (or parent) river or a lake. A tributary does ...
, only from Delhi. The southernmost site of the Indus valley civilisation is
Daimabad Daimabad is a deserted village and an archaeological site An archaeological site is a place (or group of physical sites) in which evidence of past activity is preserved (either prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, ...
in Maharashtra. Indus Valley sites have been found most often on rivers, but also on the ancient seacoast, for example, Balakot, 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 contempora ...

Dholavira
.


Discovery and history of excavation

The first modern accounts of the
ruins Ruins () are the remains of a civilization's architecture: structures that were once intact have fallen, as time went by, into a state of partial or total disrepair, due to lack of maintenance or deliberate acts of destruction. Natural disas ...

ruins
of the Indus Civilisation are those of Charles Masson, a deserter from the
East India Company The East India Company (EIC), also known as the Honourable East India Company (HEIC), East India Trading Company (EITC), the English East India Company or (after 1707) the British East India Company, and informally known as John Company, Co ...
's army. In 1829, Masson traveled through the
princely state A princely state, also called a native state, feudatory state or Indian state (for those states on the subcontinent), was a vassal state A vassal state is any state that has a mutual obligation to a superior state or empire, in a status sim ...
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, and in the Western world The Western world, also known as the West, refers to various regions, nation A nation is a community of people formed on the basis of a c ...
, especially in the military campaigns of
Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, Αλέξανδρος}, ; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king (''basileus'') of the Ancient Greece, ancient Greek kingdom of Macedonia (ancient kingdom) ...
, 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 India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populo ...

Ravi river
. 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 vegetatio ...
for the
railway lines The track on a Rail transport, railway or railroad, also known as the permanent way, is the structure consisting of the Rail profile, rails, Rail fastening system, fasteners, Railroad tie, railroad ties (sleepers, British English) and Track b ...
being laid in the Punjab. Nearly of railway track between
Multan Multan (; ) is a city and capital of Multan Division located in Punjab, Pakistan, Punjab, Pakistan. Situated on the bank of the Chenab River, Multan is Pakistan's List of largest cities in Pakistan, 7th largest city and is the major cultural and e ...

Multan
and
Lahore Lahore (; pnb, ; ; ur, ; ) is the capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab Punjab ( Gurmukhi: ; Shahmukhi: ; , ; , ; ; also romanised as Panjāb or Panj-Āb) is a geopolitical, cultural, and historical region in South Asia ...

Lahore
, 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 The British Raj (; from ''rāj'', literally, "rule" in Sanskrit and Hindustani language, Hindustani) was the rule by the The Crown, British Crown on the Indian subcontinent from 1858 to 1947.''Oxford English Dictionary'', 3rd edition (June ...
, archaeology on the subcontinent became more formally organised with the founding of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
Alexander Cunningham Major General Sir Alexander Cunningham (23 January 1814 – 28 November 1893) was a British army engineer with the Bengal Engineer Group who later took an interest in the history and archaeology of India. In 1861, he was appointed to the newly c ...
, 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 (; fl. 602 – 664), born Chen Hui / Chen Yi (), was a Chinese Buddhist monk A monk (, from el, μοναχός, ''monachos'', "single, solitary" via Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic lan ...

Xuanzang
, proved elusive, Cunningham did publish his findings in 1875. For the first time, he interpreted a Harappan
stamp seal __NOTOC__ Image:Louvre unidentified access number mp3h8892.jpg, A stamp seal and its impression. The impression rotated clockwise 90 degrees probably yields a version of the ''Tree of Life''-(see Urartian art photos). The stamp seal is a carved ob ...
, 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), was styled as Lord Curzon of Kedleston between 1898 and 1911, and as Earl Curzon of Kedleston between 1911 and 1921, was a British Conservative ...
, pushed through the
Ancient Monuments Preservation Act 1904 {{Infobox legislation , short_title = The Ancient Monuments Preservation Act, 1904 , legislature = Imperial Legislative Council , territorial_extent = India , date_assented = 18 March 1904 , amended_by = * Mysore Act 14 o ...
, 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 to 1835. Marshall remains the List of Justices of the ...
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 Hydrology (from Greek: wikt:ὕδωρ, ὕδωρ, "hýdōr" meaning "water" and wikt:λόγος, λόγος, "lógos" meaning "study") is the scientific study of the movement, distribution, and management of water on Earth and othe ...
of the Indus in
Sind Sindh (; sd, سنڌ; ur, , ;historically romanised as Sind) is one of the four provinces of Pakistan. Located in the southeast of the country, it is the home of the Sindhi and Muhajir , Muhajir people. Sindh is the third largest provinc ...

Sind
province, the largely undisturbed site of
Mohenjo-daro Mohenjo-daro (; sd, موئن جو دڙو'', ''meaning 'Mound of the Dead Men';
had attracted notice. Marshall deputed a succession of ASI officers to survey the site. These included
D. R. Bhandarkar Devadatta Ramakrishna Bhandarkar (19 November 1875–13 May 1950) ( mr, देवदत्त रामकृष्ण भांडारकर was born in Marathi Gaud Saraswat Brahmin family. He was an Indian archaeologist and epigraphist wh ...
(1911), R. D. Banerji (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 at
Tiryns Tiryns or (Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: Myc ...
and
Mycenae Mycenae ( ; grc, Μυκῆναι or , ''Mykē̂nai'' or ''Mykḗnē'') 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 Prehisto ...

Mycenae
, 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 Central Asia is a region in Asia which stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to China and Mongolia in the ...

Turkestan
, 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 scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, ...
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 Ernest John Henry Mackay (5 July 1880 – 2 October 1943) was an archeologist from Bristol Bristol () is a City status in the United Kingdom, city and Ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial county in England. With a population of 463,4 ...
(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 (10 September 1890 – 22 July 1976) was a British archaeologist and officer in the British Army The British Army is the principal Army, land warfare force of the United Kingdom, a part of the British ...
, a new director-general of the ASI appointed in 1944, and including
Ahmad Hasan Dani Ahmad Hassan Dani (Urdu Urdu (; ur, , ALA-LC: ) is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in South Asia South Asia is the southern region of Asia, which is defined in both geography, geographical and culture, ethno-cultural terms. T ...
. 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. 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#REDIRECT Indus River
{{Redirect category shell, {{R from move {{R from miscapitalisation {{R unprintworthy ...

Indus and Ghaggar-Hakra rivers and their tributaries; however, there are only five major urban sites:
Harappa Harappa (; Urdu Urdu (; ur, , ALA-LC: ) is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in South Asia South Asia is the southern region of Asia, which is defined in both geography, geographical and culture, ethno-cultural terms. The regi ...

Harappa
,
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 contempora ...

Dholavira
,
Ganeriwala Ganweriwala ( ur, pa, ) is an Indus Valley Civilization site in the Cholistan Desert of southern Punjab, Pakistan. Facts Ganweriwala is situated near the Indian border on the dry river bed of the Ghaggar-Hakra River, Ghaggar-Hakra, now part ...
and
Rakhigarhi Rakhigarhi, Rakhi Garhi (''Rakhi Shahpur'' + ''Rakhi Khas''), is a village in Hisar District in the state of Haryana in India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of cou ...
.. "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." According to a historian approximately 616 sites have been reported in India, whereas 406 sites have been reported in Pakistan. However, according to archaeologist Shereen Ratnagar, many Ghaggar-Hakra sites in India are actually those of local cultures; some sites display contact with Harappan civilisation, but only a few are fully developed Harappan ones. Moreover, around 90% of the discovered were found at sites in Pakistan along the Indus river, while other sites accounts only for the remaining 10%. 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 (UNESCO) (french: Organisation des Nations unies pour l'éducation, la science et la culture) is a specialised agency United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous organ ...

UNESCO
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 Aachen dialect (natively ''Öcher Platt'') is a dialect of Ripuarian Franconian spoken in the German Rhineland city of Aachen Aachen ( ; Aachen dialect: ''Oche'' ; French and traditional English: Aix-la-Chap ...
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 The Bolān Pass ( ur, ) is a mountain pass through the Toba Kakar range of Balochistan province in western Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English language, English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, ...
in
Balochistan Balochistan (; bal, بلوچِستان; also romanised as Baluchistan) is an arid desert upright=1.5, alt=see caption, Sand dunes in the Rub' al Khali ("Empty quarter") in the United Arab Emirates">Rub'_al_Khali.html" ;"title="Sand du ...
, excavations were carried out in
Mehrgarh , coordinates=, native_name_lang=ur, alternate_name=Mehrgahr, Merhgarh, Merhgahr, location= Dhadar, Balochistan Balochistan (; bal, بلوچِستان; also romanised as Baluchistan) is an arid desert upright=1.5, alt=see caption, Sa ...

Mehrgarh
by French archaeologist Jean-François Jarrige and his team in the early 1970s.


Chronology

The cities of the Indus Valley Civilisation had "social hierarchies, their writing system, their large planned cities and their long-distance trade mark 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 , coordinates=, native_name_lang=ur, alternate_name=Mehrgahr, Merhgarh, Merhgahr, location= Dhadar, Balochistan Balochistan (; bal, بلوچِستان; also romanised as Baluchistan) is an arid desert upright=1.5, alt=see caption, Sa ...

Mehrgarh
is a
Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen independently in several parts of the world. It is first seen about 12,000 years ago when the first developments of ...
(7000 BCE to c. 2500 BCE) mountain site in the Balochistan province of
Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia South Asia is the southern region of Asia, which is defined in both geography, geographical and culture, e ...

Pakistan
, 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 region of Asia, which is defined in both geography, geographical and culture, ethno-cultural terms. The region consists of the countries of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lan ...

South Asia
. 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 Chalcolithic (),The New Oxford Dictionary of English (1998) , p. 301: "Chalcolithic /,kælkəl'lɪθɪk/ adjective ''Archaeology'' of, relating to, or denoting a period in the 4th and 3rd millennium BC, chiefly in the Near East and SE Europe, ...
(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 India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populo ...

Ravi River
, 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 Civilization oxen for pulling a cart and the presence of the chicken The chicken (''Gallus gallus domesticus''), a subspecies ...

Kot Diji
Phase (2800–2600 BCE, Harappan 2), named after a site in northern
Sindh Sindh (; sd, سنڌ; ur, , ; historically romanized as Sind) is one of the four Administrative units of Pakistan, provinces of Pakistan. Located in the Geography of Pakistan, southeastern region of the country, Sindh is the third-largest ...

Sindh
, Pakistan, near
Mohenjo-daro Mohenjo-daro (; sd, موئن جو دڙو'', ''meaning 'Mound of the Dead Men';
. The earliest examples of the
Indus script Collection of seals The Indus script (also known as the Harappan script) is a corpus of symbols produced by the Indus Valley Civilization oxen for pulling a cart and the presence of the chicken The chicken (''Gallus gallus domest ...

Indus script
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 Civilization oxen for pulling a cart and the presence of the chicken The chicken (''Gallus gallus domesticus''), a subspecies ...

Kot Diji
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 identifie ...

Kalibangan
in India on the Hakra River. Trade networks linked this culture with related regional cultures and distant sources of raw materials, including 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 A seed is an embryonic plant enclosed in a protective outer covering. The formation of the seed is part of the process of reproduction Reproduction (or procreation or breeding) is ...

pea
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 region ...
s, dates, 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 The Bovidae comprise the biological family Family ( la, familia, plural ') is one of the eight major hierarchical tax ...
. 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__ Image:Louvre unidentified access number mp3h8892.jpg, A stamp seal and its impression. The impression rotated clockwise 90 degrees probably yields a version of the ''Tree of Life''-(see Urartian art photos). The stamp seal is a carved ob ...
s with
Indus script Collection of seals The Indus script (also known as the Harappan script) is a corpus of symbols produced by the Indus Valley Civilization oxen for pulling a cart and the presence of the chicken The chicken (''Gallus gallus domest ...

Indus script
, 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 centers. 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". By 2600 BCE, the Early Harappan communities turned into large urban centres. Such urban centres include
Harappa Harappa (; Urdu Urdu (; ur, , ALA-LC: ) is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in South Asia South Asia is the southern region of Asia, which is defined in both geography, geographical and culture, ethno-cultural terms. The regi ...

Harappa
,
Ganeriwala Ganweriwala ( ur, pa, ) is an Indus Valley Civilization site in the Cholistan Desert of southern Punjab, Pakistan. Facts Ganweriwala is situated near the Indian border on the dry river bed of the Ghaggar-Hakra River, Ghaggar-Hakra, now part ...
,
Mohenjo-daro Mohenjo-daro (; sd, موئن جو دڙو'', ''meaning 'Mound of the Dead Men';
in modern-day Pakistan, and
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 contempora ...

Dholavira
,
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 identifie ...

Kalibangan
,
Rakhigarhi Rakhigarhi, Rakhi Garhi (''Rakhi Shahpur'' + ''Rakhi Khas''), is a village in Hisar District in the state of Haryana in India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of cou ...
,
Rupar Rupnagar (; formerly known as Ropar) is a city and a municipal council in Rupnagar district Rupnagar district is one of twenty-two districts in the state of Punjab Punjab ( Gurmukhi: ; Shahmukhi: ; , ; , ; ; also romanised as Pa ...
, and
Lothal Lothal () was one of the southernmost cities of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization oxen for pulling a cart and the presence of the chicken The chicken (''Gallus gallus domesticus''), a subspecies of the red junglefowl, is a t ...

Lothal
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 regional planning, town planning, city 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, a ...
and efficient municipal governments which placed a high priority on
hygiene Hygiene is a series of practices performed to preserve health Health is a state of physical, mental and social well-being Well-being, also known as ''wellness'', ''prudential value'' or ''quality of life'', refers to what is intrinsical ...

hygiene
, or, alternatively, accessibility to the means of religious ritual. As seen in Harappa, Mohenjo-daro and the recently partially excavated
Rakhigarhi Rakhigarhi, Rakhi Garhi (''Rakhi Shahpur'' + ''Rakhi Khas''), is a village in Hisar District in the state of Haryana in India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of cou ...
, this urban plan included the world's first known urban sanitation systems: see hydraulic engineering of the Indus Valley Civilisation. Within the city, individual homes or groups of homes obtained water from water well, wells. From a room that appears to have been set aside for bathing, wastewater, waste water was directed to covered drains, which lined the major streets. Houses opened only to inner courtyards and smaller lanes. The house-building in some villages in the region still resembles in some respects the house-building 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, granary, granaries, 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 ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in the ...

Mesopotamia
and
ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization of Ancient history, ancient North Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile, Nile River, situated in the place that is now the country Egypt. Ancient Egyptian civilization followed prehistoric ...
, 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, Mohenjo-daro, Great Bath"), 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 artifact (archaeology), artefacts discovered were beautiful glazed faïence beads. Steatite seals have images of animals, people (perhaps gods), and other types of inscriptions, including the yet un-deciphered Indus script, 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. 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. * Harappan society had no rulers, and everybody enjoyed equal status.


Technology

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 cities of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization oxen for pulling a cart and the presence of the chicken The chicken (''Gallus gallus domesticus''), a subspecies of the red junglefowl, is a t ...

Lothal
in Gujarat, was approximately 1.704 mm, the smallest division ever recorded on a scale of the
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the Three-age syst ...
. 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 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 units#Mass and weight, 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's ''Arthashastra'' (4th century BCE) are the same as those used in
Lothal Lothal () was one of the southernmost cities of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization oxen for pulling a cart and the presence of the chicken The chicken (''Gallus gallus domesticus''), a subspecies of the red junglefowl, is a t ...

Lothal
. 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 (such as aluminum, manganese, nickel or zinc) and sometimes non-metals or metalloids such as arsenic, phosphorus or ...
, lead, and tin. A Touchstone (assaying tool), 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).


Arts and crafts

Various sculptures, seals, bronze vessels, Indian Pottery, pottery, gold jewellery, and anatomically detailed figurines in terracotta, bronze, and steatite have been found at excavation sites. The Harappans also made various toys and games, among them cubical dice (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 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, 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 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 sherds 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 Mohenjo-daro Priest-King, so-called ''Priest-King'' figure, while India retained the much smaller Dancing Girl (sculpture), ''Dancing Girl''. Though written considerably later, the arts treatise ''Natya Shastra'' () 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 (percussion instrument), rattles and vessel flutes, while iconographical evidence suggests early harps and drums were also used. An ideogram in the IVC contains the earliest known depiction of an arched harp, 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 (US) Poids cubiques harappéens - BM.jpg, Cubical weights, standardised throughout the Indus cultural zone; 2600-1900 BC; chert; British Museum (London) Harappan carnelian and terracotta beads - Mohenjo-daro.jpg,
Mohenjo-daro Mohenjo-daro (; sd, موئن جو دڙو'', ''meaning 'Mound of the Dead Men';
beads; 2600-1900 BC;
carnelian Carnelian (also spelled cornelian) is a brownish-red mineral commonly used as a semi-precious gemstone A gemstone (also called a gem, fine gem, jewel, precious stone, or semi-precious stone) is a piece of mineral crystal which, in cut and po ...
and terracotta; 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 (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 bronze sculpture, bronze statuette of a slender-limbed ''Dancing Girl (sculpture), 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 antiquity, Classical treatment of the human shape: the :File:Harappa 13 grey stone male dancer statuette.jpg, statuette of a dancer who seems to be male, and the ''Hapappa Torso'', a :File:Harappa red jasper male torso.jpg, red jasper male torso, both now in the Delhi National Museum. John Marshall (archaeologist), 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, Madho Sarup Vats, Vats, claims a Harappan date, but Marshall considered this statuette is probably historical, dating to the Gupta Empire, 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 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 (New York City) File:Mohenjo-daro Priesterkönig.jpeg, The Priest-king (sculpture), ''Priest-King''; 2400–1900 BC; low fired steatite; height: 17.5 cm; National Museum of Pakistan (Karachi) File:Harappa 13 grey stone male dancer statuette.jpg, Male dancing torso; 2400-1900 BC; limestone; height: 9.9 cm; National Museum, New Delhi, National Museum (New Delhi) Dancing girl of Mohenjo-daro.jpg, The ''Dancing Girl (sculpture), Dancing Girl''; 2400–1900 BC; bronze; height: 10.8 cm; National Museum (New Delhi)


Seals

Thousands of steatite 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 Collection of seals The Indus script (also known as the Harappan script) is a corpus of symbols produced by the Indus Valley Civilization oxen for pulling a cart and the presence of the chicken The chicken (''Gallus gallus domest ...

Indus script
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';
depicting a figure standing on its head, and another, on the Pashupati seal, sitting cross-legged in what some call a yoga-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 :File:Indus bull-man fighting beast.jpg, 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. Several seals also show a man fighting two lions or tigers, a "Master of Animals" motif common to civilisations in Western and South Asia. MET 1984 482 237872.jpg, Seal; 3000–1500 BC; baked steatite; 2 × 2 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art (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 (Cleveland, Ohio, 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

File:Disha Kaka Boat with Direction Finding Birds, model of Mohenjo-Daro seal, 3000 BCE.jpg, Boat with direction-finding birds to find land. Model of
Mohenjo-daro Mohenjo-daro (; sd, موئن جو دڙو'', ''meaning 'Mound of the Dead Men';
seal, 2500–1750 BCE. The Indus Civilisation's economy appears to have depended significantly on trade, which was facilitated by major advances in transport technology. The IVC may have been the first civilisation to use wheeled transport. These advances may have included bullock carts that are 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; however, there is secondary evidence of sea-going craft. Archaeologists have discovered a massive, dredged canal and what they regard as a docking facility at the coastal city of
Lothal Lothal () was one of the southernmost cities of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization oxen for pulling a cart and the presence of the chicken The chicken (''Gallus gallus domesticus''), a subspecies of the red junglefowl, is a t ...

Lothal
in western India (
Gujarat Gujarat (, ) is a States of India, state on the Western India, western coast of India with a coastline of – most of which lies on the Kathiawar peninsula – and a population of 60.4 million. It is the List of states and union territori ...

Gujarat
state). An extensive canal network, used for irrigation, has however also been discovered by H.-P. Francfort. During 4300–3200 BCE of the
chalcolithic The Chalcolithic (),The New Oxford Dictionary of English (1998) , p. 301: "Chalcolithic /,kælkəl'lɪθɪk/ adjective ''Archaeology'' of, relating to, or denoting a period in the 4th and 3rd millennium BC, chiefly in the Near East and SE Europe, ...
period (copper age), the Indus Valley Civilisation area shows ceramic similarities with southern Turkmenistan 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 and the Iranian plateau. Judging from the dispersal of Indus Civilisation artefacts, the trade networks economically integrated a huge area, including portions of
Afghanistan Afghanistan (; Pashto/Dari language, Dari: , Pashto: , Dari: ), officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country at the crossroads of Central Asia, Central and South Asia. Afghanistan is bordered by Pakistan to the eas ...
, the coastal regions of Persia, northern and western India, and
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in the ...

Mesopotamia
, 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. There is some evidence that trade contacts extended to Crete and possibly to Egypt. 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" (modern Bahrain, Eastern Arabia and Failaka located in the Persian Gulf). 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)
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.
In the 1980s, important archaeological discoveries were made at Ras al-Jinz (Oman), demonstrating maritime Indus Valley connections with the Arabian Peninsula.


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 A zebu (; ''Bos taurus indicus''), sometimes known as indicine cattle or humped cattle, is a species or subspecies of domestic cattle Cattle, or cows (female) and bulls (male), are the most common type of large domesticated Domesticati ...

zebu
cattle at Mehrgarh." According to Jean-Francois Jarrige, farming had an independent origin at Mehrgarh, despite the similarities which he notes between Neolithic sites from eastern Mesopotamia and the western Indus valley, which are evidence of a "cultural continuum" between those sites. Nevertheless, Jarrige concludes that Mehrgarh has an earlier local background," and is not a "'backwater' of the Neolithic culture of the Near East." 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 , coordinates=, native_name_lang=ur, alternate_name=Mehrgahr, Merhgarh, Merhgahr, location= Dhadar, Balochistan Balochistan (; bal, بلوچِستان; also romanised as Baluchistan) is an arid desert upright=1.5, alt=see caption, Sa ...

Mehrgarh
used domesticated wheats and barley, 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, which are similar to Zebu cattle. Zebu cattle is still common in India, and in Africa. It is different from the European cattle, and had been originally domesticated on the Indian subcontinent, probably in the Baluchistan, Pakistan, 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 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 (prim. Mung bean, Mung) and cereals. The authors speculated the food-balls to be of a ritualistic significance, given the founds of bull figurines, adze 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 culture. Finnish Indologist Asko Parpola 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 family is concentrated mostly in southern India and northern and eastern Sri Lanka, but pockets of it still remain throughout the rest of India and Pakistan (the Brahui language), which lends credence to the theory. According to Heggarty and Renfrew, Dravidian languages may have spread into the Indian subcontinent with the spread of farming. According to David McAlpin, the Dravidian languages were brought to India by immigration into India from Elam. In earlier publications, Colin Renfrew, Baron Renfrew of Kaimsthorn, Renfrew 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 Nature (journal), ''Nature'' published 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__ Image:Louvre unidentified access number mp3h8892.jpg, A stamp seal and its impression. The impression rotated clockwise 90 degrees probably yields a version of the ''Tree of Life''-(see Urartian art photos). The stamp seal is a carved ob ...
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 no more than four or five characters in length, most of which (aside from the Dholavira "signboard") are tiny; the longest on a single surface, which is less than square, is 17 signs long; the longest on any object (found on three different faces of a mass-produced object) has a length of 26 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 Moulding (process), 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 (journal), ''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 Heraldry, heraldic signs with natural languages 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 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. Edakkal Caves in Wayanad district of Kerala contain drawings that range over periods from as early as 5000 BCE to 1000 BCE. The youngest group of paintings have been in the news for a possible connection to the Indus Valley Civilisation.


Religion

The religion and belief system of the Indus Valley people have received considerable attention, especially from the view of identifying precursors to deities and religious practices of Indian religions 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. An 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 to 1835. Marshall remains the List of Justices of the ...
, 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; symbolic representation of the phallus (linga) and vulva (yoni); 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, surrounded by animals. Marshall identified the figure as an early form of the Hindu god Shiva (or Rudra), who is associated with Asceticism#Hinduism, asceticism, yoga, and Lingam, linga; regarded as a Pashupati, 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 Meth Srinivasan, Doris Srinivasan has argued that the figure does not have three faces, or yogic posture, and that in Vedas, Vedic literature 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 vahanas (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 Rishabhanatha by Jains and Vilas Sangave. Historians such as Heinrich Zimmer 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. 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 Baetylus, 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 Chimera (mythology), chimeric creations. One seal from Mohenjo-daro shows a half-human, half-buffalo monster attacking a tiger, which may be a reference to the Sumerian religion, Sumerian myth of such a monster created by goddess Ninhursag, Aruru to fight Gilgamesh. In contrast to contemporary Ancient Egypt, Egyptian and Ancient Near East, Mesopotamian 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 purpose, but at present only the Great Bath 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 and tuberculosis. According to historian Upinder Singh, "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 was in Punjab,
Haryana Haryana () is a States and union territories of India, state in India located in the northern part of the country. It was carved out of the former state of East Punjab on 1 November 1966 on a linguistic basis. It is ranked 22nd in terms of area, ...

Haryana
, and Western Uttar Pradesh, the Jhukar phase, Jhukar culture was in
Sindh Sindh (; sd, سنڌ; ur, , ; historically romanized as Sind) is one of the four Administrative units of Pakistan, provinces of Pakistan. Located in the Geography of Pakistan, southeastern region of the country, Sindh is the third-largest ...

Sindh
, and the Rangpur, Gujarat, Rangpur culture (characterised by Lustrous Red Ware pottery) was in
Gujarat Gujarat (, ) is a States of India, state on the Western India, western coast of India with a coastline of – most of which lies on the Kathiawar peninsula – and a population of 60.4 million. It is the List of states and union territori ...

Gujarat
. Other sites associated with the Late phase of the Harappan culture are Pirak in Balochistan, Pakistan, and
Daimabad Daimabad is a deserted village and an archaeological site An archaeological site is a place (or group of physical sites) in which evidence of past activity is preserved (either prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, ...
in Maharashtra, India. The largest Late Harappan sites are Kudwala in Cholistan, Bet Dwarka in
Gujarat Gujarat (, ) is a States of India, state on the Western India, western coast of India with a coastline of – most of which lies on the Kathiawar peninsula – and a population of 60.4 million. It is the List of states and union territori ...

Gujarat
, and
Daimabad Daimabad is a deserted village and an archaeological site An archaeological site is a place (or group of physical sites) in which evidence of past activity is preserved (either prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, ...
in Maharashtra, 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 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, 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__ Image:Louvre unidentified access number mp3h8892.jpg, A stamp seal and its impression. The impression rotated clockwise 90 degrees probably yields a version of the ''Tree of Life''-(see Urartian art photos). The stamp seal is a carved ob ...
s with geometric designs, but lacking the
Indus script Collection of seals The Indus script (also known as the Harappan script) is a corpus of symbols produced by the Indus Valley Civilization oxen for pulling a cart and the presence of the chicken The chicken (''Gallus gallus domest ...

Indus script
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 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 hoards, 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,
Haryana Haryana () is a States and union territories of India, state in India located in the northern part of the country. It was carved out of the former state of East Punjab on 1 November 1966 on a linguistic basis. It is ranked 22nd in terms of area, ...

Haryana
, and western
Uttar Pradesh Uttar Pradesh (; 'Northern Province') is a state in northern India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populous ...

Uttar Pradesh
, primarily small rural settlements.


"Aryan invasion"

In 1953 Sir
Mortimer Wheeler Sir Robert Eric Mortimer Wheeler (10 September 1890 – 22 July 1976) was a British archaeologist and officer in the British Army The British Army is the principal Army, land warfare force of the United Kingdom, a part of the British ...
proposed that the invasion of an Indo-European tribe from Central Asia, the "Indo-Aryan migration, Aryans", 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 A. R. Kennedy, 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 late Harappan phase in the Punjab region), some of the designs painted on the funerary urns have been interpreted through the lens of historical Vedic religion, Vedic literature: 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, 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 that is also signalled for the neighbouring 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 4.2 kiloyear event, mega-drought and cooling 4,200 years ago," which marks the onset of the Meghalayan, Meghalayan Age, the present stage of the Holocene. 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 atmospheric circulation and precipitation associated with the asymmetric heating ...

monsoon
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 to 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 development of trade, and the cities died out.


Earthquakes

There are archaeological evidences of major earthquakes at Dholavira in 2200 BCE as well as at Kalibangan in 2700 and 2900 BCE. Such succession of earthquakes, along with drought, may have contributed to decline of Ghaggar-Harka system. Sea level changes are also found at two possible seaport sites along the Makran coast which are now inland. Earthquakes may have contributed to decline of several sites by direct shaking damage, by sea level change or by change in water supply.


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, Haryana, Bhagwanpura (in
Haryana Haryana () is a States and union territories of India, state in India located in the northern part of the country. It was carved out of the former state of East Punjab on 1 November 1966 on a linguistic basis. It is ranked 22nd in terms of area, ...

Haryana
), archaeological excavations have discovered an overlap between the final phase of Late Harappan pottery and the earliest phase of Painted Grey Ware pottery, the latter being associated with the Vedic period, 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 district of Saurashtra (region), 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 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 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 may be the manifestation of the Late Harappan over a large area in the region of Punjab,
Haryana Haryana () is a States and union territories of India, state in India located in the northern part of the country. It was carved out of the former state of East Punjab on 1 November 1966 on a linguistic basis. It is ranked 22nd in terms of area, ...

Haryana
and western
Uttar Pradesh Uttar Pradesh (; 'Northern Province') is a state in northern India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populous ...

Uttar Pradesh
, and the Ochre Coloured Pottery culture its successor. David Gordon White cites three other mainstream scholars who "have emphatically demonstrated" that Historical Vedic religion, 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 culture. Harvard archaeologist Richard Meadow points to the late Harappan settlement of Pirak, which thrived continuously from 1800 BCE to the time of the invasion of
Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, Αλέξανδρος}, ; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king (''basileus'') of the Ancient Greece, ancient Greek kingdom of Macedonia (ancient kingdom) ...
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. At the same time, the Ochre Coloured Pottery culture expanded from
Rajasthan Rajasthan ( ; literally, "Land of Kings") is a States and union territories of India, state in northern India. The state covers an area of or 10.4 percent of the total geographical area of India. It is the List of states and union territories ...

Rajasthan
into the Gangetic Plain. The Cemetery H culture has the earliest evidence for cremation; a practice dominant in Hinduism today. The inhabitants of the Indus Valley civilisation migrated from the river valleys of Indus and Ghaggar-Hakra, towards the Himalayan foothills of Ganga-Yamuna basin.


Historical context


Near East

The mature (Harappan) phase of the IVC is contemporary to the Early Bronze Age, Early and Middle Bronze Age in the Ancient Near East, in particular the Old Elamite period, Early Dynastic Period of Sumer, Early Dynastic, the Akkadian Empire to Third Dynasty of Ur, Ur III
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in the ...

Mesopotamia
, Prepalatial Minoan Crete and Old Kingdom to First Intermediate Period of Egypt, First Intermediate Period Egypt. The IVC has been compared in particular with the civilisations of Elam (also in the context of the Elamo-Dravidian hypothesis) and with Minoan Crete (because of isolated cultural parallels such as the ubiquitous Goddess, goddess worship and depictions of bull-leaping). The IVC has been tentatively identified with the toponym Meluhha known from Sumerian records; the Sumerians called them Meluhhaites. Shahr-i-Sokhta, located in southeastern Iran, shows a trade route with
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in the ...

Mesopotamia
. A number of seals with Indus script have been also found in Mesopotamian sites.


Dasyu

After the discovery of the IVC in the 1920s, it was immediately associated with the indigenous Dasyu inimical to the Rigvedic tribes in numerous hymns of the Rigveda.
Mortimer Wheeler Sir Robert Eric Mortimer Wheeler (10 September 1890 – 22 July 1976) was a British archaeologist and officer in the British Army The British Army is the principal Army, land warfare force of the United Kingdom, a part of the British ...
interpreted the presence of many unburied corpses found in the top levels of Mohenjo-daro as the victims of a warlike conquest, and famously stated that "Indra stands accused" of the destruction of the IVC. The association of the IVC with the city-dwelling Dasyus remains alluring because the assumed timeframe of the first Indo-Aryan migration into India corresponds neatly with the period of decline of the IVC seen in the archaeological record. The discovery of the advanced, urban IVC, however, changed the 19th-century view of early Indo-Aryan migration as an "invasion" of an advanced culture at the expense of a "primitive" aboriginal population to a gradual acculturation of nomadic "barbarians" on an advanced urban civilisation, comparable to the Germanic migrations after the Fall of Rome, or the Kassites, Kassite invasion of Babylonia. This move away from simplistic "invasionist" scenarios parallels similar developments in thinking about language transfer and population movement in general, such as in the case of the migration of the proto-Greek speakers into Greece, or the Indo-Europeanisation of Western Europe.


Munda

Munda languages, Proto-Munda (or paraphyletic, Para-Munda) and a "lost phylum" (perhaps related or ancestral to the Nihali language) have been proposed as other candidates for the language of the IVC. Michael Witzel suggests an underlying, prefixing language that is similar to Austroasiatic, notably Khasi language, Khasi; he argues that the Rigveda shows signs of this hypothetical Harappan influence in the earliest historic level, and Dravidian only in later levels, suggesting that speakers of Austroasiatic were the original inhabitants of Punjab and that the Indo-Aryans encountered speakers of Dravidian only in later times.


See also

* Cradle of civilization, Cradle of civilisation * Early Indians * History of Hinduism * History of Afghanistan * History of India * History of Pakistan * List of Indus Valley Civilisation sites * List of inventions and discoveries of the Indus Valley Civilisation


Notes


References


Bibliography

* * * * * * Archaeological Survey of India * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (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

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


External links


Harappa and Indus Valley Civilization at harappa.com


* [https://web.archive.org/web/20110629091226/http://www.upenn.edu/researchatpenn/article.php?674&soc Cache of Seal Impressions Discovered in Western India] {{Authority control Indus Valley Civilisation, Ancient Hinduism Bronze Age Asia Prehistoric India Prehistoric Pakistan Prehistoric Afghanistan Civilizations 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