History and Politics, Indus Valley Indus Valley Civilization. The earliest traces of civilization in the Indian subcontinent are to be found in places along, or close, to the Indus river. Excavations first conducted in 1921-22, in the ancient cities of Harappa and Mohenjodaro, both now in Pakistan, pointed to a highly complex civilization that first developed some 4,500-5,000 years ago, and subsequent archaeological and historical research has now furnished us with a more detailed picture of the Indus Valley Civilization and its inhabitants. The Indus Valley people were most likely Dravidians, who may have been pushed down into south India when the Aryans, with their more advanced military technology, commenced their migrations to India around 2,000 BCE. Some kind of centralized state, and certainly fairly extensive town planning, is suggested by the layout of the great cities of Harappa and Mohenjodaro. The Indus Valley civilization raises a great many, largely unresolved, questions. Back to Ancient India
Harappan Civilization Week 16: Indus Valley (Harappan) Civilization I. History of Rediscovery of the Indus Valley Civiliza- tion A. II. A. III. A. IV. A. 1. 9-m-wide N-S avenue 2. D. Questions for Film "Pakistan: Mound of the Dead" 1. Early Civilization in the Indus Valley Aryans probably used the Khyber Pass to cross the mountains during their Indian invasion. Located in present day Pakistan, the pass is about 16 yards wide at its narrowest point. The phrase "early civilizations" usually conjures up images of Egypt and Mesopotamia, and their pyramids, mummies, and golden tombs. But in the 1920s, a huge discovery in South Asia proved that Egypt and Mesopotamia were not the only "early civilizations." In the vast Indus River plains (located in what is today Pakistan and western India), under layers of land and mounds of dirt, archaeologists discovered the remains of a 4,600 year-old city. A thriving, urban civilization had existed at the same time as Egyptian and Mesopotamian states — in an area twice each of their sizes. The people of this Indus Valley civilization did not build massive monuments like their contemporaries, nor did they bury riches among their dead in golden tombs. Copyright J.M. The Twin Cities Photo courtesy of Carolyn Brown Heinz
ECONOMICS OF THE INDUS VALLEY CIVILIZATION How did this civilization make its living? Like the older civilizations proceeding Indus in Egypt and Mesopotamia, these ancient people farmed. The people of Indus prospered on the foundations of an agriculture based system of irrigation and fertility, maintained by silt-bearing floods (Hawkes 1973: 267). Wheat and six-row barley were grown, as were melon seeds, oil crops like sesame and mustard, and dates (petrified dates have been found in the excavation of the Valley). From every crop that a farmer grew, a large portion of it had to be paid into public granaries. It appears that the people of Indus did in fact hunt the abundant wildlife in their midst. Aside from the subsistence of agriculture and hunting, the Indus people supported themselves by trading goods. The Indus seaboard has been commended by anthropologists for its efforts of oversea commerce. Nearing the end of the Indus Valley Civilization, the cities began to wither and the strong economy slowly deteriorated. Khan, Omar
Study Sheds More Light on Collapse of Harappan Civilization | Archaeology Climate change, violence and disease played a key role in the collapse of the Harappan civilization more than 3,000 years ago, according to a new study. This is an artist’s reconstruction of the gateway and drain at the city of Harappa. Image credit: Chris Sloan. Harappan civilization, or the Indus Valley civilization, developed in the middle of the third millennium BC, at the same time as contemporaneous civilizations in Egypt and Mesopotamia. The city of Harappa and the city of Mohenjo-Daro – the greatest achievements of this culture – are well known for their impressive, organized layout. Recent excavations have demonstrated that the cities grew rapidly from 2200-1900 BC, when they were largely abandoned. “The collapse of the Indus Civilization and the reorganization of its human population has been controversial for a long time,” said Dr Robbins Schug of Appalachian State University, who is the lead author of the study appearing in the open-access journal PLoS ONE.
The Harappan Civilization by Tarini Carr | Archaeology Online Some several thousand years ago there once thrived a civilization in the Indus Valley. Located in what's now Pakistan and western India, it was the earliest known urban culture of the Indian subcontinent. (1) The Indus Valley Civilization, as it is called, covered an area the size of western Europe. It was the largest of the four ancient civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, India and China. However, of all these civilizations the least is known about the Indus Valley people. This is because the Indus script has not yet been deciphered. There are many remnants of the script on pottery vessels, seals, and amulets, but without a "Rosetta Stone" linguists and archaeologists have been unable to decipher it. They have then had to rely upon the surviving cultural materials to give them insight into the life of the Harappan's. (2) Harappan's are the name given to any of the ancient people belonging to the Indus Valley civilization. [Reading from right to left] The late George F. Bibliography 1.
Eastward migration of monsoons created, then killed the Harappan civilization in Indus valley. The slow eastward migration of monsoons across the Asian continent initially supported the formation of the Harappan civilization in the Indus valley by allowing production of large agricultural surpluses, then decimated the civilization as water supplies for farming dried up, researchers reported Monday. The results provide the first good explanation for why the Indus valley flourished for two millennia, sprouting large cities and an empire the size of contemporary Egypt and Mesopotamia combined, then dwindled away to small villages and isolated farms. The Harappan civilization, named after its largest city, Harappa along the upper Indus River, evolved beginning about 5,200 years ago and reached its height between 4,500 and 3,900 years ago, stretching across what is now Pakistan, northwest India and Eastern Afghanistan. The team also believes that they have solved another mystery, the fate of the mythical river the Sarasvati.
200-Year Drought Doomed Indus Valley Civilization The decline of Bronze-Age civilizations in Egypt, Greece and Mesopotamia has been attributed to a long-term drought that began around 2000 BC. Now paleoclimatologists propose that a similar fate was followed by the enigmatic Indus Valley Civilization, at about the same time. Based on isotope data from the sediment of an ancient lake, the researchers suggest that the monsoon cycle, which is vital to the livelihood of all of South Asia, essentially stopped there for as long as two centuries. The Indus Valley, in present Pakistan and northwest India, was home to a civilization also known as the Harappan Civilization. It was characterized by large, well-planned cities with advanced municipal sanitation systems and a script that has never been deciphered. The link between this gradual decline and climate has been tenuous because of a dearth of climate records from the region. The team assigned ages to sediment layers using radiocarbon dating of organic matter.
Huge Ancient Civilization's Collapse Explained - The Harappans enjoyed plumbing, complex trade routes and a system of writing. - The civilization built up in a "goldilocks" period when the rivers flooded often enough to support agriculture. - As the climate changed, so did the monsoon season, lowering the floods and support for their cities. The mysterious fall of the largest of the world's earliest urban civilizations nearly 4,000 years ago in what is now India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh now appears to have a key culprit — ancient climate change, researchers say. Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia may be the best known of the first great urban cultures, but the largest was the Indus or Harappan civilization. PHOTOS: Calendar Puzzles Deciphered in Ancient Statue "Antiquity knew about Egypt and Mesopotamia, but the Indus civilization, which was bigger than these two, was completely forgotten until the 1920s," said researcher Liviu Giosan, a geologist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts.
Indus Valley | The Story of India - Photo Gallery Archaeological excavations in the 1920s unearthed the ruins of two vast cities, Harappa and Mohenjo-daro, that attested to the ancient roots of Indian civilization. Both sites, now part of Pakistan, are among the chief urban settlements of the Indus Valley Civilization that developed along the floodplains of the Indus River and its tributaries and flourished between 3000 and 1900 BCE The river valley’s fertility, augmented by the monsoon rains, made farming and herding a mainstay of the civilization’s economy, which was also supplemented by internal and external trade. Among the key characteristics of the Indus civilization sites, which have now been found over a vast swath of Pakistan and northwestern India, is their uniformity. Although the reasons for the Indus civilization’s decline are not absolutely known, mounting geological evidence suggests that climate change may have been a factor.
Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro In 1856, a group of British railroad engineers uncovered an ancient and advanced civilization. The engineers were laying tracks through the Indus River Valley in present day Pakistan. They searched the area for stone to make ballast. Ballast is crushed rock placed around railroad tracks to drain water from the path of the train. The engineers found bricks that seemed very old, but were formed exactly alike. Archaeologists later discovered more than 1000 settlements along the banks of the Indus River. Harappa and Mohenjo Daro were expertly planned cities that flourished more than 4500 years ago. The ancient people of the Indus River Valley had a highly advanced knowledge of mathematics and a sophisticated system of weights and measures. Archaeologists have also found evidence of musical instruments, toys and games, and pottery. The Indus River Valley cities traded with places as far away as Mesopotamia. What we know about the Indus civilization is still evolving.