Indus Valley Civilization

Indus valley Civilization which flourished in north-western part of indian subcontinent, across the banks of river Indus and thus is known as the indus valley civilization.

Some of the key characteristics of Indus valley civilization are

  • It flourished in the time period – 2600 B.C. to 1900 B.C.
  • It was one of the three oldest civilizations of the world.The other two being Egyptian and Mesopotamian Civilizations. All three were interconnected with a trade route.
  • It started in the era 5500 B.C with Neolithic pottery, which have been found in Mehrgarh.
  • Horses were absent in India at that time. Bull was predominantly indian animal. These were exchanged in trade between sumerians and indians

Quoting from wikipedia

According to some archaeologists, over 500 Harappan sites have been discovered along the dried up river beds of the Ghaggar-Hakra River and its tributaries,[28] in contrast to only about 100 along the Indus and its tributaries;[29] consequently, in their opinion, the appellation Indus Ghaggar-Hakra civilisation or Indus-Saraswati civilisation is justified. However, these politically inspired arguments are disputed by other archaeologists who state that the Ghaggar-Hakra desert area has been left untouched by settlements and agriculture since the end of the Indus period and hence shows more sites than found in the alluvium of the Indus valley; second, that the number of Harappan sites along the Ghaggar-Hakra river beds have been exaggerated and that the Ghaggar-Hakra, when it existed, was a tributary of the Indus, so the new nomenclature is redundant.[30] “Harappan Civilization” remains the correct one, according to the common archaeological usage of naming a civilization after its first findspot.

Cities

A sophisticated and technologically advanced urban culture is evident in the Indus Valley Civilization making them the first urban centers in the region. The quality of municipal town planning suggests the knowledge of urban planning and efficient municipal governments which placed a high priority on hygiene, or, alternately, accessibility to the means of religious ritual.

This urban plan included the world’s first urban sanitation systems

Within the city, individual homes or groups of homes obtained water from wells. From a room that appears to have been set aside for bathing, waste water was directed to covered drains, which lined the major streets. Houses opened only to inner courtyards and smaller lanes.

The ancient Indus systems of sewerage and drainage that were developed and used in cities throughout the Indus region were far more advanced than any found in contemporary urban sites in the Middle East and even more efficient than those in many areas of Pakistan and India today. The advanced architecture of the Harappans is shown by their impressive dockyards, granaries, 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

There is no conclusive evidence of palaces or temples—or of kings, armies, or priests. Some structures are thought to have been granaries. Found at one city is an enormous well-built bath, which may have been a public bath. Although the citadels were walled, it is far from clear that these structures were defensive. They may have been built to divert flood waters.

Among the artifacts 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 writing system of the Indus Valley Civilization. Some of the seals were used to stamp clay on trade goods and most probably had other uses as well.

Science

They were among the first to develop a system of uniform weights and measures. Their measurements are said to be extremely precise. Their smallest division, which is marked on an ivory scale found in Lothal, was approximately 1.704 mm, the smallest division ever recorded on a scale of the Bronze Age.

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 perfect ratio of 4:2:1 with weights of 0.05, 0.1, 0.2, 0.5, 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 units, with each unit weighing approximately 28 grams, similar to the English Imperial ounce or Greek uncia, and smaller objects were weighed in similar ratios with the units of 0.871.

The weights and measures later used in Kautilya’s Arthashastra (4th century BCE) are the same as those used in Lothal.

Unique Harappan inventions include an instrument which was used to measure whole sections of the horizon and the tidal lock.

Some new techniques in metallurgy and produced copper, bronze, lead and tin. The engineering skill of the Harappans was remarkable, especially in building docks after a careful study of tides, waves and currents.

ater, in April 2006, it was announced in the scientific journal Nature that the oldest (and first early Neolithic) evidence for the drilling of human teeth in vivo (i.e., in a living person) was found in Mehrgarh. Eleven drilled molar crowns from nine adults were discovered in a Neolithic graveyard in Mehrgarh that dates, from 7,500-9,000 years ago. According to the authors, their discoveries point to a tradition of proto-dentistry in the early farming cultures of that region

Religion

Some Indus valley seals show swastikas which are found in later religions and mythologies, especially in Indian religions such as Hinduism and Jainism. The earliest evidence for elements of Hinduism are present before and during the early Harappan period

Many Indus valley seals show animals. One famous seal shows a figure seated in a posture reminiscent of the Lotus position and surrounded by animals was named after Pashupati (lord of cattle), an epithet of Shiva and Rudra.

In the earlier phases of their culture, the Harappans buried their dead; however, later, especially in the Cemetery H culture of the late Harrapan period, they also cremated their dead and buried the ashes in burial urns, a transition notably also alluded to in the Rigveda.

The Indus civilization’s economy appears to have depended significantly on trade, which was facilitated by major advances in transport technology. These advances included bullock carts that are identical to those seen throughout South Asia today, as well as boats.

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