Hi readers, today our time machine takes us 5000 years back, to the Bronze Age, that is, “The Indus Valley Civilization” (IVC). We may all called it as the successor of “PreHistoric India”, that we will revise at the end of Indus Valley Civilization.
As per carbon 14 dating, now we are at a phase between 2500 BC – 1700BC.
So, let’s start exploring IVC, also known as, Harappan Civilization. 🙂
Hey, but why this is called as Harappan Civilization? It’s because Harappa was the first site that was discovered, of this period.
- Sir John Hubert Marshall discovered the civilization at Harappa in 1921. He was the Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) from 1902 to 1928.
- While, Daya Ram Sahni supervised the excavation of the Indus Valley site at Harappa in 1921-22. He was the protege of John Marshall. He was the first Indian to be appointed as the Director General of ASI in 1931-1935.
Before heading further, keep in mind today’s sites covered under IVC:
- India – Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Maharashtra
- Pakistan – Sindh and Baluchistan
Now, we are going in the depth of the today’s topic. On the basis of development and decline, IVC was divided into four parts:
- Pre Harrapan – Change of nomadic culture and people as they started living settled life.
- Early Harrapan – Creation of villages and initiation of cities.
- Mature Harrapan – Peak time as most cities were developed in this phase.
- Late Happrapan – Decline Phase
IVC – An Urban Civilization
IVC has striking features on the scientific lines and people had finest facilities. Take a look on its features:
- Systematic town planning – The unique feature of this civilization was rectangular town planning. Roads cut each other at 90° like grid system. Lothal, which is presently located Gujarat had houses with doors on the main street.
- Underground drainage system – Each house had horizontal and vertical drains. House drains extract themselves into the main drains which kept running under the main streets. The drains were covered by stone slabs.
- Division of City – The city was divided into two parts – the upper part, i.e. Fortified Citadel (for Administration & Religious purpose) and lower town (for a living). A Citadel was covered with boundary.
- Use of burnt bricks in construction – Most of the houses were made of burnt bricks specially where contamination with water was possible. There were 3 types of bricks Decorated, Strong and of Low Quality.
4 Directions of IVC
Let’s take a peek look at important Indus Cities and their Findings
Readers, take into account that, Harappa, Mohenjodaro, Chanhudaro and Sutkagandor are presently located in Pakistan while Lothal, Kalibanga, Banawali and Dholavira are located in India.
- In the local language, Mohenjodaro, means “mound of the dead”.
Important seals of IVC Period
Many seals were discovered from IVC sites and most of them were manufactured with the use of steatite and some of them were made of copper, clay, ivory and terracotta. The size of the standard Harappan seal was 2*2 sq. inches. Every seal was engraved in a pictographic script.
Let’s take a look on important seals:
- Pashupati Mahadeva or Proto shiva seal – The picturization of seal represented lord of animals means Proto-Shiva in yogic posture and was surrounded by fouranimals – Rhino, Buffalo, Elephant and Tiger. Two deer appeared at his feet.
- The Unicorn Seal – Unicorn, being a mythological animal, the seal demonstrates that, in early phase of development, imaginative creations had delievered by people in the form of bird and animal motifs, that survived in later workmanship.
- The Bull Seal – The seal depicting humped bull or zebu bull symbolizes thepioneer of the herd, whose vigour ensures the protection and procreation of the species. The figure shows the artistic skill and a good knowledge of animal anatomy.
The above three seals were discovered from Mohenjo Daro, located in Sindh, Pakistan
Chief Occupations of IV People – Agriculture, Art & Craft and Trade
The Indus Valley people were great in art, agriculture and trade and commerce. On the premises of these three occupations, they had survived in prosperous economic conditions.
So, here is the run through of Agriculture, Art & Craft and Trade of IVC.
The heavy rain and fertile soil of IV region results in rich cultivation. That’s why, areas around Mohenjodaro are known as “Garden of Sindh”. Main crops produced by Indus people are:
- Wheat, Barley, Dates, Mustard, Sesamum and Cotton. The traces of cultivation of rice are found only in Lothal & Rangpur (Gujarat).
Important – Cotton was first produced by the Indus people at Mehrgarh, Balochistan. Greeks named it as “Sindon”.
Art & Craft
As IVC was the phase of the Bronze age, therefore bronze was the prominent metal in making of tools. It was made by mixing tin and copper. Main goods prepared by artisans are:
- Dresses of cotton and wool, ornaments (gold, silver, ivory, copper and bronze), bead making, pottery, seal graving of animals, cattle toys for children, weapons and utensils.
Important – Iron was not known to the Indus people.
The Indus Valley Civilization was a phase of Barter system. There were no signs of metallic money. The unit of measurement was 16 i.e. 16, 64,160, 320. Weights were generally cubical and spherical in shape and were made of chert, jasper and agate. The smaller weights followed the binary system while larger weights followed decimal system. The smallest weight was 0.856 grams and the most common weight is approximately 13.7 grams.
The trade of IVC was extended from internal India to Mesopotamia and Persia. Main import-export was:
As per Mesopotamian literature, Indus region is mentioned as “Meluha” which refers to India. The name was given due to the prominent trading.
Other Important Facts of Indus Valley Civilization
Decline of IVC
Climate change was considered as the main reason behind the decline of IVC resulting in drought and flood. Apart from this, there are many theories given by different archaeologists for the cause of its decline., some of which are as follows:
- Aryan Invasion by Mortimer Wheeler
- Natural Disaster by George F. Dales
- Climate Change by Gurdip Singh
- Decline in Trade by Shereen Ratnagar
IVC – The successor of Pre-Historic India
Readers, now we had revised Indus Valley Civilization, but keep in mind that this phase was the successor of Pre-Historic India. Let’s also take a route to pre-historic India, which was divided into 4 parts:
Paleolithic age (Old stone age) – Before 10000 BC
- Important Sites – Shivalik Hills (North India), Adamgarh hills (Narmada Valley)
From Bhimbetka (Madhya Pradesh), 500 cave paintings were discovered.
- Lifestyle – Paleolithic people were hunters and gatherers, they lived in caves and rock shelters, some evidences of leaf hut were also found.
- Others – No knowledge of fire, No pottery and No use of metals, only stone tools used which were made of Quartzite (solid stone) that’s why they are called as Quartzite men.
Mesolithic age (Middle stone age) – 10000 BC – 6000 BC
- Important Sites – Langhanj (Gujarat), Bagor (Bhilawara, Rajasthan), Chhota Nagpur (Jharkhand), Tinnevalley (Madras) and Daimabad (Hoshangabad)
- Lifestyle – Hunting and Gathering, Bow and Arrow, Fishing, Domestication of animals, horticulture and primitive cultivation was also initiated. This age was also called as Microlithic (micro means “small”& lithic means “stone”) age because they used small stone tools, which were usually about 7-8 cm.
- Others – At the time of burial of humans, their domestic dogs were also buried with them. This practice was prevalent in Burzahom (Kashmir). Fire was first used by Mesolithic people.
Neolithic age (New Stone age) – 4000 BC – 2000 BC
- Important Sites – Mehrgarh (Baluchistan) – First site in South Asia, showed earliest evidence of agriculture, Koldihwa (Allahabad) – Site where rice was first produced and Chopani Mando (UP) – First site of pottery formation in the world.
- Lifestyle – Initiation of agriculture (wheat, barley, dates, jujubes), domestication of animals, tools of copper ore, polished stone tools, initiation of pottery formation, mud brick houses, villages and community.
Metal age – After 2000 BC
It was divided into 2 parts – Chalcolithic age (Chalco means “copper”) and Iron age.
- Important Sites of Chalcolithic age – Jorve, Malwa, IVC, Ahar
- Lifestyle of Chalcolithic age – Initiation of Seasonal crops (Rabi and Kharif), Copper and bronze were used, Religious belief developed, fortified settlements, i.e. formations for the security of houses like boundaries, use of Painted pottery.
Iron age belongs from Vedic civilization, which we will discuss in Vedic Civilization.
Hope you have learned today.
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