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Introduction – Indus Valley Civilization
The civilization that appeared in the northwestern part of India and Pakistan in third millennium BCE is collectively called the Indus Civilization.
- Since Harappa was the first site to be identified in this civilization, it is also known as Harappan Civilization.
- The beginning of the Neolithic Village in the are took place.
- The beginnings of the Neolithic villages in this region go back to about 7000 BCE at the Neolithic site of Mehrgarh (3300-1900).
The Indus Civilization represents the first phase of urbanisation in India.
- The Keezhadi civilization situated on banks of River Vaigai in Sivagangai was older than Indus Valley Civilization.
The word ‘Civilization’ comes from the ancient Latin word civis, which means ‘city’.
Radiocarbon Dating Method also known as C14 method, the radiocarbon method uses the radioactive isotope of carbon called carbon14 to determine the age of an object.
- Radiocarbon Dating Method – A Standard Tool for Archaeologists.
History of Harappa
The word Harappa in Sindhi means ‘buried city‘.
Harappa is an archaeological monument excavated (1920) between the river Ravi and Sutlej in theMontgomery district of Old Punjab (Pakistan)
The ruins of Harappa were first described by the British East India Company soldier and explorer Charles Masson in his book.
- The Indus valley site of Harappa was first visited by Charles Mason in 1826.
- When he visited the northwestern part of India which is currently in Pakistan he saw that there were some brick mounds.
- He wrote that he saw a “ruined brick castle with very high walls and towers built on a hill”.
- This was the earliest historical record of the existence of Harappa.
Amri the Harappa-related archaeological site was first visited by Alexander Burnes in 1831. In 1856 when engineers laid a railway line connecting Lahore to Karachi, they discovered more burnt bricks.
The site of Harappa was destroyed for laying the railway line from Lahore to Multan.
The seal from this site reached Alexander Cunningham, the first surveyor of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
Alexander Cunningham visited the site in 1853, 1856 and 1875.
But the importance of the site and the associated civilization were not realised until Sir John Marshal took over as the Director General of ASI and initiated research at the site.
In the 1920s archaeologists began to excavate the cities of Harappa and Mohenjo Daro.
1922 – A 70 foot high mound is excavated in the larkana district of Sindhi Province (Pakistan)
- This symbol is called Mohenjadaro
In 1924 the Director General of ASI, Sir John
Marshall, found many common features between Harappa and Mohenjo Daro.
The Director General of Archaelogical Survey of India at the time of Indus Valley excavation was Sir John Marshall.
- He concluded that they were part of a large civilization.
Some slight differences are found in the earthenwares of Harappa and Mohenjo Daro.
- This made the researchers conclude that Harappa was older than Mohenjo-Daro.
Later in the 1940s, Sir Mortimer Wheeler excavated the Harappan sites.
- He is the author of the book Indus Civilization
- He conclude that Harappa Civilization is a ‘City Civilization‘
After the partition of the Indian subcontinent, many of the Harappan sites went to Pakistan.
Time Span of Indus Valley Civilization
- Geographical range: South Asia
- Period: Bronze Age
- Time: 3300 to 1900 BCE -(determined using the radiocarbon dating method)
- Area: 13 lakh sq.km
- Cities: 6 big cities
- Villages: More than 200
Planned Towns – Indus Valley Civilization Notes
- Important Towns –
- Harappa (Punjab, Pakistan)
- Mohenjo Daro (Sindh, Pakistan),
- Dholavira (Gujarat, India),
- Kalibangan (Rajasthan, India),
- Lothal (Gujarat, India),
- Banawali (Rajasthan, India),
- Rakhigarhi (Haryana, India),
- Surkotada (Gujarat, India),
The site of Mohenjo Daro had a planned town, built on a platform
- It has two distinct areas. One is identified as a citadel and another as the lower town
Some houses had stairs indicating the existence of an upper floor.
- Houses had many rooms.
The citadel area had important residential structures
In Mohenjo Daro, a building has been identified as a warehouse
Fortification, well planned streets and lanes and drainages are noticed in the Harappan towns.
- These are well planned under the guidance of Civil officers.
The Harappans used baked and unbaked bricks,and stones for construction
The houses were built of mud bricks.
- Houses had more than one floor.
The streets are observed to have a grid pattern.
- They were straight.
- Running from north to south and east to west.
- They were intersected each other at right angles.
- The main streets were 33 feet wide and the smaller street were 12 feet wide.
- Major roads were laid out as the three carriages went in the same row.
The roads were wide with rounded corners.
Houses were built on both sides of the street.
- The houses were either one or two storeyed.
Most of the houses had many rooms, a courtyard and a well.
- Each house had toilets and bathrooms.
The houses were built using baked bricks and mortar.
- Sun-dried bricks were also used.
- Most of the bricks were of uniform size.
- Roofs were flat.
There is no conclusive evidence of the presense of palaces or places of Worship.