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Indus Valley Civilization {Harappan Civilization} (Brief Note)

Tushar K.
28/08/2019 0 0
  1. The Mesolithic era initiated rock art in prehistory. In 1867 the first rock paintings in India were discovered at Sohagighat, Kaimur Hills, UP. Animals dominate the scenes. However, no snakes are depicted in the mesolithic paintings.


  1. Largest mesolithic site in India - Bagor, Rajasthan Adamgarh, M.P and Bagor provide the earliest evidence for the domestication of animals.


  1. Robert Bruce Foote discovered the first Paleolithic tool "pallavaram handaxe".
  2. The characteristic tool of mesolithic age is Microliths.
  3. The Neolithic era communities first made the pottery by hand and then with the help of potter's wheel.
  4. Northwestern Neolithic tool - Rectangular axe with a curved cutting edge. Eastern Neolithic tool- Polished stone axes with a rectangular butt. Southern - Axes with oval sides and pointed butt.
  5. Chalcolithic - Metal + stone tools
  6. The first metal used is copper 
  7. occasionally used bronze
  8. chalcolithic cultures are contemporary of Harappan culture and some of the pre-Harappan culture.
  9. Chalcolithic people were not acquainted with Horses.
  10. They did not know the use of writing.
  11. They produced wheat and rice.
  12. Used black and red pottery
  13. Not acquainted with burnt brick
  14. This era marked the beginning of social inequalities.



HARAPPAN CIVILIZATION - Forms a part of the protohistory of India (BRONZE AGE)


  • First urban civilization in South Asia
  • Contemporaneous with Mesopotamia and Egypt
  • Harappa is the first archaeological site to be discovered.
  • Three Phases - The Early Phase, mature Harappan phase and late Harappan Phase


The Early Phase - Regionalisarion era: High-level expertise in specialized crafts, e.g. stone working, bead making, metal crafting

Mature Phase - Integration Era: Urban phase with full-fledged civilization, Red and black pottery, terracotta figurines.

Late Phase - Localization Era: West Punjab, east Punjab, Jhukar, Rangpur and the Ganga-Yamuna Doab Phase, diverse agricultural base.




  • Cultural homogeneity and diversity
  • It owes its origin to Mesopotamian Civilisation
  • It covers modern-day - Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat, and Pakistan


West - Suktagendoe in Baluchistan North- Manda in Jammu East- Alamgirpur in UP South - Malvan in South Gujarat




Two Parts 

  1. CItadel/ Raised Part: Smaller area, West of the city, Rulers lived here, contained Public buildings, granaries and workshops
  2. Lower part - Common Citizens


City planning followed a grid pattern and streets ran from the north and cut at right angles.

  • Street was wide dividing the town into rectangular and square blocks
  • There were lamp-posts at intervals.
  • Used burnt bricks of ratio 1:2:4
  • Excellent drainage system- mortar, lime and gypsum covered with brick slabs
  • Houses of two or more storeys, no windows faced the streets, tiled bathrooms, wells




An urban society with the mostly middle class - Ruled, Rich merchants and Poor labourers

  • Experts in the use of potter's wheel (red-black pottery with perforated pots) but were poor in artistic works of stone
  • A lot of terracotta including figurines of animals bulls, buffaloes, dogs, monkeys, toy carts and humans. Terracotta bangles have also been found.
  • More female figurines have been uncovered in comparison to male figurines.
  • Refined the art of bead making and Jewelry (gold and silver necklaces, bracelets, pendants, earrings, brooches
  • Metals used copper, bronze, silver and gold. They were good in metallurgy and producing alloys.
  • Wore garments of cotton and wool.
  • Relished non-vegetarian food. Fish was the most common. Milk and curd were also consumed.
  • Societies of Sindh and Punjab widely consumed Wheat and Barley while those of Rangpur and Surktoda consumed rice and millet.
  • The Harappan script was pictographic and logosyllabic. The writing was boustrophedon. The script has not been deciphered so far.




  • trade relations with Mesopotamia and Persia
  • the Mesopotamians called the Indus region "Meluhha."
  • Three intermediate trading stations - Dilmun, Makan and Meluhha
  • The standard Harappan seal was square/ oblong plaque made of steatite stone. Also served as amulets.
  • They carried out internal and external trade — no metallic money in circulation. Barter system was followed.
  • Inland transport employed bullock carts.
  • Harappan seals have been found in Mesopotamian cities like Susa and Ur.
  • In Nippur, a seal and a unicorn have been found.
  • In Mohenjodaro three-cylinder seals of Mesopotamia type have been found.
  • In Lothal a button seal was found
  • Bead making factories at Chanhudaro and Lothal
  • Dockyard in Lothal
  • Remarkable aspect in the context of Weights and measures.
  • Weights were made up of Chert, limestone and steatite, generally cubical.
  • Shell scale found in Mohenjo-Daro, Saurashtra an ivory scale found in Lothal.




  • Secular society but not a single temple has been found
  • Sacred ritual spots included the Great Bath at Mohenjodaro, ceremonial bathing, Idolatry was Practiced
  • Worshipped Mother Goddess, Pashupati Mahadeva, Lingam and Yoni Worship, Pipal Tree, humped Bull, Birds, One-Horned Unicorn
  • Fire Altars have been found in Kalibangan and lethal
  • the seal of Pashupati is surrounded by elephant, tiger, Rhino, buffalo and a deer.
  • Dead Bodies were placed in a north-south direction and were generally accompanied by food, pottery, ornaments and tools.
  • They Used three methods of burial - Complete burial, fractional burial and Cremation followed by burial of the ashes.
  • Coffins containing bodies have been found.
  • Pointing animal sacrifice in all likelihood
  • At Lothal, a pair of male and female skeletons have been discovered together.




  • Produce cotton known as Sindon
  • Produced sufficient food grains and surplus grains were stored in granaries.
  • Grew Wheat, Barley, horse gram, peas, melon, watermelon, sesame, dates, millets, grapes, henna, garlic, mustard, rice
  • Exploited riverine and marine resources
  • Domesticated animals (oxen, buffaloes, goats, humped bulls, sheep, pigs, asses, camels
  • Cats and dogs were also domesticated
  • The harappan culture was NOT HORSE centred but acquainted with elephant and Rhino
  • Tigers represented in figurines. Rabbits, peacocks, ducks, pigeons, wildfowl and monkeys on pottery paintings
  • Ploughed fields and wooden ploughs have been discovered in kalibangan.
  • Remains of horses at surktoda and Dogs with men in graves at Ropar have been discovered.




  • Aryan Invasion
  • Ecological disturbance
  • change of river course
  • low rainfall
  • flood
  • earthquake
  • drying of ghaghar and increasing aridity.




  • Harappa - Cemetery H culture
  • Mohenjo Daro - Bronze dancing girl, Evidence of Ship, superficial evidence of horse
  • Lothal - houses with an entrance on the main street, remains of rice husks
  • Kalibangan - bones of camel, decorative bricks used in flooring only at this site
  • Chanhu-daro - only Harappan city without a citadel, evidence of human sacrifice
  • Ropar- evidence of burying dog below human
  • Surktoda- bones of a horse
  • Dholavira - unique water harvesting system
  • Rakhigarhi - largest IVC site, the incised female figure has been found in Bhirrana





  • IIT- Kharagpur + ASI = 5500 years old
  • Proliferated to the sites like Bhirrana and Rakhigarhi
  • Civilization ended 3000 years ago due to climate change
  • Sindh and Rajasthan were not deserted at the time of IVC
  • They knew the use of wheel
  • No religious structures
  • No weapons
  • Shortughai is a Harappan trading post in Afghanistan.


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