Published on January 23, 2008
Harappans: Harappans Indus Valley Harappa Mohenjo-Daro Indus Valley: Indus Valley The Harappan culture existed along the Indus River in what is present day Pakistan. It was named after the city of Harappa. Harappa and the city of Mohenjo-Daro were important centers of the Indus valley civilization. This Indus Valley “civilization” flourished around 4000-1000 B.C. Old World Civilizations: Old World Civilizations Comparative Timeline: Comparative Timeline Chronology: Chronology Early Harappan-Ravi Phase3300-2800 BC: Early Harappan-Ravi Phase 3300-2800 BC This distinctive, regional culture which emerged is called Early or Pre-Harappan. Trade networks linked this culture with related regional cultures and distant sources of raw materials, including lapis lazuli and other materials for bead-making. Domesticated crops included peas, sesame seeds, dates and cotton. Domestic animals also used, such as the water buffalo. Mud brick for building. Earliest Phase-Ravi (3300-2800 B.C.): Earliest Phase-Ravi (3300-2800 B.C.) Middle Harappan-Integration Era2600-1900 BC: Middle Harappan-Integration Era 2600-1900 BC By 2500 BCE, communities had been turned into urban centers (integration). Six such urban centers have been discovered, including: Harappa, Mohenjo Daro and Dicki in Pakistan, along with Gonorreala, Dokalingam and Mangalore in India. In total, over 1052 cities and settlements have been found, mainly in the general region of the Ghaggar-Florence River and its tributaries. Irrigation used to increase crop production and mud brick structures. Indus Valley-Integration Era: Indus Valley-Integration Era Late Harappan-Cemetery H 1700-1300 BC: Late Harappan-Cemetery H 1700-1300 BC Cremation of human remains. The bones were stored in painted pottery burial urns. This is completely different to the Indus civilization where bodies were buried in wooden coffins. Reddish pottery, painted in black with antelopes, peacocks etc., sun or star motifs, with different surface treatments to the earlier period. Expansion of settlements into the east. Rice became a main crop. Apparent breakdown of the widespread trade of the Indus civilization, with materials such as marine shells no longer used. Continued use of mud brick for building. Indus Valley-Cemetery H (1700-1300 BC): Indus Valley-Cemetery H (1700-1300 BC) Natural Resources: Natural Resources The Indus Valley contained numerous natural resources that were an important part of Harappan civilization. Resources included: Fresh water and timber. Materials such as gold, silver, semi-precious stones. Marine resources. Himalayan Mountains: Himalayan Mountains Nanga Parbat and numerous other mountains of the Himalaya, Karakorum and Hindu Kush provide a continuous source of water for the Indus and its tributaries. These mountain ranges also provided important timber, animal products, and minerals, gold, silver, tin and semiprecious stones that were traded throughout the Indus Valley. Valleys: Valleys Cedar in Chitral valley is still used to make houses and coffins, following a tradition that dates back to the first Indus cities. Beyond the mountains in the background is the region of Badakhshan, Afghanistan, a source of the deep blue lapis lazuli. This was mined during the Indus period and traded throughout the Indus Valley and to far off Mesopotamia and Egypt. Coast: Coast The coast of Sindh and Makran have bays and ancient Harappan sites have been located along the coast to the border of modern Iran. These coastal settlements were involved in fishing and trading, using the monsoon winds to travel back and forth to Oman and the Persian Gulf region. Major Cities: Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa: Major Cities: Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa The cities are well known for their impressive, organized and regular layout. They have well laid our plumbing and drainage system, including indoor toilets. Over one thousand other towns and villages also existed in this region. Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa: Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa Cities: Cities The similarities in plan and construction between Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa indicate that they were part of a unified government with extreme organization. Both cities were constructed of the same type and shape of bricks. The two cities may have existed simultaneously and their sizes suggest that they served as capitals of their provinces. In contrast to other civilizations, burials found from these cities are not elaborate; they are more simplistic and contain few material goods. Remains of palaces or temples in the cities have not been found. No hard evidence exists indicating military activity, though the cities did contain fortifications and artifacts such as copper and bronze knives, spears, and arrowheads were recovered. Mohenjo-Daro: Mohenjo-Daro This shows the high western mound made up of a massive mud brick platform and brick houses of the Harappan period ( 2600 to 1900 B. C.). On top of the Harappan structures is a Buddhist period stupa made of mud brick that dates to the first century A.D. The Great Bath: The Great Bath The "great bath" is the earliest public water tank. The tank measures approximately 12 meters north-south and 7 meters wide, with a maximum depth of 2.4 meters. Two staircases lead down into the tank from the north and south and small sockets at the edges of the stairs are thought to have held wooden planks or treads. At the foot of the stairs is a small ledge with a brick edging that extends the entire width of the pool. Great Bath: Great Bath Streets: Streets At Mohenjo-Daro narrow streets and alleyways are off of the major streets, leading into more private neighborhoods. Many of the brick houses were two stories high, with thick walls and high ceilings to keep the rooms cool in the hot summer months. Wells: Wells Private wells were rebuilt over many generations for large households and neighborhoods. This well in DK G area at Mohenjo-daro stands like a chimney because all of the surrounding earth has been removed by excavation. Harappa: Harappa The high mound at Harappa (Mound AB) is surrounded by a massive mud brick city wall with large square ramparts. One of these eroding ramparts is visible through the underbrush that now covers the site. The flags mark the tomb of a Muslim saint. Harappa Site: Harappa Site Granary: Granary The "granary" of Harappa is found on Mound F. It is a brick structure that was built on a massive brick foundation over 45 meters north-south and 45 meters east-west. Two rows of six rooms that appear to be foundations are arranged along a central passageway that is about 7 meters wide and partly paved with baked bricks. Each room measures 15.2 by 6.1 meters and has three sleeper walls with air space between them. Well: Well A large public well and public bathing platforms were found in the southern part of Mound AB at Harappa. These public bathing areas may also have been used for washing clothes as is common in many traditional cities in Pakistan and India today. Harappa: Mound E and ET: Harappa: Mound E and ET Inside the city is an area that has been identified as a crafts quarter. Large quantities of manufacturing debris have been found in this area indicating the presence of workshops for making stone beads, shell ornaments, glazed faience ornaments, stone tools and possibly even gold working. Mound E Gateway Artists Conceptionby Chris Sloan, courtesy of JM Kenoyer : Mound E Gateway Artists Conception by Chris Sloan, courtesy of JM Kenoyer Language: Language The Indus (or Harappan) people used a pictographic script. Some 3500 specimens of this script survive in stamp seals carved in stone, in molded terracotta and faience amulets, in fragments of pottery, and in a few other categories of inscribed objects. In addition to the pictographic signs, the seals and amulets often contain iconographic motifs, mostly realistic pictures of animals apparently worshipped as sacred, and a few cultic scenes, including anthropomorphic deities and worshippers. This material is important to the investigation of the Harappan language and religion, which continue to be major issues. The origins of Indus writing: The origins of Indus writing The origins of Indus writing can now be traced to the Ravi Phase (c. 3300-2800 BC) at Harappa. Some inscriptions were made on the bottom of the pottery before firing. This inscription (c. 3300 BC) appears to be three plant symbols. Ancient Indus: Ancient Indus Slide33: Gharial eating fish on molded terra-cotta tablet from Mohenjo Daro. Seals: Seals Silver Seal Clay Seals Economy-Trade: Economy-Trade The Harappan civilization was mainly urban and mercantile. Inhabitants of the Indus valley traded with Mesopotamia, southern India, Afghanistan, and Persia for gold, silver, copper, and turquoise. Trade: Trade Gold Disc The central ornament worn on the forehead of the famous "priest-king" sculpture from Mohenjo-daro appears to represent an eye bead, possibly made of gold with steatite inlay in the center. Trade: Trade Economy-Agriculture: Economy-Agriculture The Mesopotamian model of irrigated agriculture was used to take advantage of the fertile grounds along the Indus River. Earthen walls were built to control the river's annual flooding. Crops grown included wheat, barley, peas, melons, and sesame. This civilization was the first to cultivate cotton for the production of cloth. Several animals were domesticated including the elephant which was used for its ivory. Terraced Fields: Terraced Fields Elephants: Elephants Economy: Economy Cubical weights in graduated sizes. These weights conform to the standard Harappan binary weight system that was used in all of the settlements. The smallest weight in this series is 0.856 grams and the most common weight is approximately 13.7 grams, which is in the 16th ratio. These weights were found in recent excavations at Harappa and may have been used for controlling trade and possibly for collecting taxes. Harappan Astronomy: Harappan Astronomy Although the translation of the Harappan script is still not complete, there are numerous indications that Harappans were well versed in astronomy. The straight streets of the Indus cities are oriented towards the cardinal directions. Astronomical evidence dates the compilation of the Vedic calendar at around the 23rd century B.C., when the Indus civilization flourished. Like other urban civilizations, it undoubtedly needed a calendar that adjusted to the lunar and solar transitions. Harappan Astronomy con’d: Harappan Astronomy con’d The Pleiades hold a prominent place as the mothers or wet nurses of the newborn infant in one of the most ancient and central Hindu myths, that of the birth of the war-god Rudra/Skanda. The Pleiades are said to have been the wives of the seven sages, who are identified with the seven stars of the Great Bear. The Great Bear's name ('seven-star‘) corresponds to the combination of the pictograms '7' + 'fish', which alone constitutes the entire text of one finely carved Indus seal. Another myth states that the six Pleiades were separated from their husbands on account of their infidelity; other texts specify that only one of the seven wives, Arundhati, remained faithful and was allowed to stay with her husband: she is the small star Alcor in the Great Bear and pointed to as a symbol of marital virtue of the bride in Vedic marriage ceremonies. Astronomy: Astronomy Evidence for the Harappan origin of this myth is provided by Indus seals which show a row of six human figures. Their female character is suggested by the one long plait of hair, which has remained characteristic of traditional Indian women. “Unicorn”: “Unicorn” This unicorn seal was also discovered during the late 1927-31 excavations at Mohenjo-Daro. One theory holds that the bull actually has two horns, but that these have been stylized to one because of the complexity of depicting three dimensions. However the manufacturing and design process behind seals was so sophisticated that the depiction of three dimensions might not necessarily have been a problem. Artifacts: Artifacts These egg shaped whistles may have been used for music, a tradition that is still present in rural areas of Pakistan and India. Clay Sculpture: Clay Sculpture Figurines: Figurines Ceramics: Ceramics Copper: Copper Copper plate with vertical sides. Ornaments: Ornaments This collection of gold and agate ornaments (see next slide) includes objects found at both Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa. At the top are fillets of hammered gold that would have been worn around the forehead. The other ornaments include bangles, chokers, long pendant necklaces, rings, earrings, conical hair ornaments, and broaches. These ornaments were never buried with the dead, but were passed on from one generation to the next. These ornaments were hidden under the floors in the homes of wealthy merchants or goldsmiths. Ornaments: Ornaments Necklace: Necklace Necklace from Mohenjo-Daro made from gold, agate, jasper, steatite and green stone. The gold beads are hollow and the pendant agate and jasper beads are attached with thick gold wire. Steatite beads with gold caps serve to separate each of the pendant beads. Burial: Burial The body was placed inside a wooden coffin (which later decayed) and entombed in a rectangular pit surrounded with burial offerings in pottery vessels. The man was buried wearing a necklace of 340 graduated steatite beads and three separate pendant beads made of natural stone and three gold beads. A single copper bead was found at his waist. Burial: Burial Burial of woman and infant, Harappa. This burial was disturbed in antiquity, possibly by ancient Harappan grave robbers. Besides the fact that the body is flipped and the pottery disturbed, the left arm of the woman is broken and shell bangles that would normally be found on the left arm are missing. The infant was buried in a small pit beneath the legs of the mother. Collapse of Harappan “Civilization”: Collapse of Harappan “Civilization” The de-urbanization period of the Harappan Civilization saw the collapse and disappearance of the urban phenomena in the South Asia. The theme for this period is localization. Architectural and ceramic forms changed along with the loss of writing, planned settlements, public sanitation, monumental architecture, seaborne and exotic trade, seals, and weights. (McIntosh, 2002) Four Theories of Collapse: Four Theories of Collapse Archaeologists have offered four explanations for the collapse of the Harappan “Civilization”. Three are based on ecological factors: intense flooding, decrease in precipitation, and the dessication of the Sarasvati River. The fourth hypothesis is that of the Aryan Invasion, proposed by Sir R. E. Mortimer Wheeler and Stuart Piggott. Image in text of “massacre” thought to support this hypothesis. Later interpreted as “peaceful” mass burial. Fourth largely abandoned in the 1940s in favor of a combination of factors from ecological disasters. Civilization?: Civilization? Criticism of calling it a civilization because even though the culture is fairly homogenous, there is a lack of elite (such as high status burials). Thus, some researchers argue that it was actually more of a chiefdom, rather than a state-level society. References Cited: References Cited http://www.harappa.com/har/har0.html http://www.harappa.com/har/indus-saraswati-geography.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indus_Valley_Civilization http://www.geocities.com/look4harappan/colapse.htm Mcintosh, Jane. 2002. A Peaceful realm. Boulder: Westview Press.