Indus Valley Cities Notes | Study History for UPSC CSE - UPSC

UPSC: Indus Valley Cities Notes | Study History for UPSC CSE - UPSC

The document Indus Valley Cities Notes | Study History for UPSC CSE - UPSC is a part of the UPSC Course History for UPSC CSE.
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Indus Valley Civilisation

  • The Indus Valley Civilisation unquestionably ranks as one of the greatest civilizations of the world
  • The civilization was essentially urban.              Extent and major sites of the Indus Valley Civilisation
    Extent and major sites of the Indus Valley Civilisation

Some Special Features Common to All Cities

Whether it is Harappa or Mohenjo-Daro, Kalibangan or Lothal, the most striking character is systematic town planning; the streets oriented north-south and east-west, produced a grid pattern.

Know the Important Facts

  • Harappan seals were most probably used in connection with trade.
  • Meluha was the ancient name given to the Indus region by the Mesopotamians.
  • Mesopotamian cylindrical seals and cuneiform inscriptions have been found at Mohenjo-daro.
  • Archaeological excavations at Indus Valley sites show that houses had wells in Kalibangan.
  • Stone implements were largely used by the Indus people.
  • The Harappans were the earliest people to produce cotton.  
  • Most Harappan inscriptions were recorded on seals.
  • Flanking the streets and similarly oriented lanes and by-lanes were well-planned houses.
  • The buildings, considerably varying in size, appear to have been plain but dignified. Stone not being easily obtainable, walls were raised of burnt brick, laid in mud or in both mud and gypsum mortar.
  • Crude or sun-dried bricks were reserved for foundations and terraces, where the elements could not do much damage. Both rooms and circular brick walls were important features of most houses.
  • The system of drainage, public or private was remarkable. Each city had a fortified citadel possibly used for both religious and governmental purposes.
  • Dust bins and rubbish chutes indicate the extreme care taken in matters of conservancy.
  • The commodious houses, knit into a system of rigid town-planning, the public-buildings, large granaries and the citadel, all combine to present the picture of prosperous people, controlled by a firm yet beneficent authority.

Mohenjo-daro                        

Traces of Mohenjo-daro Present TodayTraces of Mohenjo-daro Present Today

  • The ‘city of the dead’, is at present a heap of ruins. The most dramatic characteristic of the city is a commanding citadel. It is a massive, mud-filled brick embankment that rises 43 feet above the lower city.
  • There lay in the citadel a ‘College’ a multi-pillared ‘Assembly Hall’ and the so called ‘Great Bath’.
  • The pool, surrounded by a paved courtyard, is 39 feet long, 23 feet wide and 8 feet deep.
  • Most Mohenjo-daro houses are built of kiln fired brick. The major streets are 33 feet wide and run north-south intersecting subordinate ones, running east-west, at right angles.
  • Its drains with a corbelled roof, more than 6 ft in height, deserves particular mention.
  • The evidence of Indian ships (figured on the seal) and a piece of woven cloth has been discovered from here.
  • Also present are the remains of shops, and of structures so substantial as to suggest temples or religious buildings.
  • There is a large granary consisting of a podium of square blocks of burnt-bricks with a wooden superstructure.
  • Parallel rows of two-roomed cottages were found. These cottages were perhaps used by the workmen or poor section of the society.
  • It is important to remember that Mohenjo-daro shows nine levels of occupation towering over 300 feet above the present flood plain.
  • Excavation reveals that the city was flooded more than seven times.
  • In 1922, R D Banerji, one of the Superintendent Archaeologists of the Archaeological Survey of India, decided to excavate the Buddhist stupa that dominated the site.

Harappa                                    

Gateway at HarappaGateway at Harappa

  • It is situated on the river Ravi. The ruins of Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa suggest that capital cities existed here.
  • The most remarkable and the largest building at Harappa is the Great Granary measuring 169 ft x 35 ft.
  • The citadel at Harappa also displays a Great Bath but of a slightly different design.
  • Between the granary and the citadel, have also been found a series of circular platforms, probably for the pounding of grain.
  • At a lower level below the granary platforms and the citadel, were crowded single-celled dwellings which have suggested slave habitats.
  • Two sandstone statuettes found here in which human anatomy is depicted. The Cemetery H culture is also found here.
  • The Harappa site was first briefly excavated by Sir Alexander Cunningham in 1872-73, two decades after brick robbers carried off the visible remains of the city. He found an Indus seal of unknown origin.

Kalibangan

Drainage System in KalibanganDrainage System in Kalibangan

  • Kalibangan is situated on the ancient Sarasvati, now called Ghaggar in Rajasthan.
  • Since the Harappan city overlies the earlier proto-Harappan, clear house plans of the earlier city are not available.
  • But in some houses, we have evidence of ovens and a well-aligned lane.
  • There is also evidence of mud-brick fortification. The Pre-Harappan phase here shows that the fields were ploughed, unlike the Harappan period.
  • One of the platforms within the citadel had fire altars that contained ash.
  • Another platform has a kiln-burnt brick-lined pit containing bones. These suggest the practice of the cult of sacrifice.
  • The existence of wheel conveyance is proved by a cartwheel having a single hub.
  • The Kalibangan pre-historic site was discovered by Luigi Pio Tessitori, an Italian Indologist (1887–1919).He was doing some research in ancient Indian texts and was surprised by the character of ruins in that area. He sought help from Sir John Marshall of the Archaeological Survey of India. 

Chanhudaro, Banwali and Surkotada

  • Chanhudaro is situated eighty miles south of Mohenjo-daro.
  • Chanhudaro was first excavated by N. G. Majumdar in March, 1931 and again during winter field session of 1935-36 by the American School of Indic and Iranian Studies and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston team led by Ernest John Henry Mackay.
  • The city is twice destroyed by inundation. Here more extensive but indirect evidence of superimposition of barbarian life is seen.
  • There was no citadel.
  • Banwali is situated in the dried-up Sarasvati. Like those of Kalibangan, Amri, Kot Diji and Harappa, Banwali also sees two cultural phases: pre-Harappan and Harappan.
  • This site was excavated by R.S. Bisht of Archaeological Survey of India in 1974.
  • Here we find large quantity of barley, sesame and mustard.
  • Surkotada is situated 270 km north-west of Ahmedabad in Gujarat.
  • It was discovered and excavated by Shri Jagat Pati Joshi of ASI in 1964-1968. "The mound has an average height of five-to-eight metres (east-to-west) at the time of its discovery.
  • Here we find remains of a horse, a citadel and a lower town, both of which were fortified.

Lothal

Ancient Port, LothalAncient Port, Lothal

  • This is situated on the bank of Bhogavar.
  • Only at Lothal and Rangpur, Rice husk has been found.
  • Archaeologist S.R. Rao led teams who discovered a number of Harappan sites, including the port city of Lothal in 1954-63.
  • The use of weights and measures proves that they knew arithmetic as well which is shown by a scale found at Lothal. It was surrounded by a thick, mud-brick wall on three sides, southern, western and northern.
  • On the eastern side is located a dockyard and wharf loading platform.
  • A doubtful terracotta figurine of a horse is found here.  

Kot Diji

Kot Diji FortKot Diji Fort

  • It is situated on the left bank of Indus river about 50 km east of Mohenjo-daro.
  • R Rao excavated the site in 1957 - 58.
  • Wheel made of painted pottery, traces of a defensive wall and well-aligned streets, knowledge of metallurgy, artistic toys etc.
  • Five figurines of the Mother Goddess were also discovered.

Amri

  • It is situated south of Mohenjo-daro.
  • In Pakistan, Jean-Marie Casal has directed the excavations at Amri (Sindh) in 1959-1962.
  • Knowledge of metal working, use of wheel pottery with animal figures painted on it, construction of rectangular houses, etc.

Balakot

  • Situated near the middle of the Khurkera plain on the south-eastern side of the Las Bela Valley and Somani Bay about 98 km north-west of Karachi.
  • Robert Raikes, discovered the small site of Balakot, some 55 miles north of Karachi, on the east side of Sonmiani Bay in 1959-1960.
  • There is a wide east-west lane almost bisecting the area at right angles with two smaller lanes.
  • Mud bricks were the standard building material although a few drains were lined with kiln-burnt bricks also.
  • There is some evidence for the thin plastering of floors but it was not done as the usual practice.

Desalpur

  • Situated near Gunthali in Nakhatrana taluka of Bhuj district (Gujarat) on the Bhadar river.
  • Discovered by P. P Pandya and MA Dhakey in 1963.
  • It was a fortified township built of dressed stone with mud filling inside.
  • The houses were constructed just against the fortification wall. In the centre, was found a building having massive walls.

Ropar

  • Situated near the confluence of Sutlej, some 25 km east of Bara.
  • Discovered by Y. D. Sharma in 1953.
  • The excavations have yielded a five-fold sequence of cultures—Harappan, PGW, NBP, Kushana-Gupta and Medieval.
  • Discovery of pottery related to the Kalibangan-I.
  • The evidence of burying a dog below the human burial is very interesting.
  • One example of a rectangular mud-brick chamber was noticed.

Dholavira

  • It is a modest village in the Bhachau taluka of district Kutch in Gujarat.
  • It is the latest and one of the two largest Harappan settlement in India, the other being Rakhigarhi in Haryana.
  • The mounds of Dholavira was first explored by Dr. J.P. Joshi in 1966.
  • The other Harappan towns were divided into two parts—‘Citadel’ and ‘the Lower Town’, but Dholavira was divided into three principal divisions, two of which were strongly protected by rectangular fortification. No other site has such an elaborate structure.
  • In 1990-91 a team of archaeologists led by Dr R.S. Bisht of the ASI conducted extensive excavations.

Additional Information

IVC vs Other Civilizations

  • All of the world’s civilization developed along the riverbanks:
    (i) Egyptian on River Nile
    (ii) Mesopotamian on River Tigris-Euphrates
    (iii) Chinese on River Yangtze
  • Mesopotamian texts speak of three intermediate trading stations called Dilmun (probably Bahrain on the Persian Gulf), Makan (probably the Makran coast of Oman) and Meluhha.
  • Meluhha was probably the name of the Indus region in Mesopotamian text
    Difference between IVC and Mesopotamia CivilisationDifference between IVC and Mesopotamia Civilisation

Important IVC Cities
Indus Valley Cities Notes | Study History for UPSC CSE - UPSC

Indus Valley Cities Notes | Study History for UPSC CSE - UPSC

Indus Valley Cities Notes | Study History for UPSC CSE - UPSCIndus Valley Cities Notes | Study History for UPSC CSE - UPSC

Indus Valley Cities Notes | Study History for UPSC CSE - UPSC

Indus Valley Cities Notes | Study History for UPSC CSE - UPSC

The document Indus Valley Cities Notes | Study History for UPSC CSE - UPSC is a part of the UPSC Course History for UPSC CSE.
All you need of UPSC at this link: UPSC

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