Indus Valley Civilization: Where ruins speak history (Part 2/3: Understanding the Civilization)

The vast valley of Indus Civilization is difficult to understand. The Indus language (also referred to as Indus Script) hasn’t been deciphered yet. Language holds the key to understand its culture.

Also Read Indus Valley Civilisation: Where ruins speak history (Part 1/3: Tracing the Civilisation)

Currently, 6500 languages exists in the world. Among these languages, there are different types of writing language system and many of these languages can be linked with one another. But the Indus Script has no link with any language. They had unique pattern of writing, where the script was a combination of writings and images. These writing patterns were found on seals, pottery, or religious artifacts. It is believed that bio-degradable material was used for writing scripts and therefore, were lost with time.

Nevertheless, 400 symbols of Indus Script are known. Out of these, around 31 have repeated over 100 times. They were bidirectional logo-syllabic script where 5-26 symbols were used for the writing portion.

The Indus Script has no link with any language.

Indus Script found on hard material.

More than 1500 sites of Indus Valley Civilization have been found, and these sites are adding more theories to the story of Indus Civilization (also referred as Harappa Civilization). Historians have observed from these remains and have deduced that the valley was highly influenced by the inter-regional connections. The Surrounding areas of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtoon Khawa had influenced the culture of Indus People. These elements had contributed to the progressive development and complexity of the civilization. No Doubt that it took time for these people to reach the peak of their civilization. The researchers have formed 5 zones to explain timeline of Indus Civilization starting from their development till their downfall.

The researchers have formed 5 zones to explain timeline of Indus Civilization

Pre-Harappa phase came before 3300 BC. At this time, people started to settle along the riverbanks of River Indus. With a constant supply of water, they developed the lifestyle of farming and herding. Evidence shows that this profession was of Mehrgarh around 7000 years ago. Mehrgarh is an archaeological site in the plains of Balochistan, Pakistan. Evidence also show they migrated to Indus Valley to form Indus Valley Civilization. From this time till 2600 BC marks the early- Harappa phase. Earliest examples of script dates to this period. Sources suggest that this time period also marks the expansion and initial development of the Civilization. These includes forming of trade networks, improvements in the urban life and structures. This time period also marks material culture of the civilization of pottery, ornaments and stamp seals.

Painting on how trading would have taken place at that time.

In between Pre-Harappa and Early Harappa, there exists a regionalization Era of these people. 2600-1900 BC is the peak time of Harappan civilization (Mature Harappa).  From urban planning and development to trading, this period defines the uniqueness of the civilization known today. In simple terms this period can be grouped in 5 categories.

2600-1900 BC is the referred as the peak time of Harappan civilization

Firstly, urban development and town planning was at peak where important highlights were forming of main cities e.g. Mohenjo Daro and Harappa, developed drainage system, developed city roads according to their hierarchy provided with proper drains on the side of roads, forming of central authority with administrative institutions in respective states and formation of defensive structures to provide safety from invaders and floods as well as well-built structures within these cities such as residential area. The most common example of well-built structures that still stand today is The Great bath. Evidences also suggest that there were even dust bins and streetlamps in the streets.

The most common example of well-built structures that still stand today is The Great bath.

Secondly, their creativity in the fields of arts and crafts. Their main highlights were pottery, ceramic items, accessories like jewellery, necklace and bangles, sculptures, seals and even human statues. Thirdly, their society culture. They gave priorities to religious practices, social equality and laws and regulations of their government. They had advance knowledge of measurements that were necessary for trade such as mass and length. The literate people of the society carved Indus Script on items used for trading and religious artifacts. From the religious artifacts found, they were idols worshippers.

The most recognized item considered is the Dancing Girl of Arts and Crafts.

They had advance knowledge of measurements that were necessary for trade such as mass and length

Fourthly, they had developed structures that resulted in water trade. Evidences shows their trades with Mesopotamia and event up to Egypt. Lastly, they had developed their sense according to the needs of time such as growing different crops according to the season and use of domestic animals for this purpose.

With the closing of Mature Harappan, the next phases depict the downfall of the Indus Valley. It is still a curiosity about how this downfall happened. The questions that arises are where did these people and is there a lesson for us?

13 thoughts on “Indus Valley Civilization: Where ruins speak history (Part 2/3: Understanding the Civilization)

  • June 8, 2020 at 10:07 pm
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    Very informative article. Good write-up!

    Reply
    • June 8, 2020 at 10:16 pm
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      Thank you for the compliment.

      Reply
  • June 9, 2020 at 8:57 am
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    Very informative article about history. Waiting for the third part

    Reply
    • June 9, 2020 at 8:23 pm
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      Thank you for the compliment

      Reply
  • June 9, 2020 at 12:32 pm
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    If any one wants to know about Indus civilization background instead of going through long books read this article , hats off to the author’s writing skill.

    Reply
    • June 9, 2020 at 8:27 pm
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      Thank you for the compliment.

      Reply
  • June 9, 2020 at 3:56 pm
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    Its an amazing writing and an interesting topic. Waiting for the next part ✌️

    Reply
    • June 9, 2020 at 8:27 pm
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      Thank you for the compliment

      Reply
  • June 11, 2020 at 7:31 pm
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    This is beyond perfection of our history. We as students should use such portals to understand basics and facts. Brilliany once again.
    Owais Siddiqui

    Reply
    • June 11, 2020 at 9:38 pm
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      Thank you for the compliment.

      Reply
  • June 18, 2020 at 12:01 am
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    Very well written 👍🏻. 10/10 good job.

    Reply
    • June 24, 2020 at 7:09 pm
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      Thank you for the compliment!! 🙂

      Reply
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