Indus Civilisation

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The Indus civilisation was an ancient civilisation that flourished during the third millennium encompassing the Nile valley and the lands from the Mediterranean Sea east across the Iranian plateau to the greater Indus region. Primarily centred in modern day Pakistan, in the provinces of Sindh and Punjab, and India, in Gujarat and Rajasthan, its remains have also been excavated from Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and Iran. Historically part of Ancient India, it is one of the world’s three earliest urban civilisations along with Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt. This essay will trace the rise and fall of this civilisation, highlighting the economic, architectural and intellectual components of this great manifestation, and showing the relationship between the Indus civilisation and the other cultures of its time. The Indus civilisation also known as the Harappan Civilisation can be categorised in three different phases based on different eras namely, the beginning of the Indus civilisation or early Harappan, the Mature Harappan or the technological era, and the transformation of Indus Civilisation or the Late Harappan.


The Indus civilisation covered an area of approximately one million square kilometres. The western most Indus site is sutkagen-dor, near the modern border separating Pakistan and Iran. The principal regions are the Baluchistan and the northwest frontier, the mountainous eastern end of the Iranian plateau. The plain of the Indus valley, the Pakistani and Indian pun jabs, Haryana and ganga-yamuna doab are included. The northern and western tracks of the Thar Desert in Rajasthan were occupied by the Indus people, as were the sandy north Gujarat plains, Kutch, and the hilly savanna of saurashtra.

Rainfall for the western domain came from the winter westerly’s, which brought snow to the mountains of Baluchistan and the northwest frontier and rain to the Punjab and north-western India. The summer rain of the south west monsoon brought moisture to saurashtra, north Gujarat and the Punjab, and the north-western India, and sometimes even to the western domains.

The Phases:

The mature phase of the Harappan civilization lasted from c. 2600 to 1900 BCE. With the inclusion of the predecessor and successor cultures—Early Harappan and Late Harappan, respectively—the entire Indus Valley Civilization may be taken to have lasted from the 33rd to the 14th centuries BCE. Two terms are employed for the periodization of the Indus Valley Civilisation: Phases and Eras.

Stage One: Beginning of Villages Farming Communities and Pastoral camps.

Early food producing peoples are not yet well documented in the western borderlands of the greater Indus region. The earliest phase has been called kili Ghul Mohammad after the site in Quetta valley of Baluchistan where this phase was first identified. There are strong signs of continuity between periods 1 and periods 2, but change is present as well. Pottery is introduced in period 2, which is usually a soft, chaff-tempered ware, handmade with simple shapes. In these contexts it comes in the middle of the sixth millennium B.C., a date acceptable to the Mehrgarh sequence. The same basic kind of architecture is present in period 2 as in period 1. Twenty-three compartmented buildings can be attributed to period 2. Various retaining walls and terracing features are assigned to these times. Among the structures of period 2 are various flat, hard clay surfaces, some of which are paved with bricks associated with fireplaces. Cotton seeds may have been found in period2. Woven cotton cloth was found at Mohenjo-Daro so the presence of cotton seeds at Mehrgarh may indicate that the use of this plant reaches the very beginnings of food production in Pakistan. The dependence on domesticated animals continued to grow through this period, as did the reliance on cultivated plants. Archealogical exploration in baluchistan, the northwest frontier, Kachi, and sindh has revealed a total of...
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