Harappan Society

Topics: Indus Valley Civilization, Harappa, Mohenjo-daro Pages: 8 (2973 words) Published: January 29, 2012
aThe Indus-Sarasvati (or Hakra) civilisation was located around the Indus and GhaggarHakra rivers; divided chronologically into four eras it stretches in time from the Neolithic period to the Iron Age. When examining the technological and cultural advances of this society, the period in which the Early Harappan phase (part of the Regionalisation era) develops into the Mature Harappan phase (Integration era), that is from 2800-2200BCE is of particular interest. In studying the developments of this society it is essential to take into account its various urban centres in order to compare and contrast, centres examined include Harappa, Mohenjo-daro (both in modern day Pakistan), Kalibangan and Lothal (in modern India). Various qualities that indicate a high level of technological and cultural advancement include the ample archaeological evidence of municipal town planning, in particular regards to the well developed hygiene facilities, an analysis of Mature Harappan subsistence methods (and how they developed from Early Harappan practices), evidence of developed trade routes over both land and sea, the detailed, highly crafted pottery and seals found at many of the sites and the mysterious undeciphered Harappan symbol script. Nearly all of the Mature Harappan sites discovered (406 in Pakistan, 616 in India) have shown ample archaeological evidence of forethought in the planning and though the sites span an area of over 2.5 million square miles, similarities in architectural devices appear. The location of many of the Harappan settlements is conditioned by river flooding patterns (to be returned to later in examination of subsistence practices), climate, the accessibility of natural resources and by the external and internal trade routes that existed. With populations ranging between 35-41,000 peoplei he cities themselves had various layouts, most likely for utilitarian purposes, both Harappan and Mohenjo-daro have a citadel mound that is quite distinct from the lower city and the earlier site of Kotdiji also has the same essential layout at a less complex level. Kalibangan was a fully fortified settlement during the Early Harappan phase and evolved into a western citadel accompanied by a fortified checkered patterned city in the east. Built over the previously existing group of disorganised towns, Kalibangan is a typical in its Mature phase development. The Mature Harappan redevelopment of many of the early centres was encouraged by the numerous fires that

fig. 1 map of the Harappan cities broke out around the year 2500BCE, an example of such redevelopment can be seen at Kotdiji. Situated on the Gulf of Khambhat the town of Lothal was a prime example of Harappan town planning. After being destroyed by a flood in 2350BCEii the town was expanded in the style of the larger settlements with the added utilitarian purpose of consistent protection from floods. Lothal

was divided into a citadel and lower town and it is likely that the rulers and aristocracy would have lived inside the citadel (acropolis) which enjoyed paved bathing areas, drainage systems both under and above ground and a drinkable water well. The lower town was divided into two sections by an arterial street that ran down the centre from N-S (in keeping with Harappan tradition) which was the focus of commercial activity, flanking this street were residential areas. One of the standout features of Lothal is its dockyard, most likely the earliest in the world, which to this day is regarded by archaeologists as a feat of engineering; situated on the eastern side of the town it was placed away from the main current of the river with various inlet channels to avoid silting and its depth of 4.6m allowed it to be accessed by ships in high tide. A 3.5 metre high warehouse with over 64 rooms was built between the dock yard and the acropolis enabling dignitaries to oversee both dock and warehouse; a large ramp 220m long was built to facilitate movement of cargo to the...


Bibliography: -U. Singh: A History of Ancient Early Medieval India: From the Stone age to the 12th Century. This book provided me with information which allowed me to mould and develop both my thesis and the subjects examined. U. Singh 's analysis, while being on par with other well respected texts in terms of content and complexity, was accessible and comprehensive enough to be of use. Many of the texts I looked at were to refined to give someone who had no research background regarding the Indus Civilisation such as myself any relatable or easily understandable information. -bruceowen.com/worldprehist/EMC9f18.htm -G. Possehl: Harappan Civilisation and Rodji. -G. F. Dales: Excavations at Mohenjo Daro, Pakistan: the pottery. I was able to comprehend little of this book as it was written at a high level of specialisation yet what I could to extract was very useful in my discussion of Harappan pottery. -J. P. Joshi: Harappan Architecture and Civil Engineering. I found this useful when studying the houses and cities of the Harappans. -http://www.historytution.com/indus_valley_civilization/index.html -J. Marshall: Mohenjo-daro and the Indus Civilisation. -C. A. Winters: Harappan Basic Signs. This essay gave me a basic understanding of the Indus Script and its controversialities.
i Dr. B. Owen: Anthropology 341: Lecture 18, 1999. ii S. R. Rao: Lothal. Archaeological Survey of India, 1985. iii Dr. J.P. Joshi: Harappan Architecture and Civil Engineering, 2002. iv U. Singh: A History of Ancient Early Medieval India: From the Stone Age to the 12th Century. v G. Possehl: Essay extract 1979 vi There is as yet, no resolution on the climactic conditions of the time with substantial evidence pointing in many directions. vii S. Ratgnar: unidentified paper, 1969. viiiJ. Hawkes: The first great civilisations, 1973. ix Lamberg Karlevsky suggests interaction sphere encompassing modern day Turkmenistan, Siestan and Afghanistan. x S. Ratnagar: unidentified paper, 1969. xi By this I mean that though Harappan artefacts have been found at Mesopotamian sites it is possible that intermediary cultures acted intermediary traders between the two ruling out certainty of established direct contact. xii W. Doniger: The Hindus, 2010. xiiiIt is quite possible that gold was hard-rock mined indicating a great level of organisation, technological efficiency and manpower. xiv J. Marshall: Mohenjo-Daro and the Indus Civilisation, 1944 (despite the age of this research the claim still stands). xv S.R. Rao: Dawn and Devolution of the Indus Civilisation, 1992. xvi Y. Knorozov: Protoindiyskie nadpisi (k probleme deshifrovki) - Sovetskaya Etnografiya ~ Proto-label (to the problem of decryption)- Soviet Ethnography. xvii T.Carr: The Harappan civilisation.
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