Indus River Civilizations

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Describe Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro

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Indus River Civilizations

  1. 1. Indus River Civilizations A Peaceable Kingdom?
  2. 2. Introduction to the Region <ul><li>Indus River is located in today’s Pakistan </li></ul><ul><li>River rises in snow-capped Himalayas </li></ul><ul><li>Descends through Kashmir </li></ul><ul><li>Flows through Pakistani plains </li></ul><ul><li>Spring runoff </li></ul><ul><li>Floods the plains </li></ul><ul><li>Leave silt, a soil soft enough to turn without aid of plows </li></ul>
  3. 3. Neolithic Along the Indus <ul><li>Mehrgarh </li></ul><ul><li>Villages formed around 6000 BC </li></ul><ul><li>Primary domesticates </li></ul><ul><li>Western Asiatic wheat </li></ul><ul><li>Animals native to the area </li></ul><ul><li>Zebu cattle (humped back) </li></ul><ul><li>Goats </li></ul><ul><li>Water buffalo </li></ul><ul><li>Trade routes in evidence even then </li></ul><ul><li>Linked Mesopotamia with Indus region </li></ul><ul><li>Became main routes with Harappan civilizations </li></ul>
  4. 4. Early Villages: 3200-2600 BC <ul><li>Small villages with a few acres of land </li></ul><ul><li>Society: egalitarian </li></ul><ul><li>Enjoyed fertile, well-watered soils </li></ul><ul><li>Lacked metal ores </li></ul><ul><li>Trade soon developed </li></ul><ul><li>Baluchi Highlands: metals, semiprecious stones, timber </li></ul><ul><li>Symbiosis developed between Baluchistan and lowlanders (trade and also transhumance) </li></ul><ul><li>May have led to development of complex societies along Indus </li></ul>
  5. 5. Harappan Civilization (2700-1700 BC) <ul><li>Trade with Sumeria may have contributed to Harappan growth </li></ul><ul><li>Sumeria expanded trade with Meluhha, probably in the Indus region </li></ul><ul><li>Through Dilmun, on island of Bahrain at the Persian Gulf </li></ul><ul><li>Items obtained from Meluhha: ivory, wool, cloth, leather, oils, cedar, and cereals </li></ul><ul><li>Others claim that Harappan civilization developed independently </li></ul>
  6. 6. Harappan Civilization: Cities <ul><li>There were five cities, best know of which were </li></ul><ul><li>Harappa: namesake of the civilization </li></ul><ul><li>Mohenjo-Daro </li></ul><ul><li>Cities were known for their </li></ul><ul><li>Planned neighborhoods with grid pattern </li></ul><ul><li>Sophisticated drainage system (most had indoor bathrooms with sewage system) </li></ul><ul><li>Communal granaries </li></ul><ul><li>Bathhouses </li></ul><ul><li>Citadels or great structures (palaces, temples, granaries) built on hills (Left) </li></ul><ul><li>Population: 35,000 or more each </li></ul>
  7. 7. Harappan Civilization: Surrounding Regions <ul><li>Hundreds of farming communities for each city </li></ul><ul><li>Comprising territory of 300,000 miles square (775,000 km square) </li></ul><ul><li>Other cities beyond region </li></ul><ul><li>Lothai: similar urban planning </li></ul><ul><li>Shortugai: a mining settlement (source of lapis lazuli) 621 mi east of Indus </li></ul>
  8. 8. Harappan Civilization: Public Urban Design <ul><li>Primary source: Jane McIntosh A Peaceful Realm </li></ul><ul><li>Uniform design for Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro, and Kalibangan </li></ul><ul><li>Dominated by a citadel raised on a mud brick platform in western edge of city </li></ul><ul><li>Surrounded by large granaries, bathhouses, and other public buildings </li></ul><ul><li>Encompassed by a monumental wall </li></ul><ul><li>Residential areas spread out on eastern side </li></ul>
  9. 9. Harappan Civilization Residential Urban Design <ul><li>Planning made well in advance of growth </li></ul><ul><li>Bricks for houses were standard size in 1:2:4 proportions (e.g. 7 X 14 X 28 cm) </li></ul><ul><li>Alignment of roads were laid out in precise grids of parallel and perpendicular routes </li></ul><ul><li>Streets comprised broad thoroughfares, separated by secondary streets, separated by narrow pathways leading to residences </li></ul>
  10. 10. Harappan Civilization: Economy <ul><li>A standard of weights and measures was established. </li></ul><ul><li>Sections of cities were blocked off for craft specialists </li></ul><ul><li>Potters --Flint workers </li></ul><ul><li>Metal workers --Brick makers </li></ul><ul><li>Shell workers --Ivory carvers </li></ul><ul><li>Textile workers –Shell workers </li></ul><ul><li>Precious stone workers </li></ul><ul><li>Wood workers --Seal makers </li></ul><ul><li>Other workshops, such as bakeries and bead manufacturers </li></ul>
  11. 11. Harappan Civilization: Trade <ul><li>Imported exotic raw materials </li></ul><ul><li>Gold --Lead </li></ul><ul><li>Lapis lazuli --Turquoise </li></ul><ul><li>Alabaster --Amethyst </li></ul><ul><li>Agate --Carnelian </li></ul><ul><li>Chalcedony </li></ul><ul><li>Exported finely finished goods </li></ul><ul><li>Harappan seals found in Sumeria </li></ul><ul><li>Bahrain was the transshipping point </li></ul>
  12. 12. Harappan Civilization: Political and Social Organization <ul><li>Political organization was tight and centralized </li></ul><ul><li>Dwellings varied considerably </li></ul><ul><li>From mansion with several rooms and courtyards </li></ul><ul><li>To single-room apartments </li></ul><ul><li>Despite stratification, </li></ul><ul><li>Names of rulers are unknown </li></ul><ul><li>No lavish displays of wealth </li></ul><ul><li>No evidence of bombastic rulers boasting of their deeds on monument walls </li></ul>
  13. 13. Harappan Civilization: Militarism or Lack Thereof <ul><li>McIntosh’s title Peaceful Realm summarizes the lack of militaristic evidence </li></ul><ul><li>No evidence of major defensive works around Indus cities or villages </li></ul><ul><li>No weaponry in the artifact assemblages </li></ul><ul><li>No cemeteries with skeletons reflecting war-related wounds </li></ul><ul><li>Art reflected a priestly class (upper left) and possibly fertility (lower left) </li></ul><ul><li>A remarkable exception to the general pattern of civilization: development via imperialistic war </li></ul>
  14. 14. Harappan Civilization: Writing <ul><li>Writing is yet to be deciphered, so we know less than we otherwise might </li></ul><ul><li>400 different pictographic symbols have been identified </li></ul><ul><li>Scholars agree they might be a mixture of sounds and concepts </li></ul><ul><li>But differ on what the common language was, or if there were more than one </li></ul><ul><li>Other depictions suggest forerunners to Hinduism </li></ul><ul><li>Seals depict three headed figure in yogic position </li></ul><ul><li>Surrounded by tigers, water buffalo, elephants, and other indigenous fauna </li></ul><ul><li>This figure may be Shiva, Lord of Beasts </li></ul><ul><li>Other seals depict cattle, symbol of Shiva </li></ul>
  15. 15. Causes of Decline <ul><li>Possibly a major river, the Ghaggar-Hakra River, shifted, forcing the population to move elsewhere </li></ul><ul><li>Other Probable Factors </li></ul><ul><li>Shift in major trade routes </li></ul><ul><li>Deforestation and soil erosion </li></ul><ul><li>Flooding of the Indus River </li></ul>
  16. 16. Post-Harappan South Asia (1700-180 BC) <ul><li>Population moved to the Ganges </li></ul><ul><li>Rice replaced wheat and barley </li></ul><ul><li>Iron technology emerged </li></ul><ul><li>16 kingdoms later developed along the Ganges </li></ul><ul><li>Classic period of South Asia began </li></ul><ul><li>Brahmin religion </li></ul><ul><li>Buddhism also developed and spread </li></ul><ul><li>Invasion of outside powers </li></ul><ul><li>Darius of Persia incorporated Indus region to the Persian empire in 516 BC </li></ul><ul><li>Alexander the Great came along two centuries later, failed to conquer all of India </li></ul><ul><li>Mauryan Empire developed from vacuum and dominated India from ca 300 BC to 185 BC; sway extended from Nepal to Daccan region </li></ul>
  17. 17. Conclusion <ul><li>Similarities with Other Civilizations: </li></ul><ul><li>High-yield subsistence base, supported by irrigation </li></ul><ul><li>Centralized authority with stratification </li></ul><ul><li>Presence of writing </li></ul><ul><li>Differences from Other Civilizations: </li></ul><ul><li>No evidence of extreme stratification </li></ul><ul><li>No evidence of warfare </li></ul><ul><li>Highly planned urban society </li></ul><ul><li>Standardized economy </li></ul>

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