The Indus Valley Civilization

usha kiran By usha kiran, 22nd Aug 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>History

The Indus Valley Civilization, as it is called, covered an area roughly the size of western Europe. It was the largest of the four ancient civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, India and China. It was not discovered until the 1920’s.

The ancient cities of Harappa and Mohenjadaro

India is considered a subcontinent as it is surrounded by the Hindu Kush Mountain range to the west, and the Great Himalayan range to the North. These mountain ranges made it harder for invaders to enter ancient India; therefore, lessened the threat of an attack. This fact is what allowed the first ancient cities of Harappa and Mohenjo Daro to thrive from around 2300 B.C. to 1700 B.C.

The Indus Valley was located in what’s now Pakistan and western India. It was the earliest known urban culture of the Indian subcontinent. The Indus Valley Civilization, as it is called, covered an area roughly the size of western Europe. It was the largest of the four ancient civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, India and China. It was not discovered until the 1920’s. Most of its ruins, even its major cities, remain to be excavated.Many questions about the Indus people, and their civilization , and questions as to who created this highly complex culture remain unanswered to this day. But most other aspects of their society have been answered through various types of archaeological studies.

The discovery of the Indus Valley civilization was first recorded in the 1800’s by the British.
Flourishing from approximately 3000 to 1500 BC, the Harappan Civilization derives its name from the type site of Harappa, located in the Punjab near Lahore in Pakistan. Harappa and Mohenjo Daro, near Karachi in the Sind province in Pakistan are called the "twin capital cities" of the Indus Valley Civilization.The Indus Valley civilization built some of the earliest planned cities at Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro, and they flourished for 700 years.

The tradition of pottery in India is as old as the human civilization itself. The remnants of this traditional vocation are available in the relics of neolithic civilization.Pottery is one of the most important indicators of Harappa and Mohenjo-daro civilizations.


According to available data the city of Mohenjo-daro or the ‘Mound of the dead ‘ was built around 2600 BCE and abandoned around 1500 BCE. It was rediscovered in 1922 by Rakhaldas Bandyopadhyay, an officer of the Archealogical survey of India, whoiaccording to sources was led to it by a Buddhist monk …

About 3000 BC, the same time Sumer, and Mohenjo- daro were established, the Egyptian civilization had its beginning. Early wanderers, descendants of Ham, came across the Red Sea and were attracted by the rich, fertile Nile Valley.

The ruins of these two cities are immense. They are thought to have contained well over a million people each.Archeologists were surprised at what’s been dug up here.In place was a system of town planning with straight streets and rectangular blocks, as well as wide main streets like modern boulevards. There were also heated public baths
Also discovered were Jewels, rings, bracelets and necklaces of gold, silver and ivory, were worn by the people of Mohenjadaro. They were kept in elegant silver caskets some of which were intact and found during the exacavations and apparently so well finished and so highly polished that they might have come out of a Bond Street jeweller’s.

The last major excavation of Mohenjo-daro was conducted in 1964-65 by Dr. G. F. Dales. After this date, excavations were banned due to damage done to the exposed structures by weathering.


Harappa is an archaeological site in Punjab, northeast Pakistan.The site contains the ruins of a Bronze Age fortified city, which was part of the Indus Valley Civilization, centered in Sindh and the Punjab province of Pakistan.

Harappa was a city in the Indus civilization that flourished around 2600 to 1700 BCE in the western part of South Asia.Material culture that was dug out and the skeletal remains from the Harappa cemetery and other sites testify to the fact that there was a continual intermingling of communities from west and the east.

Ever since the discovery of Harappa, archaeologists have been trying to identify the rulers of this city. What has been found is very surprising because it isn’t like the general pattern followed by other early civilizations . The Harappan and other Indus rulers governed their cities through the control of trade and religion, and not by military might as it used to be those days.

It is not known exactly what happened to the Indus River Valley civilization, in the later stages. It seems to have been abandoned about 1700BC. There are possiblities that a great flood weakened the civilization or another theory mentions that the moving tectonic plates that created the Himalayas may have caused a devastating earthquake, which probably wiped out the entire ciovilization. Finally,iIt is also possible that the Indus valley people may have been defeated by another stronger culture and got assimilated into the new invaders way of life.

One theory suggests that the Indus civillization wasmost likely destroyed by the Indo-European migrants from Iran, the Aryans, but there are several arguments against such a theory as well mainly the vedic influence that the civilization had, which was believed to have been spread by the Aryans.The Aryan invasion itself has become debatable now.

But what we do know about the Indus civilization is quite evolving. Archaeologists are continuing to find new artifacts and new dimensions about this civilization . In time, one may learn as to how this amazing civilization developed, how they learned to create an advanced ancient civilization, and also why they suddenly disappeared.

By about 1700 BC, the Indus Valley civilization had disappeared. Scholars still do not know why it collapsed..


Archaeologists, British, Bronze Age, Civilization, Harappa, India, Indus Valley, Mohenjadaro, Pakistan, Punjab, Ruins

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author avatar usha kiran
I love to write and interact....I am a teacher/housewife and a mother of three grown up children..

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author avatar James R. Coffey
5th Jan 2011 (#)

Very nice job. One of my absolute favorite subjects, which I write about often. Add a couple videos and you may get a star!

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author avatar usha kiran
5th Jan 2011 (#)

Thanks a lot for the suggestion james, hadnt thought of that :)

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