The Indus River Valley

by womanofsalt
Last updated 7 years ago

Social Studies
World & Ancient History

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The Indus River Valley

The Indus River Valley 3300–1300 BCE; mature period 2600–1900 BCE

Mohejo-Daro and Harappa were the two main urban sites, (most of the population lived in small settlements,) and were very hard to fully excavate

Mohejo-Daro in modern-day Pakistan

Harappa in modern-day Punjab

Political:The uniformity of the brick walls, streets laid out in grid structures, and drainpipes throughout the cities suggests a strong central authority, possible located in a citadel. Some scholars attribute the standardization of styles in the settlements to extensive trade within the Valley rather than a strong central governement

Social:The people of the Indus River Valley were very peaceful, had a stable population, and spoke an early Dravidian language which is yet to be deciphired. Sociopolitical institutions like a system of hereditary occupational groups are yet to be determined

Interaction:Floods made two crops a year possible. The writing system had more than 400 signs inscribed on tablets, and the people showed skill in irrigation, the potter's wheel, and even used kilns! Smiths worked with metals, which appear more frequently in the Indus than in Egypt or Mesopotamia

Cultural:Barracks suggest to some regimentation of skilled artisans, and public bathing tanks and private courtyards in homes have been excavated. Religious beliefs and practices, (depictions of gods and sacred animals on seal stones and a cult of the mother-goddess,) remain speculative.

Economic:Mountains passes granted access to valuable resources like metals and precious stones. Rivers provided for transportation of goods within the zone of the Indus culture. Coastal towns engaged in seaborne trade with Sumer and the Persian Gulf and gathered highly prized seashells. The Indus also traded with Mesopotamia.

Harappan script

For a quick refresher, check out John Green's Crash Course on the Indus Valley Civiliation!----------->

How it Fell:The Indus Valley cities were left abandoned after 1900 B.C.E. While archeologists once thought invaders destroyed them, the belief now is that the civilization suffered a breakdown of the fragile interrelationship of political, social, and economic systems. Natural disasters, such as an earthquake, flood, or the drying up of rivers could have caused the relocation of the population. Soon, regional variation replaced the standardization of technology and style.

Harappan pottery

The grid-system in Mohenjo-Daro

The "Great Bath" in Mohnejo-Daro

Lapis Lazuli, a precious metal that was used by the Indus

Indus Trade Routes


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