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GPSC Class- 1,2 Study Material - Indus Valley Civilization Part-1

GPSC Class- 1,2 Study Material - Indus Valley Civilization Part-1

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The Indus civilization is the oldest one known in Asia. Stretching from the Arabian Sea to the Himalayas and from the deserts of India to what is now Iran, it embraced 1,500 or so settlements and covered 280,000 square miles, an area roughly the size of Texas, or twice the size of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. [Source: Mike Edwards, National Geographic, June 2000; Santi Menon, Discover magazine, December 1998]

The Indus civilization was founded around 3000 B.C. and flourished from 2600 to 1900 B.C. Regarded as the world's oldest advanced civic culture, it is believed to have been a collection of states. Much about it is unknown because the civilization's written language has not been deciphered and no other culture with written languages described them (there was no mention of them in the Bible or the Vedas, which date back to 1500 B.C.). What is known has been determined from archeological excavations.

The Indus civilization was centered around Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro, two city-state civilizations that emerged around 3300 B.C. and endured until around 1500 B.C. Anthropologists regarded the Indus Valley cultures as one of the world's first civilizations along with Mesopotamia (founded in 3300 B.C), Egypt (founded in 3100 BC), and Yellow River Culture of northern China (founded shortly after 2000 BC). The Indus culture existed at the same time as these other cultures. Although trade existed between them. They appear to have developed independently and didn't have much influence on one another.

The Indus civilization was bound together by a common art and written language, and possibly by religion and trade as well. The Indus civilization cities were linked by the Indus river. The Indus River flows south from Karakoram and Himalayan Mountains through present-day Kashmir and Pakistan to the Indian Ocean. In the north it flows along the Pakistan-India border. Although the Indus civilization was scattered over a large area it was not large in terms of population. At its its height it was home to perhaps 400,000 people.

Early Indus History

Exactly when and where the Indus Civilization began and took root is still a matter of debate. Large and old settlements have been found in the Quetta, Loralai and the Zhob valleys in Baluchistan. Studies of these places seems to indicate that the people that lived in these places were semi-nomadic. The first permanent settlements are found closer to the flood plains of the great Indus River system.

Evidence of agriculture and urbanism dated to 7000 B.C."older than Mesopotamia---has been found at a site at Mehrgarth, an ancient settlement between the upland valleys of Baluchistan and the Indus flood plains. The settlement covered six hectares in 7000 B.C. and grew by 6000 B.C. to 12 hectares and had a population of maybe 3,000 people. The people that lived there raised wheat and barely and used domesticated cattle and water buffalo and hunted wild sheep, goats and deer. The dead were ritually buried, curled up on their sides, with some possessions, including turquoise beads from Turkmenistan,

The people of the Indus valley began trading on a wide scale at an early age. In the first known seafaring voyages, which may have taken place as early as 3500 B.C., Mesopotamians traveled across the Persian Gulf between Persia and India. See Indus and Mesopotamian Trade

Around 3500 B.C., permanent settlements began springing up over a wide area of the Indus River System. They are believed to have been settled by nomads that found advantages to living along rivers. The descendants of the Indus people were described in ancient Sanskrit texts as having dark skin. It is believed they spoke a Dravidian language. If this is true then the Indus Civilization is the ancestor the Dravidian civilization in southern India.

The earliest Indus settlements were strongly fortified neolithic villages destroyed by conquest. The people that lived here used copper and stamp seals and worshiped mother goddesses and horned deities. Archeologists date different groups and periods from this era based on different types of pottery. The fact that Indus Valley civilization settlements were built on the ruins of settlements of these cultures suggests that Indus Valley culture was imposed on them.

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