Indus valley civilization

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Indus valley civilization,

ancient civilization that flourished from about 2500 B.C. to about 1500 B.C. in the valley of the Indus River and its tributaries, in the northwestern portion of the Indian subcontinent, i.e., present-day Pakistan. At its height, its geographical reach exceeded that of Egypt or Mesopotamia. Since 1921 this civilization has been revealed by spectacular finds at Mohenjo-Daro, an archaeological site in NW Sind, and at Harappa, in central Punjab near the Ravi River. These sites, each of which measures more than 3 mi (5 km) in circumference, were once great urban centers, the chief cities of the Indus civilization. They had large and complex hill citadels, housing palaces, granaries, and baths that were probably used for sacred ablutions; the great bath at Mohenjo-Daro was c.40 ft (12 m) long and 23 ft (7 m) wide. Beyond the citadels were well-planned towns, laid out in rectangular patterns. Houses, often two-storied and spacious, lined the town streets; they had drainage systems that led into brick-lined sewers. The economy of the Indus civilization was based on a highly organized agriculture, supplemented by an active commerce, probably connected to that of the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia. The arts flourished there, and many objects of copper, bronze, and pottery, including a large collection of terra-cotta toys, have been uncovered. Most notable, however, are the steatite seals, exquisitely engraved with animal figures and often bearing a line of pictographic script. On some seals are depicted a bo tree or, as some authorities hold, a Babylonian tree of life, and others have as their central figure the god Shiva, who later became preeminent in the Hindu pantheon. The writing, long a riddle to archaeologists, has yet to be satisfactorily deciphered; the language appears to be structurally related to the Dravidian languages. The origin, rise, and decline of the Indus valley civilization remain a mystery, but it seems most probable that the civilization fell (c.1500 B.C.) to invading AryansAryan
, [Sanskrit,=noble], term formerly used to designate the Indo-European race or language family or its Indo-Iranian subgroup. Originally a group of nomadic tribes, the Aryans were part of a great migratory movement that spread in successive waves from S Russia and Turkistan
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Bibliography

See Sir John Marshall, Mohenjo-Daro and the Indus Civilization (3 vol., 1931); E. J. H. MacKay, The Indus Civilization (1935, repr. 1983); S. Piggott, Prehistoric India (1950); Sir Mortimer Wheeler, The Indus Civilization (3d ed. 1968); J. H. Hawkes, The First Great Civilizations (1973); N. Lahiri, Finding Forgotten Cities: How the Indus Civilization was Discovered (2013).

References in periodicals archive ?
Parpola 2011b: 25-30) can be seen from a Mature Harappan painted pot from Amri depicting crocodiles similarly set on poles (Casal 1964: II, fig.
Discussion is confined to the Mature Harappan period.
Furthermore, Possehl has drawn attention to the apparent burning of a number of Harappan sites at the beginning of the Mature Harappan period (2002: 47-8), which might be interpreted as territorial expansion by a specific group.
The principal reason is the evidence for cultural and historical continuity between the Early and Mature Harappan as well as the premise that the process of change was primarily autochthonous.
Wheat predominates during the Mature Harappan period, while in the Late Phase, barley `once again becomes the dominant' cereal.
Archaeobotanical evidence from the broader region of northwestern South Asia, in general, suggests that temporal diversification through the addition of cropping seasons was occurring at many sites during and after the Mature Harappan period (Fuller & Madella 2000).
While a number of features developed from Early Harappan to Mature Harappan, there is `an abruptness in appearance' especially in writing, multiplicity of art forms and general scale of things.
Ratnagar's proposals for the Mature Harappan political organization conform to the model she conceptualizes to represent the earliest forms of state throughout the world.
These features cannot be abstracted from the kind of data which are available on the Harappan had the author not begun her investigations of the Mature Harappan artefacts with some pre-conceived notions of what aspects of the early state and, therefore, of the data she want to explore.
On first reflection one looks to the Indus Valley for comparanda where, in Mature Harappan contexts, bone and ivory combs with dotted-circle decoration have been found at Mohenjo-Daro (Marshall 1931: 532; Mackay 1937: plate XCI.