29 Sep 2018 - 08:00 to 09:30
Lucknow , Uttar Pradesh
Lucknow, a city known for its nawabs and kababs is profound in
29 Sep 2018 - 11:00 to 13:30
The Air Force Museum, located in 7th mile, upper Shillong,
29 Sep 2018 - 14:00 to 16:00
Exquisite bronze sculptures were produced in the Tamil country


Key Points: The Indus Civilization


Occurred through findings from the mid–19th century to the 1920s. In 1924, Sir John Marshall made the existence of this south Asian civilization public. The first discovered sites, Harappa and Mohenjo daro, were excavated in 1921 by Rai Bahadur Dayaram Sahni and in 1922 by Rakhaldas Banerji, in the Punjab province of the British Raj which is now in Pakistan.  

Also known as

Indus Valley Civilization, Harappa Civilization, Sindhu-Saraswati Civilization


As the Indus script has not been deciphered yet, it is its material relics which have come down to us from excavations and explorations that we have to study to reconstruct what it was like.


The geographical reach of the Indus Civilization covers sites in Afghanistan, much of Pakistan and north-western parts of India, i.e., from Shortughai (Afghanistan) in the north to Daimabad (Maharashtra, India) in the south, and from Sutkagen dor (Cholistan, Pakistan) in the west to Alamgirpur (Uttar Pradesh, India) in the east.


There are debates but it is mostly believed that it germinated from the Neolithic cultures preceding it. Mehrgarh, a Neolithic site in Pakistan, has stratigraphic evidences for this theory.

  • 3300–2600 BCE  Early or Pre-Harappan period
  • 2600–1900 BCE  Mature Harappan period (urban phase)
  • 1900–1500 BCE​  Late Harappan period


(On the basis of radiocarbon dating)



Material culture

Toys and utensils: Plain Red and Black on Red Ware (slipped and without slip), toy carts and wheels, miniature clay animals


Tools, writing, measurement: uniform-value cubical weights of chert, long and thin blades of chert (probably for cutting plants) and bronze tools, rectangular stamp seals with protruding boss and script and emblem carved in intaglios, inscribed tablets


Buildings and towns: solid brick buildings, wells amongst the houses, streets and alleys, baked clay ‘cakes’ or pavers, high citadels

Biggest Sites

Mohenjo daro, Harappa, Ganeriwala, Dholavira and Rakhigarhi


The cultural homogeneity, settlement pattern and fortifications found in excavated Harappan sites point towards some administration. Facilities like roads, drains, granaries, public buildings suggest some authorities responsible for managing these works. Whether the ruling groups and administrators of Harrapan sites were united or associated with each other across settlements remains a mystery.

Communication and Trade

Striking cultural similarities across the Harappan sites generates interest for the study of links and communications across these settlements. Evidences of terracotta and bronze models of carts shed light on the modes of travel during those times. The discovery of objects and seals of Harappans from Mesopotamian cities such as cities Kish, Lagash, Nipur and Ur indicate trade links. Southern Turkmenistan and the Persian Gulf area have also yielded Harappan objects, indicating their interaction with the Harappans.

Rituals and Belief

The animals and trees depicted on seals, terracotta figurines, amulets and copper tablets must have had some cultic connotations attached. Popular representations on seals like ‘a nude woman with her legs apart issuing plants from her vagina’ and on another ‘a male figure with a buffalo head and flanked by four animals’ are significant in this context. Studies of several terracotta figurines within their context throw some light on their cultic association. The Great Bath of Mohenjo daro and Fire Altars on the citadel mound at Kalibangan are indicative of ritual activities.


The Harappan script is logo-syllabic, which means each symbol stood for a word or syllable, and was written from right to left. So far about 4000 inscribed objects have been found at Harappan sites on seals and sealings, copper tablets, pottery, copper/bronze implements.


Causes of its decline have been a major question since the time the material remains started coming into light. Different theories are listed below:


Environmental factors like tectonic movements leading to continuous flooding in the Indus (M.R. Sahni)


Changes in climatic conditions (Gurdip Singh)


Pressure on ecology due to over-exploitation (W.A. Fairservis)


Aryan Invasion (Mortimer Wheeler)


Decline in the trade with the Sumerians (Shereen Ratnagar)


Contemporary Cultures

Kulli culture, Neolithic sites in Kashmir, Sothi-Siswal culture, etc.