Early Indian Civilization

Early Indian Civilization
Lesson 2
pp. 134-9
All information taken from
World Adventures in Time and Place.
New York: McGraw-Hill, 2001.
• In 1921 archaeologists gathered around a huge
dirt mound on the southern plains of the Indus
Valley. They knew remains of the past lay hidden
beneath the mound. Earlier visitors had found
artifacts there. But how old were the remains?
What would they reveal about how Indian people
lived long ago?
• As the archaeologists dug down, the ruins of a
great city began to appear. A new understanding
about India’s ancient past had begun.
The Big Picture
• Location
– 1000 miles from Iraq (Mesopotamia)
– Civilizations still traded 4000 years ago
• Knowledge
– Least is known about Indus River Valley
– Archeologists can’t read the writing
– Few artifacts and remains have been found
A Civilization in the Indus Valley
• Harappa
– In the northern part of Indus Valley
– Ruins named after an Indian god
– What people called themselves when they lived is
– It lasted from 2500 B.C. to 1600 B.C.
• Mohenjo-Daro – “Mound of the Dead” (Sanskrit)
– Found a year later
– Exactly like Harappa
– 400 mile south
A City Along the Indus
Mohenjo-Daro (p. 135)
• Population – 40,000
• Dozens of crisscrossing streets
– Large – paved with tan bricks
– Smaller – narrower; unpaved
• Brick houses
One-room buildings
Airy courtyards/balconies
• West end – citadel
– Surrounded by thick walls protecting from flood and attacks
– Huge grain warehouse for barely and wheat
Life in Mohenjo-Daro (p. 136)
• Challenge for archaeologists because they
can’t read language but can look at
structure of city
• City Planning
– Exact measuring of buildings
– Same sized bricks
– Dug wells located throughout city
– Sewers with manholes
Drawing conclusions
• Historians think
– Mohenjo-Daro had a “strong central
government” since Harappa had same layout
– Citadel exhibited a building with large pillars
that perhaps served as city hall that
“overlooked the city”(p. 137).
- bath may have been used for religious
Working in Mohenjo-Daro
• Workers were highly
– Builders
– Engineer
– Craftworkers
• Stone carvers
– Figures in small
squares of stone
– May be used to mark
• Potters
– Water jars
– Cooking bowls
– containers
• Metalworkers
– Copper fish hooks
– Razors
– Bronze statue
• Weavers
- First time in history
- wove cotton cloth
• Farmers
– Produced surplus
– Stored in warehouse
– Grain collected for
– Possibly payment to
government workers
Harappan Trade
Traded near and far
Sold stone seals to “Iran”
Bought blue stones from “Afghanistan”
Beads/necklaces made on stones from
• Above were traded in Mesopotamia
• Trip made in sail boats
• Used field birds to locate land
• Mohenjo-Daro deserted around 1600 B.C.
– Earthquake changed course of river
– No water; no civilization
– Earthquake could have caused destructive flood
• 1500 B.C.invaded by Aryans
Originally from central Asia
Herded cattle and sheep on horseback
Came from Hindu Kush Mountains
Means “noble ones” in Sanskrit
Brought their language
Brought new ideas
Brought new religion
Why It Matters
Harappan civilization lasted 1000 years
Farmers produced a surplus food
Population fed
Civilization grew
Workers produced cotton cloth, stone seals
and drainage systems for all of civilization
Destroyed by waters that also produced it.
Aryans came blending cultures
Main Ideas
• Little is known about the Harappan civilization because
its writing system has not yet been figured out.
• The city of Mohenjo-Daro included many brick buildings
and a huge citadel. The city also had a sewer system
more advanced than any other of its time.
• The orderly layout of the city and its large grain
warehouse suggest that Mohenjo-Daro wa ruled by a
strong local government.
• Harappan merchants traded goods in many places,
some of which were as far away as Mesopotamia.
• In about 1500 B.C. people called Aryans migrated to the
Indian sub-continent. They brought new ideas to the
Think About It
• Why is the ancient Indus Valley civilization
called Harappan civilization?
• What have historians learned about
Harappan civilization from written
sources? What have they learned from
building remains in cities like MohenjoDaro?
• What do we know about the early culture
of Mohenjo-Daro?
Thinking Skill
• Based on the information in thi leson,
what conclusions can you make about the
people who lived in Mohenjo-Daro? What
evidence supports your opinions?
• Draw the map showing the migration of
the Aryans and trade routes