2.3 Notes

Chapter 2.3: Planned Cities on the Indus
The Geography of South Asia
Wall of mountains: Hindu Kush, Karakoram, and Himalaya ranges
Indian Subcontinent: India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh
Rivers, Mountains, and Monsoons
Fertile plain between the Indus and Ganges Rivers- Indus-Ganges Plain
Deccan Plateau in center of peninsula
Monsoons: seasonal winds that affect climate
o October to May, winter monsoons from the northeast blow dry air across the
o June to September the spring monsoons blow from the southwest, carrying
moisture from the ocean in great rain clouds
B. Environmental Challenges
 Typical environmental challenges
 Indus River flows southwest from Himalayas to the Arabian Sea
o Yearly floods deposited rich soil over a wide area
o Floods, however, were unpredictable
 Unique challenge for people of Indus Valley was to cope with the cycle of wet and dry
seasons brought by the monsoon winds
 Natural barriers: Mountains in north, and large desert to west (Thar Desert)
 Indus River was link to sea
 Trade with distant peoples, including Mesopotamia
Civilization Emerges on the Indus
 Indus system of writing has not been deciphered yet
 Evidence from archaeological digs (but much evidence has probably been washed away
by floods long ago).
A. Earliest Arrivals
 Not sure over how human settlement began in India
 From Africa across the sea?
 Through the Khyber Pass in the Hindu Kush mountains?
 By 3200 BCE, people were farming in villages along the Indus River.
B. Planned Cities
 Around 2500BCE- people in Indus Valley were building India’s first cities
(contemporaneous with the construction of Egyptian pyramids)
 Ruins of more than 100 settlements along the Indus
 Largest cities: Kalibangan, Mohenjo-Daro, and Harappa
 Indus Valley Civilization sometimes referred to as Harappan Civilization
Sophisticated City Planning
o Cities were laid out on a precise grid system
o Cities featured a fortified area, called a citadel, with major buildings of the city
o Separate residential districts
o Buildings constructed from oven-baked bricks in uniform sizes.
o Sophisticated plumbing and sewage systems
o Uniformity of city planning suggests Indus people had a strong central
C. Culture and Trade
 Indus civilization was generally stable
 Uniform housing suggests there weren’t great social divisions in society
 Clay and wooden children’s toys: relatively prosperous society…could produce
nonessential items
 Few weapons of warfare have been found…maybe conflict was limited?
 Religious artifacts reveal links to modern Hindu culture
 Figures of Shiva? (a major Indian god)
 Other figures relate to a mother goddess, fertility images, and worship of cattle…all a
part of later Indian civilization
 Stamps and seals to identify merchant’s goods
 Long-distance trade
 Indus seals found in Sumer and Sumerian objects found in the Indus Valley ruins…trade
o Trade between Sumer and Indus began around 2350BCE with Sargon of Akkad
until 2000 BCE
Mysterious End to the Indus Valley Culture
 Around 1750BCE, quality of building in Indus Valley cities declined…why?
 Great cities fell into decay
 Maybe the Indus River changed course and didn’t fertilize the fields near the cities?
 Maybe people wore out the valley’s land?
o Overgrazed it, overfarmed it, overcut its trees, brush, and grass
 Catastrophe around 1500 BCE?
o Mohenjo-Daro 38 bodies that were never buried…city abandoned after a natural
disaster or attack from enemies?
 Aryans, nomadic people from Caucasus Mountains, entered Indus Valley around this
time…invasion or migration?