(Notes) Civil Services (Prelims) Examination : Indian History (Indus Valley Civilization) - Quick Revision Notes (IV)

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Quick Revision Notes


Indus Valley Civilization (Indian History)

66. Some other known animals were bull, dog, rabbit and bird.

67. Though lot of buildings and bricks were found, no brick kilns have been found so far.

68. The customary vessels for drinking were goblets with pointed bases, which were used only once.

69. The most extensively used metal in Indus Valley Civilization was pure copper (unalloyed copper).

70. The metal which made earliest appearance during the Indus Valley Civilization was Silver.

71. The Indus Valley Civilization forts were not meant for defence from enemies. They were mere entry points and provided safety from petty robbers. They also stood as a symbol of “social authority” on an area.

72. The best information on social life comes from the terracota figures.

73. The weapons used were: axes, bows, arrows and the “Gada”. No defensive weapons have beenfound here. No swords were discovered. They are considered to be overall a peaceloving race.

74. Houses never opened towards the main roads. They opened towards the galis. Exception is houses found in Lothal.

75. The Indus Valley Civilization was probably ruled by the merchant class.

76. Mostly all cities had a citadel or Acropolise. It stood on a high mound, was called upper city and was fortified. Chanhudaro had no citadel.

77. The greatest work of art, of Indus Valley Civilization are the seals. They were mostly rectangular or square and were made from “steatite”.

78. The crossing point of the First street and East street of Mohenjodaro has been named Oxford Circus.

79. The various minerals (metals) used by Indus Valley Civilization people and their sources are: Silver from Afghanistan and Iran and Iraq; Lead from Kashmir, Rajasthan, etc.; Gold from Karnataka; Copper from Rajasthan; Lapis Lazuli from Afghanistan. Iron was not known to Indus Valley Civilization people.

80. Though pottery has been discovered, no potter’s wheel has been found (probably because it was wooden and hence perished).

81. The first mention of the possibility of the Harappan civilization was made as early as 1826, by Charles Masen.

82. “Sindon” is the Greek word for cotton and it was grown earliest in the Indus Valley Civilization period only.

83. The Mesopotamian king, whose date is known with certainty (2,350 B.C.), who claimed that ships from Indus Valley Civilization traded with him was King Sargon of Akkad.

84. In Dholavira (Rann of Kutch, Gujarat) Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has found elaborate stone gateways with rounded columns, apart from giant reservoirs for water. A board inlaid with large Harappan script characters—probably the world’s first hoarding— was also found here.

85. In recent times, archaeologists have excavated r are in the process of  digging up 90 other sites, both in India and Pakistan, that are throwing up remarkable clues about this great prehistoric civilisation. Among them are: Indus Valley was probably the largest prehistoric urban civilisation. The empire was ruled much like a democracy and the Indus people were the world’s top exporters. And, instead of the Aryans it was possibly a massive earthquake that did them in.

86. As per latest estimates, Indus Valley Civilization encompassed a staggering 1.5 million sq km—an area larger than Western Europe. In size, it dwarfed contemporary civilisations in the Nile Valley in Egypt and in the Tigris and Euphrates valleys in Sumer (modern Iraq). Its geographical boundaries are now believed to extend up to the Iranian border on the west, Turkmenistan and Kashmir in the north, Delhi in the east and the Godavari Valley in the south.

87. While Mohenjodaro and Harappa are rightly regarded as principal cities of Indus Valley Civilization, there were several others, such as Rakhigarhi in Haryana and Ganweriwala in Pakistan’s Punjab province, that match them both in size and importance.

88. Along with the Etruscan of Italy, the Indus Valley script is the last script of the Bronze Age that is yet to be deciphered. So far no such bilingual artefact has been found that could help break the Indus writing code.

89. The Indus Valley civilization’s inscriptions are usually short, made up of 26 characters written usually in one line. The script, largely glyptic in content, has around 419 signs. The writing system is believed to be based on syllables. The Indus people also wrote from right to left, as is manifest by the strokes.

90. The excavation of Lothal, an Indus port town located off the Gujarat coast, shattered notions that the Civilization was landlocked and isolated. A 700 ft long dock—-even bigger than the one’s in many present day ports—has been discovered. It took an estimated million bricks to build. Hundreds of seals were found, some showing Persian Gulf origin, indicating that Lothal was a major port of exit and entry.

91. A lapis lazuli bead factory, discovered in Shortugai in Afghanistan, is believed to have been a major supplier to Harappan traders.

92. Harappans are credited with being the earliest growers of rice and cotton.

93. Outside the Indus system a few sites occur on the Makran Coast (Pakistan- Iran border), the westernmost of which is at Sutkagen Dor, near the modern frontier with Iran. These sites were probably ports or trading posts, supporting the sea trade with the Persian Gulf, and were established in what otherwise remained a argely separate cultural  region. The uplands of Baluchistan, while showing clear evidence of trade and contact with the Indus Civilization, appear to have remained outside the direct Harappan rule.

94. East of the Indus system, toward the north, a number of sites occur right up to the edge of the Himalayan foothills, where at Alamgirpur, east of Delhi, the easternmost Harappan (or perhaps late Harappan) settlement has been discovered and partly excavated.

95. Besides Mohenjodaro and Harrapa, other major sites excavated include Dholavira and Surkotada in the Rann of Kach; Nausharo Firoz in Baluchistan; Shortughai in northern Afghanistan; Amri, Chanhu-daro, and Judeirjodaro in Sindh (Pakistan); and Sandhanawala in Bahawalpur (Pakistan).

96. Of all the Indus Valley Civilization sites, Harappa, Mohenjo-daro, Kalibangan and Lothal have been most extensively excavated.

97. At major three sites excavated, the citadel mound is on a north-south axis and about twice as long as it is broad. The lower city is laid out in a grid pattern of streets; at Kalibangan these were of regularly controlled widths, with the major streets running through, while the minor lanes were sometimes offset, creating different sizes of blocks. At all three sites the citadel was protected by a massive, defensive wall of brick, which at Kalibangan was strengthened at intervals by square or rectangular bastions. In all three cases the city was situated near a river, although in modern times the rivers have deserted their former courses.

98. The most common building material at every site was brick, but the proportions of burned brick to unburned mud brick vary. Mohenjo-daro employs burned brick, perhaps because timber was more readily available, while mud brick was reserved for fillings and mass work. Kalibangan, on the other hand, reserved burned brick for bathrooms, wells, and drains. Most of the domestic architecture at Kalibangan was in mud brick.

99. The bathrooms of houses made during the time were usually indicated by the fine quality of the brickwork in the floor and by waste drains.

100. There is surprisingly little evidence of public places of worship, although at Mohenjo-daro a number of possible temples were unearthed in the lower city, and other buildings of a ritual character were reported in the citadel.

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