Origin, Evolution and geographic spread of Indus civilization
Posted on : 30-01-2017

Introduction

In 1826, Charles Masson first described the ruins of Harappa but its significance was not realized until much later. In 1857, British authorities used the Harappan bricks for the construction of East Indian Railway line (connecting Lahore and Karachi). The discovery of Harappan seals with unknown symbols by J Fleet triggered an excavation campaign under Sir John Marshall in 1921.

Later archeologists like Wheeler and others dug out many more cities. The prominent ones among them are tabulated hereunder:

Civilization site Location
Ropar Chandigarh
Lothal Ahmedabad
Kalibangan Rajasthan
Kot diji, Chan hudaro Sindh
Dholavira Gujarat (Kutch)
Banawali Haryana (Hissar)
Suktagendor Pakistan

By 1931, much of the sites of Mohenjo-Daro were excavated and after the partition of British India, the areas of Indus valley were divided between Pakistan and India.

Origin and evolution

During the Neolithic age (between 5500 BC and 3500 BC) settlements like Mehargarh and Kill Ghul Muhammad came in Baluchistan and Indus plains. Beginning of pastoralism with limited cultivation and seasonal occupation of villages, permanent villages emerged gradually. These people also had knowledge of Wheat, Barley, dates, Cotton, Sheep Goat and other cattle. The evidence of mud houses, pottery and craft-production is also obtained from the excavated sites. Harappan civilization can be sub-divided into early, mature and late cultures depending on the objects used.

Early Harappan period: It dates between 3500 BC and 2600 BC. During this period, many settlements were established in the hill and plain areas. These people used copper, Wheel and plough. There are also evidences of granary, defensive walls and long distance trade during this period. There was uniformity in the pottery tradition throughout the civilization.

Mature Harappan period: It dates between 2600 BC and 1800 BC. During this period many large cities emerged with uniform type of bricks, weights, seals, beads and pottery. These cities were carefully planned. Long distance trade was also evident in these cities. The transition fro early to mature Harappa is best evidenced at Amri.

Late Harappan period: It dates between 1800 BC onwards. During this period many of the settlements and cities were abandoned. The craft and pottery tradition of the earlier period also continued.

As and when new sites are discovered the dating of the Harappan culture is modified. The following table gives the dating of Harappa as proposed by various archeologists.

Proposed date Advocated by
3500-2700 BC MV Vasta
3250-2750 BC Marshall & RK Mukerjee
2800-2500 BC E Makay
2800-2200 BC Pusalkar
2500-1500 BC Wheeler & Smith
2350-1750 BC C J Gaid
2300-1750 BC Dharampal Agarwal
2150-1750 BC Alvin
2000-1500 BC Fair Servis

Geographical extent of Indus civilization

The Harappan cultures were spread over Afghanistan, Sind, Baluchistan, Jammu, Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat. The climate of north-west India was moist and humid while that of Rajasthan were not desert as today. Most of the Harappan sites are located in the Ghaggar - Mohenjo-Daro axis. The following table gives the information about various Harappan sites.

Location Harappan Sites
Sind Mohenjo-Daro, Amri, Kot Diji, Sukkur, Rehman Dheri, Allahdino, Chanhudaro
Baluchistan Mehargarh, Nal, Kulli, Dabar Kot, Balakot, Killi Ghul Muhammad
Afghanistan Mundigak, Shortugai
West Punjab Harappa, Jalilpur, Ganeriwala
Gujarat Dholavira, Lothal, Surkotada, Rangpur, Desalpur,
Uttar Pradesh Alamgirpur
Haryana Banwali, Rakhi-garhi, Bagwanpura
Rajasthan Kalibangan
Jammu Manda
Maharashtra Daimabad

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