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Harappa Civilization – A mystery yet to be unfold

The Indus Valley Civilization (2500-1600 BCE), as it is called, was the earliest known urban culture of the Indian subcontinent which was the most fascinating yet mysterious cultures of the ancient world. This culture existed along the Indus River in present day Pakistan, western India and Afghanistan, which is equivalent to the size of Western Europe.

It was one of the largest of the four ancient civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, India and China. But it is poorly understood because its writing system remains to be deciphered. Among the Indus civilization’s mysteries are essential questions, including its means of existence and the causes for its sudden extinction beginning around 1900 BCE.

The Harappa civilization got its name from the city of Harappa, which it was centred around. Harappa and the city of Mohenjo-Daro were the greatest accomplishments of the Indus valley civilization. They were the two biggest twin cities and had similar planning, layout and technique in construction. The Mohenjo-Daro city could be divided into three parts-the Citadel, the lower town arid the small huts on the outskirts of the city. A hundred or little more other towns and villages also existed in this region. The Harappa people were literate, and spoke the Dravidian language. A small part of this language has been deciphered till today, leaving various questions about this civilization yet to be answered.

Artefacts and clues discovered at Mohenjo-Daro made it possible for archaeologists to reconstruct this civilization. The similarities in architecture of Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa indicate that they served as capitals of their provinces. The burials which were found in these cities are not magnificent; which implies that they were more simplistic. This fact suggests that this civilization did not have social classes. The remains of palaces or temples in the cities have not been found as yet. There is no solid evidence which indicate any military activity; it is likely that the Harappa were a peaceful civilization. The Harappa people used bronze and copper knives, arrowheads and spears for their defence.

The cities of the Harappa civilization covered an enormous amount of territory, which made trade between different cities and villages crucial. A wide variety of traded and localized high quality goods were found throughout Harappa settlements .The arts practiced were highly time consuming and specialized. There are a few evidences which suggest that certain artefacts were associated with a possible social caste system. The development of technology and the arts of Harappa reached its height by 2000 BC. For decorations, Harappa people used Copper pieces, seals, metalwork and beadwork. Depictions of animals or religious ceremonies were found on the scenes of the artefacts.

These people achieved great accuracy in measuring mass, length, and time. They were first to develop a system of uniform weights and measure, and their measurements were extremely accurate. The engineers of this civilization followed the decimal division of measurement for all practical purposes, even including the measurement of mass as revealed by their hexahedron weights. The Harappa people even had knowledge of medicine and dentistry.

Harappa people dressed in colourful robes. Harappa Women wore jewellery of gold and precious stone, and even wore lipstick. A beautiful small bronze statue of a dancer was found at the excavations sights, which indicates that Harappa people enjoyed dance and had great skill working with metals. Different sculptures, pottery, gold jewellery, seals, and anatomically detailed figurines in terracotta, bronze and steatite have also been found.


The primary occupation of Harappa Civilization was Agriculture. There is some evidence which suggests the cultivation of wheat, barley, peas, mustard, cotton and rice. Horse bones have also been discovered, indicating use of the animal.

The economy of Indus civilization appears to have depended considerably on trade, which made possible major advances in transport technology. These advances in transport technology included bullock-driven carts as well as boats. The various discovered artefacts suggest that they had trade networks which were economically integrated a huge area, including portions of Afghanistan, the coastal regions of Persia, northern and central India, and Mesopotamia. Evidence of maritime trade also exists between Harappa and Mesopotamian Civilization, with much commerce being handled by middlemen merchants from Dilmun (located in the Persian Gulf).

Around 2500BCE, the Harappa civilization experienced its pinnacle and began to decline about 2000 BCE. Though the causes of its downfall are yet to be discovered, one theory suggests that the Aryan people migrated into this area. The presence of Aryan religious texts and human remains in Mohenjo-Daro suggest that the Aryans may have violently entered the area, killing its inhabitants and burning the cities. This theory is increasingly disputed and can not be a reliable assumption though.

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