Complete Guide of Indus Valley Civilization

The Indus Valley civilization extends from modern-day northeast Afghanistan to Pakistan and a major part of northwest India. 

During the discovery of this civilization, numerous metals like copper and tin were discovered. So, the Bronze Age also began around 3300 BC with the start of civilization. The first city discovered was the Harappan City, so the other name for this civilization is Harappan Civilization.

Later the Bronze age changed to Iron Age, where numerous Iron materials were made and created. The phase was known as the Late Harappan Culture, which was during 1900 – 1400 BC. 

Along with the discovery of this civilization came an extended amount of queries and facts. Out of which, the most frequently asked questions along with the facts are mentioned here.

What was the Indus Valley civilization known for?

Indus Valley was well-known for its efficient level in engineering and architecture which included uniformity in the size of baked bricks and their measuring weights.

Besides this, urban planning was a next-level architectural skill. All the houses and buildings were built with equal-sized bricks which were waterproof. 

Every home had a proper system for sanitation where they had the outflow of the drainage system connected from each house to the streets system. The drainage system was covered with a thick lid and a chamber.

Despite the mass population of this civilization, there was no chaos on the streets and markets. All roads were built thoughtfully, with proper space for market area and for people to walk.

Apart from this, Indus Valley civilization is also known for discovering Bronze ( Copper + Tin ), ruler, script, pottery, stepwell, and seal carving.

Who discovered Indus Valley civilization?

Harppa Indus Valley Civilization
The Excavation of Harppa by John Hubert Marshal Rai Bahadur Daya Ram Sahni and Madho Sarup Vats

Indus Valley Civilization was discovered in parts, firstly the discovery of the Harappa City was made.

The initial excavation was led by Sir John Hubert Marshal along with Rai Bahadur Daya Ram Sahni and Madho Sarup Vats. These three skilled researchers were able to discover their first city known as Harappa City in 1921- 22.

The process of discovery continued until 1922 when another city known as Mohenjo – Daro was discovered.

The development was made by Rakhal Das Banerjee, an officer of the Archaeological Survey of India, along with Ernest John Henry MacKay. They were researching under the direction of Sir John Marshall.

Where is Indus Valley civilization located?

Indus Valley Civilization

Indus Valley Civilization was located in the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent. The areas are Pakistan and northwest India today. 

Most of the settlements of this civilization were found in the plain lands of the Indus River and Saraswati River.

The whole population was spread over almost every part of India including Baluchistan, Sindh, Punjab, Harayana, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu, Gujarat, and Maharastra.

Apart from this, civilization was also widespread, according to some famous sites. Some of the well-known sites include Kot Diji, Gumla, Lothal, and Mehgarh.

How advanced were the civilizations of the Indus Valley?

Cooking-method-indus-valley-civilization
Cooking techniques found in Indus Valley Civilization during excavation.
Source: Wikimedia Common

Indus Valley Civilization is one of the most advanced civilizations of its age. It was able to develop technologies and art crafts which were considered advanced compared to its contemporary civilizations.

Some of the inventions of this civilization which led it to fall under the category of most advanced civilization include sanitation, metallurgy, maths, art crafts, and script.

Besides the inventions, the systematized town planning. Where, the whole Harappan City was divided into two parts – the upper and the lower.

The houses on the upper part were built in heights and were the Citadel which was capable of protecting the buildings during any mishaps. The houses belonged to public offices, religious places, and workshops.

The houses on the lower part were for the people to live where they functioned their daily lives by working and doing some agricultural works.

Where did Harappans go? 

The Indus Valley Civilization collapsed in a very mysterious manner without leaving any piece of evidence behind.

Though the whole of the civilization collapsed, it did not take the lives of the people living there. Some people migrated to other places in search of better lives. 

For instance, people migrated towards Gangetic Valley, Magadha, and Syria to find security and comfort. It is believed that some people of the Indus Valley Civilization lived in Syria as the rulers of Mitanni Empire.

Whereas, the majority of the population stayed back and settled in Indus Valley. The phase after the decline of civilization was known as Later Harappan Civilization.

What were some achievements of the Indus Valley civilization?

The Indus Valley Civilization remains famous since its time of discovery for being advance in comparison to its contemporaries and having numerous praiseworthy inventions.

The inventions included uniform standardized weights, skilled seal carving, urban planning, drainage system, metallurgy with precious metals, baked bricks, Indus script, ornamental button with seashell, and step wells. 

However, the most significant achievements of this civilization are the discovery of the two major cities: Mohenjo -Daro and Harappa City. Apart from this, there are numerous other achievements which include innovation and inventions of the greatest.

What is a religion in Indus Valley Civilization? 

Formation of Religious Practices in the Indus Valley

The development of religion in Indus Valley Civilization began around 5500 BCE. Before that, people used to worship statues, symbols, and trees according to their beliefs.

After the proper development and categorization of the religion, there were a total of three main religions followed in this civilization. They were Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.

Out of all three, the religion developed first was Hinduism. Majority of the people living in this valley worshipped father god and mother goddess. The main god worshipped by these people was Lord Shiva, also known as Pashupati.

Besides god and goddess, the symbol considered sacred was the Swastika. It was a symbol resembling the Sun and was primarily worshipped by the Hindu people. With time, the people following Buddhism also started worshipping it.

What language was spoken in Indus Valley Civilization?

Indus Script being written on a stone

People of Indus Valley Civilization belonged to ancient Tamil group and the language spoken was ancient Tamil. It is also known as Dravidian Language.

The family of Dravidian Languages include Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, and Kannada. It was the third most common language spoken by the people of India. 

Dravidian was originated from Zarzian during the migration from the Zagros Mountains to Turkmenistan around 1300 BC. 

Besides India, this language was also spoken in various other countries including Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan. 

What did the Indus Valley trade?

The civilization of Indus Valley was considered as an advanced civilization due to its inventions and creativities.

Along with the inventions, civilization was advanced in the aspect of the trade. Major products traded in this valley include arts crafts, pottery, agricultural products, seals, and buttons.

The seals invented were of massive importance as they had the images of animals and religious personalities depicted on them. One of the most famous seals was the seal numbered 420 for representing the image of Pashupati ( Lord Shiva ). 

Besides seals, another significant product was pottery which had many symbols, images, and script crafted in it. 

The trade was made mostly in the barter trade system, as there was no existence of paper money during this period. Later barter trade was changed to monetary business.

Why was Mohenjo Daro called Mound of the Dead?

Mohenjo -Daro flourished for about 700 years since 2600 BCE to 1900 BCE as one of the most famous cities of Indus Valley Civilization. It is known as ‘ Mound of the Dead ‘ since 1922, which is almost a year after discovering the first city – Harappa. 

The name was not given by an expert instead by locals living there after seeing mound formed out of remains.

After the decline of Indus civilization, the remains and ruins started burying under the ground. The remains then went on piling up and formed a mound.

Who did Indus Valley Civilization trade with?

Indus Valley Civilization had numerous products to trade. Most of the trades were made with the Barter Trade System until the evolution of commercial business.

The trades were done for the inventions like carved seals, pottery, and metallurgy. Majority of the trade was made with the foreign lands rather than internally.

The country for trade was decided according to the products that were undergoing through trade. For instance, minerals were mostly traded with two major countries: Iran and Afghanistan.

Likewise, metals like Lead and Copper were exported from India to foreign lands, whereas Jade was imported from China and Cedarwood. They used the river routes of Ravi, Sutlej, and Indus to complete the trade.

Apart from this, numerous other products were traded by riverboat or ox- craft from Mohenjo – Daro to the coastal regions of Mesopotamia. The trade was made using the sea route of the southern ports on the Arabian Sea.

How did Indus Valley  Civilization decline?

The declination of Indus Valley began since 1900 BCE. With the declination came various logics and beliefs behind it.

Many scholars believed the reason for the declination of this valley to be the drastic change in the climate. Whereas some scholars considered due to the drying of the Saraswati River people started migrating towards other places, and the civilization began the decline.

Apart from this, some believed that civilization declined during a massive flood struck in the valley and collapsed everything.

However, the primary reason that came up in later days was the migration of Indo – Aryans into the valley. With the invasion of Aryans, trade and other products were taken over by the migrated ones who ultimately led to the decline of the civilization.

Related: Indus valley civilization Timeline

Conclusion:

Being one of the earliest urban civilization in history and inventing numerous praiseworthy things, Indus Valley Civilization remains as the most innovative civilizations to date.

Also, the mysterious decline of the civilization and script developed in the valley make this civilization an interesting one to research.

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Cite this article as: Richard Marrison, "Complete Guide of Indus Valley Civilization," in HistoryTen, October 21, 2020, https://historyten.com/indus-valley/indus-valley-civilization/.
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