One of the greatest urban civilizations of the world was the Indus Valley Civilization. This civilization flourished well in the vast river plains as well as adjacent regions of western India and Pakistan. Around 4600 years ago, the cities started integrating into an urbanized culture, extensively. From 2600 BC to 1900 BC, for seven centuries, this urban culture dominated the region.
Discoveries Made By Archeaologists
Archaeologists discovered a number of villages and cities of the Indus Valley buried in the 1920s. These buried villages and cities represented a civilization that was not discovered before.
As far as script used in the Indus Valley is concerned, it continues to remain un-deciphered till today. During the excavations various seals had been discovered besides the cities in ruins, pottery and statues. At places like Sumer, seals used during the Indus Civilization have also been dug up. With the help of these evidences the scholars have been able to construct an account that is reasonably plausible.
Agricultural development was not on large scale, and they did not clear away forests. They were confined to using stone and bronze equipment and not the heavy plough or canal irrigation.
The Indus civilization or the Harappan Culture developed at a time when the early cities states of Mesopotamia and Egypt had developed. Between the urban societies, cultural and economic contacts were maintained. However within respective social organizations, artistic styles, technologies and symbols, significant differences have been seen. This is because evolution of each of the civilizations came from different kinds of cultures. Roots of these cultures extended back to the Neolithic pastoral and cultural communities during those times.
The Spread Of Indus Civilization
The Indus Civilization spread over a vast geographical area namely from Afghanistan and Baluchistan’s high mountains to the coastal regions of Gujarat, Sindh and Makran. There were a number of large cities like Harappa, Mohenjo- daro, etc besides smaller towns that developed and grew up as ritual and administrative centers along main routes of trade. There is evidence available that this urban civilization had contact with cultures of surrounding regions of peninsular India, Central area and Arabian Gulf regions for the purpose of trade.
In India, the earliest traces of the Indus Civilization are found along and close to the River Indus. In 1921-1922, excavations were conducted for the first time. Mohenjodaro and Harappa, the two ancient cities are now in Pakistan. This civilization was a highly complex one. People of the Indus Valley were mainly like the Dravidians. When the Aryans arrived with military technology that was very advanced, they were pushed towards regions in southern India in 2000 BCE.
By seeing the layout of the great cities of Mohenjodaro and Harappa, one gets an idea that the planning of the town was fairly extensive and it was a kind of a centralized state. In construction of cities burnt bricks were used which is also seen in the construction of other cities located several hundred miles away from each other. A lot of regularity is also seen in the measures and weights used during that time between cities. Crops like cotton, barley, cotton, peas and sesame were harvested and animals were domesticated by people of the Indus Valley. People travelled across the seas. It can be seen that the civilization was mostly urban. People who were namely the merchants were also engaged in trading on an extensive scale.
Decline Of Indus Valley Civilization
No evidence of fire altars and possession of horses, elephants and bulls are seen in the Indus Civilization. Only stone and bronze equipments were mainly used. Agricultural activity did not develop extensively. Many questions about the civilization in the Indus Valley still remain unresolved. It did not spread beyond the Indus Valley considering how sophisticated this civilization was. It is believed that it was the arrival of Aryans in India that led to the decline of the Indus Valley Civilization.