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05/28/2009
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documents in English
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term papers
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The Indus valley civilization

  1. Introduction
  2. Origins
  3. Early Harappan phase
    1. Harappan writing or symbol system
  4. Mature Harappan phase
    1. Urbanism
    2. Agriculture
    3. Trade & commerce
    4. Science & technology
    5. Domestic industries & crafts
    6. Arts & culture
    7. Religion
    8. Political structure
  5. Late Harappan phase
  6. Conclusion
  7. Bibliography

The Indus Valley Civilization, also known as the Ghaggar-Hakra civilization or the Harappan Civilization was one of the most ancient of world civilizations, a contemporary of the ancient Mesopotamian and Egyptian civilization. This civilization flourished between 2600 B.C.E. and 1900 B.C.E. in the Indus River Basin, spread over an area of 1,299,600 square kilometers primarily in modern day Pakistan and Northwestern parts of India, and extending to parts of Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, and Iran.The Indus Valley or the Harappan civilization, as interchangeably called, is remarkable for its seven centuries of unparalleled political stability and egalitarian society, centered on a high level of urban sophistication and prosperous trade and agriculture.

[...] The centuries of urban sophistication and stylistic homogeneity of this civilization was lost and the populace lived in villages sustaining in agriculture, stock raising, hunting, and fishing. Even the tradition of using burnt bricks to construct structures disappeared. The painted Harappan pottery continued to exist, but with less intricate designs. Lapis lazuli, carnelian beads and copper and bronze vessels became conspicuous by their absence, probably due to the breakdown of trade. Hoards of buried jewelry from such sites signal insecurity, and skulls huddled together in one place denote imminent danger and violence. [...]


[...] However, the large number of figurines excavated from the Indus valley suggests that they worshipped a Mother goddess symbolizing fertility, similar to their contemporary Egyptian civilization invoking the Nile goddess Isus. Many religious symbols and practices of later day Hinduism and Jainism find their origin in the Harappan civilization. Phallic symbols resembling the Hindu Siva lingam and seals showing the symbol swastika attests to this fact. One famous seal deciphered shows a figure seated in a posture reminiscent of the Lotus position and surrounded by a horned bull. [...]


[...] EARLY HARAPPAN PHASE The early Harappan phase of the Indus Valley civilization coincided with the early Bronze Age in the Indian subcontinent and lasted approximately between 3300 B.C.E and 2600 B.C.E. During this period, the civilization was in the process of establishment and had not yet taken its urban base. The village settlements of this phase were mainly concentrated in the banks of the River Ravi. The village communities of the early Harappans maintained active trade networks that linked this culture with other regional cultures and enabled sourcing from distant lands raw materials such as lapis lazuli and other materials for bead making. [...]

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