Indus Valley Civilization Legacy High School – Fall 2011
Indus Valley Civilization • 3500 -1900 BC • Located in Pakistan and northwest India around the Indus River Valley • Spread over an area of over 1.25 million km • the largest ancient civilization • a population of over five million
Geographic Factors • Geographically isolated • Protected from invasion: • North: Mountains ranges (Himalayas) • South: Indian Ocean • East: Bay of Bengal • West: Arabian Sea • Khyber Pass: only entry point from the west, leaving India vulnerable http://www.mitchellteachers.org/WorldHistory/IndiaUnit/PredictingAreasofSettlementinIndiaActivity.html
Early settlements develop in Indus Valley • 6500 BC: early settlements began as small village farms and camps where domesticated animals grazed • 5000 BC: trade networks connected these communities • 3500 BC: small cities appeared when high walls were built around larger settlements (First phase of the Indus Valley Civilization) • 2600 BC: Planned cities were constructed on a gridplan of brick-paved streets with complex roadside drainage systems and multi-storied buildings
Cities and the Environment • Cities are the main feature of all civilizations • The first cities of Ancient India emerged after farmers began cultivating fertile land along the Indus River Valley. They produced a surplus (extra food). That surplus allowed populations to grow and small villages grew into cities. • Flood waters spread silt (fertile soil) across the valley, renewing the soil and keeping it fertile. • The rivers also provided ample water for irrigation and drinking water for livestock. • Farmers controlled and supplemented flooding by digging canals and irrigation ditches • the Indus river does not flood regularly
Farmers still grow crops in fields at the edge of the desert using water from the Indus River.
The Monsoon • Hot seasonal winds that blow over India • June – October • Blow south-west drawing rain absorbed from the Indian Ocean • Essential for farming throughout India
Monsoon Creation • Hot air rises over the land, drawing cool, damp air from the ocean. • The moisture condenses as heavy rain. • The Himalayas form a barrier that forces the warm air to drop its moisture over southern Asia.
Winter Monsoon • In the winter, the air cools rapidly and the Indian Ocean remains warm. • The warm water heats the air over the oceans, forcing the air to rise. Cool, dry air is then drawn from the Himalayas • Indian winters are extremely dry
Sea Travel • The people of the Indus valley had access to the Arabian Sea • Sea travel was determined by the monsoon winds. • The winter monsoon aided travel towards the Red Sea. • The Summer monsoon provided wind power for the return journey.
The coastal city of Lothal may have looked like this . It had a dockyard for ships, and large warehouse for goods.
Major Cities • Harappa and Mohenjo Daro • Paved streets arranged on a grid pattern • surrounded by high walls • buildings made of fired brick wells • residential and commercial neighborhoods • sewers
Mohenjo Daro • Mohenjo Daro, or "Mound of the Dead“ • 2600 and 1900 BCE. • Population of 35,000
Sewers and Indoor Plumbing Open sewer Main sewage drain Indoor toilet
Indus Valley Writing • Writing is one of the features of civilization • Indus Valley writing used at least 400 pictograms • We cannot read their writing • No known Indus Valley books • No known laws • No known stories or poetry
Government • Because we cannot translate early Indian writings we do not know how Indus valley cities were governed. We do know: • Only a strong government could have built planned, efficient cities • No organized military • Leaders governed through control of religion and trade • Centralized and local authorities
People • The Indus Valley people were Dravidians • Some people were farmers or herders • Others were merchants • Some people were artisans (craftsmen) • The merchants may have been the most powerful
Trade • Trade networks brought raw materials and manufactured goods to Indus cities. • Indus Valley goods were also shipped as far as Mesopotamia. • Accurate system of weights and measures
Seals – Symbols of Power • These square stone seals with writing and pictures of animals were symbols of power • Rulers carried these seals to show their status • Each Animal represented a different social class
Religion • Polytheistic (gods similar to Hindu gods) • bathing ceremonies (similar to Hindu rituals) • Cremated the dead and buried the ashes (similar to Hindu funerals) • no known temples
The Great Bath at Mohenjo Daro • 12 meters long and 7 meters wide. 2.4 meters at its deepest point. Most likely used for ritual bathing.
Artifacts • If we can’t understand Indus writing how do we know about Indus Valley Civilization? • Archeology: the study of the material remains of human societies. • Archeologists study artifacts, objects made by human beings (tools, weapons, pottery, clothing, and jewelry)
Indus Valley Art • The Indus Valley civilization left no temples or tombs like the Pyramids of Egypt, and no large statues of kings or gods. Indus Valley people did make small figures of people and animals using metal and clay. Only a few small statues survive. The most famous are • the Priest-King • The Dancer
The Priest King • Archaeologists once named this sculpture the 'Priest-King'. They thought that the sculpture may have been of a ruler who was an important man or priest. • He is wearing a headband. Gold headbands like this have been found in Mohenjo-Daro. This band has a circular ornament. There is a similar band on his right arm.
Religion • His upper lip is shaved and his beard is combed. • His eyes are deeply cut into the stone. Some archaeologists think there may have been carved shell set into them. • The sculpture is very small - only 18 centimeters tall. It is made of fired steatite. • The back of his head is flat. It may have had a carving of hair tied up in a knot or a headdress attached to it. The ends of the headband fall down his back. • He is wearing a cloak decorated with three-leafed design. The leaves were once colored red.
Decline of Indus Civilization • 1900 BC: the cities of the Indus Valley begin to decline. • building construction changed • crafts were not made as well as before • 1700 BC: Mohenjo-daro was abandoned • Why?: • Scarce natural resources? • Attacked by foreign invaders? • Disease?
Movement of Aryan groups into India • 1750 BC: tribes of people from the north known as Aryans entered India and began to settle in small communities • They later conquered neighboring settlements and drove the Dravidians south • The Aryans originally came from Persia (Iran) • They brought with them a new religion. It was adopted in many of the areas in which they settled and became the basis of later Hindu religion.