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Indian History

Centenary of Discovery of Harappan Civilization

  • 29 Sep 2020
  • 5 min read

Why in News

To mark the centenary of the discovery of the Harappan civilization at Mohenjo-Daro, the India Study Centre Trust in collaboration with the Directorate of Archaeology and Museums, Maharashtra, will organise a 10-day online lecture series from 5th October 2020.

  • The India Study Centre Trust has its core focus in the fields of archaeology, geology and biodiversity.

Key Points

  • Harappan civilization is also known as Indus Valley Civilization (IVC) for being situated on and around the banks of the Indus river.
  • It flourished around 2,500 BCE in the western part of South Asia, in contemporary Pakistan, western India and parts of Afghanistan.
  • It was home to the largest of the four ancient urban civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, India, and China.
  • In the 1920s, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) carried out excavations in the Indus valley wherein the ruins of the two old cities, viz. Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa were unearthed.
    • Both are major sites of IVC and are among the earliest and finest examples of urban civic planning.
    • The planned network of roads, houses and drainage systems indicate the planning and engineering skills that developed during those times.
  • In 1924, John Marshall, Director-General of the ASI, announced the discovery of a new civilisation in the Indus valley to the world.
  • A marked feature of this ancient civilization was the vivid imagination and artistic sensibilities exuded by the numerous sculptures, seals, potteries, pieces of jewellery found at the excavation sites.
  • It was a trade based civilization which had overseas trade links with Mesopotamia (region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system) attested by the discovery of Harappan seals there and Mesopotamian carnelian beads here.
  • IVC’s discovery is one of the most important and characteristic findings in the world because it brought the world’s attention to India and an interest in studying Indian culture, society and past.
  • The civilization declined around 1800 BCE but the actual reasons behind its demise are still debated.
    • Invasion by Aryans, decline due to natural causes, flooding because of a shift in river courses are among the major theories on its decline.
Important Sites of IVC
Site Excavated by Location Important Findings
Harappa Daya Ram Sahni in 1921 Bank of river Ravi in Montgomery district of Punjab (Pakistan)
  • Sandstone statues of Human anatomy
  • Granaries
  • Bullock carts
Mohenjo-Daro (Mound of Dead) R.D. Banerjee in 1922 Bank of river Indus in Larkana district of Punjab (Pakistan)
  • Great bath
  • Granary
  • Bronze dancing girl
  • Seal of Pasupathi
  • Steatite statue of beard man
  • A piece of woven cotton
Sutkagendor Stein in 1929 In southwestern Balochistan province, Pakistan on Dast river
  • A trade point between Harappa and Babylon
Chanhudaro N.G. Majumdar in 1931 Sindh on the Indus river
  • Bead makers shop
  • Footprint of a dog chasing a cat
Amri N.G. Majumdar in 1935 On the bank of Indus river
  • Antelope evidence
Kalibangan Ghose in 1953 Rajasthan on the bank of Ghaggar river
  • Fire altar
  • Camel’s bones
  • Wooden plough
Lothal R. Rao in 1953 Gujarat on Bhogva river near Gulf of Cambay
  • First manmade port
  • Dockyard
  • Rice husk
  • Fire altars
  • Chess-playing
Surkotada J.P. Joshi in 1964 Gujarat
  • Bones of horses
  • Beads
Banawali R.S. Bisht in 1974 Hisar district of Haryana
  • Beads
  • Barley
  • Evidence of both pre-Harappan and Harappan culture
Dholavira R.S Bisht in 1985 Gujarat in Rann of Kachchh
  • Water harnessing system
  • Water reservoir

Source: TH

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