Did the Indus Valley hold some large ancient cities?


       Did you know that some of the cities of the Indus Valley had between 35,000 and 40,000 people living in them? Some of these cities were as big as some modern cities!



       The most important cities were Harappa, Mohenjo-daro, Chanhudaro, Kalibangan, Banawali, Lothal, Dholavira, Sutkagendor and Surkotada. The cities of the Indus Valley Civilization were well planned and solidly built of brick and stone. They had drainage systems, wells and water storage systems, as well as systems for weights and trade. The people made jewellery and toys for their children, and even developed a system of writing, which we unfortunately have not been able to decipher until today.



Picture Credit : Google



 

Where are the sites of great civilizations hidden?


       Do you know that large mounds sometimes have ancient cities hidden underneath them? In fact, the Indus Valley Civilization was discovered when an archaeologist, R.D. Bannerjee, visited Mohenjo-daro and saw a large mound. He thought there might be something underneath, and started digging. As the mud was gradually removed, an entire city was revealed!



       How was this city covered with mud? When an ancient city began to decline, people left it, and moved elsewhere.



       After hundreds of years, the abandoned buildings crumbled and broke down. The wind blew mud and sand over them, and when rain fell, the mud stuck to the buildings. In this way, the whole city was covered in mud, and as more and more mud and sand were deposited by the wind, a mound was formed. Harappa and the other cities of the Indus Valley Civilization were discovered when such mounds were excavated, or dug up.



Picture Credit : Google



 

What is the Indus Valley Civilization? Where did it flourish?


       The Indus Valley Civilization existed around five thousand years ago on the plains of the Indus River. It flourished in the Bronze Age. From about 2600 B.C. to 1700 BC, a vast number of settlements were built on the banks of the Indus River and the surrounding areas.



       These settlements cover a remarkable region, almost 1.3 million square kilometres of land, which is today part of Afghanistan, Pakistan and northwestern India. The Indus Valley Civilization was a great city civilization. In a city civilization, most of the people live in cities. They were artisans and traders, soldiers and administrators. Of course, there were also people living in villages who cultivated the land and raised cattle. The people in the cities got their grain and food from these villages. We must remember though, that the city civilization of the Indus valley developed from the village life of an earlier period. When the villages became too big, they needed a strong administration. They also began to produce excess grain, so that the people could devote themselves to other activities besides farming. This led to the growth of cities and city civilizations like that of the Indus Valley.



Picture Credit : Google



 

Are there other Neolithic sites in India?


       In addition to Mehrgarh, other famous Neolithic sites in India are in Kashmir and eastern Rajasthan. There were also settlements in the Indus Delta including Punjab and Haryana, Amri, Kot Diji, Rehman Dheri,  Kalibangan and Banawali.



       Burzahom was the first Neolithic site to be discovered in Kashmir. Burzahom means ‘place of birch’ in Kashmiri. This is because there are many birch trees in the area. There is something unusual about the earliest Neolithic homes at Burzahom. They were below ground level. The people dug pits into the ground with the help of stone tools. They plastered the sides of the pits with mud. Living in these pits was a way in which the early Neolithic people of Burzahom tried to keep snug and warm in the bitterly cold winter. After the discovery and excavation of Burzahom, many other Neolithic sites were discovered in Kashmir at places such as Begagund, Gofkral, Hariparigom, Olchibag, Pampur, Panzgom, Sombur Waztal, and Brah. The types of houses and tools at these sites are similar to those of Burzahom. This shows us that the Neolithic cultures in different parts of our country had their own special features.



Picture Credit : Google



 

Why is Mehrgarh an important place in the Neolithic Age?


        Do you know when Man started farming for the first time? Mehrgarh finds a unique place in history because it was one of the earliest agricultural communities in the world. It was situated in Baluchistan, now in Pakistan, and is one of the earliest sites with evidence of farming. Wheat and barley were grown, and the farmers kept herds of cattle, sheep and goats. The people of Mehrgarh lived in brick houses, and stored their grain in granaries.



       They also learned to line their baskets with clay to make them waterproof. Mehrgarh was occupied from around 7000 BC. Pottery, dating back to around 5000 BC, was discovered there. Beautiful ornaments were also made from conch shells, lapis lazuli and turquoise beads. The first evidence of drilling a tooth on a living person was also discovered in Mehrgarh!



Picture Credit : Google