The Harrapan Civilization
The Harrapan Civilization The Indus Valley, or Harrapan, civilization was discovered in 1920-21 when engraved seals were discovered near present-day Sahiwal in Pakistani Punjab at a place called Harappa. Excavations ...
Description : Harappa Culture of the Indus Valley The Harappa civilization flourished in the Indus Valley during India+s Bronze Age of Body of Essay : Harappa Culture of the Indus Valley The Harappa civilization flourished in the Indus Valley during India+s Bronze Age of the third millennium b.c. This thriving culture was all but completely descimated in 2500 b.c. by invading Aryan groups from the west. The archaeological evidence that has been produced by the famous sites of Harappa and Mohenjo-daro suggest that the people of the Harappa Culture may have in fact, contributed more substantially to modern Hindu culture than was previously believed.The Harappa Culture of the Indus valley saw it+s peak during the Bronze Age of India. It stretched from it+s northern capital, Harappa, in the Punjab, to the southern city, Mohenjo-daro, on the Indus in Sind (Piggott, 134). These two sites together comprise the most well known and best excavated representatives of Bronze Age Harappan culture. However, it should be noted that in addition to these two famous sites, there are fourteen smaller villages in Harappa+s +Northern Kingdom+, and seventeen smaller sites in Mohenjo-daro+s +Southern Kingdom+;together, these sites comprise the remains of the once extensive Harappan culture (Piggott, 136). Both main sites have certain striking features in common ;in particular, both are, or were, located on the banks of major rivers -- Harappa on the Ravi, and Mohenjo-daro on the Indus. Additionally, the plan and lay-out of the two cities is quite similar, consisting of: +an irregular series of mounds toward the east and a recognizably higher and more compact mound placed more or less centrally and on the edge of the site[s] to the west,+ (Piggott,159). These mounds are now recognized as the remnants of fortified citadels in which stood +certain buildings of peculiar plan defended by a battered wall of baked bricks... with towers and great gateways,+ (Piggott,159). Unfortunately the majority of the evidence at Harappa has been destroyed by +brick-robbers+ and has been rendered largely incoherent. Luckily, Mohenjo-daro has been better preserved and we can turn to it as a model in interpreting Harappa.At Mohenjo-daro, one of the most striking features is the presence of a remarkable complex of buildings centering on a great bath, +built of very fine brickwork,+ nearly 40 by 24 feet across, and eight feet deep. Around this central bath was a cloister, and small +changing-rooms+ on three sides (Piggott, 163). If one considers the +tank+ ancillary to every Hindu temple of the middle-ages, the Great Bath can easily be seen as a sacred site. Also present at Mohenjo-daro were two other outstanding architectural features: the Collegiate Building and the Pillared Hall. The Collegiate Building was a large building measuring 230 by 78 feet,with an arrangement of rooms suggesting a +college+ of some sort, and a cloistered court resembling that which surrounded the Great Bath. The Pillared Hall was located to the south of these buildings, and although much altered since it+s original erection, it apparently once consisted of a +nearly square hall about 80 feet each way, with a roof supported on twenty rectangular brickwork pillars,+ (Piggott,164). These buildings have led archaeologists to conclude that Mohenjo-daro was once +a centre of religious or administrative life on a significant scale,+ (Piggott,164). The buildings of Mohenjo-daro followed normal +oriental custom+ of the time, with the outside walls of the houses being as featureless as possible, save the presence of doorways (Malik, 83). Most of the buildings were either shops, houses, or a combination of both. The houses seem to have been built around a central courtyard, and on two or three sides were grouped rooms of varying sizes -- including bathrooms (Piggott, 168). The bath probably would have been taken by pouring water over the body from a large jar, as it is still done in many parts of India. In addition to the presence of bathrooms, beneath the city was an elaborate drainage system to which access was gained through brick man-hole covers (Piggott, 168). This entire system shows a concern for sanitation unparalleled in the Bronze Age, or even modern Asia. The water supply for both cities was obtained from brick-lined wells, some of which served private homes, but others were meant for public use, serving the purpose of the water stall, or piau, of modern India (Piggott,177). Around these wells numerous fragments of little, mass-produced, clay cups have been found (Malik,97). This evidence suggests that, as in modern Hinduism, there may have been a taboo against drinking from the same cup twice.Toward the north of the Mohenjo-daro site, behind the area known as the +workers quarters+, a collection of grain mortars were found. These +orderly rows of circular working floors carefully built of baked brick, .... , and originally containing at the center a massive wooden mortar sunk in the ground, in which grain could be pounded to flour with long heavy pestles ... [are] still employed in Bengal and Kashmir,+ (Piggott, 179). Within the walls of the two cities, evidence of commerce has been found in the form of small, cuboid weights made of chert (Piggott, 181). The weights run in a unit ratio of sixteen ;+this use of the multiple of sixteen is interesting and curious, as the number had a traditional importance in early Indian numerology ... [and] in the modern coinage of sixteen annas to one rupee,+ (Piggott,181).Along with commerce came the need for a writing system. Essentially, the Harappa script was a pictographic one, +recalling the formality of Egyptian hieroglyphics,+ (Piggott,179). Like Hebrew, the language was probably read from right to left, and when a second line of characters was present, the boustrophedon practice was likely to have been followed (Piggott,180). While the idea of writing may have come from the Mesopotamians, the Harappa style of script is unique in most respects. However, the spoken language of the Harappan Culture will likely remain a mystery. The presence of a +Dravidian type of language in Baluchistan ... has given rise to the supposition that the Harappa language also belonged to this group,+ (Piggott,181).The majority of the examples of script have survived on the stamp-seals engraved with various representations of animals, gods, and humans (Piggott, 178). This type of seal (like a signet ring) was very common all over bronze age West Asia ;with examples being found in Syria as early as Halaf times, and similar seals appearing in the +Tal-i-Bakun A phase in Southern Persia (Piggott, 184). The Sumerian cylinder-seal is, however, practically absent from the Harappa sites. The fact that Haraappa is characterized by stamp-seals and not cylinder-seals +should indicate that its eventual antecedents are likely to have been from Persia+(Piggott,185).For the most part, the pottery of the Harappa culture was plain, having been mass-produced for utilitarian reasons (Piggott, 1191). The most common type of decorated pottery was a black-on-red ware, suggesting ties with North Baluchistan (Piggott, 192). The surface of this pottery type was almost always dull (with the exception of two pieces), with the lines of the design being flush with the surface of the piece (Malik, 13). A less common polychromatic ware, which employed the use of green, red, black, and occasionally yellow pigments was less commonly found at the sites (Sankalia,1978 ;13). It should be
. EssayMania.com. Retrieved on 09 Dec, 2013 from