Ancient Indian History
The Indus Valley civilization, also named as the Harappa civilization, due to ‘Harappa’ being the first site to have been discovered, stands as one of the earliest civilization of the world, apart from those of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and china’s Shang civilisations.
A vast civilization in the North-west of India was archaeologically discovered in 1921-1922, what is now referred to as the Indus Valley civilization or the Harappa civilization. Harappa and Mohenjodaro were its two urban centers. These excavations were carried out by the then Director General of Archaeological Survey of India John Marshall and his colleague RD Bannerji.
Many other cities too came to be dug out gradually, by other excavators, namely-Roper (Chandigarh), Lothal (Ahmadabad), Kalibangan (Rajasthan), Kot Diji and Chanhundaro (Sind), Dholavira (Kutch, Gujarat), Banawali (Hisar, Haryana) and Sutkagen, Dor(Makran coast, Pakistan) etc.
The Harappa civilization is dated between 2600 and 1900 BCE and procured its name from Harappa the first site where the culture was discovered. There were both earlier and later cultures, termed as early Harappa and late Harappa, often existing in the very same area. The phase characterized by distinctive objects, for instance seals, beads, weights, stone blades and baked bricks etc has been termed as the Mature Harappa Culture, so to distinguish it from other cultures. This transition from the early Harappa to the mature Harappa can be witnessed to the core at Amri, where the beginning of the 3rd millennium BC saw the appearance of a distinctive culture complex to the south-East of Baluchistan.
This complex had people inhabiting in stone or mud brick houses and was marked by existence of granaries too. Animal motifs such as humped bulls were painted by them on thin pottery. A series of evolving stages gave way to what is now known as Harappa Civilisation. The Harappa civilization was one of the four earliest civilisations of the world, along with the civilization of Mesopotamia (between the rivers Tigris and Euphrates), Egyptian civilization on river Nile and the Shang Civilisation on river Hwang Ho. The Harappa civilization was a Bronze Age civilization.
The Geographical Extent
The Harappa culture was spread over Afghanistan, Sindh, Jammu, Baluchistan, and Northern Rajasthan, almost the whole of Punjab, Kathiawar and Gujarat. While Sutkagen Dor on the Makran coast of Pakistan represents its western boundary, Alamgirpur in Utter Pardesh represents its Eastern boundary, Manda in Jammu and Kashmir represents the Northern extreme and Daimabad in Maharashtra represents its Southern boundary.
The Harappa Ghaggar (Kalibangan)- Mohenjodaro axis is perceived to be representing the heartland of the Harappa civilization, with most of the Harappa settlements located in the region. The occupying of faraway places, for instance-Shortughai in north-Eastern Afghanistan or Sutkotada in Gujarat, by the Harappa can be seen as a result of the wide trade network and the economic independence of each Harappa region.
Many Sites in Sindh formed the central zone of the Pre Harappa Culture. This Pre-Harappa culture developed and matured into an urban civilization which emerged in Sindh and Punjab. The Central Zone of this mature Harappa Culture lay in Sindh and Punjab, mainly in the Indus Valley.
It is from here that it spread Southwards and Eastwards. In this way, the Harappa Culture covered the parts of Punjab, Haryana, Sindh, Baluchistan, Gujarat, Rajasthan and the fringes of western Utter Pradesh.
Nearly 1500 Harappa sites are known so far in the sub-continent. Most which of them are late Harappa e.g. Bhagwanpura lies on the bank of Ghagger-Hakra channel. They belong to the early, Mature and the late phase of Harappa culture.
But the Number of sites belonging to the mature phase is limited and only a few of them can be regarded as cities for instance, Harappa in Punjab and Mohenjodaro in Sindh, both forming parts of Pakistan and linked together by the river Indus. Chanhudaro (Sindh), Lothal (Gujarat), Kalibangan in Rajasthan and Banawali in Haryana were the other major cities. The later Harappa Phase is found in Rangpur and Rojdi in Gujarat.
In addition to these, Dholavira lying in the kutch area of Gujarat shows Harappa fortifications and seems to have witnessed all the three phase of Harappa culture.
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