Test Your Knowledge on the Indus Valley Civilization

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By jwblackwell



9 Questions

What was the earliest farming site of the Indus Valley?

What was the religion and belief system of the Indus Valley people?

What caused the decline of the Indus Valley Civilisation?

What was the largest number of sites for the Indus Valley Civilization?

What did the Indus Valley people use for irrigation?

What was the religion of the Cemetery H people?

What was the language of the Indus Valley people?

What was the purpose of the citadels in the Indus Valley cities?

What was the period of the Indus Valley Civilisation?


Bronze Age civilization in South Asia:

  • The Indus Valley Civilisation (IVC) was a Bronze Age civilization in the northwestern regions of South Asia, lasting from 3300 BCE to 1300 BCE.

  • The civilization spanned an area from much of Pakistan, to northeast Afghanistan, and northwestern India.

  • The cities of the ancient Indus were noted for their urban planning, baked brick houses, elaborate drainage systems, water supply systems, clusters of large non-residential buildings, and techniques of handicraft and metallurgy.

  • The civilization may have contained between one and five million individuals during its florescence.

  • The Harappan language is not directly attested, and its affiliations are uncertain.

  • The term "Harappan" is sometimes applied to the Indus civilization after its type site Harappa.

  • The largest number of sites are in the Punjab region, Gujarat, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir states, Sindh, and Balochistan.

  • The southernmost site of the Indus Valley Civilization is Daimabad in Maharashtra.

  • The first modern accounts of the ruins of the Indus civilization are those of Charles Masson, a deserter from the East India Company's army.

  • Archaeological work in Harappa lagged until a new viceroy of India, Lord Curzon, pushed through the Ancient Monuments Preservation Act 1904, and appointed John Marshall to lead the ASI.

  • After the partition of India in 1947, most excavated sites of the Indus Valley Civilization lay in territory awarded to Pakistan.

  • Unlike India, in which after 1947, the ASI attempted to "Indianise" archaeological work, in Pakistan the national imperative was the promotion of Islamic heritage.Indus Valley Civilisation: A Summary

  • The Indus Valley Civilisation was a full-fledged 'civilisation' characterised by social hierarchies, a writing system, large planned cities, and long-distance trade.

  • The civilisation lasted from c. 2600–1900 BCE, with the inclusion of the predecessor and successor cultures – Early Harappan and Late Harappan, respectively – and may be taken to have lasted from the 33rd to the 14th centuries BCE.

  • The Indus Valley Tradition also includes the pre-Harappan occupation of Mehrgarh, the earliest farming site of the Indus Valley.

  • Periodisations of the IVC include the Early, Mature, and Late Harappan Phase and the Regionalisation, Integration, and Localisation eras.

  • Mehrgarh is a Neolithic mountain site in the Balochistan province of Pakistan, which gave new insights into the emergence of the Indus Valley Civilisation.

  • The Early Harappan Ravi Phase lasted from c. 3300 BCE until 2800 BCE, and the Mature Harappan phase started around 2600 BCE.

  • The cities of the Indus Valley Civilisation were sophisticated and technologically advanced, with the world's first known urban sanitation systems and advanced architecture.

  • The citadels were walled, but their purpose remains debated. No conclusive evidence of palaces or temples has been found.

  • The Indus Valley people achieved great accuracy in measuring length, mass, and time and were among the first to develop a system of uniform weights and measures.

  • Many Indus Valley seals and items in pottery and terracotta have been found, along with a very few stone sculptures and some gold jewellery and bronze vessels.

  • Many crafts, including shell working, ceramics, and bead making, were practised, and the pieces were used in the making of necklaces, bangles, and other ornaments.

  • The majority of the cities were constructed in a highly uniform and well-planned grid pattern, suggesting they were planned by a central authority.

  • There are indications of complex decisions being taken and implemented, although archaeological records provide no immediate answers for a centre of power or for depictions of people in power in Harappan society.Indus Valley Civilization: Key Facts and Figures

  • The Indus Valley Civilization (IVC) existed from 3300 BCE to 1300 BCE, covering parts of modern-day India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

  • IVC cities were well-planned with public baths, granaries, and drainage systems. They practiced agriculture, animal husbandry, and traded with other civilizations.

  • Artifacts found at IVC sites include jewelry, pottery, and toiletries, some of which have counterparts in modern India.

  • The Lahore Museum initially held finds from Mohenjo-daro, but they were later split equally between India and Pakistan after the Partition of India.

  • Musical instruments, such as rattles, flutes, harps, and drums, were likely used during IVC times.

  • Realistic statuettes, such as the Dancing Girl and a male dancer, have been found at IVC sites and are considered the pinnacle of Indus art.

  • Steatite seals with short groups of signs have been recovered, and a figure sitting cross-legged on the Pashupati seal has been identified as a possible depiction of the Hindu god, Shiva.

  • Indus Valley Civilization had bullock carts and boats, and an extensive canal network was used for irrigation.

  • Indus Valley Civilization had trade networks that economically integrated a huge area, including portions of Afghanistan, Persia, northern and western India, and Mesopotamia.

  • Indus populations were the earliest people to use complex multi-cropping strategies across both seasons, growing foods such as rice, millets, wheat, barley, and pulses.

  • The Indus Valley Civilization had a dominance of meat diet of animals such as cattle, buffalo, goat, pig, and chicken, and remnants of dairy products were also discovered.

  • The Indus script is still undeciphered, but it is believed to have been a form of early Dravidian language. The script's pattern is closer to that of spoken words, supporting the hypothesis that it codes for an as-yet-unknown language.The Indus Valley Civilisation: Religion, Late Harappan Period, Aryan Migration, Climate Change, and Continuity

  • The Indus Valley Civilisation had a non-linguistic writing system that remains undeciphered, and attempts to decode it have been marked by ambiguity and subjectivity.

  • The religion and belief system of the Indus Valley people has been studied, but due to the sparsity of evidence, the conclusions are partly speculative and based on a retrospective view from a much later Hindu perspective.

  • The Late Harappan period marked a breakdown of urban networks and an expansion of rural ones, with multiple regional cultures emerging within the area of the Indus civilisation.

  • The largest Late Harappan sites were smaller and fewer in number compared to the Mature Harappan cities, and the period saw a diversification of the agricultural base.

  • The pottery of the Late Harappan period showed some continuity with mature Harappan pottery traditions but also distinctive differences, and there was a decline in long-distance trade.

  • The decline of the Indus civilisation saw an increase in inter-personal violence and in infectious diseases like leprosy and tuberculosis.

  • The introduction of new religious beliefs during the Late Harappan period is suggested by some of the designs painted on the funerary urns, but the archaeological evidence does not support the hypothesis that the Cemetery H people were the destroyers of the Harappan cities.

  • The collapse of the Indus Valley Civilisation was possibly due to drought and a decline in trade with Egypt and Mesopotamia caused by climate change that occurred around 1800 BCE.

  • The aridification reduced the water supply enough to cause the civilisation's demise, and scatter its population eastward. The residents then migrated towards the Ganges basin in the east, where they established smaller villages and isolated farms.

  • Archaeological excavations indicate that the decline of Harappa drove people eastward, and there was a continuous series of cultural developments that link the two major phases of urbanisation in South Asia.

  • The Cemetery H culture may be the manifestation of the Late Harappan over a large area in the region of Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh.

  • The Indus Valley Civilisation did not disappear suddenly, and many elements of the Indus civilisation appear in later cultures.

  • The Second Urbanisation of India (beginning with the Northern Black Polished Ware culture, c. 600 BCE) lies well outside the sociocultural environment of the Indus Valley Civilisation.


How much do you know about the Bronze Age civilization in South Asia? Take this quiz to test your knowledge on the Indus Valley Civilisation, its cities, culture, trade, religion, and the possible reasons for its decline. Learn interesting facts about the sophisticated urban planning, advanced sanitation systems, and intricate handicraft and metallurgy techniques of the Indus Valley people. Discover the mysteries of the undeciphered Indus script and the speculative conclusions about their religion and belief system. Challenge yourself to

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