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Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa in the Indus River Valley
Transcript of Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa in the Indus River Valley
Economy and Trade
Mohenjo Daro and Harappa's thriving economy was based on trade and agriculture.
The people of the Indus River Valley would trade crops (wheat, rye, peas, and rice) and craft goods (jewelry and beads) for gold, copper, and turquoise.
Most trade was done by means of water, an advantage to living near a water source.
They would trade with neighboring areas, but would also trade to further places, like Mesopotamia.
Because Harappan writing has yet to be decoded, there is limited information about Harappan religious beliefs.
Like many other ancient civilizations, the Harappans worshiped fertility gods.
Archeologists have found seals baring pictures of multiple gods and goddesses, so we know that they were polytheistic.
Some of their gods seem to have been in human form (i.e.- they looked like humans) and some in animal form.
Due to specialization of labor people could become jewelers, artists, merchants, goldsmiths, potters, weavers, masons, architects, or specialists in other areas.
There were major distinctions in the lifestyles of the rich and the poor. The poor tended to live in one-room tenements in barrack-like structures, whereas the middle class lived in individual houses, and the rich had houses with dozens of rooms and large courtyards.
Like most civilizations of this time period, Harappa was a patriarchal society.
Mother Nature, Unicorns, and Burial
A major goddess worshiped by the Harappans seems to have been mother nature- innumerable terracotta statues have been found so it's likely that she was worshiped in nearly every household. She symbolized life and fertility.
They also seem to have believed in unicorns.
They buried their dead in wooden coffins with ornaments and food.
Harappan Religion and Today-
Harappan beliefs bare resemblances to Hinduism, leading some researches to believe that Harappan beliefs were instrumental in its development (ex: cleanliness was very important, swastika seal).
A 'Mother Nature' or 'Mother Earth' type figure has been worshiped in many later civilizations.
Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro both had marketplaces, temples, public buildings, and residential districts built on a well planned street network.
Both cities served as economical and political centers.
Approximately 35,000 people lived in Mohenjo-Daro; Harappa was (probably) slightly smaller.
pg. 71-84 in Chapter 4 of the AP World History textbook
An example of traded jewelry made by craftsmen and traded
In the Indus River Valley Civilization, they had the most sophisticated waste removal system of their time. Every house was equipped with a bathroom, in which the waste would feed into sewage pipes, later to flow into larger mains.
In the Indus River Valley Civilization, there were several intellectual advancements that defined the culture. Most inventions and technology was used for agricultural purposes.
Seals were very prominent artifacts of Harappan society and were found throughout Mohenjo-Daro and neighboring areas. In a way, they were methods of record keeping. The seals were made by pressing tools and shapes into clay, then were hardened in the sun. The imprints of animals, gods, and agricultural scenes give a glimpse into their culture. The seals were also used as signatures of rulers.
The people of Harappa and Mojenjo-Daro didn't have very many enemies. If needed, clay balls would be shot from sling shots for defense, in addition to the spears and knives made out of copper.
An amazing innovation of this civilization was that they developed their own system of weights and measurements. Rocks were used as weights.
Weights and Measurements
The people of Harappa and Mohenjo Daro had their own writing system, but to this day, it's undecipherable.
As for transportation, technology allowed people to get around by carts pulled by animals and boats allowed maritime transportation for trade.
Methods of Transportation
Avery Metcalf: Location and Politics
Leah Woehr: Economy and Trade and Intellectual Advancements
Skyler Darden: Religion/Beliefs and Society
Cameron Cook: Arts/Architecture
This ancient civilization is located in Asia along the Indus River. The river begins in the mountains of tibet, and flows through India and Pakistan until ending at the Arabian Sea.
A lot of the politics about this civilization is unclear. There is no obvious central seat of government except the fact that they found masks often worn by kings during ancient times. For a population of 30,000+ people to survive then a sophisticated form of government was most likely in place.
In this place it is said Crafts were important for showing social and ritual status. These were efficiently controlled by new elites and powerful merchants of the Indus cities. Some artifacts found included seals, jewelry, painted pottery, metal and terracotta figurines.
The main source of art was seals. Over 400 soapstone seals were found by archaeologists. These seals displayed animals, Indus script, male figures and were often used for either religious purposes or trade
The Indus Valley civilization possessed a flourishing urban architecture. Mohenjo Daro and Harappa were laid out on a grid pattern and had an advanced drainage system. The buildings were mainly made of brick and had open patios with plenty of rooms.Three types of buildings at Mohenjo-Daro are dwelling houses, buildings whose purpose has not yet been determined and public baths, which may have had either a religious or secular purpose.
It is 1,800 miles long making it one of the longest rivers in the world.
Aryan Beliefs and the Vedic Age
At first, the Aryans worshiped the god Indra, a wild war god, and they made numerous sacrifices.
Once they moved into India their beliefs merged with Dravidian values and beliefs and laid the foundation for Hinduism.
They stopped making sacrifices and eventually 'The Upanishads' were written.
The Upanishads taught that all people were a part of Brahman, a universal soul, and that the ultimate goal of all people should be to join with this soul and attain Moksha (a deep, dreamless sleep that came with permanent liberation from physical incarnation).
Aryan Caste System
The caste system was organized to maintain order.
It was based on hereditary distinctions and occuptation.
When the Aryans first came to India, it was simple, with the leaders being head farmers and chiefs. Social complexity led to a more detailed caste system.
At the top were the priests, warriors, and other nobles. Below them were cultivators and artisans.
The "Untouchables" were the people that did the more labor intensive tasks. They owned no land.
Subcastes and Jati
A person's occupation determined their "Jati", which was their subcastes.
One could only marry among their Jati and it was difficult to move up.
Spoke Indo-European languages
They 1st settled in Punjab, and they spread out throughout India
Started off in tribal organizations with elders having authority
They then moved on to regional kingdoms where they had professional administrators
The Aryans lived in a patriarchal society.
Only men could inherit property, perform rituals, and get an education.
Women had family influence. Their sole job was to establish a family and home, according to the book of Manu.
Sati: Widowed women would voluntarily throw themselves into fire to join their husbands in death.
The Upanishads taught that everyone lived in a cycle of death and reincarnation.
Karma accounted for specific incarnations that souls experienced.
The Upanishads taught that individuals who lived virtuous lives and fulfilled all their duties could expect a birth into a purer and more honorable existence (like a higher caste).
Those who had a heavy burden of karma would suffer in future incarnations, and might be reborn in a low caste or as an animal.
This helped people to accept their castes and work diligently at their assigned tasks.
Upanishads and The Caste System
Beliefs and Hinduism
The two ways to attain moksha were asceticism and meditation.
People were supposed to live simple lives, deny themselves pleasure, and concentrate their souls on Brahman and its relationship to their souls.
The Aryans established what later became known as Hinduism.
Hinduism is characterized by a belief in reincarnation and a supreme being of many forms and natures, which alines with ancient Aryan beliefs about all life being part of one universal soul.