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Indus River Valley Civilization
Transcript of Indus River Valley Civilization
3. Architecture/ Art
4. Government and Economy
6. Social Structure
9. Writing Language
The Indus River Civilization, one of the world’s earliest civilizations, arose about 2500 B.C. It stretches across present day India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, which is also known as the Indian subcontinent. Mountains to the north and deserts to the east protected the Indus Valley from invasion. The mountains would protect the enormous flat and fertile plain formed by the Indus and the Ganges rivers. These rivers were important links from the interior of the Indian subcontinent to the sea. The Indus River flows southwest from the Himalayas to the Arabian Sea and the Ganges flows eastward across northern India, which joins the Brahmaputra River and to the Bay of Bengal. These rivers are significant because they carry not only water for irrigation, but also silt, which produces rich land for agriculture. However, seasonal winds called monsoons also impacted the agriculture. Monsoons dominated its climate. From October to February, winter monsoons from the northeast blow dry air westward, then June through October, the winds shift. They blow eastward from the southwest, carrying moisture from the ocean in rain clouds.
Kalibangan, Harappa, and Mohenjo-Daro were the main cities. Out of these three cities Indus River civilization is sometimes referred to the Harappan civilization, because of the archaeological discoveries made at that site. The most remarkable achievement of the civilization was the sophisticated city planning. The people laid out their cities on a precise grid system. The city, Harappa itself was built on mud-brick platforms to prevent flooding. They had citadels, which provided protection for royal families and also served as a temple.
Archaeologists believe the culture of the civilization was a theocracy. In other words, it was a society where priests rule because they represent God. Priests are most likely to pray for good harvests and safety from floods. Some artifacts relate to modern Hindu culture and some figures might be early representations of Shiva, a major Hindu God. Other figures refer to a mother goddess, fertility images, and the worship of the bull which eventually became a part of Indian civilization today.
People were born into social classes that couldn’t be changed over time. Men worked and women were valued only because they were able to produce offspring and nurse.
The social classes were:
2) Brahmins, the priests.
3) Kshatriyas, the warriors.
4) Vaishyas, the traders and landowners.
5) Shudras, the peasants or traders.
6) Untouchables, who were the outcasts of the caste system
The benefits the Indus River Civilizations gained are:
1) The River provided water for survival.
2) The River gave them tremendous agricultural facilities.
3) They were able to fish or hunt animals that lived in or near the river.
However, the Indus River civilization faced many challenges too.
1) Yearly floods spread deposits of rich soil over a wide area, but the floods were unpredictable.
2) The rivers would change courses.
3) The cycle of the monsoons winds was unpredictable. Powerful storms would bring so much moisture that causes flooding, which swept the whole villages. Sometimes summer monsoons fail to develop, which led to drought where plants withered in the fields and people starved.
- Most buildings were constructed of oven baked bricks cut in standard sizes.
- All houses were about the same size.
- Almost every house had a toilet and bathroom where they can shower by pouring pitchers of water over their head.
- They had granaries to store food.
Government and Economy
The economy of Indus River civilization was based on trade and agriculture. The development of irrigation systems allowed people to grow crops such as wheat, barley, rye, peas, cotton, and rice to survive. Domesticating animals was another way of people providing food for them. Though people were able to survive just by growing crops and domesticating animals, they also traded for living. In fact, the economy depended on trade. They traded between themselves and with other civilizations including Mesopotamians. The Indus River provided transportation for trade goods. Gold and silver came from the north in Afghanistan. Semiprecious stones from Persia, and the Deccan Plateau were crafted into jewelry. Also, cotton cloth was one of the popular trade items because at that time few people knew how to grow cotton.
The government in the Indus River civilization was a monarchy. They had a raja, or a king and priests that ruled and governed through trade and religion. During this time period, the king didn’t occupy the highest class, the priest did. By this, we can tell that religion had a huge impact on government.
People from Indus River Valley were mostly farmers, traders, and potters.
- Clay was used in both art and tools.
- Tools were also made out of bronze, copper, and iron.
- The civilization developed the first measuring system, which was the most precise measurement back then.
The Harappan culture developed a written language like other civilizations. It is found on stamps and seals made of carved stone. Approximately, 400 symbols make up the Harappan language. Scientists believe these symbols are used to depict an object and phonetic sounds because some signs stand alone and some seem to combine into words. However, the Harappan language was impossible to decipher because linguists couldn’t find any inscriptions that are bilingual.
Map of Indus River Civilization
Tools that were used