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MADE BY: PURANJAY
INVENTIONS AND DISCOVERIES..!
, ornamental: Buttons—made from seashell—were used in the Indus Valley Civilization for ornamental purposes by 2000 BCE. Some buttons were carved into geometric shapes and had holes pierced into them so that they could be attached to clothing by using a thread.The button, in fact, was originally used more as an ornament than as a fastening, the earliest known being found at Mohenjo-daro in the Indus Valley. It is made of a curved shell and about 5000 years old.
: The oldest preserved measuring rod is a copper-alloy bar which was found by the German Assyriologist Eckhard Unger while excavating at Nippur . The bar dates from c. 2650 BC. and Unger claimed it was used as a measurement standard. Rulers made from Ivory were in use by the Indus Valley Civilization in what today is Pakistan and some parts of Western India prior to 1500 BCE. Excavations at Lothal (2400 BCE) have yielded one such ruler calibrated to about 1/16 of an inch—less than 2 millimeters. Ian Whitelaw (2007) holds that 'The Mohenjo-Daro ruler is divided into units corresponding to 1.32 inches (33.5 mm) and these are marked out in decimal subdivisions with amazing accuracy—to within 0.005 of an inch. Ancient bricks found throughout the region have dimensions that correspond to these units.
Stepwell: Earliest clear evidence of the origins of the stepwell is found in the Indus Valley Civilization's archaeological site at Mohenjodaro in Pakistan and Dholavira, India. The three features of stepwells in the subcontinent are evident from one particular site, abandoned by 2500 BCE, which combines a bathing pool, steps leading down to water, and figures of some religious importance into one structure. The early centuries immediately before the common era saw the Buddhists and the Jains of India adapt the stepwells into their architecture. Both the wells and the form of ritual bathing reached other parts of the world with Buddhism. Rock-cut step wells in the subcontinent date from 200-400 CE. Subsequently the wells at Dhank (550-625 CE) and stepped ponds at Bhinmal (850-950 CE) were constructed.
Some Indus valley seals show swastikas, which are found in other religions worldwide, especially in Indian religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. The earliest evidence for elements of Hinduism are alleged to have been present before and during the early Harappan period. Phallic symbols interpreted as the much later Hindu Shiva lingam have been found in the Harappan remains.
Swastika Seals from the Indus Valley Civilization preserved at the British Museum
Many Indus valley seals show animals. One motif shows a horned figure seated in a posture reminiscent of the Lotus position and surrounded by animals was named by early excavators Pashupati (lord of cattle), an epithet of the later Hindu gods Shiva
The Indus cities were at their richest between 2600 and 1900 BC. Between 1900 and 1700 BC, this great civilisation started to fall apart.
Trade with Mesopotamia stopped. Archaeological evidence shows how things got worse. The Great Bath at Mohenjo-Daro was built over. The city mounds got overcrowded. Drains blocked up. Some traders even hid their valuables under the floors of their houses! People stopped repairing old homes. Why did this happen?
Was there a war?
the Rig Veda (about 1500 BC) described northern invaders conquering the Indus Valley cities. In the 1940s, archaeologist Mortimer Wheeler (1890- 1976) discovered 39 human skeletons at Mohenjo-Daro. He believed that they were people killed by invaders.
Archaeologists now think this is not true. There is no evidence of war or mass killings. Indus Valley people seem to have been peaceful. If they had an army, they have left few signs of weapons or battles.
It's more likely that the cities collapsed after natural disasters. Enemies might have moved in afterwards.
Floods, famine and disease?
What caused the peaceful, rich and organized Indus civilisation to collapse? Perhaps a river changed course, causing floods in some areas, and droughts (lack of water) in other places. There might have been an earthquake.
If there was an environmentalal disaster cities would have flooded and food crops would have failed. People would have starved and diseases spread. Evidence from skeletons shows that many people died from malaria, a disease spread by mosquitoes.
Perhaps the rulers lost control of their cities. Trade stopped and workshops closed. Drains, streets and houses crumbled.
What was left?
By 1500 BC the Indus Valley civilisation was over. Farmers in the Indus Valley went on living in their villages. Only the cities fell into ruins. Over time wind, rain and floods wore some of the mud-bricks away.
People took away many bricks, so only the city-mounds and a few piles of old bricks were left. That's what the railway-builders and archaeologists rediscovered in the 1800s.
Did parts of Indus Valley culture survive?
The religion of Hinduism seems to have links with the ancient Indus religion. Some Hindu gods are like the gods shown on Indus Valley seals. Indus Valley people believed water was holy, and Hindus believe they are 'purified' in a religious way when they bathe in the sacred River Ganges. The cow and bull are sacred animals in India. Farmers still 'terrace' hills slopes to grow crops, the way Indus Valley farmers did. Many people in India and Pakistan wear jewellery much like that made in Indus Valley cities 4,000 yearsago.
TRADE AND TRAVEL
What did Indus Valley people trade?
Indus Valley cities lived by trade. Farmers brought food into the cities. City workers made such things as pots, beads and cotton cloth. Traders brought the materials workers needed, and took away finished goods to trade in other cities.
Trade goods included terracotta pots, beads, gold and silver, coloured gem stones such as turquoise and lapis lazuli, metals, flints (for making stone tools), seashells and pearls.
Minerals came from Iran and Afghanistan. Lead and copper came from India. Jade came from China and cedar tree wood was floated down the rivers from Kashmir and the Himalayas.
Checking the weight
Indus Valley traders did not use money. So they probably exchanged goods - say, swapping two sacks of wheat for one basket of minerals.
The traders weighed their goods on balance scales, using stone cubes as weights.
The weights were made from cubes of a flinty rock called grey chert. The smallest cube was very light, weighing less than 1 gram! The heaviest was over 11 kilograms - a bit more than 4 bags of supermarket potatoes.
What were seals?
In 1872, archaeologist Alexander Cunningham was puzzled by a flat piece of stone from Harappa which had writing on it. It was a seal. Another archaeologist, Rakhal Banerji found more seals in 1919.
Over 3,500 seals have now been found. Most are square or oblong, and small, about 25 mm across. They are made from steatite or faience, usually baked hard. Each seal has a picture and writing on it, carved with a copper tool.
Pressed into soft clay, a seal left an impression (a copy of the picture and writing). When the clay dried hard, it could be used as a tag which could then be tied to a pot or basket.
Indus Valley traders probably used seals like labels, to show who owned a sack of grain, or that the correct city tax had been paid.
Many seals have pictures of animals on them. Animals on seals include elephants, rhinoceros, tigers, fish-eating crocodiles (gharial) and zebu (humped cattle).
The most commonly pictured animal on Indus seals is a 'unicorn'. In ancient stories, the unicorn was a mythical beast, usually looking like a horse, with one horn.
Some people think the Indus Valley 'unicorn' is really a cow sideways-on. It may have been a 'good luck' charm, or the badge of an important group of traders.
Indus Valley boats
A picture on one seal shows an Indus Valley boat with raised ends (prow and stern), a rolled-up sail, and a square cabin. A man at the stern (back) has a long oar, possibly to steer. A flat-bottomed boat could travel in shallow water. It could be pushed by a pole, by paddles, or by the wind in its sail. Bigger boats went out to sea.
Boats in ancient times were made of wood, or bundles of reeds. Modern experiments have proved that even reed boats could cross oceans. Boats like ancient Indus Valley craft are still used in India, Pakistan and in the Arabian Gulf.
Trade with Mesopotamia
Sargon of Akkad (2334 to 2279 BC) was a king in Mesopotamia. This was one of the first ancient civilisations. We know Indus Valley traders went there, because Indus seals have been found in Mesopotamia.
Sargon's scribes kept written records of ships from other lands. So we learn that the Mesopotamians bought gold, copper and jewellery from 'Meluhha'. Was Meluhha the Mesopotamian name for the Indus civilisation? Or was it the Indus Valley people's own name for their land?
To reach Mesopotamia, Indus ships sailed west. They probably kept close to land. Bits of old Indus pottery found on beaches in Oman, in the Gulf, came from storage jars left behind by traders.
Indus Valley cities were neatly planned. They had straight roads making a grid pattern, dividing the city into blocks. Main streets were almost 10 metres wide, so two bullock carts could pass by each other. Drains were laid along the streets and wells were dug for water.
Mohenjo-Daro stood on a mound and had a wall with gateways to go in and out. Some city districts inside were raised on mounds too. On the highest mound was a citadel, which was perhaps where priests and rulers lived.
People built new houses on top of old ones, as the mud-bricks crumbled. So, over hundreds of years the cities grew higher. In time some new houses were seven metres above the level of the old houses at the bottom!
Tools and jobs
Indus Valley people used some tools like the ones we use today - hammers, knives, needles, fish-hooks, axes, razors and saws. But many Indus tools were made of stone called flint. The metal Indus Valley people used most was copper. They made sharp copper tools. They mixed copper and tin to make bronze.
Workers did different jobs. For example, some workers made stone querns (for grinding grain to make flour). Others spun and wove cotton into clothes and cotton bags. City workers made beads, fishing nets, pots, baskets...everything people needed. Children learned work- skills from their families.
Indus Valley people had clean water and excellent drains - better than any other ancient civilisation. Most city homes had a bathroom and toilet, connected to the city drains. Some people had private wells, for clean water. Others went to public wells, to fetch water in jars or animal- skin bags.
Waste water flowed out of the house through pipes into the street-drains. 'Poo-cleaners' cleaned the drains and emptied the pits where sewage from toilets collected.
Did children go to school?
Some children may have gone to school. A scribe, who knew how to read and write, would teach some children the same skills. A priest would teach religious lessons. Whether there were schools, and if many children went to school, is something we don't know. Perhaps only rich children had lessons.
Ancient civilisations needed people with skills, just as we do. So traders, scribes, potters jewellers, builders, farmers and others like them would teach children their skills.
Did people have pets?
Archaeologists have found paw prints left by animals preserved within the ruins of Indus cities. Children may have had pet monkeys, and perhaps birds in cages, or even lizards and snakes! Hunters might have brought home baby deer or wild pigs. Children could also look after baby farm animals such as lambs or kids (baby goats).
We know that dogs lived in Indus Valley cities, because dog bones have been found. Perhaps some dogs were guard dogs, or hunting dogs. Some were probably family pets.
Indus Valley people enjoyed gambling and playing board games. At Harappa archaeologists found dice made from cubes of sandstone and terracotta. These are probably the oldest dice in the world.
The Indus people may have been the first to use cube dice with six sides and spots, just like the ones we use today. Ivory made from elephant tusks was used to make counters for board games.
Indus Valley people also liked the cruel sport of cock-fighting. They probably bet on which bird would win. They kept camels too, so perhaps they went camel racing!
The Indus people's gift to the world was showing how to live in peace in cities. Their way of life was based on trade, without money. With few if any enemies, they did not need large armies. Not everyone was rich, but even the poor probably got enough to eat.
In their clean, well-run cities the Indus people enjoyed beautiful as well as useful things. Life was not all work. They made toys and jewellery, as well as drains.
City life requires law and order. The Indus system of city government worked well for at least 500 years.
In the 1920s archaeologists found 39 skeletons at the city of Mohenjo-Daro. Were these men, woman and children who had been killed by invaders? Some archaeologists thought so.
However, only two skeletons had cut-marks on their bones, the kind made by a sword or spear. One was an old wound, another was healing- perhaps after an accident. There is no evidence of battles. Perhaps these people were left together because they died from disease.
An Indus city house
An Indus Valley house was cool inside. Thick walls kept people cool in the heat of summer. Some houses had just one room. Big houses had lots of rooms arranged around a central courtyard.
There were no windows onto the main street. This kept out dust and noise. Side windows let in light and air. From a model house found at Harappa, we can see that windows may have had wooden shutters with grilles (barred openings) to let in air and light.
All that are left today are the ground floors of houses that once had two or three floors. Stairs led to the upper floors and roof. Walls were covered with mud plaster. It is not clear if people painted the walls.
Clothes and hairstyles
Pictures on seals and other artefact show us how some Indus people dressed. It was hot all year round, so people did not need thick clothes to keep warm.
Many workmen probably just wore a loincloth, which looked a bit like baggy shorts. Rich men wore tunics. Women wore dresses that probably covered much of the body though some might have been topless.
Both men and women wore jewellery, especially beads and arm-bangles. Some women had elegant hairstyles, with braids and beads. Some arranged their hair in headdresses shaped like fans.
Cooking and keeping clean
Indus people cooked food on a fire made from wood, charcoal or dried animal dung. They baked bread on hot stones or in ovens.
In the bathroom, people stood on a brick 'shower tray' and tipped water over themselves from a jar. The clean water came from a well. Dirty water drained through a pipe out through the wall into the drain in the street.
Toilets had brick seats. The toilet was flushed with water from jars. The waste flowed out through clay pipes into a drain in the street. Waste was carried away along the drains to 'soak pits' (cesspits), Cleaners dug out the pit and took the waste away. They also took away rubbish from bins on the side of houses.
at home indus valley people used bowls,dishes, cups and vases made of terracotta. They had metal dishes made from copper, silver and bronze.
Most Indus Valley pots are plain, but some pots were decorated, usually in red and black. Potters added bands, patterns of leaves and flowers, and shapes like fish scales. A few pots were coloured blue, red, green and yellow.
Clay pots were shaped on a potter's wheel. The potter put a lump of wet clay on a wooden disc (the wheel), and made the wheel spin. As the clay spun on the wheel, the potter shaped the pot by hand. The finished pot went into a hot oven to 'fire'or harden it. A cheap pot might be left in the hot sun to dry.
Archaeologists have found evidence that Indus Valley people wore lots of jewellery, especially beads, necklaces, ear-rings and ear-studs, amulets, bangles and brooches.
At Harappa, archaeologists found the grave of a man, who was buried wearing a necklace of more than 300 soapstone beads. People also liked bangles made from conch shells. Shell bangles are still made in India today.
Red beads were made by heating carnelian stones in an oven. The heat turned the stone from brown to red. After it had cooled, the stone was chipped to shape the bead. Using a stone drill, the bead-maker drilled a hole for the string. Finally, the bead was polished smooth and shiny.
Indus Valley writing
Writing was done using a pointed stick in soft clay, or with a sharp tool to scratch marks on stone or metal. It is likely that only a few people could read and write, like scribes. But perhaps traders could read enough to tell what was written on seals.
Most Indus Valley writing was probably to do with trade, government or religion. People wrote the first line from right to left, the second line from left to right, and so on.
What does Indus Valley writing tell us?
Not very much. Indus Valley writing used at least 400 picture-signs (they were not letters, as in our alphabet). But the longest bit of writing found has only 26 characters. No one knows what language the Indus people spoke, and no one has yet been able to read their writing. There are no Indus Valley books, no laws carved in stone, no stories about kings and battles.
It seems that Indus writing changed little over hundreds of years. Unlike English. English writing has changed so much that it's not easy to read something that was written in 1066!
Some experts think the Indus language may have been similar to Tamil, which is spoken today by people in southern India and Sri Lanka.
So here it goes......