Harappan Culture

Harappan Culture 

The two most important cities of the Indus Valley Civilization, Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro, appeared in the Sindh and Punjab provinces of Pakistan around 2600 BCE along the Indus River Valley.

Harappan Culture 

The two most important cities of the Indus Valley Civilization, Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro, appeared in the Sindh and Punjab provinces of Pakistan around 2600 BCE along the Indus River Valley. Important archaeological information about the civilization's technology, art, trade, transportation, writing, and religion was uncovered through the discovery and excavation of these sites in the 19th and 20th centuries.


The inhabitants of the Indus Valley, also known as the Harappan people (Harappa was the first settlement in the area that archaeologists discovered), made a number of notable technological advancements, including highly accurate systems and tools for measuring length and mass.

One of the earliest civilizations to create a set of consistent weights and measurements that followed a scale was Harappa. A prominent Indus Valley city in the contemporary Indian state of Gujarat, Lothal, was the site of an ivory scale with the smallest division marked at roughly 1.6 mm.  It is the tiniest division of a Bronze Age scale that has ever been identified. The uniform size of the bricks used to construct the Indus cities is another hint of a sophisticated measurement system.

With their brick platforms, granaries, warehouses, dockyards, and defensive walls, the Harappans displayed sophisticated architecture. The sewerage and drainage systems used in ancient Indus cities were far more advanced than any found in modern-day Middle Eastern cities, and they were even more effective than many modern-day Pakistani and Indian cities.


A variety of distinctive works of art from the Indus Valley culture have been uncovered at excavation sites, including sculptures, seals, pottery, gold jewelry, and anatomically accurate figurines made of terracotta, bronze, and soapstone.

A "Priest-King" figurine with a beard and patterned robe was discovered among the various gold, terracotta, and stone figurines. The "Dancing Girl," a smaller bronze figurine that depicts a female figure in a pose that suggests the existence of a choreographed dance style that was practiced by members of the civilization, is only 11 cm high. There were also terracotta works of cows, bears, monkeys, and dogs. The Indus River Valley inhabitants are thought to have also produced necklaces, bangles, and other ornaments in addition to figurines.

Trade And Transportation

Harappan city workshops used raw materials imported from Iran and Afghanistan, as well as lead and copper from other parts of India, jade from China, and cedar wood that had been floated down rivers from the Himalayas and Kashmir. Trade was centered on importing these materials. There were also terracotta pots, gold, silver, metals, beads, flints for making tools, seashells, pearls, and colored gem stones like lapis lazuli and turquoise that were traded.

The Harappan and Mesopotamian civilizations had a robust maritime trade network in place. In Mesopotamia, which includes the majority of present-day Iraq, Kuwait, and parts of Syria, Harappan seals and jewelry have been discovered at archaeological sites. The invention of plank watercraft with a single central mast supporting a sail made of woven rushes or cloth may have made long-distance sea trade feasible over bodies of water like the Arabian Sea, Red Sea, and the Persian Gulf.


Texts on clay and stone tablets were discovered at Harappa in a collection which have been carbon dated 3300-3200 BCE and contain trident-shaped, plant-like markings. Writing in the Indus River Valley Civilization developed independently from the scripts used in Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt.


It is still unknown what the Harappan religion was like. There is widespread speculation that the Harappans revered a mother goddess who represented fertility. Indus Valley Civilization appears to have lacked any temples or palaces that would have provided undeniable proof of religious rites or particular deities, in contrast to Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations. The swastika symbol, which was adopted by later Indian religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, can be seen on some seals from the Indus Valley.

Numerous Indus Valley seals also feature animal forms, some of which show the creatures being paraded while others show chimeric versions of the animals. This has led academics to theorize about the significance of animals in Indus Valley religions. One Mohenjo-Daro seal depicts a tiger being attacked by a half-human, half-buffalo monster. This could be a reference to the Sumerian myth about a monster made by Aruru, the goddess of fertility and the earth, to battle Gilgamesh, the protagonist of an old Mesopotamian epic poem. This is yet another indication of Harappan culture being traded internationally.

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