Bricks, Beads and Bones The Harappan Civilisation- CBSE Notes for Class 12 History

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• Harappan Civilisation is also known as Indus Valley Civilisation. It is the oldest Civilisation of India.
• There is no consensus about the chronology of the Harappan Civilisation. Various scholars have given different dates about this period.
• According to Sir John Marshall, “this civilisation flourished between 3250 and 2750 BCE”.
• It was Daya Ram Sahni, who first discovered the sites of Harappan in 1921. The main centres of this civilisation are in Pakistan. The same famous sites of this civilisation (now in Pakistan) are Mohenjodaro and Chanhudaro.
• The main centre where this Civilisation flourished in India are Kalibangan, Sangol, Pengplor, Lothal, Dholavira and Banawali.
• The urban planning of this civilisation was very magnificent. The houses were built in a systematic manner.
• Roads were wide and cut each other at right angle.
• The people of Indus Valley Civilisation had also made best planning for the drainage of rainwater and dirty water.
• The caste system was not present in the society. All the people lived together with mutual love and understanding.%
• The women held a high position or rank in the society. They were fond of fashion.
• The economic life the people was very prosperous. The main occupations of the people were the agriculture and domestication of animals.
• Trade was well developed. Both maternal and external trade was carried out.
• The people worshipped many gods and goddesses. They worshipped mother goddesses, Lord Shiva, animal, birds, trees and the Sun.
• They knew arts and crafts.
• They knew the art of making beautiful sculptures, toys, pottery, ornaments, etc.
• They were skilled in the production of seals. The languages used by them on the seals is still to be deciphered. If one is able to decipher their script inscribed on the seals, it will throw a flood of the light on the various aspects of the Harappan Civilisation.
• The main sources of our information of Harappan Civilisation is archaeological materials. The excavation carried out at Indus sites tries to reconstruct the history of this civilisation.
• During the excavation of Indus sites, many tools, pottery, seals, household objects, etc. have excavated. All these excavated materials are deeply examined by the archaeologists.
• Many historians like Cunningham, R.E.M. Wheeler, John Marshall and G.F. Dates have played a valuable role in reconstructing the history of the ancient past including the Indus Valley Civilisation sites.
• Many Indian archaeologists like Daya Ram Sahni, S.R. Rao, R.S. Bisht and B.K. Thapar have played a great role in excavations of the Indus sites.
• Indus Valley Civilisation is also known as Bronze Age Civilisation, because people used bronze extensively for making their pottery, figure lines and ornaments.
• Almost 1900 BCE, these were explicit signs about the decline of this civilisation. By this time the two most important cities of Indus Valley-Mohenjodaro and Harappa had been completely declined. Around 1200 BCE, this civilisation had completely vanished.
• Epidemic, Aryan Invasion, change in the course of the river Indus, excessive floods, earthquake, etc. may be the main reasons for the decline of this civilisation.
1. Seal: It generally contained animal motifs and signs from a script.
2. Hoards: Generally metal objects and jewellery kept by people inside containers.
3. Stratigraphy: The study of historical layers.
4. Motif: Name of animal, used by the Harappans on seals to mark some sort of trademark.
5. Proto-Shiva: A seal that shows a figure seated in a yogic posture surrounded by animals has been designated as Proto-Shiva, an early form of one of the deities of Hinduism.
6. Lingas: The polished stones were often worshipped as symbols of the God Shiva.
7. Shamans: These were the groups of men and women who claimed to have magical and healing powers and ability to communicate with the other world.
8. Art: It referred to painting, sculpture, pottery and seal making.
9. Culture: Term used for a group of objects, distinct in style, found specifically within a geographical area and period of time.
10. Pictographs: Picture-like signs to represent letters or words.
11. The Great Bath: Best known building in Mohenjodaro for bath.
12. Granaries: Buildings where grains were stored.
Time Line:
1. 1862  Alexander Cunningham appointed as the first Director General of Archaeological Survey of India.
2. 1921  D.R. Sahni discovered Harappa.
3. 1992  R.D. Banneijee discovered Mohenjodaro
4. 1924  Sir John Marshall announced the discovery of Indus Valley Civilisation.
5. 1953  Kalibangan was excavated by A. Ghosh.
6. 1955  S.R. Rao discovered Lothal.
7. 1968  Sanghal was discovered by S.S. Talwar and R.S. Bisht.