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Harappan Civilization Essay

1240 words - 5 pages

The Harappan civilization, which emerged in 3300 B.C.E, is, for a variety of reasons, one of the most intriguing civilizations that have ever existed. It stretched along the Indus River Valley, from Pakistan to Afghanistan. This civilization, which was made up of a large number of small communities, was technologically very advanced, and, indeed, included many of the features of the society that we have today. The Harappans were one of the first to have a system of writing, which, however, historians have not yet been able to translate. Nevertheless, the society has left us numerous ruins, which provide much information about it. (See Appendix 1A) Harappa, an Indus River Valley ...view middle of the document...

There were also parts of a drainage system found, and it is believed that in every house there were baths connected to a city-wide drainage system. This system was connected by water chutes and the earliest-known sewers. Other ancient civilizations that we know of did not have such advanced drainage technology, and much of the waste went into homes. Johnson mentions an important fact about the drainage system designed in Harappa: “The drains were covered with brick that people could remove when they wanted to clear away waste. The whole system was interconnected….” Also found were the famous pools of the civilization. These were known as “The Great Baths,” and are the earliest public water tanks known. These pools were designed to be used in religious functions when it was necessary to purify water. Archaeologists have also found a number of mounds, including the huge fortification wall. This wall was built over mud bricks and served as a public well. A manufacturing and public meeting place known as “The Great Hall” had mounds surrounding it and served as a public place where wealthy officials met. We know this from many seals and documents found in the area. Historian can interpret these seals, since they contain pictures instead of words. In addition to what we have learned about the urban planning of this civilization, we also know a certain amount about the trade they engaged in with other peoples.
Archaeologists have found a fairly reasonable amount of information that suggests that trade was an important part of the Harappan economy. Remains of ivory, shell, and tiny bead jewelry suggest that it was these items that were most likely used for trading purposes. It is also believed that the Harappans were the first traders in cotton. This trade apparently began to rise about 2600 B.C.E. Archaeologists have unearthed pottery, which was used in trade, so that artisans could acquire the bronze to make the saws they needed to further develop stone and wall building in the city. From the remains that have been found to date, it is believed that the Harappan society was, as one source suggests, the “centre for trade networks extending from Baluchistan to Afghanistan in the west and to the seacoast in the south.” This supports the view that trade was an important part of the economy of the Indus River Valley Civilization. Remains such as tools and wheels also suggest that trade was important to the civilization. “ Merchants, may of whom gained considerable wealth, traded beads, textiles, shell objects, jewelry, metal, tools and wheels, and pottery produced by Harappan artisans.” Seaports have also been found by researchers, and these suggest that most importing and...

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