74. Are there tablets or seals having paragraphic Indus Script or is it just used for decorations and captions?

The Babylonian texts like Code of Hammurabi in Akkadian and Sumerian seals of Urukagina state legal codes and regulations. Although the Indus script hasn't been deciphered, have any of the excavations resulted in similar seals which contain major textual references or is the Indus script just used as a tool for decoration?

Asked by Shiv Sharma

Asko Parpola
I do not understand the meaning of the word paragraphic here. The Indus script was used to convey a message (such as the name or title of the seal owner) and not just meaningless decoration.

Mayank Vahia
Harappan script is written in small strings, an average of 5 signs and the longest string in one line is 14 signs while the one in multiple lines is 26 signs. So there are no long texts which makes interpretation. However, the written material has a definite syntax and there are clearly discernible rules on which signs can begin and end text, which signs come with which signs etc. You do occasionally find a classical text ender appear in the middle of a long text suggesting that that particular writing may have multiple pieces of information.

Above: Dholavira signboard in situ.