20. What can you say about the relationship of Harappan civilization to distant earlier cities?

Artists conception of gateway at Mound E, Harappa. Drawing by Chris Sloan.

We can say that the bulk of the development of the Harappan civilization happened in the Indus Valley itself. What can you comment about their relationship with other cities in Anatolia after the discovery of the city of Catal Huyuk by the English archaeologist James Mellaart in 1958. Is Catal Huyuk a more primitive precursor of this civilization or they parallel developments? Submitted by Martin Piattini Velthuis

Richard Meadow
Catal Hoyuk is much older than the Indus Civilization and given both the temporal and geographic space between the two, it is difficult to see any lineal relationship. People were in continuous contact of varying intensity with each other across much of Asia during pre- and proto-history, but the role that such contact may have played in developments in one region or another is very difficult to define. In the period of the Indus Civilization itself, there is not much if any evidence to direct contact between Anatolia and the Indus Valley, although to judge from later evidence from Mittani in northern Syria ca. 1500-1300 BC, there were people who shared at least some common ideology between the two regions.

[More on this Mound E gateway reconstruction, and the actual Mound E gateway excavations in 1995.]