Blog posts relating to the evolution of the ancient Indus Valley civilization society and practices.

Reconstruction of Faience Tablet Manufacturing

Fully and partially glazed faience tablets and other fired objects could be examined after the fire had cooled and the canister opened during experimental firings at the University of Madison, Wisconsin. The steatite molds were also included in the canister to see how they would be affected by this type of firing. For more on this experiment, see Reconstruction of Tablet Manufacture and Manufacturing Faience Tablets.

The Wheel in Indus Times

It is hard to underestimate the importance of the wheel to ancient Indus civilization. All indications are that it was an indigenous development, pursued in flat agricultural areas, and probably preceded that other great wheel - pardon the pun - of change, the potter's wheel.

The Evolution of Indus Script

The origins of Indus writing can now be traced as far back as the Ravi Phase (c. 3300-2800 BCE) at Harappa. Some inscriptions were made on the bottom of the pottery before firing. Other inscriptions such as this one were made after firing. This inscription (c. 3300 BCE) appears to be three plant symbols arranged to appear almost anthropomorphic. The trident looking projections on these symbols seem to set the foundation for later symbols. See also Dr. Parpola's Deciphering the Indus Script and Iravatham Mahadevan's The Indus Script.

Ravi Phase Mudbricks

The pre-Indus civilization or so-called Ravi phase around 3000 BCE at Harappa yielded hand-formed mudbricks. Here, we can see the bricks very obviously lack uniformity in size and shape. There is a remarkable difference between these bricks and those from later periods such as those seen in the Mohenjo-daro Well and Platform. Other artifacts from this period include Ravi Phase Jewelry and the Pedestal Vessel.

Boating: Now and Then

A molded tablet from Mohenjo-daro ca. 2300 BCE, below while above, flat bottomed ferry boats are still used today to help travelers cross the Indus River near Mohenjo-daro. The boat on the seal is part of "a three-sided molded tablet, with boat, gharial and script. One side is a flat-bottomed boat with a central hut that has leafy fronds at the top of two poles. Two birds sit on the deck, and a large double rudder extends from the rear of the boat." (Kenoyer, Ancient Cities, p. 192) See also An Indus Boat Seal and Indus-style Boat.

Empire of Cotton

Farmers in the Indus valley were the first to spin and weave cotton. In 1929 archaeologists recovered fragments of cotton textiles at Mohenjo-Daro, in what is now Pakistan, dating to between 3250 and 2750 BCE.

The Mounds of Harappa by Indus Time Period

The earliest settlement, during Period 1 (c. 3300-2800 BC), was on the west side of Mound AB and NW corner of Mound E. During Period 2 (c. 2800-2600 BC) all of Mounds AB and E came to be occupied, and by the end of Period 3 (c. 2600-1900 BC), the Harappan Period, most of the area covered by the plan was in use. During Periods 4 and 5 (c. 1900-1300 BC) there was a retraction of settlement to the areas of Mound AB, modern Harappa Town, and the NW corner of Mound E. This plan also shows the location of the 2000/2001 excavation areas.