Agricultural Terms in the Indus Script

Ox- or water buffalo-drawn cart with driver from Harappa

This provocative and lucid paper by India's leading analyst of the ancient Indus script, Iravatham Mahadevan, explores a set of ancient Indus signs that he believes are related to agriculture. He uses both contextual evidence, some rather stunning comparisons with signs in ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations, evidence from the signs and variations themselves, as well as links to old Tamil terms to present a rather complete picture of how different signs might have designated different types of personages involved in agricultural production and the distribution of agricultural surpluses.

His departure points, in his words. are that Harappan Civilization was based on agricultural surplus like all other contemporary river-valley civilizations of the Bronze Age. It is thus quite likely that Harappan seals and sealings would contain information on agricultural production and distribution.

Chanhu-Darho sealRead the entire PDF to see how this argument is made, with over a dozen possible sign decipherments and a number of modifier and other sign interpretations that relate to Mahadevan's analysis.