Ancient Indus Zebu or Bull Seal
Archaeologists studying the emergence of early civilizations often focus on finely crafted art objects in order to understand the aspects of economic, socio-political and religious organization. The importance of such objects is increased when studying early societies for which there are no written records, such as the indus valley civilization. Although some of the communities living in the Indus cities did use a formal writing system, it has not yet been deciphered and the detailed study of material culture provides one of the few sources of information for determining the nature of the society and for comparing it to other early cultures. Over time, as questions about the past have changed, the approaches used by archaeologists to study finely crafted objects have also changed dramatically. One category of artifacts that provides an example of how scholars have changed their perspectives and interpretations over time are the stamp seals of the ancient Indus cities.