The Harappan State: Was it or Wasn't it?

Lush farmlands west of the "citadel" mound at Mohenjo-daro.

Recent discussions on the nature of early state societies have led some scholars to suggest that the early urban phenomenon of the Indus Civilization should not be characterized as a state level society. This paper will critically examine these arguments in the context of current studies of the Indus Civilization and recent excavations at Harappa, Pakistan. The sequence of developments currently documented from Harappa and other sites in Pakistan indicate that the Harappan socio­ political organization was quite different from Mesopotamian or Egyptian states, but that it should nevertheless be considered a state level society.