Urban Character of the Indus Valley Civilization
Around 2600 B.C.E. the various regional cultures were united in what is called the Indus Valley Civilization. It is also commonly referred to as the Harappan culture after the town of Harappa (Map 2, Map 3) where it was first discovered.
This civilization was organized around cities and towns that were located at major cross roads and in rich agricultural regions. The ruling communities of these cities developed a distinctive form of writing.
They appear to have controlled a vast geographical area, some 650, 000 square kilometers (Slide 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and Map 1). This area is twice as large as that controlled by Mesopotamian or Egyptian cultures during this same time in history.
Hundreds of Harappan settlements have been discovered, and archaeologists have been able to excavate different types of sites in each of the major regions.
The earliest excavations focused on large cities located along the Indus river and its tributaries; Mohenjo-daro on the Indus (7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12) (Sindh, southern Pakistan) and Harappa ( 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20) on the Ravi River (Punjab, northern Pakistan).
Other equally large cites have been found along the dried up Hakra-Nara River to the east, including two unexcavated sites that are almost as large as Mohenjo-daro, Ganweriwala (Cholistan, Pakistan) and Rakhigarhi (Harayana, India). A fifth major town that has been excavated, Dholavira, is located on a small island that controlled the trade through the Greater Rann of Kutch (Gujarat, India).