Environment and Subsistence
These settlements are spread out over a vast and diverse geographical area (4 Fields, 5 Himalayas), from the lapis mining region in mountainous northern Afghanistan (6 Chitral), to the bountiful coasts of the Arabian Sea (1 Indus River) in the south.
It stretched from the rugged highland pastures of Baluchistan in the west, to the mineral rich deserts of Cholistan and Thar in the east (3 Nomads). The core region of this civilization was the vast alluvial plains of the Indus River (2 Cart) and the now dried up Ghaggar - Hakra river.
Watered by snow melt and seasonal monsoon rains, these plains provided fertile agricultural land, grazing grounds, fish, abundant wild animals and forest resources that were essential for feeding the large populations in the urban centers.
Excavations at the ancient mounds revealed well planned cities and towns built on massive mud brick platforms (7 Mohenjo-daro, 13 Harappa) that protected the inhabitants against seasonal floods. In the larger cities the houses were built of baked brick (9 Great Bath), while at smaller towns most houses were built of sun-dried mud brick.
The settlements had major streets running North-South and East-West, with smaller streets and alleys connecting neighborhoods to the main thoroughfares.
The houses were often two storied and usually included a bathing area (12 Bath) supplied with water from a neighborhood well (10 Street, 11 Well, 14 Harappa Well). All of the houses were connected to an elaborate city-wide drainage system that reflects a well organized civic authority (19 Drain, 20). Mohenjo-daro has a large water tank that may have served as a public or ritual bathing area (9 Great Bath).
Other important structures include possible granaries (9 Great Bath, 15 Granary) and industrial complexes (16 Platforms, 17 Mound F) that suggest some level of state control of economic resources and production.