Trade and Exchange
The Indus cities were connected with rural agricultural communities and distant resource and mining areas through strong trade systems. They used pack animals (54 Bull figurine, 56 Bull, 58 Ram figurine), river boats (23 Toy boat, 24 Moulded tablet) and bullock carts (22 Toy carts) for transport.
This trade is reflected in the widespread distribution of exquisite beads and ornaments (78 Bangles, 79 Ornaments, 80 Tablet, 81 Necklace, 82 Ornaments, 84 Beads, 85 Veseels, 86 Ladle), metal tools and pottery that were produced by specialized artisans in the major towns and cities.
Cotton, lumber, grain, livestock and other food stuffs were probably the major commodities of this internal trade. A highly standardized system of weights was used to control trade and also probably for collecting taxes (21 Weights).
There was also external trade with Central Asia, the Arabian Gulf region and the distant Mesopotamian cities, such as Susa and Ur.
Legacy of the Indus Cities in Modern Pakistan and India
Although earlier scholars thought that the Indus civilization disappeared around 1700 B.C.E., recent excavations in Pakistan and western India indicate that the civilization gradually became fragmented into smaller regional cultures referred to as Late or post-Harappan cultures.
The use of standardized weights, writing and seals became unnecessary as their social and political control gradually disappeared. The decline of the major urban centers and the fragmentation of the Indus culture can be attributed in part to changing river systems that disrupted the agricultural and economic system.
As the river dried up people migrated to the central Indus valley, the Ganga-Yamuna Valley or the fertile plains of Gujarat in western India. The Indus river itself began to change its course, resulting in destructive floods. Certain distinguishing hallmarks of the Indus civilization disappeared.
Others, such as writing and weights, or aspects of Indus craft technology, art, agriculture and possibly social organization, continued among the Late and post-Harappan cultures.
These cultural traditions eventually became incorporated in the new urban civilization that arose during the Early Historical period, around 600 B.C.E.