Indus Valley Civilization

10 Amazing Facts About Indus Valley Civilization That You Would Be Surprised to Know

The biggest of the four major ancient civilizations was the Indus Valley Civilization, also known as the Harappan Civilization after its initial discovery site at Harappa. It encompassed the majority of modern Pakistan, a substantial portion of India, and parts of Afghanistan. It lasted at least 1600 years. Its exact start date is uncertain; however, it did collapse somewhere around the 16th century BC for inexplicable causes. The Indus River Valley Civilization is renowned for its superior engineering, well-planned towns, and a drainage system that would not be surpassed for millennia. The Indus civilization is also known as the Bronze Age civilization.

Division of the Indus Valley civilization into time periods

The Indus civilization has been divided into three time periods by historians.

  • Early Harappan (3300–2600 BC)

  • Mature Harappan (2600–1900 BC)

  • Late Harappan (1900–1300 BC)

Harappa was the first city discovered by archeologists; hence, all time periods have the name Harappan.

Here are some fascinating facts about the Indus Valley Civilization that everyone should be aware of.

Fact 1: A British army deserter made the first recorded notice of its ruins.

  • The discovery of the Indus Valley Civilization was initially documented by James Lewis in a book in 1842.

  • Lewis was a soldier of the British East India Company who left the army and witnessed the remnants of the ancient civilization at Harappa while traveling through the Punjab province of British India.

Fact 2: The cities of the Indus Valley were masterpieces of design and construction.

  • Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro, and other Indus Valley towns had unrivaled architecture in the ancient world.

  • The settlements were constructed on massive platforms and elevated lands to protect them from periodic floods and polluting waterways.

  • The Harappans" superior architecture may be seen in their remarkable docks, granaries, warehouses, masonry platforms, and defensive walls.

Fact 3: Advanced sanitation systems in the Indus Valley cities

The ancient Indus sewage and drainage systems established in towns all across the Indus region were significantly more advanced than those found in modern Middle Eastern urban sites and even more efficient than any of those present in many regions of Pakistan and India today. All dwellings had bathing facilities, latrines, and sewage drains that discharged into larger public sewers and eventually deposited fertile sludge on nearby agricultural fields. Some homes even have the world"s oldest known flush toilets.

Fact 4: The Great Bath

  • The Great Bath at Mohenjo-Daro in Sindh, Pakistan, is one of the most famous Harappan constructions.

  • It is said to be history"s first public water tank.

  • The tank itself is around 12 meters long and 7 meters broad, with a total depth of 2.4 meters.

  • Two large steps from the north and south go down into the tank, and little slots at the sides of the stairs are believed to have attached wooden planks or treads.

  • A little ledge at the bottom of the steps has a brick border that runs the whole breadth of the pool.

Fact 5: Seals were used in the Indus civilization

  • The Indus Valley Civilization created several artifacts and art forms.

  • Archaeologists have uncovered thousands of seals at Harappan sites.

  • Majority of the seals were made from Steatite. Some of the seals were made from gold, chert, and faience; ivory; agate; and terracotta, among other materials.

  • The Harappan seals were 2X2 squares in shape.

  • The bulk of the seals were used for commercial purposes. Some seals were also worn as charms or even as identity cards.

  • The seals had lettering on both sides. The writings were in Kharosthi style (from right to left).

  • The most renowned seal is the Pashupati Seal of Mohenjo-Daro"s Harappan culture.

Fact 6: Metallurgy in the Indus Valley

  • Some modern metallurgy techniques were developed by the people of the Indus civilization.

  • They produce items made from tin, copper, bronze, and lead.

  • Harappan copper artifacts were made by casting.

  • At Lothal, gold necklaces with diameters less than 0.25 mm have been discovered. Metal artifacts have also been discovered in Mohenjo-Daro, Harappa, and Rangpur.

  • Metal alloying techniques were mastered during the Indus River Valley Civilization.

Fact 7: The Indus Valley civilization had dentists too.

  • Dentistry was a well-known profession in the Indus Valley.

  • According to the British scientific journal Nature, the earliest evidence of drilling of tooth structure was discovered during an excavation in Mehrgarh, Pakistan, in 2006.

  • Eleven drilled molar teeth were discovered in a 5,500 BC cemetery.

Fact 8: Amazing water management system

  • The Dholavira excavation site reveals that river water was kept in massive reservoirs surrounding the city walls.

  • Dholavira has sixteen reservoirs, seven of which remain intact and may be visited by brick stairs along the walls.

  • Their water management system was so sophisticated that they had separate wastewater and rainwater channels running down Harappan roads.

Fact 9: The Indus Valley Civilization had precise measurement systems.

  • The inhabitants of the Indus Valley were among the first to devise a system of standard weights and measures. The earliest known measuring rod is a copper-alloy bar from one of its locations.

  • The weights recovered at IVC locations were very accurate.

  • Stone cubes have been excavated from the sites of this civilization. Archaeologists believe they were weighted for measuring purposes.

  • In Lothal (Gujarat), the smallest division on an ivory scale was found, which was approximately 1.704 mm. This has been the smallest known division since the Bronze Age.

Fact 10: The exact reason for the collapse of the Indus Valley Civilization still remains a mystery.

  • There are question marks in front of historians as well regarding the reason behind the decline of Indus Valley Civilization.

  • Experts are now certain that their fall was not caused by war, illness, or any other tragedy.

  • Cities and communities began to decline gradually, and it appeared that the population had abandoned them in search of greener pastures.

The Indus Valley Civilization is a wealthy civilization and one of the world"s most well-known civilizations. Today, the Indus River Valley Civilization is most recognized for the remains of its towns and the artifacts created by its inhabitants. Ancient Indian history is fascinating and can help us better understand the things that have happened in the past to shape our present.