top of page


Updated: May 8

1. Beginnings

  • These cultures were associated with distinctive pottery, evidence of agriculture and pastoralism, and Some crafts.

  • Settlements were generally small.

  • Reasons for a break between Early Harappan and the Harappan civilization was large-scale burning at some sites.

2. Subsistence Strategies

  • The Harappan ate a wide range of plant and animals products, including fish

  • Archaeologists reconstructed dietary practices from finds of charred Grains and Seeds.

  • Grains found at Harappan Sites include wheat, barley, lentil, chickpea and Sesame.

  • Millets are found from sites jn Gujrat

  • Animals bone found at Harappan sites includes those of cattle, sheep, goat, buffalo and pig.


2.1 Agricultural technologies

  • Seals and terracotta Sculpture indicate that bull was known and given as evidence for ploughing (Choliston & Banawali)

  • Evidence of a ploughed field also found at kalibangan (Rajasthan)

  • Pattern of growing crop

  • The field had two sets of furrows at right angles to each other.

  • Location of Harappan Sites mostly are in semi arid lands (because of the irrigation facilities)

  • traces of canals found at -

    • Shortughai in Afghanistan

  • traces of reservoirs-

    • Dholavira (Gujrat)

3. Mohanjodaro 

  • A planned urban center 

  • The settlement is divided into two Sections


The Lower Town

Smaller but higher

Lower Town Much larger but lower

Constructed on mud bricks platforms makes it higher

Built on platforms Serves as foundations

Walled meant that it was physically separated from lower town.

Lower town  was also walled

3.1 Laying out drains 

  • Distinctive features of Harappan Cities the carefully planned drainage system.

  • Roads and was Streets were laid out along on approximate "grid" pattern, intersecting at 90° 

3.2 Domestic architecture

  • Residential buildings were mostly centred on a courtyard, with rooms on all sides.

  • Apparent concern for privacy, no windows walled along the ground level.

  • Entrance does not give direct view of house. 

  • Every house with bricks has its bathroom paved with bricks.

  • It is estimated that the total number of wells in Mohenjodaro was about 700.

3.3 The Citadel 

  • Probably used for special public purposes Citadel include

  • Warehouse + Great bath

  • Warehouse was massive structure of which  the lower brick portions remain, while the upper portions, probably of wood.

  • Rectangular tank in a Courtyard surrounded by corridor on all four sides called great bath

4. Tracking Social Differences 

4.1 Burials

  • In the excavations at the cemetery in Harappa in the mid-1980s, an ornament Consisting of three shell rings, a jasper bead and hundreads of micro beads near the Skull of a male 

  • In Some instances the dead with copper mirrors were buried on the whole, it appears that the Harappans did not believe in burying precious things.

4.2 Looking for "luxuries" 

  • Archaeologists broadly classify artifacts as

5. Finding Out About Craft Production 

  • Mohenjodaro (125 hectares), almost exclusively devoted to craft production, including bead making, Shell-cutting, metal working, seal - making and weight-making.

  • The variety  of materials used to make beads is remarkable: Stones like carnelian, jasper, -quartz; metals like copper, bronze and gold, etc.

  • Specialised drills have been found at Lothal,

  • Chanhudaro and more recently at Dholavira.

  • Nageshwar and Balakot were specialised centres for making shell objects including bangles, Ladles and inlay...

  • Finished products such as beads from Chanhudaro and Lothal were taken to the large centres such as Mohenjodaro and Harrapa

5.1 Identifying centres of production 

  • Identify In order to identify craft production, archeologists usually look for the following

  • Raw materials Such as Stone nodules, whole Shells, copper ore, tools; unfinished objects; rejects and waste material.

  • Waste is one of the best indicators of craft work

  • Apart from small, specialised centres, craft production was also undertaken in large cities such as Mohenjodaro and Harappa.

6. Strategies For Procuring Materials 

  • Terracotta toy models that this was. one of bullock carts sugges: important means transporting goods and people aross land routes

6.1 Materials from the Subcontinent and beyond 

  • The Harappan procured materials for craft production in various ways. For instance, they established Settlements such as Nageshwar and Balakot where shell was available

  • Another strategy for procuring raw materials may have been to Send expeditions to areas Such as the khetri region of Rajasthan (for copper) and South India (for gold). 

  • Evidence in the archaeologists call khetri area for what the Ganeshwar-Jodhpur culture with its distinctive non-Harappan pottery and an unusual wealth of copper objects

  • It is possible that the inhabitants of this region Supplied copper to the Harappans

6.2. Contact with distant lands 

  • Chemical analyses have shown that both the Omani Copper and Harappan artefacts have traces of nickel, suggesting a common origin Jar coated with a thick layer of black clay has been found at Omani sites (Such thick coating prevents the percolation of liquids).

  • Harappans possibly exchanged the contents of these vessels for Omani Copper

  • The Sumerian texts refer to trade relations with "Meluha which was the name given to Indus region.

  • Shortughai and Mundigag were the Indus Sites found in Afghanistan. 

  • The Sumerian texts also refer to two. intermediate stations- Dilmun (Bahrain) and Makan (Makran coast), Susa, and Ur are Mesopotamian places. where Harappan Seals were found.

7. Seals Script, Weights

7.1 Seals Sealings

  • Seals and sealings were long-distance Communication

  • Sealing conveyed the  identity of the Sender

7.2 An enigmatic script

  • Harappan Seals usually have a line of writing probably containing the name and title of the owner.

  • Most inscriptions are short, the longest containing about 26 signs. Although the script   remains undeciphered.

  • As it has too many signs - somewhere between 375 and 400. 

  • Script was written from right to left.

  • Motif (generally an animal) conveyed a meaning to those who could not read.

7.3 Weights

  • Exchanges were regulated by a precise system of weights, usually made of a Stone called Chert

  • The lower denominations of weights were binary (1,2,3,4,8, 16, 32, etc up to 12,800), while the higher denominations followed the decimal System.

8. Ancient Authority 

  • There are indications of complex decisions being taken and implemented in Harappan Society,

  • Who organised these activities?

8.1 Palaces & kings 

  • No authentic evidence found in favour of palaces and  Kings

  • A statue was labelled and continues to be known as  the "priest-king" 

  • Several arguments are there regarding who help political power in Harappan civilisation.

  • The last theory seems the most plausible, as it is unlikely that entire communities could have collectively made and implemented Such complex decisions.


  • Evidence of most of the Mature Harappan Sites in regions such as cholistan had been abandoned by c. 1.800. 

  • Expansion of population into in  new settlements in Gujrat, Haryana and western UP

  • Disappearance of the weights, seals, special beads writing, long-distance trade and craft Specialisation

  • Reason of this vital disappearance -Climate change, deforestation, excessive floods. to overuse of the landscape, etc. Perhaps the Harappan State, came to end. 

10. Discovering The Harappan Civilisation

10.1 Cunningham's Confusion 

  • Cunningham, was the first Director General of the AST, began archaeological excavations in the 19th century. 

  • He used the accounts left by Chinese Buddhist pilgrims who had visited the Subcontinent in bet 4th to 7th century. 

  • Cunningham noted a Harappan seal but unsuccessfully tried to place it within the time frame with which he was familiar (because he thought that Indians history began with the first cities in the Ganga valley) 

  • Thus, he missed the significance of Harappa.

10.2 A new old civilisation

  • John Marshall was the first scholar to use the term 'Indus Civilisation and he was also Director General of the ASI ( discovery of new civilization)

  • Excavators of Harappa -

  • Daya Ram Sahni (1921), Madho Swaroop vatsa (1926), Wheeler (1946). Contemporary civilizations of Indus Civilization Mesopotomia, Egypt & China.

10.3 New Techniques and questions

  • R.E.M. Wheeler, after he took over as Director General of the ASI in 1944.

  • He recognised that it was necessary to follow the stratigraphy of the mound

  • rather than dig mechanically along uniform horizontal lines 

  • With the partition of the subcontinent and the creation of Pakistan, the major sites are now. In Pakistani territory

  • Survey in Kutch revealed a humber of Harappan Settlements and explorations in Punjab and Haryana have added to the list of Harappan Sites.

  • While kalibangan (Rajasthan), Lothal (Gujrat) and hoost recently Dholavira (Gujrat) have been discovered, explored and excavated as part of these efforts, fresh explorations continue.

11. Problems Of Piecing Together the Past

  • Material evidence that allows archaeologists to better reconstruct Harappan life rather than Harappan script.

11.1 Classifying finds 

  • One principle of classification of artefacts is in terms of material, such as Stone, clay, metal, etc The Second and more complicated, us un an terms of function, for instance, artefact as a tool or an ornament or both

  • Archaeologists have to develop frames of reference. For instance, First Harappan be a Seal that was found could not be understood till archeologists had context in which to place it.

11.2 Problems of interpretation

  • Early archaeologists thought that certain objects which seemed unusual or unfamiliar may have had a religious Significance for instance, mother goddess,"priest king"

  • In other instances,structures have been assigned ritual significance

  • These include the great bath and fire altars found at kalibangan and lothal

  • the chief male deity was the "pasupati mahadeva" -the lord of animals (proto shiva) represented in seals as sitting in yogic posture ,he is surrounded by.

88,344 views21 comments

Recent Posts

See All

CLASS 12TH India's Foreign Policy

The Policy Of Non Alignment Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose created Indian National army INA formed in 1942 during World war II. This army...


Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
Jun 15

Mam these notes 📝 help me to understand my questions easily


May 24
Rated 3 out of 5 stars.



Apr 19
Rated 4 out of 5 stars.

Very Osm Notes !!

Very easy to Read and Learn but some points are missing .

I used to write this notes in my Fair Notebook.



Apr 07



Apr 07
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Notes are really good ...easy for a quick revision 🌟

bottom of page