Saylor.org's Ancient Civilizations of the World/The Indus River Valley

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Ancient Indian Civilization[edit]

The earliest known farming cultures in south Asia emerged in the hills of Balochistan, Pakistan, which included Mehrgarh in the 7th millennium BCE. These semi-nomadic peoples domesticated wheat, barley, sheep, goat and cattle. Pottery was in use by the 6th millennium BCE. Their settlement consisted of mud buildings that housed four internal subdivisions. Burials included elaborate goods such as baskets, stone and bone tools, beads, bangles, pendants and occasionally animal sacrifices. Figurines and ornaments of sea shell, limestone, turquoise, lapis lazuli, sandstone and polished copper have been found. By the 4th millennium BCE we find much evidence of manufacturing. Technologies included stone and copper drills, updraft kilns, large pit kilns and copper melting crucibles. Button seals included geometric designs.

Indus Valley Civilization[edit]

By 4000 BCE a pre-Harappan culture emerged, with trade networks including lapis lazuli and other raw materials. Villagers domesticated numerous other crops, including peas, sesame seed, dates, and cotton, plus a wide range of domestic animals, including the water buffalo which still remains essential to intensive agricultural production throughout Asia today. There is also evidence of sea-going craft. Archaeologists have discovered a massive, dredged canal and docking facility at the coastal city of Lothal, India, perhaps the world's oldest sea-faring harbour. Judging from the dispersal of artifacts the trade networks integrated portions of Afghanistan, the Persian coast, northern and central India, Mesopotamia (see Meluhha) and Ancient Egypt (see Silk Road).

Soapstone statuette of "Priest-King" discovered at Mohenjo-daro

Archaeologists studying the remains of two men from Mehrgarh, Pakistan, discovered that these peoples in the Indus Valley Civilization had knowledge of medicine and dentistry as early as circa 3300 BCE. The Indus Valley Civilization gains credit for the earliest known use of decimal fractions in a uniform system of ancient weights and measures, as well as negative numbers (see Timeline of mathematics). Ancient Indus Valley artifacts include beautiful, glazed stone faïence beads. The Indus Valley Civilization boasts the earliest known accounts of urban planning. As seen in Harappa, Mohenjo-daro and (recently discovered) Rakhigarhi, their urban planning included the world's first urban sanitation systems. Evidence suggests efficient municipal governments. Streets were laid out in perfect grid patterns comparable to modern New York. Houses were protected from noise, odors and thieves. The sewage and drainage systems developed and used in cities throughout the Indus Valley were far more advanced than that of contemporary urban sites in Mesopotamia.

Attribution[edit]

"Ancient Civilizations/Ancient Indian Civilization" (Wikibooks) http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/World_History/Ancient_Civilizations#Ancient_Indian_Civilization