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        Indus Valley Civilisation: (Pakistan)

From about 2,600 B.C. to 1,700 B.C. a vast number of settlements were built along the banks of the Indus River and surrounding areas. These settlements cover a remarkable region, almost 1.25 million kilometres of land which is today part of Afghanistan, Pakistan and north-western India.

The Indus Valley region was home to one of the great ancient civilisations, which was on par with the Sumerians and Egyptians and at the same time. It ended suddenly as did the Sumerians. It was not discovered until the 1920's. Most of its ruins, even its major cities, remain to be excavated.


Article: Nov, 2012 (

'Archaeologists Confirm Indian Civillisation is 2000 Years Older than Previously suspected'

'Indian archaeologists now believe the ancient Indian civilisation at Harrapa dates back as far as 7,500 BC. �When Bhirrana [Rajasthan] was excavated, from 2003 to 2006, Recovered artefacts provided 19 radiometric dates,� said Dikshit, who was until recently joint director general of the Archaeological Society of India. �Out of these 19 dates, six dates are from the early levels, and the time bracket is forming from 7500 BC to 6200 BC.�

(Link to Full Article)


Indus Valley Cities: Quick Links.

Harrapa: Northern Indus Valley City.                       Mohenjo Daro: Central Indus Valley City


There are several other cities now being discovered such as Dholavira, Lothal, Ganweriwala and Rakhigarhi and many others expected in the coming years. The underwater city discovered in the Gulf of Cambay is suspected of being a part of the ancient Indus Valley Culture.

The cities of the Indus Valley Civilization were well-organised and built out of brick and stone. Their drainage systems, wells and water storage systems were the most sophisticated in the ancient world. They also developed systems of weights and trade. They made jewellery and game pieces and toys for their children.

(Map of the Indus Valley)



   Indus Valley Locations:

Mohenjo Daro:

By far the best known Indus Valley City. Mohenjo Daro remains incompletely surveyed but  has already revealed much about the skills of the Indus Valley builders, craftsmen and trade routes with other civilisations of the time such as the Egyptians and Sumerians.

The Great Bath at Mohenjo Daro is suggestive of a common or ritual bath, other relics lend to the idea of a peaceful people who appear to have come to a sudden and dramatic end.

(More about Mohenjo Daro)



The City of Harrapa is recognised as a Northern equivalent of Mohenjo Daro. Discoveries confirm that the same system of weights and measures were used over a thousand kilometres apart. Harrapa shows a continued habitation since 3,300 BC, through which archaeologists have been able to better understand the rise and fall of this great civilisation.

 (More about Harrapa)


Well over a thousand settlements are now known from the Indus valley civilisation. The civilisation is known to have had a unity of culture, art, script, and technology (even weights and measures). The largest city, Mohenjo Daro is thought to have reached a population of approximately 30,000, suggesting a total population of approximately 5 million people. (1)


The Early Harappan Ravi Phase, named after the nearby Ravi River, lasted from circa 3,300 BC until 2,800 BC. It is related to the Hakra Phase, identified in the Ghaggar-Hakra River Valley to the west, and predates the Kot Diji Phase (2,800-2,600 BC, Harappan 2), named after a site in northern Sindh, Pakistan, near Mohenjo Daro.


   Indus Valley Script:
The people of the Indus Valley Civilization also developed a writing system which was used for several hundred years. However, we are still unable to read the words that they wrote.
The earliest examples of the Indus script date from around 3000 BC (2)
The seals above illustrate how similar animal figures were repeated, while the script varies.

Well over 400 distinct Indus symbols (some say 600) (3) have been found on seals, small tablets, or ceramic pots and over a dozen other materials, including a "signboard" that apparently once hung over the gate of the inner citadel of the Indus city of Dholavira. Typical Indus inscriptions are no more than four or five characters in length, most of which (aside from the Dholavira "signboard") are exquisitely tiny; the longest on a single surface, which is less than 1 inch (2.54 cm) square, is 17 signs long; the longest on any object (found on three different faces of a mass-produced object) has a length of 26 symbols.


Each seal has both an image and several characters.


Article: Computers unlock secrets of Indus-Valley script. (Science Daily: 2009)

A team led by a University of Washington researcher has used computers to extract patterns in ancient Indus symbols. The study, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows distinct patterns in the symbols' placement in sequences and creates a statistical model for the unknown language.

Despite dozens of attempts, nobody has yet deciphered the Indus script. The symbols are found on tiny seals, tablets and amulets, left by people inhabiting the Indus Valley from about 2600 to 1900 B.C. Each artefact is inscribed with a sequence that is typically five to six symbols long.

Some people have questioned whether the symbols represent a language at all, or are merely pictograms of political or religious icons.

The new study looks for mathematical patterns in the sequence of symbols. Calculations show that the order of symbols is meaningful; taking one symbol from a sequence found on an artefact and changing its position produces a new sequence that has a much lower probability of belonging to the hypothetical language. The authors said the presence of such distinct rules for sequencing symbols provides further support for the group's previous findings, reported earlier this year in the journal Science, that the unknown script might represent a language.

"These results give us confidence that there is a clear underlying logic in Indus writing," Vahia said.

Seals with sequences of Indus symbols have been found as far away as West Asia, in the region historically known as Mesopotamia and site of modern-day Iraq. The statistical results showed that the West-Asian sequences are ordered differently from sequences on artefacts found in the Indus valley. This supports earlier theories that the script may have been used by Indus traders in West Asia to represent different information compared to the Indus region.

(Full Article


Link with Easter Island script (Rongo-Rongo)

It has been observed that Easter island is diametrically opposite the Indus-Valley city of Mohenjo-Dharo and that the Indus valley script shares many similar symbols to Easter Island's 'Rongo-Rongo'.

(Comparison of Easter Island and Indus Valley Scripts)

(More about Easter Island)



   Connections with other Ancient Civilisations:

The Gilgamesh Connection.

It was long suspected that there was a connection between the early dynastic Egyptians and the Sumerians. The Knife found at the Royal cemetery in Abydoss (right), with its depiction of Gilgamesh, is proof enough, but the following information suggests that this prehistoric cultural link may have been stronger than once thought.

Gilgamesh in Mohenjo Daro, Indus Valley (left), Sumeria (centre) and Abydoss, Egypt (right).

The 'Gilgamesh' figure is an iconic Sumerian image, found in other prehistoric civilisations such as Early Dynastic Egypt and the Indus Valley. Curiously enough, the same figure, but with a woman between the felines is  found at other prehistoric locations such as the Mycenaean, Anatolian and Maltese.

If we go back further into Anatolian prehistory to Catal hoyuk (8,000 B.C.), for example, we can also compare the figurine of a large female sitting upon a throne flanked by either Lions or leopards (right). The Prehistoric European Earth Goddess or Cybele (left), is also often depicted enthroned with lions as was the Minoan mountain goddess (centre).

It is perhaps interesting to note, in relation to the prehistoric images of an Earth-Mother-Goddess with Lions on either side, that the Egyptians used the symbol of two lions 'Aker' to represent the horizon. In this context, we can see through these earlier iconic images of a female Earth-Mother-Goddess flanked by felines, a depiction of the literal Earth itself.

The same symbols were later used as 'guardians' of important cities, temples etc.

(From left to right - Persepolis, Alaya Huyuk, Mycenae)



The Sumerian Seals: International Trade.

Archaeologists can use both the trade in seals themselves, as well as the distances between seals and the corresponding sealings, to trace long-distance trade networks. One such set of seals were manufactured around 1,900 B.C. on two important island trading cities in the Persian Gulf - Bahrein and Failaka. These seals were traded all over the Middle East, and have been found at diverse and distant locations such as Susa in Iran, Bactria in Afghanistan, Ur in Iraq, and Lothal on the west coast of India. By 1,750 B.C. Common Style seals are found in locations ranging from Spain, to Mycenaean Greece, to Marlik near the shores of the Caspian Sea. These seals were made from faience, a less expensive material, and used by smaller merchants. (4)



(Mohenjo Daro)


(The Sumerians)

(Prehistoric India)

(Indus Valley - Easter island Script)




1). Michael Wood. In Search of the First Civilisations. 1992. BBC Books.
2). Parpola, Asko (1994). Deciphering the Indus Script. Cambridge University Press.
3). Wells, B. An Introduction to Indus Writing. Early Sites Research Society (West) Monograph Series, 2, Independence MO 1999



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