The Harappans, AKA the Indus Valley Civillisation (IVC).

Archived items. 

The Indus Valley civilization(also known as Harappan culture) has its earliest roots in approximately 6000 BCE in Mehrgarh. The two greatest cities, Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa, emerged circa 2600 BCE along the Indus River valley in Punjab and Sindh. The civilization, with a writing system, urban centers, and diversified social and economic system, was rediscovered in the 1920s after excavations at Mohenjo-daro (which means “mound of the dead”) in Sindh near Sukkur, and Harappa, in west Punjab south of Lahore. A number of other sites stretching from the Himalayan foothills in east Punjab, India in the north, to Gujarat in the south and east, and to Balochistan in the west have also been discovered and studied. Although the archaeological site at Harrappa was partially damaged in 1857 when engineers constructing the Lahore-Multan railroad used brick from the Harappa ruins for track ballast, an abundance of artifacts have nevertheless been found.

 One of the most fascinating yet mysterious cultures of the ancient world is the Harappan civilization. This culture existed along the Indus River in present day Pakistan. It was named after the city of Harappa which it was centered around. Harappa and the city of Mohenjo-Daro were the greatest achievements of the Indus valley civilization. These cities are well known for their impressive, organized and regular layout. They have well laid our plumbing and drainage system, including indoor toilets. Over one hundred other towns and villages also existed in this region. The Harappan people were literate and used the Dravidian language. Only part of this language has been deciphered today, leaving numerous questions about this civilization unanswered.  Artifacts and clues discovered at Mohenjo-Daro have allowed archaeologists to reconstruct this civilization. The similarities in plan and construction between Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa indicate that they were part of a unified government with extreme organization. Both cities were constructed of the same type and shape of bricks. The two cities may have existed simultaneously and their sizes suggest that they served as capitals of their provinces. In contrast to other civilizations, burials found from these cities are not magnificent; they are more simplistic and contain few material goods. This evidence suggests that this civilization did not have social classes. Remains of palaces or temples in the cities have not been found. No hard evidence exists indicating military activity; it is likely that the Harappans were a peaceful civilization. The cities did contain fortifications and the people used copper and bronze knives, spears, and arrowheads. The Harappan civilization was mainly urban and mercantile. Inhabitants of the Indus valley traded with Mesopotamia, southern India, Afghanistan, and Persia for gold, silver, copper, and turquoise. The Mesopotamian model of irrigated agriculture was used to take advantage of the fertile grounds along the Indus River. Earthlinks were built to control the river’s annual flooding. Crops grown included wheat, barley, peas, melons, and sesame. This civilization was the first to cultivate cotton for the production of cloth. Several animals were domesticated including the elephant which was used for its ivory.

There’s some evidence that a IVC city is deep underwater in the bay of Cambay, but that’s pending further investigation. If it’s true, the pottery from it dates back over 30, 000 years. This is the earliest known example of Harappan writing, it may be the oldest in the world.  

  Harappan Astronomy

 Although the translation of the Harappan script is still very much a work in progress, there are numerous indications that Harappans were well versed in astronomy.
  1. The straight streets of the Indus cities are oriented towards the cardinal directions, which presupposes astronomical observations and the use of the sun-stick, the gnomon.
  2. The star-calendar used by the Vedic ritualists was adopted by the Aryans in India, for there are no references to it in the Avesta or in the oldest books of the Rgveda. On the other hand, astronomical evidence dates the compilation of this calendar at around the 23rd century B.C., when the Indus civilisation flourished at its peak. Like other urban civilisations, it undoubtedly needed a calendar that adjusted the lunar and the solar time-reckoning.
  3. Linkages between ancient Harappan scripts and latter Vedic texts suggest that Harappan priest-astronomers tracked progress of Mercury, Venus and Saturn, and most likely all of the planets. They also appeared to have mapped the sky. Some of the pieces of recovered tablets show what appears to be a discussion of the North Star in one case and the star cluster, Pleides, in another.

 The Pleiades hold a prominent place as the mothers or wet nurses of the newborn infant in one of the most ancient and central Hindu myths, that of the birth of the war-god Rudra/Skanda, who evidently represents, among other things, the victorious rising sun (and as vernal sun the new year). The Pleiades are said to have been the wives of the seven sages, who are identified with the seven stars of the Great Bear.

The Great Bear’s Old Tamil name elu-meen ‘seven-star’ corresponds to the combination of the pictograms ’7′ + ‘fish’, which alone constitutes the entire text of one finely carved Indus seal. The Satapatha-Brahmana states that the six Pleiades were separated from their husbands on account of their infidelity; other texts specify that only one of the seven wives, Arundhati, remained faithful and was allowed to stay with her husband: she is the small star Alcor in the Great Bear, pointed out as a paradigm of marital virtue to the bride in the Vedic marriage ceremonies.

 Evidence for the Harappan origin of this myth is provided, among other things, by Indus seals which show a row of six or seven human figures; their female character is suggested by the one long plait of hair, which to the present day has remained characteristic of the Indian ladies.

Culture and economy
Indus Valley civilization was mainly an urban culture sustained by surplus agricultural production and commerce, the latter including trade with Sumer in southern Mesopotamia. Both Mohenjo-daro and Harappa were built according to similar plans of well-laid-out streets, “differentiated living quarters, flat-roofed brick houses, and fortified administrative or religious centers”[4] Weights and measures were standardized throughout the area and distinctive seals were used for identification of property and shipment of goods. Although copper and bronze were in use, iron was unknown. “Cotton was woven and dyed for clothing; wheat, rice, and a variety of vegetables and fruits were cultivated; and a number of animals, including the humped bull, were domesticated.” [4] Wheel-made pottery—some of it adorned with animal and geometric motifs—has been found in profusion at all the major Indus sites. A centralized administration has been inferred from the revealed cultural uniformity; however, it remains uncertain whether authority lay with a priestly or a commercial oligarchy.

By far the most exquisite but most obscure artifacts unearthed to date are the small, square steatite seals engraved with human or animal motifs . Large numbers of the seals have been found at Mohenjo-daro, many bearing pictographic inscriptions generally thought to be a kind of script. Despite the efforts of philologists from all parts of the world, however, and despite the use of computers, the script remains undeciphered, and it is unknown if it is proto-Dravidian or proto-Sanskrit.  


Harappan priest king 2,000 BC, and a terracotta figurine of  lady. 


Harappan seals, one showing a man in a seated yogic position.


Harappan jewellery.


Harappan cooking pots. Period III, Harappan, 2300-2200 B. C.  Links to Harappan sites.


Aerial view of the great bath at Mohenjo-Daro.


Ground view of the well.

A childs toy cart, showing they used the wheel.

Intact Buffware Vessel, Mehrgarh Style, 3500-2000 BC.

The human remains from the sites are the same physical type as the current residents of the areas they are found in, making Harappans Indo Europeans.

A burial at Harappa.

Burial of a woman and infant with offering pots.


Painted burial pottery. 

 Edit to original.

After a few months of reading into the history of agriculture, I’m pretty sure in saying the Harappans and their ancestors the people of Mehrgarh, were Indo Europeans. This is from a new dating of the spread of Indo European languages that matches the spread of the domesticated crops that you find in The Indus Valley civillisation. The wheat, sheep, goats and cattle all have the same place of origin in southern Turkey about 10,000 or so years ago. These are the agricultural markers for the spread of that culture, so where you get Indo-European crops, you’ll get Indo-European people (that far back in time, at least). the barley seems to have been domesticated in Asia, not the Israel?Jordan type

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36 responses to “The Harappans, AKA the Indus Valley Civillisation (IVC).

  1. The skulls and bodys are awseome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. From your first paragraph: “The Harappan people were literate and used the Dravidian language.”
    From your final paragraph: “the script remains undeciphered, and it is unknown if it is proto-Dravidian or proto-Sanskrit.”
    Consistency would help! otherwise an enjoyable introduction.

  3. Tisztelt Mathilda!

    A harappai írás rokonságban állhat a székely rovásírással is.

    Üdvözlettel: Varga Géza

  4. i wanna know about the calender of this civilisation

  5. Your article is informative and thought provoking. Congrats for a nice introduction.

  6. Congrats Mathilda, for a very nice, informative and thought provoking article and clear pictures. You have given us a very clear introduction on these two civilizations. Best of luck.

  7. Fascinating read that is tangential to my post on dead river people…

    Do drop in at land-bridge for a parallel culture take on blogger

  8. cool! great pix! this helped a lot on my history proj!

  9. Wow!!! My people!!! The “Dravidians” inhabited many areas of the Middle-East including The Arabian Peninsula, Modern-day Iran, Pakastan, India, and some in China. Yes, the Indus Valley Civilizations spoke Dravidian languages. “Dravidians” were the founders of the whole thing, with some outside influences. They scripts that they used were very similar to Ancient Egytian hieroglyphics and due to their phenotype some scholars do think they had links to Ancient Egypt, if not the founders. These Indus Valley Civilizations founded many aspects of mathematics, science, and other subjects. There is still alot we don’t know about them and they may date futher back than what is usually read. Most Northern Indians and some South Indians(mainly North Western) are descendants of an Aryan invasion of Persians and babaric groups. These groups raped and slaughtered “Dravidians”. They pushed the Dravidians futher south. The many concepts of Hinduism were in India before the Aryans entered and the Aryans did put some of their ideas into Hinduism though, particuly the racist caste system, with most, not all, lower-caste members being descendants of the darker-skinned Dravidians. Some “Dravidians” moved to Southeast Asia and were apart of the Khmer Civilization. The only ones questioning “The Aryan Invasion” is some higher caste Brahmins who want to claim the Indus Vally Civilization and some who would rather not see their ancestors in such a light. DNA tests basically prove “The Aryan Invasion”, even though some ancestors of the lighter-toned Indians were already there before due to the trading and such.
    “Dravidians” are descendants of many of the earlier inhabitors of India which are Veddiods (Australoid and Negritos admixture) and Australoids, Caucasians, and some East Asians. They are mostly Caucasoid-Australoid groups. This varies from caste to caste. Currently there are atleast 350 million still in India.
    Thanks for this post.

  10. Yes, the “Dravidians” founded the Indus Valley Civilizations. They were the original inhabitors of Pakastan and India. Due to the similarity between the Dravidian languages and the Egyptian hieroglyphics, and obivous resembling phenotypes, many scholars think that “Dravidians” may have founded or contributed to Ancient Egypt. Some can still be founded throughout the Middles East in places like The Arabian Peninsula, sorrounding areas also, Iran, Iraq, Afganastan, Pakastan, India, and some are in China. Dark-skin “Dravidians” are mostly genetically Caucasoid, with strains of Veddoid (Negritos and Australoid admixture) and Australoid. DNA has already proven “The Aryan Invasions”. Concepts of Hinduism, Jainism, and Budhism was already in India when they invaded. Some concpets like the infamous caste-system was added. Some left India after the brutal Aryan Invasions of barbaric Persians (rape, muder, genocide) and help founded the Khmer civilization.

  11. DNA test samples taken from various Indian Hidu castes reeals the truth of the Aryan Invasion.

  12. Though some North Indians have some ancestors that were there before the Aryan Invasions from neighboring Asiatic lands.

  13. Well done!
    But can you give some info about the seals of harappa.Thought they are pretty important.

  14. yeah this is a very informative and titillating article.Pics r just fabulous and it helped me a lot in my project.

  15. I want to know how do we know Harppans have some type of goverment?

  16. To Ieesha
    If it is true what you said ,the Aryans added the system of caste to India, than why it is still existing to this days ,even though there is a universal anti campaign to it by western governments.It’s endurance is up to the Brahmans

  17. …hmmmm, harappans= h/th/t/tla t/l/rapana=
    tlatlapana(N)=to break, make pieces(bricks=
    chamitl=chaminaua=chimney). also implying
    that harappans broke off from the rest of the
    population(as craftsmen). in meso-amerindia
    the legend is we come from ueue tlapalan(N)/
    old red, tlatlapalli(N/freq. tlapalli)=striped red.
    taking rgveda forms from dravidian:

    kulpha=ankle=coloa patla(N)/colpa(tla),
    the word, patla(sp)=pata=foot.
    and, tl/t/th/hand/t/tli(N/E).
    khala=threshfloor=calaqui(N)=who enters,
    who spills=calar(sp)=to raise and lower by
    means of a pole(naut/winnow?).

    now they say that dravidian is present
    at rgveda middlespan of time, and that
    para mundo(whatever vapor of the scholarly
    image that is)influxes at earliest rgvedic levels.
    let’s put that concoction back on the shelf.

    now, since i’ve started, let’s take a look at
    pre-Greek oan words:

    for the road, sur le route, a suit(for the road).
    the -sseus= ss/c eu itz/s inoa=ceuitzinoa(N)=
    rev. of ceuia/ceui/cetl(N)=home again
    (domesticated), in from the cold/cetl(N)=ice,
    as in, c(r)e(s)tl=crystal, ice being the oneness/
    ce(N)=one of water, or mineral.
    thalassa=tlalaqui/tlalaquia(N)=to sink,
    tlatlatl(N)=swamp, tlatlatlauhtli=
    tl/tha la/tla uhtli=deep channel.
    trenza(braid)/tla(m)petlani(N)=spill liquid,
    (tl)a(m)petlanilli(N/adv.)=spilt, overflow
    (associated with lightning, in this case, red
    or white).
    tyrannos=tilana(N)=stretch the bow, also,
    laan/loan(E), both of which a tyrant needs.
    pyrgos=tower=piloa cozcatl(N)=the spilling
    jewel/yellow(one is reminded of rapunzel),
    ah, piloa/(s)pire(E).
    pergaomos=piel gamuza(sp)=piloa ca amoxtli(N)=spill(for)being(a)book, the hardcover not
    the paperback.
    and lastly, olive, which can be done straight
    from this word= olli(n)ue/ve=holy/olli ue/big.

    tlatlapana/harappan will turn out to be
    4water/nauatl based, yet, 2.6bc, will find
    it not unlike sumer, using the nauatl loan
    word with suffix and prefix for any number
    of meanings, yet they seem given to quietism
    and craft, so we will be looking at the mega-
    version of quakers, amish, stickley, william
    morris, and, gasp, robert blake in the land
    of the tiger!

  18. Interesting article, but if you claim that the language is proto-dravidian (and I agree, because I have been working on the script under Iravatham Mahadevan, who is working on this hypothesis), isn’t it more likely that the people were Dravidian too?
    The Indus Research Centre (which is where I have been working) certainly sees the inhabitants of the Indus Valley Civilisation as a Dravidian civilisation.
    I am interested in whatever evidence you may have to support your theory of the inhabitants being Indo-European.

    • Sorry, typing error. I meant:

      The Indus Research Centre (which is where I have been working) certainly sees the Indus Valley Civilisation as a Dravidian civilisation.

      • I’vfe been having a look over the the Nostratic claims, I’ve come to think that INdo European, Dravidian and Semitic all link yop to a central Euphrates based language (Euphratian?)a bit over 10k ago. So it was probably closely related to Semitic and IE but was ancestral to Dravidian.

        I’ve studies a bit since I wrote this peice.

  19. very nice to see the pictures.

    lord sri krishna said ‘The world is srushtichakra’.
    will golden age come after kalyug?
    what is age after kalyug?

  20. It is very facinating. I found few rockshelters and paintings in western Ghats. some of the signs and depictions have similarities with those of Indus Script. Also I found a drawing of a Rhino like animal figure- which is confusing – probably a wildbore- but the size (of Rhino) proportionate to other animals depicted there is much bigger. I am trying to redraw it in my computer over the photo. I have read in some sources that Indus Grafitis are found in south Indian cave arts. What is your opinion sir. I will diclose the palce after finishing my study.

  21. …did i say robert blake, i meant william,
    not the cockatoo american actor, author
    of tiger/ ti c/g e r/l(letra)=ticitl(N)=midwife
    (ocelotl=birthing animal of cave venus,
    tlatla, of whom another version has been found,
    35k bc, some are saying it’s twined figures,
    i doubt it).

  22. good work done!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1but there must be some more information about the civilization like about the seals,decline,etc.

  23. Hi,

    Has there been any research or attempt to retrieve and analyze DNA from various skeletons etc — by finding out the mtDNA or YDNA haplogroups , may help resolve the question of race of the Indus Valley Civilization’s inhabitants !




    i luv this site

  26. Sup yall!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  27. Better for refferance

  28. Ieesha, the newest archeological researchs are against you. Aryans lived in North India.

  29. Mathilda: great job, I like your work — informative and useful

    To djilali djaber:

    I don’t agree with the statement “Aryans added the system of caste to India” the idea is too ambitions. It happened too long ago and ‘a social phenomenon such as cast cannot be added, just like that…’ even if based on evidences. I believe the “Aryan” and the “Dravidian” homogenization that had happened (happening) for 1000s of years, is the reason for all cultural phenomenon that exists in the present day Subcontinent.

    My intend here is to reject Romantic fancies such as “Dravidian as some angels and Aryans as demons”. For sure a good and a bad side exists for all humans, and this does not need and evidence. Also please don’t misunderstand me of being pro-c*s*e. ‘This notion’ has existed for at least 1000 of years it is quiet—probable—that ‘it’ was created as a classification based people’s profession. I am sure they (Dravidians and Aryans) should have known all kinds of profession are need for smooth running of a society. And ‘the notion’ was just simply a description of people based on their profession in ancient texts of Manu. But sure later and I agree ‘this notion’ when combined with power have got twisted as it exists today, a social evil.

  30. There seems to be a lot of back tracking with linguists regarding the “Aryans” especially over the past few years. First it was changed from an invasion to a migration. Now with new genetic evidence by prominent western scientists that there was no mass aryan migration into India (one way at the least), in fact if anything it was the other way around. With that said some linguists are still trying their hardest to debunk the newer comprehensive genetic studies using older or less comprehensive data (seems counterproductive no?). Some linguists are now even talking about a two way migration. One point to understand is that genetics is based on hard physical science, whereas linguistics is at the least more speculative.

  31. @ban

    The Aryans were from North India. This is according to genetic evidence.

  32. One commonly postulated homeland from which the Indus Valley Civilization might have been founded is Elam, in the Iranian Mountains near Sumer. Neither Elam nor Sumerian were Indo-European languages, nor is Dravidian. The Sumerians used crops similar to those of neighboring Anatolia to whom they were connected by the Tigris and Euphrates and with whom they traded. But, their language died when it was replaced by a Semetic language that migrated there from the Levant. Semetic, Indo-European and Sumerian peoples were all part of the same Neolithic agricultural cluster.

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