Were the ancient civilizations more advanced? Well yes. If we look into the Harappa civilization or Mohenjo-Daro we get our answer. The Harappan civilization is also known as The Indus Valley Civilization. Its approximate year ranges from 3300-1300 BCE. Modern day it falls in northeast Afghanistan to Pakistan and northwest India. There were many important innovations that changed the world during this era. The most important were standardized weights and measures, seal carving, metallurgy with copper, bronze, lead and tin. Their drainage system was quite developed.
The civilization came to an end maybe due to climate change and migration. The discovery of these civilizations has left the old beliefs shaken. It is roughly during 7000 BCE in a place named Mehrgarh in the foothills of Baluchistan in western Pakistan. They invented the calendar till 2012 accurately. The civilizations of Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro might have the art of time travelling and we can well imagine the advancement of science during those ages. The kite that we play today was invented long back by the Indus Valley Civilization even before Christ was born. The Indus Valley Civilization came before the Rig Veda.
FOUNDATION: During 1856 when British were busy trying to build a railway connecting Lahore and Karachi, they found burnt bricks. They did not understand and used a few to build roads. In the process they used some of the antique remains. Later they found stone carvings made on soapstone. In 1920s these excavations were made and the ancient city was brought out. Before these findings it was a belief that the first Indian civilization was around Ganges River but the Indus valley civilization shook all beliefs. It is divided into three phases namely:
• Early Harappan Phase( 3300-2600 BCE)
• Mature Harappan Phase( 2600-1900 BCE)
• Late Harappan Phase( 1900-1300 BCE)
Almost all the goods that we use today were developed during that period. While the Egyptian civilization was busy in storing mummies the Harappan Civilization developed modern uses of irrigation. With a population of five million they were skilled in pottery making and drainage systems. To understand this in detail it's important to look into some of the greatest innovations made by them.
Though it is unknown as to who started irrigation but archeological surveys have suggested that irrigation started around 6000 BCE. The first crops were barley, wheat and other plants. They occasionally relied on floods and the ability of the soil to hold water so that crops grew from seeds to harvest. This faced problems as of the over-reliance of water but it was solved by creating dams made of bricks. So well dams were even developed by them and we cannot boast of inventing anymore.
The Indus Valley Civilization was farming based economy and so they designed stone tools for chopping mostly described as early hand axes. They were tear-drop shaped and roughly made and flaked on the other side to form a sharp cutting edge. This can be referred to as the Stone Age and many such tools were found which resembled the axe. In the early Indus Valley Civilization phase Scratch Plow came into existence as the need to cultivation grew. In 5500 BCE the first plow, a tool used to prepare the soil for planting was developed by the Indus Valley Civilization. It represented one of the greatest advances in agriculture. It consisted of a wooden stick attached to a wooden frame but was able to aerate the soil and scratch the furrow to allow the planting of seeds. The plow was pulled up by domesticated oxen and left strips of undistributed earth between each plowed row. To increase productivity, they cross-plowed at right angles. This technique is known as 'Celtic-fields' by the archeologists.
They recorded a great technological growth and use fire-baked bricks uniform in size and moisture-resistant for constructing baths and sewage. They were the first to develop standardized weights and measures. Their brick sizes were consistent across the city providing evidence of border civilization. Both Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa had one of the most developed sanitation systems. Their drainage system was far more advanced than the modern day urban areas. Homes drew water from wells. There was an efficient waste water management system as well and the waste water was recycled to drains. They had covered drains on the main streets. They were concerned about cleanliness and even the smallest homes outside the cities were connected with the drainage system. Evidences have shown that they had a sea trading network. Trade had an important part and the Harappans were the first to develop a wheeled transport with the help of oxen. They also built boats and watercrafts. They had a massive canal used as a docking facility in the city of Lothal. They had trading relations with the Mesopotamian civilization as their art crafts were found in Mesopotamia.
They made houses with flat roofs of red sand and clay. Spanning over 150 hectares and 370 acres they had large administrative and religious buildings. Both the cities of Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro had citadels and military structures. They had public baths and granaries which were used for storing grains. Mostly they were artisans and stayed together in different neighborhoods. According to the excavations they had highly efficient municipality and placed priority in religious ceremonies and cleanliness. They developed warehouses, brick platforms and protective walls. The large walls protected them from floods. They did not build large palaces or monuments unlike the Egyptian Civilization and probably the largest were granaries. The ancient city of Mohenjo-Daro had 'The Great Bath' which was most probably a public bathing area. It had a Buddhist Stupa in the background.
As mentioned previously the people of this civilization were artisans. They were known for seal carving. It means to cut patters in the bottom of the seal which is a small object used for stamping. They used this as a stamp on goods and property. Animal figurines such as tigers, elephants and buffalos have been discovered and stand as the antique art crafts of the time. This civilization developed metallurgical goods and worked with copper, bronze, lead and tin. They carved out of semi precious gemstone Carnelian. Their carvings show that they were nature worshippers and worshipped goddess like figures like Durga.
LANGUAGE AND CULTURE:
Though much is not known about their religion and culture but certain stone tablets have written texts engraved on it. They have been carbon dated 3300-3200 BCE. They have trident-shaped markings written from right to left. The scripts till date remain indecipherable. They have carvings depicting mythological figures like unicorns. One of such carvings has a buffalo humanoid figure fighting a tiger. This is widely interpreted either as a symbol of international trade or the hero of an epic Sumerian poem. They did paintings on terracotta and a girl in half dancing pose was excavated. They created necklaces and other ornaments. A figure in Bronze was found in 1927 in Mohenjo-Daro displaying a priest statue about 17.5 cm high.
It declined during 1800 BCE. Factors may be various. Scholars argue that the invading of the Aryans might be one cause. It can also be due to climatic change. According to many historians the drying up of the Saraswati River around 1900 BCE could have caused a great flood. Migration may be a cause as during 1800 BCE climate grew cooler and drier and they probably have gone to different areas. This is a debatable topic but around 1700 BCE most the Indus Valley cities declined and slowly disappeared.
To conclude by all this we can well understand that the Indus Valley Civilization was an advanced settlement much ahead of the other civilizations during that time. Even today the modern science cannot pace up with their thinking patters. The tools discovered by them are useful even today and their art is not comparable. All the goods we use today were discovered back then even kites and snow skies. It is quite debatable that if the Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro civilizations had not gone extinct then we would have had a much better and advanced world today.
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