Indus culture

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Extension and most important sites of the Indus culture.

The Bronze Age Indus Culture, or Indus Civilization, was one of the earliest urban civilizations . It existed around the years 2800 - 1800 BC. Chr. Along the Indus in the northwest of the Indian subcontinent . The Indus culture extended over almost all of today's Pakistan as well as parts of India and Afghanistan , totaling 1,250,000 km² and thus a larger land area than ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia combined. Along with these, it was one of the three earliest civilizations in the world.

It is sometimes also called Harappa culture or Harappa , after Harappa , one of the main excavation sites on the Ravi . Another alternative name for this culture is Sindhu - Sarasvati civilization ; Behind the use of the name Sarasvati stands the attempt, rejected by the great majority of scholars, to equate it with the bearers of Vedic culture . It may also be identified with the Sumerian meluha .

To date, over 1050 sites have been identified, mainly along the Indus and Ghaggar . Over 140 ancient cities and settlements have been found. The two largest urban centers of the Harappa culture were probably Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro , there were also large cities near Dholavira , Ganweriwala , Lothal and Rakhigarhi . In its heyday, the Indus culture probably numbered over five million people.

This early Indian culture was already familiar with architecture and regular town planning, including cobbled streets with street gullies. For the first time in the history of mankind, she developed the fired brick with the perfect proportions of 1: 2: 4, which are still in use today, which can be added in any direction as a single-handed brick.

It may also have a font; But whether the so-called Indus script is actually a script has been the subject of controversial discussion in specialist circles.

Sites of the Indus culture

Discovery and exploration of the Indus culture

The sources for the Harappa culture are, unlike those for the other two advanced cultures in Egypt and Mesopotamia, very sparse. Only about ten percent of their settlements have been excavated. Their writing has not yet been deciphered, nor has it disappeared from around 1900 BC. Clarified. Even Sanskrit texts from the 1st millennium BC do not directly mention this early culture. It is also not certain which language people spoke at the time or what they called themselves.

Although the ruins at Harappa had been known for some time and were first described by Charles Masson in 1844 in his book Narrative of Various Journeys in Balochistan, Afghanistan and The Panjab as “a brick-built, destroyed fortification”, its significance was only recognized much later been. In 1857 the British used in the construction of the railway from Multan to Lahore the route burnt bricks, which they found on the nearby ruins in Harappa for attachment. The location in Harappa is therefore quite poor compared to Mohenjodaro . Mohenjo-Daro had also been known for a long time, but here they were more interested in the remains of a later Buddhist monastery from the 2nd century AD, which had been built on the ruins. In 1912 J. Fleet found seals with unknown characters in what was then British India , which aroused the interest of the scientific public in Europe. As a result , excavations were carried out in 1921/22 in Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro under the direction of John Marshall , the then director of the British Antiquities Service . The similarity of the two excavated cities quickly made it clear that a previously unknown high culture had been discovered here. More than 10 hectares had been excavated by the city of Mohenjo-Daro by 1931, but after that only smaller excavations took place, including in 1950 by the British Mortimer Wheeler . 1935/36, Chanhu Daro , another site of the Indus culture, was excavated. Since the partition of British India in 1947, the settlement area of ​​the Harappa culture has been divided between Pakistan and India. In Pakistan, Americans, French, British and Germans carried out the further research work together with Pakistani archaeologists, while the Indian Antiquities Service continued the work in India . In addition to the archaeologists already mentioned, the Briton Aurel Stein , the Indian Nani Gopal Majumdar and the German Michael Jansen had and still have a great influence on the Indus research .


Around 8000 BC In the area of ​​today's Pakistan, the transition from hunter-gatherer to farmer and cattle breeder took place, and with it a settled settlement took place. Early farming cultures developed, which also appeared in the hills of Balochistan in what is now Pakistan. The best explored site of this time is Mehrgarh , which dates back to around 6500 BC. BC originated. These farmers domesticated wheat and cattle and began using them from 5500 BC. Also pottery . From around 4000 BC In addition to this, peas , sesame , dates and cotton were grown, and the water buffalo , which is still essential for agriculture in South Asia , was domesticated. The Indus Valley was populated from the edges towards the center. The Amri culture in the Indus valley is attested from the fourth millennium BC . In many places, such as Amri, it directly precedes the Indus culture.

2600 BC The small villages turned into cities with several thousand inhabitants who were no longer primarily active in agriculture. A culture emerged that produced uniformly constructed cities within a radius of 1000 kilometers. The sudden appearance seems to have been the result of a planned and conscious effort. Some cities have been completely rebuilt to correspond to a well-thought-out plan, or even built from scratch, which can also be seen in Mohenjo-Daro, where no traces of previous settlements were found. The structure of many of the larger cities in the Indus Valley is strikingly similar, so that the Harappa civilization was probably the first to develop urban planning . Previous scholars could only explain this sudden occurrence through external factors such as conquest or immigration . However, recent findings prove that the Harappa culture actually emerged from the arable cultures in this area.

The times are approximate. Details can be found in the article.



The techniques used by the farmers of that time are largely unknown today due to the sparse tradition. Apparently the plow , pulled by water buffalo , was invented before the Indus civilization . In the Harappa civilization that followed, agriculture must have been extremely productive, otherwise the many thousands of city dwellers who were not primarily engaged in agriculture could not have been fed. Undoubtedly, the farmers of that time made use of the fertile Indus mud, similar to the ancient Egyptians of the Nile mud.

No evidence of dams or irrigation canals has been found to date; if there were structures of this type, they were probably destroyed in the numerous floods in the area. From a city recently discovered in India, however, we know that at that time rainwater was collected in massive reservoirs hewn out of the rock, which could supply the cities during dry periods.

The farmers of the Harappa culture grew wheat, barley , lentils , chickpeas , peas , cotton and flax . Gujarat belonged to the sphere of influence of the Harappa culture (Sorath-Harappa), but was dependent on rain-fed agriculture due to the lack of large rivers and therefore shows clear differences in economic methods. In references to the late Harappan culture as Rojdi and Kuntasi predominates in the plant remains Panicum Sumatrense , also remains were of lively and red foxtail found. Wheat and barley are only sparsely occupied. From Rangpur and Lothal, pot fragments come from that were allegedly leaned with rice straw. So far, this is the only and uncertain evidence for the domestication of rice in the Harappa culture. Safe remains of rice do not date until the late 2nd millennium. It is not yet clear whether the water buffalo was domesticated or just hunted. Because of numerous bone finds, it is believed that the chicken was kept as a pet since the late Harappa culture. From Kalibangan there are traces of agriculture with the simple hook plow (Arl) from the early Harappa culture.

Children's toys from Mohenjodaro, New Delhi National Museum
Terracotta vase, dated approx. 2600-2450 BC BC, Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Crafts, handicrafts and trades

The handicraft production often took place in in-house workshops, but there were also artisan quarters on the outskirts of the city. Some products were mass-produced and also exported. The range of handicraft products was wide and included:

  • Textiles: The Indus culture was the first to plant cotton and, for example, produced loincloths and long cloaks, the standard clothing at the time. The fabrics were partly colored in bright colors.
  • Pottery and stone ware: A large variety of objects with great wealth of shapes were produced. Some of these were mass-produced goods for everyday use, but others were also more expensive individual items. It produced kitchen vessels (for example, cookware, serving plates, water jugs, large reservoirs, small ointment pots), toys (animal figurines), pens, dice , marbles , tiles and mousetraps.
  • Tools and weapons : knives, razors , hammers, axes, drills, cleavers, swords and arrowheads were manufactured. Most heavy implements were made of stone, bone, or wood, knives and razors were made of hard-forged copper . Bronze was scarce due to a lack of tin .
  • Jewelry: A major role was played by the jewelry industry, which produced a wide variety of products. In addition to metal and semi-precious stones, the main materials were mainly shells . Stone bracelets, sometimes with a short inscription, were also very popular. The quality of the jewelry found indicates a highly developed craftsmanship.
  • Processing of mollusc shells : Snail shells and mussel shells from sea-dwelling mollusks were a particularly popular raw material , from which numerous different objects were produced.

There was a very extensive commercial division of labor , also spatially. Excavations along the Ghaggra , a now dry river east of the Indus, suggest that the settlements each specialized in one or more production techniques. For example, in some cities metal was more likely to be used, while others preferred to produce cotton.

Domestic trade

Charioteer with a team of oxen (detail of a model), Harappa, cast bronze , around 2000 BC Chr. New Delhi National Museum

Contrary to what was assumed in the 1950s and known from the cultures in Mesopotamia, there was probably no central temple economy in the Indus Valley that collected the surpluses via tribute and - after deducting a more or less large proportion for the elite - distributed it to the various specialist groups as required . Rather, the exchange within the already quite labor-based economy was mainly based on trade .

This was fueled by significant advances in transportation technology. They knew both carts very similar to those used in what is now South Asia, as well as boats and ships. Most of these ships were probably small flat-bottomed boats, as can still be found on the Indus today. Whether the carts, of which mostly only terracotta, but also bronze models exist, were in profane use, however, remains open in view of the knowledge gained about Mesopotamian cart models .

The most important goods in domestic trade were probably cotton, wood, grain, livestock and other foodstuffs. A highly standardized and very fine system of units of measure was used to organize trade - and probably also to collect taxes.

Foreign trade

Judging by the distribution of the artifacts of the Indus civilization, the trade network spanned a large geographic area, spanning parts of Afghanistan , the coastal regions of what is now Iran , northern and central India, and Mesopotamia. In many of these countries there were places of the Indus culture that were obviously trading enclaves. At Shortugai parts of a settlement of the Indus culture could be excavated, which perhaps had importance in the lapis lazuli trade. In the Persian Gulf near Ras al-Jinz, the remains of a settlement were found that were probably a base in maritime trade.

Important import goods were

Important export goods:

  • Cotton goods, for which the Indus culture had a monopoly at that time and whose bright colors were coveted
  • Wood ( cedar from the Kashmir region, teak from the Punjab forests)
  • ivory
  • Gemstones
  • Jewellery
  • possibly spices
Remains of the port facility in Lothal in what is now India

  Especially with Sumer ( Jemdet-Nasr period , early dynastic period (Mesopotamia) ), finds and documents in Sumer show a lively exchange of goods, both overland through today's Iran and by sea via Dilmun (today: Bahrain ). For example, in the tomb of Queen Puabi , who died around 2500 BC Lived in Ur in Mesopotamia, found carnelian jewelry from the Indus region. In addition, a Sumerian inscription, which probably refers to the Indus culture, uses the name Meluha , which is the only reference to what the people of the Indus Valley could have called themselves at that time. The center of trade seems to have been Mohenjodaro, where administrative and trade structures could be identified.

Waterways formed the backbone of the transport infrastructure at that time. In addition to the inland vessels already mentioned, there were also larger vessels suitable for sea use. Archaeologists have discovered the remains of a large man-made canal and harbor docks near Lothal on the coast of the Arabian Sea , and possibly the oldest man-made harbor basin in the world; it was very progressive for the time.

For foreign trade, several trading stations were set up far outside the Indus Valley, in addition to the Lothal in the south and some in the west.

Urban planning

The general plan of
Kalibangan (Rajasthan, Northwest India) illustrates the structure of a typical city of the Indus culture: A citadel-like upper town in the west and a lower town with continuous north-south axes in the east each form parallelogram-shaped urban districts.

Almost all of the larger settlements of the Indus civilization had a similar, strictly geometrical urban structure. A citadel-like upper town in the west towers above the spatially separated and approximately parallelogram-shaped, rectangular or square lower town or residential town in the east. The largest ancient city found so far in the Indus Valley is Mohenjo-Daro ("Hill of the Dead"), which is located in what is now Pakistan in the Sindh province directly on the Indus. Together with other important archaeological sites such as Kot Diji , Lothal, Harappa and Kalibangan , it is characterized by the consistently high quality of urban planning, especially its water supply and sewerage . The British archaeologist Stuart Piggott formulated in 1950 that the cities of the Indus culture were laid out like a chessboard, similar to New York today . In fact, only the north-south axes are continuous, while the east-west roads are articulated. Nonetheless, the uniform urban architecture is evidence of advanced knowledge in urban planning and hygiene as well as efficient administration. Monumental buildings of a sacred or cultic nature were unknown to the Indus culture.

Since there are no significant deposits of natural stone in the Indus plain itself, all the building structures that have been preserved consist mainly of air-dried clay bricks . Occasionally natural stone was only used in the foundations of larger structures. Wood was probably only used in ceiling constructions. In terms of structural engineering, the architects of the Indus culture preferred right-angled masonry in a block bond . Round fountain surrounds, which have not survived either from the pre-Harappan cultures or the high cultures that existed in parallel in Mesopotamia and Egypt, and therefore probably represented a novelty in the entire building history, were built from wedge-shaped bricks. Vaults, however, were unknown with the exception of the cantilever vault .

Typical structure using the example of Mohenjo-Daro

Mohenjo-Daro is probably the best-explored city of the Indus civilization. The British Antiquities Service carried out extensive excavations here in the 1920s and 1930s, uncovering large parts of the city that had been completely buried by the Indus mud for the past 4,500 years . Probably to protect against floods , the city was built on an artificial platform made of burnt bricks and earth. A higher area, which was about 200 m wide and 400 m long and is called the citadel , was followed by an area called the lower or residential town, where the houses were located. There was a space of about 200 m between the citadel and the lower town. Main streets ten meters wide ran through the lower town in a north-south direction, and smaller side streets branched off at right angles from them in an east-west direction. This is how blocks of houses were built, in which the city's residents probably lived.

The citadel - the purpose of which is unknown, but a defensive function is suspected - has a much less schematic layout than the block-like lower town. In 1925, a large basin made of special fired bricks was discovered here, measuring around 7 mx 12 m and climbing up two flights of stairs. It was surrounded by an arcade and was supplied with water from its own well, which was located in an adjoining room. It is not known whether this was a bathing pool for ritual washing or a public bathing establishment. Also on the platform was a large brick building called the granary ; however, this function has not been proven.


The rectangular houses in the lower town, laid out in street blocks, were constructed very practically from fired bricks. About half of the houses were 50–100 m² in size, almost as many between 100–150 m², and a few even had 210–270 m² of living space. Closed to the outside and unadorned, they typically consisted of an inner courtyard connected to the street by an anteroom, around which the actual living rooms were arranged. Daily life took place in these inner courtyards, which were often partially covered. Often there were roof terraces above the rooms that could be reached by stairs. The typical house had its own toilet that faced the street and fed a public sewer system via clay pipes . Water was supplied by its own well. The standard of water supply and sanitation was very high and has not yet been achieved in some parts of Pakistan and India .


The cities, which were planned in great detail and built in an engineering manner, testify to the advanced level of science at the time . The people of the Indus civilization achieved astonishing precision in measuring lengths, masses and time. They were probably the first to develop and use uniform weights and measures. Your measurements were very precise. Its smallest length dimension which is on a scale from ivory was found in Lothal corresponded to about 1.704 mm, the smallest unit that ever on a scale of Bronze Age was discovered. Weights were based on 0.05, 0.1, 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 times a basic unit that weighed about 28 grams . The decimal system was already known and in use.

For the first time in human history, fired bricks with the ideal edge length ratio of 1: 2: 4, which is still in use today, were used as building material. In metallurgy , too , new techniques were developed with which the craftsmen of the Harappa culture worked copper , bronze , lead and tin .

Finds from Mehrgarh in 2001 suggest that the basics of medicine and dentistry were also mastered.


Stone figure of the Indus culture from
Mohenjo-Daro, interpreted as the " priest king "

Compared with the high cultures in Egypt and Mesopotamia , very few stone sculptures have been found on the Indus. Among other things, heads and rams enthroned on pedestals were discovered , which indicates a sacred meaning.

In contrast, the people of the Indus culture made jewelry in many variations. The starting material was various precious stones such as carnelian , agate , jasper and lapis lazuli as well as gold (more rarely), crystals and other earthenware. With great craftsmanship, including grinding and polishing, arm rings, chains and headdresses were made from them.

In addition, many smaller sculptures made of clay were discovered, often slender female figures, which presumably represented symbols of fertility , and animal figures that were very detailed.

Small clay and bronze figures, which represent the corresponding scenes, prove that dance, painting and music were also capitalized. Archaeologists discovered a representation of a harp-like instrument on a seal, and two objects from Lothal could also be identified as stringed instruments .

Language and writing

Despite various attempts, the Indus script , which is not related to any known script , has not yet been reliably deciphered. Typical inscriptions are no longer than four or five characters, the longest known inscription comprises 26 characters. In the Indus culture, seals (for example in the form of a lion) were used as a personal signature.


John Marshall , the excavator of Mohenjodaro and Harappa , was the first to try to explain the Indus religion and came to the conclusion that many manifestations of later Hinduism were already present in the Indus religion. His theses are discussed controversially. Academic research is critical of his theses and tries other approaches to the Indus religion. On the other hand, Marshall's theses tend to be accepted uncritically, especially in circles friendly to Hinduism and yoga.

Research is greatly hampered by the fact that no texts are known. In addition, it is difficult to reliably assign existing material to the religious or cultic area. The figurines can be interpreted as toys, ritual objects or representations of gods. In addition, one does not know whether the Industal culture and thus also its religious ideas were uniform.

Marshall's theses

Marshall represented three important aspects of the Indus religion in his work on Indus culture (1931):

  • Adoration of the " Great Mother Goddess ", as a forerunner of "Proto- Shaktism ". The goddess could have been a protoform of the Hindu Durga or Shakti .
  • Worship of a "big male God" ( Great times God ), as a precursor of the "proto- yoga ". This presumed god was already referred to as "Proto- Shiva " by Mackay in 1928 , who came closer to the "Lord of the Animals" of the later Pashupati .
  • The "Big Bad" ( Great Bath ) in Mohenjodaro ablutions have served, which occupy an exceptionally important role today in Hinduism.

Modern approaches


In view of the simultaneous Mesopotamian and Iranian seals, religious and mythical contents can be expected on the Indus seals. Anthropomorphic depictions could depict people, heroes or deities, theriomorphic depictions can depict animals, but also mythical beings. The unicorn - one of the most frequently depicted animals - is supposed to represent a mythical being or a symbol. Multi-headed animals and hybrid beings belong to the supernatural sphere, while simple naturalistic animal representations could at best have a background in zoolatry .

The seals also show trees; the pipal fig ( Ficus religiosa ) and acacia ( Acacia sp. ) seem to have played a special role in the Indus culture.

The narrative seals belong more clearly to the religious sphere. They show processions in which some people carry animal standards - a possible reference to zoolatry. Depictions of adorants in a kneeling position testify to the worship of gods. Other narrative seals obviously depict scenes from heroic sagas or myths. For example, a seal depicts a person between two tigers, a common motif in different cultures. The representation of a person sitting in a tree should also be interpreted in this direction.

The seals often discussed in the literature play a special role with people in an unusual sitting posture, such as the well-known Mohenjo-Daro seal 420 . While a cultic-religious meaning of these representations is generally assumed, a connection with the later yoga remains controversial.


The many anthropomorphic figurines, often only roughly worked out, could have served as toys, but obviously had in part a religious character and then seem to have had a use in domestic cult; this is concluded from the fact that these were often found in smaller back rooms.

The fact that some of these figurines were colored with bone ash when they were burned, which was not observed with other objects, is an important indication of the cultic character. Perhaps the figurines should be "animated" by this, a reference to magic or shamanism is obvious.


To date, no building has been clearly identified as a sacred building, and the “Great Bath” of Mohenjo-Daro shows no clear signs of cultic use.

Decline and collapse

For over 700 years the Indus people lived in prosperity, and their artisans made products of great beauty and quality. From around 2000 BC Apparently larger problems arose, the nature of which is not known, but which roughly coincided with the transition periods in Egypt and Mesopotamia (transition to the Middle Kingdom in Egypt, or the end of the kingdom of Ur-III in Mesopotamia). The big cities were abandoned and those who stayed were malnourished. Around 1800 BC Most of the cities were abandoned. In the following centuries, the memories and achievements of the Indus culture - in contrast to the cultures in Egypt and Mesopotamia - were completely lost. The Harappa culture did not leave any monumental buildings like the pyramids in Egypt or the numerous ziggurat temples in Mesopotamia, which would have proven their earlier existence and kept their memories alive. One can assume that this was not possible because there are few suitable stones in the Indus valley; but the same is true of Mesopotamia. Perhaps the people of the Indus culture were also alien to the concept of large monumental buildings. Neither royal tombs nor any valuable grave goods were found. Men and women were buried the same way. These indicators suggest a less hierarchical society.

Today one no longer speaks of a relatively sudden decline of the Indus culture, but of a gradual decline. In the course of this, a process of dissolution can be seen: the uniform culture with a dense trade network broke up into various regional cultures that were influenced to different degrees by the Indus civilization. Evidently there were also migrations: some people of the Indus culture seem to have migrated eastwards, to the Ganges plain , others migrated to the fertile Gujarat plain in the south (western India). The ceramic tradition also survived for some time. In essence, then, it was not people who disappeared, but their civilization: the cities, the writing and the trade networks. However, this decline was never complete, as many features of civilization survived and became part of later high cultures: craft knowledge, art, agriculture, and possibly elements of social structure.

The reasons for the decline are unclear. The theory that was particularly popular in the middle of the last century that the decline of the Indus culture could be explained solely by the appearance of Aryan nomads in the Indus valley no longer has many supporters. Today, the interaction of a whole bundle of factors of ecological, climatic, political or economic nature is being discussed, which, however, are not yet certain in detail:

  • Climatic changes may have played a significant role. The Indus valley was around 2600 BC. Wooded and rich in animals. It was more humid and greener than today. In this way, the people of the Indus culture were able to supplement their food with hunting during periods of drought or floods. It is known that around 1800 BC The climate in the Indus valley changed: It became significantly cooler and drier. The monsoons may have shifted to the east. The lower rainfall could ultimately no longer have been sufficient to irrigate the fields.
  • The drying up of large parts of the Ghaggar-Hakra river system (see also Sarasvati ) could have been important, the source of which was diverted into the Ganges plain by tectonic processes . There is some uncertainty about the exact timing of this event. With the drying up of the Ghaggra-Hakra, a significant part of the fertile farmland was lost.
  • Centuries of intensive cultivation may have helped gradually deplete the soil.
Reconstruction of the course of the river 1 Original course 2 Today's river bed 3 Today's Thar desert 4 Original coastline 5 Today's cities
  • Possibly - as in Sumer - centuries of incorrect irrigation technology that paid too little attention to drainage and produced salt residues under conditions of strong evaporation, the arable land gradually salty.
  • Overgrazing by the large herds of sheep and goats, with which the constantly growing population met their meat needs, may have reduced the vegetation on the mountain slopes to such an extent that the soil eroded and the natural water balance was disturbed.
  • The enormous demand for wood (building material and fuel for the brickworks) has probably destroyed entire forests, which further reduced precipitation and caused deserts to grow in the already drier land.
  • The fall of the Indus civilization could be related to the end of the Sumerian Empire and the loss of trade relations there.
  • Armed conflicts are also discussed as a possible cause. The peoples settling in Central Asia experienced population growth and expanded their settlement area. Equestrian tribes from the Iranian plateau also invaded the area of ​​the Indus culture.
  • Illnesses may also have played a role in the end of the Harappa culture.

History of the Indus Valley as a table of times

6500 BC Chr. (uncertain dating) Mehrgarh oldest discovered settlement in the Indus valley
2600 BC Chr. High culture begins: town planning, sewerage
1800 BC Chr. Fall of the Indus culture
1500 to 600 BC Chr. Vedic period
500 BC Chr. Beginning of the Buddhist Gandhara culture, around 1000 years
711 AD First Islamic influence
1526 to 1761 Mughal empire , heyday of Islam on the Indian subcontinent
1859 to 1947 British rule
from 1947 Division into the states of India and Pakistan

Periods Main phases Mehrgarh phase Harappan phase Post-Harappan culture phase era
7000-5500 BC Chr. Pre-Harappan culture Mehrgarh I
(akeramisches Neolithic)
Early agriculture era
5500-3300 BC Chr. Pre-Harappan Culture / Early Harappan Culture (Early Indian Bronze Age) Mehrgarh II - VI
(ceramic Neolithic)
Era of regionalization
c.4000-2500 / 2300 BC BC (Shaffer)
c.5000-3200 BC BC (Coningham & Young)
3300-2800 BC Chr. Early Harappan
culture c.3300-2800 BC BC (Mughal)
Harappan 1
(Ravi phase; Hakra culture )
2800-2600 BC Chr. Mehrgarh VII Harappan 2
(Kot Diji Phase,
Nausharo I)
2600-2450 BC Chr. Harappan culture (Indus valley civilization) (Middle Bronze Age) Harappan 3A (Nausharo II) Era of integration
2450-2200 BC Chr. Harappan 3B
2200-1900 BC Chr. Harappan 3C
1900–1700 BC Chr. Late Harappan Culture (Late Bronze Age) Harappan 4 Cemetery-H-Culture
Era of localization
1700-1300 BC Chr. Harappan 5
1300–600 BC Chr. Post-Harappan Culture
Iron Age in India
Painted Gray Ware (1200–600 BC)
Early Veda ( meaning of the Veda ) (approx. 1500–500 BC)
approx. 1200-300 BC BC (Kenoyer)
approx. 1500-600 BC BC (Coningham & Young)
600-300 BC Chr. Northern Black Polished Ware ( Iron Age ) (700–200 BC)
Second urbanization (c.500–200 BC)

See also



  • Bridget Allchin, Raymond Allchin: The rise of civilization in India and Pakistan. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge et al. 1982, ISBN 0-521-24244-4 (Reprinted edition. Ibid. 1988).
  • Dilip K. Chakrabarti (Ed.): Indus Civilization Sites in India. New Discoveries (= Mārg. Vol. 55, No. 3). Marg Publications on behalf of the National Center for the Performing Arts, Mumbai 2004, ISBN 81-85026-63-7 .
  • Dorian Fuller: An agricultural perspective on Dravidian historical linguistics: archaeological crop packages, livestock and Dravidian crop vocabulary. In: Peter Bellwood , Colin Renfrew (Eds.): Examining the farming / language dispersal hypothesis. McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, Cambridge 2002, ISBN 1-902937-20-1 , pp. 191-213.
  • Swarajya P. Gupta: The Indus-Saraswati Civilization. Origins, Problems and Issues. Pratibha Prakashan, Delhi 1996, ISBN 81-85268-46-0 .
  • Michael Jansen : The Indus civilization. Rediscovery of an early high culture. DuMont, Cologne 1986, ISBN 3-7701-1435-3 .
  • Tony Joseph: Early Indians. The Story of Our Ancestors and Where We Came From. Juggernaut Books, New Delhi 2018, ISBN 978-93-8622-898-7 .
  • Braj B. Lal : India 1947-1997. New Light on the Indus Civilization. Aryan Books International, New Delhi 1998, ISBN 81-7305-129-1 .
  • Braj B. Lal: The Earliest Civilization of South Asia. (Rise, Maturity and Decline). Aryan Books International, New Delhi 1997, ISBN 81-7305-107-0 .
  • Gregory L. Possehl (Ed.): Ancient cities of the Indus. Vikas Publishing House, Delhi 1979, ISBN 0-7069-0781-7 .
  • Gregory L. Possehl: The Indus Civilization. A Contemporary Perspective. AltaMira Press, Walnut Creek CA 2002, ISBN 0-7591-0171-X .
  • Jim G. Shaffer: The Indus Valley, Baluchistan and Helmand Traditions: Neolithic Through Bronze Age. In: Robert W. Ehrich (Ed.): Chronologies in Old World Archeology. Volume 1. 3rd edition. University of Chicago Press, Chicago IL 1992, ISBN 0-226-19445-0 , pp. 441-464.
  • Günter Urban, Michael Jansen (ed.): Forgotten cities on the Indus. Early cultures in Pakistan from the 8th to the 2nd millennium BC Chr. (Exhibition catalog) Philipp von Zabern, Mainz 1987

Material culture

  • Alexandra Ardeleanu-Jansen: The terracottas in Mohenjo-Daro. An investigation into small ceramic sculptures in Mohenjo-Daro, Pakistan (approx. 2300–1900 BC). University Mission, Aachen 1993, ISBN 3-929832-01-1 (also: Aachen, Technische Hochschule, dissertation, 1993).

Language and writing


Web links

Commons : Indus culture  - collection of images, videos and audio files

References and comments

  1. Klaus Fischer , Michael Jansen, Jan Pieper: Architecture of the Indian Subcontinent. Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 1987, ISBN 3-534-01593-2 , p. 111.
  2. Klaus Fischer, Michael Jansen, Jan Pieper: Architecture of the Indian Subcontinent. Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 1987, ISBN 3-534-01593-2 , p. 137.
  3. ^ A b Sir John Marshall (Ed.): Mohenjo-daro and the Indus Civilization. Being an official Account of archaeological Excavations at Mohenjo-Daro carried out by the Government of India between the Years 1922 and 1927. Volume 1. Probsthain, London 1931.
  4. The Sumerians or Akkader ; in the period from the early dynastic period of Mesopotamia (2900 / 2800-2340 BC) to the Ur III period (2340-2000 BC) trade relations were made with the Indus culture
  5. Jonathan Mark Kenoyer: Ancient cities of the Indus Valley Civilization. Oxford University Press, Oxford 1998, ISBN 0-19-577940-1 , p. 53.
  6. Manuel, Mark (2010), "Chronology and Culture-History in the Indus Valley", in Gunawardhana, P .; Adikari, G .; Coningham Battaramulla, RAE, Sirinimal Lakdusinghe Felicitation Volume, Neptune
  7. ^ Robin Coningham, Ruth Young: The Archeology of South Asia: From the Indus to Asoka, c.6500 BCE - 200 CE. Cambridge University Press, 2015, p. 145
  8. Jonathan Mark Kenoyer: Ancient cities of the Indus Valley Civilization. Oxford University Press, Oxford 1998, ISBN 0-19-577940-1 , p. 53.
  9. Jonathan Mark Kenoyer: Ancient cities of the Indus Valley Civilization. Oxford University Press, Oxford 1998, ISBN 0-19-577940-1 , p. 53.
  10. Jonathan Mark Kenoyer: The Indus Valley tradition of Pakistan and Western India. Journal of World Prehistory (1991) 5 (4): 1-64. doi: 10.1007 / BF00978474 .
  11. Asko Parpola: The Roots of Hinduism. The Early Aryans and the Indus Civilization. Oxford University Press, 2015
  12. Jonathan Mark Kenoyer: The Indus Valley tradition of Pakistan and Western India. Journal of World Prehistory (1991) 5 (4): 1-64. doi: 10.1007 / BF00978474 .
  13. Jonathan Mark Kenoyer: The Indus Valley tradition of Pakistan and Western India. Journal of World Prehistory (1991) 5 (4): 1-64. doi: 10.1007 / BF00978474 .
  14. Jonathan Mark Kenoyer: Ancient cities of the Indus Valley Civilization. Oxford University Press, Oxford 1998, ISBN 0-19-577940-1 , p. 53.
  15. Jonathan Mark Kenoyer: The Indus Valley tradition of Pakistan and Western India. Journal of World Prehistory (1991) 5 (4): 1-64. doi: 10.1007 / BF00978474 .
  16. ^ Robin Coningham, Ruth Young: The Archeology of South Asia: From the Indus to Asoka, c.6500 BCE - 200 CE. Cambridge University Press, 2015, p. 28
  17. ^ Robin Coningham, Ruth Young: The Archeology of South Asia: From the Indus to Asoka, c.6500 BCE - 200 CE. Cambridge University Press, 2015, p. 28
This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on August 5, 2005 .