Indus Valley | Clues to an Ancient Civilization, National Geographic

Nearly 5,000 years ago as Bronze Age civilizations developed in Mesopotamia and Egypt, great cities arose along the flood plains of the Indus and Saraswati (Ghaggar-Hakra) Rivers in present day Pakistan and India.

Named after Harappa in Pakistan, the first of its cities to be excavated, the Harappan civilization was once considered an offshoot of Mesopotamian culture. Archeological findings have shown, however, that Harappan culture actually predates its Mesopotamian counterpart by 200 years. These findings prove once and for all that the ancient urban civilizations in the Indus Valley, Mesopotamia, and Egypt developed independently.

Indus Valley civilization was highly organized and very successful. It was home to some of the first planned cities, the birthplace of one of the first written languages, …

Indus Valley | Clues to an Ancient Civilization, National Geographic

Nearly 5,000 years ago as Bronze Age civilizations developed in Mesopotamia and Egypt, great cities arose along the flood plains of the Indus and Saraswati (Ghaggar-Hakra) Rivers in present day Pakistan and India.

Named after Harappa in Pakistan, the first of its cities to be excavated, the Harappan civilization was once considered an offshoot of Mesopotamian culture. Archeological findings have shown, however, that Harappan culture actually predates its Mesopotamian counterpart by 200 years. These findings prove once and for all that the ancient urban civilizations in the Indus Valley, Mesopotamia, and Egypt developed independently.

Indus Valley civilization was highly organized and very successful. It was home to some of the first planned cities, the birthplace of one of the first written languages, and thriving in 1,500 settlements spread over 280,000 square miles—an area twice as large as Egypt or Mesopotamia—for 900 years.

The town of Harappa flourished during this period because of its location at the convergence of several trade routes between the mountains to the north and the coastal area along the Arabian Sea.

Indus valley communities are within a days walk of each other, had the first known sewer systems, standardized mud brick structures, systems of trade and measure, seals (credit cards), and other inventions that exist to this day. Recently in Gujarat after an extended drought caused deaths from a shortage of water, emergency workers and heavy equipment were brought in to build a temporary reservoir. One of the bulldozers ran into the corner of a huge reservoir, constructed during ancient times, that was by far superior to anything the locals have today.

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The Indus river valley maintains some surprising remnants of its ancient culture.  A stone’s throw from the largest intact Harappan Site (Mohenjo Daro), Mohanis fishermen use the exact style of flat-bottom boat depicted in terra cotta and stone tablets 4,600 years old, and a group of bird hunters still practice a 5,000-year-old method of catching birds. Hunters tie pet herons to a hoop in the river, and then submerge to their necks in the water wearing masks made from real bird skins. They wiggle their heads to mimic a swimming bird and then grab any prey that lands nearby. We know this is the ancient method they used to hunt birds because there are artifacts that show bird hunting that go back to 3,300 BC.
Bird pot from Harappa site (3300BC) shows bird hunting and ties into all of the modern day bird hunter photographs shot outside Mohenjo Daro. Basically these hunters have been practicing their craft in this way for over 5,000 years.
A bird hunter unties his decoy live heron from hoops that he has constructed in the Indus River. The bird is a decoy today, but may be dinner later in the week. The Indus river valley maintains some surprising remnants of its ancient culture.  A stone’s throw from the largest intact Harappan Site (Mohenjo Daro), Mohanis fishermen use the exact style of flat-bottom boat depicted in terra cotta and stone tablets 4,600 years old, and a group of bird hunters still practice a 5,000-year-old method of catching birds. Hunters tie pet herons to a hoop in the river, and then submerge to their necks in the water wearing masks made from real bird skins. They wiggle their heads to mimic a swimming bird and then grab any prey that lands nearby. We know this is the ancient method they used to hunt birds because there are artifacts that show bird hunting that go back to 3,300 BC.
A bird hunter prepares for the evening hunt. The boat will leave and he will be alone with his decoy headpiece and his decoy live herons tied to hoops in the middle of the Indus River – just off the Mohenjo Daro archaeological site.The Indus river valley maintains some surprising remnants of its ancient culture.  A stone’s throw from the largest intact Harappan Site (Mohenjo Daro), Mohanis fishermen use the exact style of flat-bottom boat depicted in terra cotta and stone tablets 4,600 years old, and a group of bird hunters still practice a 5,000-year-old method of catching birds. Hunters tie pet herons to a hoop in the river, and then submerge to their necks in the water wearing masks made from real bird skins. They wiggle their heads to mimic a swimming bird and then grab any prey that lands nearby. We know this is the ancient method they used to hunt birds because there are artifacts that show bird hunting that go back to 3,300 BC.
Washerman in Ravi River, just outside Harappa in the Indus Valley, Pakistan. An archaeology student discovered an interesting marking system that washermen used to identify a family’s clothing.  He did a study and found a 52% correlation between the washermen markings and the ancient Indus script.  This man washes clothes for the community in the Ravi River, which is a tributary of the Indus.
This image of a hunter wearing a bird decoy mask was featured on the cover of National Geographic magazine. Men lure wild birds near them, wiggle their heads to mimic a swimming bird and then capture them by hand. This method was used 3,300 BC as shown on artifacts that show this style of hunting. The Indus river valley maintains some surprising remnants of its ancient culture.  A stone’s throw from the largest intact Harappan Site (Mohenjo Daro), Mohanis fishermen use the exact style of flat-bottom boat depicted in terra cotta and stone tablets 4,600 years old, and a group of bird hunters still practice a 5,000-year-old method of catching birds. Hunters tie pet herons to a hoop in the river, and then submerge to their necks in the water wearing masks made from real bird skins. They wiggle their heads to mimic a swimming bird and then grab any prey that lands nearby. We know this is the ancient method they used to hunt birds because there are artifacts that show bird hunting that go back to 3,300 BC.
The Indus river valley maintains some surprising remnants of its ancient culture.  A stone’s throw from the largest intact Harappan Site (Mohenjo Daro), Mohanis fishermen use the exact style of flat-bottom boat depicted in terra cotta and stone tablets 4,600 years old, and a group of bird hunters still practice a 5,000-year-old method of catching birds. Hunters tie pet herons to a hoop in the river, and then submerge to their necks in the water wearing masks made from real bird skins. They wiggle their heads to mimic a swimming bird and then grab any prey that lands nearby. We know this is the ancient method they used to hunt birds because there are artifacts that show bird hunting that go back to 3,300 BC.
Heroin Addict, Old City | Lahore, Pakistan
A woman in ancient part of Lahore where 5,000 years ago they built the first sewers, squats by the modern sewer to smoke heroin.
String Embedded With Glass Shards for Kite Fighting | Lahore, Pakistan
Small clay offerings are made in the same way as ancient times at the Ghoray Shah Tomb in Lahore, Pakistan. 4,800 years ago, at the same time as the early civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt, great cities arose along the flood plains of the Indus and Saraswati (Ghaggar-Hakra) rivers. Developments this month at Harappa have pushed the dates back 200 years for this civilization, proving once and for all, according to (former CRE Grantee) Dr. Kenoyer, that this was not just an offshoot of Mesopotamia.
Drumming out evil spirits or whatever is important in this area. The drums come out when they break ground at the archaeological site… they come out for weddings and any other important events. The town of Harappa flourished during this period because of its location at the convergence of several trade routes from the northern mountains to the coast.
Two wrestlers in a wrestling match outside modern Harappa town. The town of Harappa flourished around 2000 BC because of its location at the convergence of several trade routes from the northern mountains to the coast. Modern Harappa doesn’t have the river trade and settlement patterns have changed away from this area.
A wrestler gets ready for a wrestling match outside modern Harappa town. The town of Harappa flourished around 2000 BC because of its location at the convergence of several trade routes from the northern mountains to the coast. Modern Harappa doesn’t have the river trade and settlement patterns have changed away from this area.
This is the camel Mela at the end of a pilgrimage to the tomb of a saint who could heal camels.  Mela’s and pilgrimages were done in peaceful times – a safe time to transport your goods. Traveling with thousands is safer than being alone.  Camels came in at the end of the ancient Harappan period (around 2000BC).
This “Great Trench” was dug initially by Wheeler in 1946 and identified as the main city wall in ancient Harappa, Pakistan.  Mark Kenoyer redug this site and found the earliest city walls below this point, providing accurate data on the evolution of the city.
Trade began in our first civilizations, like the Indus. Ancient Indus valley communities had the first known systems of trade and measure, seals (credit cards) and are within a days walk of each other, so traders could travel from town to town.
Expanded trade networks are thought to represent the initial steps toward urbanization.  LaLa Wallies (beggar pilgrims or mendicants) pass prayers and figurines from women who can’t conceive to their saint of fertility and receive meals as part of the process. It allows these women to become part of a larger network through these ad hoc communicators.  In ancient times these pilgrimages contributed to standardization and integration of communities. LaLa Wallies walk the ancient trade routes between Lahore and Multan and then gather together to go to the Saint’s Tomb.
Just outside the Harappa site in modern day Harappa, Pakistan, they are making bricks the same way the ancient Harappans did, by burying clay bricks and burning rice husks for fuel to fire the bricks. Towns in the Indus valley were a one-day walk from each other and stretch all the way to Dolavira, India. The bricks all through this civilization are the same standard size and weight without variance for the last 5,000 years.
When the LaLa Walles come to a town it creates this frenzied celebration at whichever saint’s tomb can accommodate the crowd. These pilgrimages formed the basis of trade routes that developed in the early urban phase of the Indus Valley in 3,500 BC.  Uniform development of cities along these routes is well documented and developed because these town to town group pilgrimages from made it safer to carry goods for trade.
Just outside the Harappa site in modern day Harappa, Pakistan, they are making bricks the same way the ancient Harappans did, by burying clay bricks and burning rice husks for fuel to fire the bricks. Towns in the Indus valley were a one-day walk from each other and stretch all the way to Dholavira, India. The bricks all through this civilization are the same standard size and weight without variance for the last 5,000 years.
Archaeological sites are often just what people can’t find over time.  Much of the Harappa site was scavenged for new construction.  Many of the bricks from various sites were taken and used to form the bed of a new railroad. Scavenging of bricks stopped when the factories moved in.
Trade began in our first civilizations, like the Indus. Ancient Indus valley communities had the first known systems of trade and measure, seals (credit cards) and are within a days walk of each other, so traders could travel from town to town.
This Indus Valley society had incredibly sophisticated water systems. Women move dirt out of a giant reservoir recently discovered in Dholavira, India.  Mesopotamian cities drew water from rivers or irrigation canals but had no sophisticated drain systems.
Just outside the Harappa site in modern day Harappa, Pakistan, they are making bricks the same way the ancient Harappans did, by burying clay bricks and burning rice husks for fuel to fire the bricks. Towns in the Indus valley were a one-day walk from each other and stretch all the way to Dholavira, India. The bricks all through this civilization are the same standard size and weight without variance for the last 5,000 years.
4,800 years ago, at the same time as the early civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt, great cities arose along the flood plains of the Indus and Saraswati (Ghaggar-Hakra) rivers. They were a highly organized and very successful civilization. They built some of the world’s first planned cities, created one of the world’s first written languages and thrived in an area twice as large as Egypt or Mesopotamia for 900 years (1500 settlements spread over 280,000 square miles on the subcontinent).There are three major communities: Harappa, Mohenjo Daro, and Dholavira. The town of Harappa flourished during this period because of its location at the convergence of several trade routes that spanned a 1040 KM swath from the northern mountains to the coast.
Guard at Mohenjo Daro Archaeology Site With Artifact | Pakistan
Tourists who come to Mohenjo Daro always get an armed escort.  Bandits and kidnappers are a problem in Sindh province.  One of the guards holds an artifact from the Mohenjo Daro museum.
Harappan Unicorn Seal–2400-2000 BC.  This seal has important script showing two signs identical to early Indus script seen on sherds dating to 2800BC
This is the Indus Valley artifact called the Priest King. He is the iconic representation of Indus civilization. He dates to 2200-1900 BC and was found at the Mohenjo Daro archaeological site, Sindh Province, Pakistan.
This bull seal dates to around 2450-2200 BC. The bull is one of the least common motifs on seals. A seal is like a credit card it is used to stamp goods and is used as identification in money and goods exchange.
Workers excavate the main drain for the Harappa site. The drain is located at one of the main gates to the city. Indus valley communities are within a days walk of each other, had the first known sewer systems, standardized mud brick structures, systems of trade and measure, seals (credit cards), and other inventions that exist to this day.  Recently in Gujarat after an extended drought caused deaths from a shortage of water, emergency workers and heavy equipment were brought in to build a temporary reservoir.  One of the bulldozers ran into the corner of a huge reservoir, constructed during ancient times, that was by far superior to anything the locals have today.
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