Harappan Culture

The Harappan Civilization in the Indus Valley is known as one of the oldest and largest ancient civilizations in history. Archeologists date the Harappan Civilization from 3300 BC to 2750 BC. Discovery and excavation of the Harappan cities show amazingly well built structures, planned cities, technology, and trade that make historians and archeologists believe this was one of the most advanced civilizations of its time.

The Harappans conducted a thriving trade with people in the region. Trade was significant to their economy. Much of their success in trade was due to advancement in transportation technology. They used wheeled carts, boats, and watercraft to transport goods. The Indus River provided an excellent means of transportation for trade goods. Gold and silver came from the north in Afghanistan. Semi-precious stones from Asia and the Deccan plateau were crafted into jewelry.

Brightly colored cotton cloth was a desirable trade item since few people knew how to grow cotton. The Harappan civilization had extensive trade networks with civilizations in Mesopotamia. Goods moved from Persia to the Caspian Sea over land and long distance sea routes.

Like other cultures, the rulers of the Harappan civilization are believed to have close ties to religion. There is evidence that Harappans were polytheisitc and worshiped and Mother Goddess and Father God among other male and female deities. They had faith and ceremonial rituals. Priests likely prayed for good harvests and safety from floods. However, no sight of a temple has ever been found. Historians and archeologists believe that the Harappan civilization practiced cremation of the dead and offered objects for use in the afterlife. Many religious artifacts from Harappan civilization, in one way or another, became part of the modern Indian civilization.

The writing that Harappans used was called Indus Script and consisted of about 600 symbols. The Harappan language has been found on stamps and seals made of carved stone used for trading potter and tools dating from 3300-3200 BC. These artifacts contain short inscriptions with four or five characters. Unlike cuneiform and hieroglyphics, the Harappan language has still not been deciphered. This is due to the fact that linguists have not found any inscriptions that are bilingual to translate the Harappan language.