beautiful small bronze statue of a dancer was found, which tells us that
they enjoyed dance and had great skill working with metals.
In the ancient
city of Mohenjo-daro, scientists have found the remains of a large central
pool, with steps leading down at both ends. This could have been a public
swimming pool, or perhaps have been used for religious ceremonies.
this large central pool were smaller rooms, that might have dressing
rooms, and smaller pools that might have been private baths.
might have been warm tasty wheat bread served with barley or rice. It
would appear they were very good farmers. They grew barley, peas, melons,
wheat, and dates. Farms raised cotton and kept herds of sheep, pigs, zebus
(a kind of cow), and water buffalo. Fish were caught in the river with
fish hooks! Each town had a large central storage building for
grain. Crops were grown, and the harvest stored centrally, for all
in the town to enjoy.
Some of the toys found were small carts, whistles shaped
like birds, and toy monkeys which could slide down a string!
ancient civilization must have had marvelous craftsmen, skilled in
pottery, weaving, and metal working. The pottery that has been found is of
very high quality, with unusually beautiful designs. Several small figures
of animals, such as monkeys, have been found. These small figures could be
objects of art or toys.
There are also small statues of what they think
are female gods. So far, scientists have found no large statues.
found bowls made of bronze and silver, and many beads and ornaments. The
metals used to make these things are not found in the Indus Valley. So,
either the people who lived in this ancient civilization had to import all
of these items from some other place, or more probably, had to import the
metals they used to make these beautiful things from somewhere else.
people used camels, oxen and elephants to travel over land. They had carts
with wooden wheels. They had ships, with one mast, probably used to sail
around the Arabian Sea. Seals with a pictographic script, which has not as
yet been deciphered, were found at the Indus Valley sites. Similar
seals were found in Mesopotamia, which seems to indicate possible
trade between these two civilizations.
The Riddle of the Indus:
does it take to build a city with straight streets and well designed
sewers? It takes smart engineers and a lot of planning! These well
organized cities suggest a well organized government and probably a
well-developed social life.
What is amazing is that it appears the Harappan
cities did not develop slowly, which suggests that whoever built these
cities learned to do so in another place. As the Indus flooded, cities
were rebuilt on top of each other. Archaeologists have discovered
several different cities, one built over the other, each built a little
less skillfully. The most skillful was on bottom. It would appear that
builders grew less able or less interested in perfection over time. Still,
each city is a marvel, and each greatly advanced for its time.
So far, scientists have found no wall carvings or
tomb paintings to tell us about their life. We do know they had a
written language, but only a few sentences, on pottery and amulets, have
been found. We donít know what it says. Scholars have quite a few
mysteries to solve about the ancient Indus civilization. For one
thing, the people who lived in these marvelous cities disappeared around
1500 BCE. Perhaps they ran out of wood to hold back flooding, or perhaps
their soil gave out and no longer would grow crops. No one knows what
happened these people, or where they went. Historians are very curious. It
will be interesting to see what archaeologists "dig up" next!
ON THE INDUS VALLEY! (Spring, 1998)
Thanks to modern technology and international rivalry, nearly 1,400 Indus
sites (towns!) have now been discovered. That is a very big civilization,
large enough to be called an empire, only there is no evidence that
these people were governed by emperors who lived in palaces or large
estates. Rather, the opposite has been discovered. Some homes are a bit
larger than others, but that might be due to a larger family unit.
What else have scientists discovered about this
fascinating culture? LOTS! Their towns were laid out in grids everywhere
(straight streets, well built homes!) These people were incredible
builders! Scientists have found what they think are giant reservoirs
for fresh water. They have also found that even the smallest house at the
edge of each town was linked to that town's central drainage system. (Is
it possible that they not only drained waste water out, but also had a
system to pump fresh water into their homes, similar to modern plumbing?
What a neat thought! Who were these people? Remember-these systems were
built over 3,500 years ago!)
Although scientists can not yet read the language,
they are beginning to believe that the people who lived in these 1400
towns had a common language! That's
incredible! As well, scientists have found artifacts at different sites
(towns) with the same or similar picture of a unicorn on them. India
Today suggested humorously that perhaps it was a logo - like Pepsi and
Coke, only this one was Unicorn!
What next? Scientists remain very curious about these
people, who lived about the same time in history as the ancient
Mesopotamians and the ancient Egyptians. Did these ancient civilizations
know each other in ancient times? My personal opinion is - yes! As
scientists continue to unravel the riddle of the Indus, we may find we
will have to rewrite history! Was it the ancient Mesopotamians who first
invented the sailboat and the wheel, or was it perhaps the people in the
Indus Valley? Where did these people come from, and where did they go?
It's a fascinating riddle.