Indus Valley Civilization | Harappan Civilization

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Introduction – Indus Valley Civilization (Harappan Civilization)

The credit for the discovery of the Indus Valley civilization goes to Sir John Marshall and his associates. Sir John Marshall was appointed as director-general of the archaeological survey of India by Viceroy Lord Curzon in 1902. In 1921, Dayaram Sahani discovered the site of Harappa and in 1922, Rakhal Das Bannerji discovered the site of Mohenjo-Daro.

In 1924, the formal announcement of the discovery of the Indus Valley civilization was made by Sir John Marshall and It was the turning point in Indian History. Now, India was placed on the global map as this discovered civilization was antique, one of the oldest civilizations and contemporary to Mesopotamian Civilization.

Points to remember – Indus Valley Civilization (Harappan Civilization)

  • The Oldest Name is Indus Valley Civilization but as the first discovered site is Harappa so the most appropriate name The Harappan Civilization has been accepted.
  • The time period of the Harappan civilization is 2500 BC – 1750 BC as per the Carbon 14 dating.
  • John Marshall was the first scholar to use the term Indus Civilization.

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Sindh, Baluchistan, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Western UP, and Northern Maharashtra.

  • The Northernmost site of the Indus Civilization is Manda (along Chenab River, Jammu and Kashmir), The southern-most site of the Indus Civilization is Daimabad (Maharashtra), The easternmost site is Alamgirpur (UP) and the westernmost site is Sutkagendor (Pakistan Iran Border)
  • Capital Cities – Harappa and Mohenjodaro
  • Port Cities – Lothal, Sutkagendor, Allahdino, Balakot, Kuntasi

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  • This site is present along the Ravi River in the district of Sahiwal, Punjab, Pakistan.
  • This site was excavated by Daya Ram Sahni in 1921.
Archaeological Finds
6 Granaries in row, Virgin Goddess (seal), Cemetery, Stone symbols of Lingam and Yoni, sandstone statuette of male torso, Clay figure of mother goddess, wheat and Barley, Copper made mirror, Vanity box, dice


  • This site is present along the Indus River in the Larkana district of Sindh, Pakistan.
  • It was excavated by Rakhal Das Bannerji in 1922.
  • It is the largest site of the Indus Civilization.
Archaeological Finds
Great Granary, Great Bath, Assembly hall, Shell strips,, Pashupati Mahadeva (Proto-Shiva Seal), Bronze image of a nude woman dancer, human skeltons huddled together, Painted seal (Demi-God), Clay figures of Mother Goddess, 

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  • It was situated along the Indus river in the district of Nawabshah, Sindh, Pakistan.
  • It was excavated by Mackay in 1925.
  • Archaeological Finds – City without a citadel, Inkpot, Lipstick, Metal workers, Shell-Ornament makers and bead-makers shops, Imprint of dog’s paw on a brick, Terracotta model of a bullock cart, Bronze toy cart.


  • It was present along the river Bhogava in the district of Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India.
  • Excavated by S. R. Rao in 1954.
  • Archaeological Finds – Dockyard, Rice husk, Metal workers, Fire altars, Terracotta figurine of a horse, Double burial (burying a male and a female in a single grave), Terracotta model of a ship, Dying vat, Persian/Iranian seal, Painted jar (bird and fox)
  • Evidence of the cultivation of rice


  • It was present along the Ghaggar River in the district of Hanumangarh, Rajasthan.
  • Excavated by Amalanand Ghosh in 1951.
  • Archaeological Finds – Ploughed field surface, 7 fire altars, Decorated bricks, wheels of a ty cart, Mesopotamian cylindrical seal.


  • Located along the Ghaggar River in the district of Fatehabad, Haryana.
  • Excavated by R. S. Bist in 1973.
  • Archaeological Finds – Lack of chess-board or gridiron pattern town planning, Lack of systematic drainage system, Toy plough, Clay figures of Mother Goddess


  • located along the Luni River in the district of Kutchh, Gujarat.
  • Excavated by J. P. Joshi in 1967.
  • Archaeological Finds – A unique water harnessing system and its stormwater drainage system, a large well and a bath (giant water reservoirs), Stadium
  • The only site is divided into three parts.
Also Read,
Historical Sources of India
Prehistoric Period


  • Located in Rapar Taluka of Kutch district, Gujarat, India
  • It was excavated by Shri Jagat Pati Joshi in 1964.
  • Archaeological Finds – Bones of horse, Oval grave, Pot burials
  • The only site with horse remains

Important Features of the Indus Valley Civilization (Harappan Civilization)

  • Systematic town planning on the lines of ‘grid system’
  • Use of burnt bricks in constructions.
  • Underground drainage system
  • Fortified citadel (exception – Chanhudaro)
  • The main crops are Wheat and Barley. other crops are Dates, mustard, sesamum, cotton, etc.
  • Indus people were the first to produce cotton in the world.
  • Most known animals are Sheep, goats, oxen, cows, humped and humpless bull, buffalo, boar, dogs, cats, pigs, fowl, deer, tortoise, elephant, camel, rhinoceros, tiger etc.
  • Lion was not known to the Indus people.
  • main export goods were agricultural products, cotton goods, terracotta figurines, pottery, certain beads, ivory products, copper etc.
  • Iron was not known to the people.
  • The Harappans were the earliest people to produce cotton.
  • Barter is assumed to have been the normal method of exchange for goods.
  • Lothal was an ancient port of the Indus civilization.
  • the Indus civilization was primarily urban.
  • The ruling authority was a class of Merchants.
  • The Harappan people didn’t worship their gods in temples.
  • The most commonly found figurine is the Mother Goddess (Matridevi or Shakti). There is evidence of the prevalence of Yoni (female sex organ) worship.
  • the chief male deity was the “Pashupati Mahadeva” i.e. Proto-Shiva represented in seals as sitting in yogic posture. this figure is surrounded by four animals – elephants, tiger, rhino and buffalo and two deer appear at his feet.
  • Steatite was mainly used in the manufacture of seals.
  • A humpless bull is represented in most of the seals.
  • The origin of the Swastika symbol can be traced to the Indus Civilization.

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Last updated: August 20, 2023 Updated on 10:15 AM