The Indus Valley Civilization was the first conglomeration of people that represented an urbanized civilization on the Indian sub continent recent research indicates that the civilization which was first brought to world attention in 1921 flourished between 2500 to 1700 BCE (some estimates put the end of the civilization at around 1900 BCE) – although some sites in the South may have lingered on for for some time after these dates. These dates were established through the use if radio carbon dating of the artifacts whcih have been found at the major sites where archaeological work is continuing.
The Indus Valley Civilization appears to have centered around to towns – Harappa and Mohenjodaro in the Sind area – both of these sites fall within the borders of modern day Pakistan, however the vast settled area of the Indus Valley Civilization spread across a total of 1.25 million square kilometers of land and would today have included settlements in Afghanistan, India, as well as Pakistan.
Mystery still surrounds the details of the lives of those who were part of the Indus Valley Civilization. Although this was the biggest of the four recognized ancient civilizations which were found in Egypt, India, Chin and Mesopotamia very little is known about the day lives of its citizens due in large part to the fact that archaeologists have not been able to decipher the language used in the Indus Valley writings.
Without a key like the Rosetta Stone which enabled archaeologists to unlock the mysteries of the Egyptian civilization scientists must rely on the tantalizing hints supplied by the remains of culturally specific materials develop theories about the day to day lives of those who called the Indus Valley home many thousands of years ago.
In 1986 a more structured and scientific approach to the excavations in the Indus Valley was made possible by the establishment of HARP – the Harappan Archaeological Project. This project brought together a number of experts representing several disciplines including archaeology, linguistics, anthropologists and historians. It is hoped that this multidisciplinary approach will help to unravel the mysteries that surround the Indus Valley Civilization.
The period of between 2500 to 1700 BCE is becoming known as the ‘golden age’ of Harappa. This was when the civilization was at its height. During this time trade routes increased and there was an explosive growth of the technology used in the manufacture of craft items, urban growth was at its peak in this period.
What makes Harappa even more exciting is that the complexity of its towns and the planning that went into them appears to have been more advanced than in other ancient civilizations. Interestingly the Harappan towns also show evidence of many different classes living and working together. There is also evidence that representatives of these classes had clearly defined roles and occupations, making Harappan civilization incredibly interesting to those who want to know more about how societies across the world were established and grew over time.
Looking at the structure of the cities and towns that provided the backbone of the civilization many archaeologists are fascinated by the modern facilities and structures that were part and parcel of the Harappan civilization. Towns and cities laid out in a logical grid pattern which allowed trade and commerce to flow freely, as well as central points for water wells were only some of the factors that made this civilization incredibly advanced for the period. Organized and structured waste disposal systems which featured toilets, bath houses and a centralized piping system are all intriguing signs of a civilization that was well entrenched in the area.