Sie sind auf Seite 1von 29

T I HI

Bricks, Beads and Bones


The Harappan Civilisation

FACTS THAT MATTER


Harappan Civilisation is also known as Indus Valley Civilisation. It is the oldest Civilisation
of India.
There is no consensus about the chronology of the Harappan Civilisation. Various scholars
have given different dates about this period.
According to Sir John Marshall, this civilisation f lourished between 3250 and 2750 BCE.
It was Daya Ram Sahni, who first discovered the sites of Harappan in 1921. The main
centres of this civilisation are in Pakistan. The same famous sites of this civilisation (now
in Pakistan) are Mohenjodaro and Chanhudaro.
The main centre where this Civilisation flourished in India are Kalibangan, Sangol,
Pengplor, Lothal, Dholavira and Banawali.
The urban planning of this civilisation was very magnificent. The houses were built in a
systematic manner.
Roads were wide and cut each other at right angle.
The people of Indus Valley Civilisation had also made best planning for the drainage of
rain water and dirty water.
The caste system was not present in the society. All the people lived together with mutual
love and understanding.
The women held a high position or rank in the society. They were fond of fashion.
The economic life the people was very prosperous. The main occupations of the people
were the agriculture and domestication of animals.
Trade was well developed. Both maternal and external trade was carried out.
The people worshipped many gods and goddesses. They worshipped mother goddesses,
Lord Shiva, animal, birds, trees and the Sun.
They knew arts and crafts.
They knew the art of making beautiful sculptures, toys, pottery, ornaments, etc.
They were skilled in the production of seals. The languages used by them on the seals is
still to be deciphered. If one is able to decipher their script inscribed on the seals, it will
throw a flood of the light on the various aspects of the Harappan Civilisation.
The main sources of our information of Harappan Civilisation is archaeological materials.
The excavation carried out at Indus sites tries to reconstruct the history of this civilisation.
During the excavation of Indus sites, many tools, pottery, seals, household objects, etc.
have excavated. All these excavated materials are deeply examined by the archaeologists.
Many historians like Cunningham, R.E.M. Wheeler, John Marshall and G.F. Dates have
played a valuable role in reconstructing the history of the ancient past including the Indus
Valley Civilisation sites.

11

Many Indian archeologists like Daya Ram Sahni, S.R. Rao, R.S. Bisht and B.K. Thapar
have played a great role in excavations of the Indus sites.
Indus Valley Civilisation is also known as Bronze Age Civilisation, because people used
bronze extensively for making their pottery, figure lines and ornaments.
Almost 1900 BCE, these were explicit signs about the decline of this civilization. By
this time the two most important cities of Indus ValleyMohenjodaro and Harappa
had been completely declined. Around 1200 BCE, this civilisation had completely
vanished.
Epidemic, Aryan Invasion, change in the course of the river Indus, excessive f loods,
earthquake, etc. may be the main reasons for the decline of this civilisation.

WORDS THAT MATTER


1. Seal: It generally contained animal motifs and signs from a script.
2. Hoards: Generally metal objects and jewellery kept by people inside containers.
3. Stratigraphy: The study of historical layers.
4. Motif: Name of animal, used by the Harappans on seals to mark some sort of trademark.
5. Proto-Shiva: A seal that shows a figure seated in a yogic posture surrounded by animals
has been designated as Proto-Shiva, an early form of one of the deities of Hinduism.
6. Lingas: The polished stones were often worshipped as symbols of the God Shiva.
7. Shamans: These were the groups of men and women who claimed to have magical and
healing powers and ability to communicate with the other world.
8. Art: It referred to painting, sculpture, pottery and seal making.
9. Culture: Term used for a group of objects, distinct in style, found specifically within a
geographical area and period of time.
10. Pictographs: Picture-like signs to represent letters or words.
11. The Great Bath: Best known building in Mohenjodaro for bath.
12. Granaries: Buildings where grains were stored.
Timeline
1.

1862

Alexander Cunningham appointed as the first Director General of


Archaeological Survey of India.

2.

1921

D.R. Sahni discovered Harappa.

3.

1992

R.D. Bannerjee discovered Mohenjodaro

4.

1924

Sir John Marshall announced the discovery of Indus Valley Civilisation.

5.

1953

Kalibangan was excavated by A. Ghosh.

6.

1955

S.R. Rao discovered Lothal.

7.

1968

Sanghal was discovered by S.S. Talwar and R.S. Bisht.

12

HistoryXII

Indus Valley Civilisation:


life of people

Economic Life

Religious Life

Social Life

Main occupation:
Agriculture, Animal
Rearing, Trade and
Craft production

Worshipped Lord
Shiva, Mother
Goddess, Animals
and Trees

Family was the basic


unit. Size of the family
might have been
varied.

Major Achievement:
usage of weight
and measure

Their religious belief


incorporated in
Hinduism

Social stratification:
Ruling class, middle
class and lower class

People take different


kinds of diets. They
wore cotton dresses
and fond of wearing
jewellery.

NCERT TEXTBOOK QUESTIONS SOLVED


I.Answer in 100-150 words
Q1. List the items of food available to people in Harappan cities. Identify the groups who
would have provided these.
Ans.
Food
(i) Products taken from plants
(ii) Flesh and fish

Groups who provide these food items


Food gatherers
Hunter groups

(iii) Wheat maize, millet, pulses, rice, Agricultural groups


and other eatable products
Q2. How do archaeologists trace socio-economic differences in Harappan society? What are
the differences that they notice?
[Delhi, All India 2009, 2011]
Ans. Following examples can be cited to show the existence of social and economic variations
in the Harappan society:
(i) Study of burials is one example. In the Harappan sites, the deads were usually
laid in pits. There were differences in the way burial pits were made. At some
instances, the hollowedout spaces were lined with bricks. But these may not be
taken as an indication of social differences.

Bricks, Beads and Bones

13

(ii) In some graves pottery and ornaments have been found. Jewellery has been found
from the graves of men and women as well. These findings can point out social and
economic differences.
(iii) The artefacts have been classified into two categories, Utilitarian and Luxurious.
Objects of daily uses and objects made of ordinary materials made of clay or
stone come under utilitarian category. Ordinary articles consisted of querns,
pottery, f lesh-rubbers and needles. These have been found distributed throughout
settlements.
(iv) Objects of luxuries were rare and made from precious, non-local materials.
The technology used was advanced and complicated. Little pots of faience were
considered precious. They were also not easy to make. These show the existence of
social and economic variations in the Harappan society.
Q3. Would you agree that the drainage system in Harappan cities indicates town planning?
Give reasons for your answer.
Ans. Yes, I agree with that the drainage system in Harappan cities which indicates the town
planning. I can cite the following reasons in support of my answer.
The drainage system needed a planning for its execution. It seems that first
drainages were laid out and then houses were built along with the drains. Every
house was supposed to have at least one wall along a street to allow the domestic
waste water to flow out in the street drains. The plans of the lower town show that
roads and streets were laid out along an approximate grid pattern, intersecting at
right angles.
It appears that human settlement was made by planning from the beginning. The
city was restricted to a fixed area on the platforms.
Bricks, sundried or baked, were of standard ratio. The length and breadth of bricks
were of four times and twice the height respectively .These bricks were used at all
the settlements of the Harappan Civilisation.
Q4. List the materials used to make beads in the Harappan Civilisation. Describe the process
by which any one kind of bead was made.
Ans. Making beads was an important craft of the Harappan people. It was mainly prevalent
in Chanhudaro.

A tool and beads

14

HistoryXII

Materials for making beads included beautiful red coloured stonelike carnelian, jasper,
crystal, quartz and steatite. Besides these, use of copper, bronze, gold, shell, faience,
terracotta or burnt clay was also used.
Process of making beads
Making of beads differed as per the materials used. Beads had variety of shapes. They
did not make geometrical shapes like one made of harder stones.
Nodules were to be chipped for making rough shapes. They were finally f laked into the
final form.
By firing the yellowish raw material, the red colour of carnelian was obtained.
Grinding, polishing and drilling constituted the last phase. Chanhudaro, Lothal and
Dholavira were famous for specialized drilling.
Q5. Look at figure 1.30 (See NCERT page26) and describe what you see. How is the body
placed? What are the objects placed near it? Are there any artefacts on the body? Do
these indicate the sex of the skeleton?
Ans. Following observations can be obtained after looking at the figure:
Body has been kept in North-south direction in a pit.
Many graves contain pottery and ornaments which include jar.
Yes, jewellery like bangles are there on the body.
Yes, this indicates towards the sex of the skeleton, i.e. it is the body of a woman.
It is concluded that there were great social or economic differences among the people
living within the area of the Harappan Civilisation. But as a whole it appears that the
Harappan did not believe in burying precious things with the dead.

II.Write a Short Essay (About 500 words) on the following:


Q6. Describe some of the distinctive features of Mohenjodaro.
[Delhi 2013]
Ans. Planned City: Harappa was a planned urban centre. It had two parts. One part of the
city was small. It was built on a higher place.
The second part was comparatively large. It
was built on a lower place. The first part was
designed as citadel and the second part was as
lower town. The citadel owed its height to the
fact that it was built on mud brick platforms.
It had walls on all sides and these walls were
separated from the lower town.
The Lower Town: It was also a walled town.
Most of the buildings were built on platforms.
In fact, these platforms were considered as
foundation stones. It required huge quantity
of labour force to build these platforms. It is
obvious that settlement was first planned and
then implemented as per the building plan.
Quality of sun-dried bricks or baked bricks
also prove the concept of planning.

Bricks, Beads and Bones

15

All the bricks were of standard ratio. The length and width was four times and twice
the height of the bricks respectively. These bricks were used in the settlements of the
Harappan Civilisation.
Drainage System: The drainage system was well planned. All the roads and streets
were laid out on a grid pattern. They intersected one another at the right angles. It
seems that streets featuring drains were laid out first and houses were built thereafter
along with them. To make the flow of domestic water, every house had at least one wall
along the street.
The Citadel: There were many buildings in the citadel. These buildings were used for
many special public purposes. The Warehouse and the Great Bath were the two most
important constructions.

Q7. List the raw materials required for craft production in the Harappan Civilisation and
discuss how these might have been obtained.
Ans. Following is the list of materials required for craft production in the Harappan
Civilisation:
Stone, clay, copper, tin, bronze, gold, faience, shell, carnelian, jasper, crystal, steatite,
quartz, timber.
Some of the raw materials were locally available whereas some were purchased from
the distant places. Soil and wood were locally available raw materials. Stones, fine
quality wood, metals were procured from distant places.
Settlements of the Harappans were situated at such places where raw materials were
easily available. Nageshwar and Balacot were famous for shell. Some places were famous
for Lapis Lazuli like Shortughai in Afghanistan. Rajasthan and Gujarat were famous for
copper. Lothal was famous for carnelian.
Another way of obtaining raw material was sending expeditions to different places.

16

HistoryXII

Evidences show that expedition was sent to Khetri region of Rajasthan for copper and
to South India for Gold. Through these expeditions local communities were contacted.
Harappan evidences found at these places indicate contacts between each other.
Evidences found at Khetri region were given the name of Ganeshwar Jodhpura Culture
by archaeologists. Huge reserves of copper products were found here. It is assumed that
inhabitants of these area sent copper to Harappan people.
Q8. Discuss, how archaeologists reconstruct the past.
Ans. Archaeologists excavate the sites of the ancient past related to culture or civilization.
They find out the art and craft such as seal, material, remains of houses, buildings, pots,
ornaments, tools, coins, weights, measurements and toys, etc.
Skulls, bones, jaws, teeth of the dead bodies and materials kept with these dead bodies
are also helpful for archaeologists. With the help of the botanists, and zoologists,
archaeologists study the plants and animal bones found at different places.
Archaeologists try to find out the tools used in the process of cultivation and harvesting.
They also try to find out traces of wells, canals, tanks, etc. as they served means of
irrigation.
Different layers of sites are observed to find out different things. These things give
the picture of socio-economic condition such as religious life and the cultural life of the
people.
Tools, unfinished products, waste materials, help in identifying the centres of craft
production. Indirect evidences also help the archaeologists in reconstructing the past.
Archaeologists develop frames of references, It can be better understood by this fact that
the first Harappan seal that was found could not be understood till archaeologists had
a context in which to place itboth in terms of cultural sequence in which it was found
and in terms of a comparison with finds in Mesopotamia.
Examination of seals help in constructing the concept of religious belief of the period.
Seals depict religious scenes. Some animals such as the one-horned animal, often called
the unicorn depicted on the seals appear mythical, composite creatures. In some seals,
a figure has been shown sitting crossed legs in a yogic posture. All these represent the
religious concept of the period.
Q9. Discuss the functions that may have been performed by rulers in Harappan society.
Ans. There are different views on the Harappan society. One group of archaeologists suggest
that the Harappan society had no rulers and so everybody enjoyed equal status. The
other group of archaeologists are of the opinion that there was no single ruler but several
ones. The third theory seems the most suitable. It suggests that it is unlikely that entire
communities could have collectively made and implemented such complex decisions.
Evidences show that complex decisions were taken and implemented in the Harappan
society. Extra ordinary uniformity of Harappan artefacts as evident in pottery, seals,
weights and bricks show the complex decisions.
Plans and layouts of the city were prepared under the guidance and supervisions of the
rulers. Big buildings, palaces, forts, tanks, wells, canals and granaries were constructed.

Bricks, Beads and Bones

17

Cleanliness was the responsibility of the ruler. Roads, lanes and drains were also
constructed.
The rulers also looked after the welfare of the economy. They used to inspire the farmers
to increase agricultural production. They also motivated the craftsmen to promote
different handicrafts. External and internal trade were both promoted by the ruler. The
ruler used to issue common acceptable coins or seals, weights and measurements.
Rulers were expected to provide relief during natural calamity. During flood, earthquake,
epidemics, the ruler provided grains and other eatables to the affected people. During
foreign aggression, the rulers defended the city.

III.Map Work
Q10. On the given map, use a pencil to circle the sites where evidence of agriculture has been
recovered. Mark an X against sites where there is evidence of craft production and R
against sites where raw materials were found.
Ans.

(i) Sites of agriculture: Harappa, Banawali, Kalibangan, Mohenjodaro, Dholavira


(Gujarat).
(ii) Sites of craft production: Chanhudaro, Nageshwar, Balakot.
(iii) Sites of raw material: Nageshwar, Balakot, Khetri.
Map I.

lu
he

Manda

Ch

en

ab
vi

Ra

Harappa

Rakhigarhi

lej
Banawali

Mitathal

s
du
In
Sutkagendor

Kot-Diji

Chanhudaro

Nageshwar

ah
i

Dholavira

Arabian Sea

Saba

rmat

Amri
Balakot

una

Mohenjodaro

Ganweriwala

Lothal
Rangpur
Nar

18

HistoryXII

mad

m
ha

ba

ga

Yam

Kalibangan

Gan

t
Su

IV.Project (Any one)


Q11. Find out if there are any museums in your town. Visit one of them and write a report on
any ten items, describing how old they are, where they were found and why you think
they are on display.
Ans. Do it yourself.
Q12. Collect illustrations of ten things made of stone, metal and clay produced and used
at present. Compare these with the pictures from the Harappan Civilisation in this
chapter, and discuss the similarities and differences that you find.
Ans. Do it yourself.

MORE QUESTIONS SOLVED


I. Very Short Answer Type Questions
Q1. Describe any two features of the Harappan cities.
Ans. The cities of the Harappa were planned. Generally, the cities were divided into two
sections. The upper part that was citadel and the lower part that was lower town.
Streets of the cities intersected each other at the right angle. The cities were properly
planned and had well-laid out systems of drains.
Q2. Mention any four items found in the graves of the Harappan.
[All India, 2011]
Ans. Pottery Ornaments, jewellery, shell rings, priest stone, beads. Copper mirror has also
been found in grave.
Q3. Mention two strategies adopted to identify social differences among the Harappans.
Ans. (a) The settlements and the houses indicate the different social strata and the standard
of living of the people.
(b) The articles found in the graves indicate social differences. Articles made of
precious stones and costly metals clearly indicate that society was rich. The poor
people lived in small houses and lower settlements and they used things made of
clay and ordinary stones.
Q4. How did the Harappan obtain red colour Carnelian?
[All India, 2011]
Ans. It has been revealed by the archaeologists that the red colour of Carnelian was obtained
by firing the yellowish raw material and beads at various stages of production. Nodules
were clipped into rough shapes and then finely flacked into the final form.
Q5. Write some features of the settlements of Pre-Harappan period.
Ans. Settlements were very small. There was no large buildings. Their style was distinctive
and specialized.
Agriculture and cattle-rearing was prevalent. Sculpture was also there.
Q6. What were the crafts of the people of Chanhudaro?
Ans. Bead-making, shell-cutting, metalwork, sealmaking, weight-making, etc.
Q7. What were the means of transport in the Harappan civilization?
Ans. Bullock -carts, boats and ships.
Q8. How many signs were used in the Harappan script?
Ans. Somewhere between 375 and 400 signs were used in the Harappan script.

Bricks, Beads and Bones

19

Q9. What were the articles on which the proof of writing was found?
Ans. These articles were seals, copper tools, rims of black slipped jar, tablets made of copper
and terracotta, jewellery, bones and rods and sign board.
Q10. What metals did the people of Harappan use?
Ans. The people of Harappa used copper, bronze, tin gold and silver. Iron was not known to
them.
Q11. Why was Lothal famous?
Ans. Lothal was famous as a port town and had a large godown.
Q12. Give a brief description of the Mohurs (Seals) of Harappa or the Indus Valley Civilisation.
Ans. The Mohurs (seals) were made of steatite stone. They contain animal motifs. They have
signs of an undeciphered script. They were used to facilitate the contact of distant and
far-off places.
Q13. Which two things indicate that there was a break between early Harappa and Harappan
Civilisation?
Ans.
(i) Evidence of a large-scale burning at some places or sites.
(ii) The abandonment of certain settlements.
Q14. What were the features of the settlement of the pre-Harappan period?
Ans.
(i) The settlements of the pre-Harappan period were often small. They had nominal
big structures.
(ii) They had distinct, specialized styles and had large buildings.
(iii) There was the prevalence of agriculture and cattle-rearing. Some people were also
engaged in sculpture.
Q15. What were the pet animals of Harappan Civilisation? Also name the wild animals of
that time.
Ans. Pet animals. Pet animal of the Harappan Civilization included the cattle, sheep, goat,
buffalo and pig. Wild animals were boar, deer and gharial.
Q16. What have the two kinds of grinding instruments been found from the sites of Harappan
Culture?
Ans. The following two kinds of grinding instruments have been found as follow:
(i) Those on which another smaller stone was pushed or rolled to and fro. It was used
to grind the grain.
(ii) Those with which a second stone was used as a power, eventually making a large
cavity in the nether stone. It was used to grind the herbs and spices.
Q17. Give an example of residential building which expresses that people of Mohenjodaro
were concerned about their privacy.
Ans. The main entrance of houses was made in such a way that it does not give a direct view
of the interior or the courtyard except this there were no windows in the walls along the
ground level.
Q18. How are the burials found from the sites of Harappan Culture different from the
pyramids of Egypt?
Ans. The pyramids of Egypt were the royal burials, while the burials of Harappan are
concerned with the common people. Harappan did not bury precious things with the
dead, but the Egyptian did so.

20

HistoryXII

Q19. What raw material was needed to be imported for craft production in the Harappan
Civilisation? By which means they were transported?
Ans. Stone, wood and metal had to be exported for craft-production. All these things were
brought through land ways and water-ways.
Q20. Who was John Marshall?
Ans. John Marshall was the Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). He
was the first professional archaeologist who brought his experience of working in Crete
and Greece. In 1924 he announced the discovery of a new Civilisation in Indus Valley.
Q21. What were the problems of piecing together to know about Harappan life?
Ans. (i) Harappan script is undeciphered till today. So it has not helped in knowing about
ancient civilisation.
(ii) The material like cloth, leather, wood and reeds generally decompose.
Q22. What do the studies done by the archaeologists-zoologists reveal about the Harappans?
[Comptt. 2011]
Ans. These study show that the animal bones of sheep, goat, buffalo and pig were found at
Harappan sites. These animals were domesticated.
Bones of wild species such as deer, boar and gharial were also found. Bones of fish, and
fowl were also found.
Q23. Give a brief description of the Mohurs (Seals) of the Harappan or the Indus Valley
Civilisation.
Ans. For the Harappans seals were very important. These seals were made of steatite stone.
They contain animals motif. Signs of undeciphered script have also been found on these
seals. These seals were used to facilitate the contact of distant places.
Q24 Write any two views on the decline of the Harappan Civilisation.
Ans. First view is that the decline was due to natural calamities such as f loods, earthquakes,
droughts or epidemics.
Another view suggests that Aryans were responsible for the decline of the Harappan
Civilisation.
Q25. Write the names of the pet animals and wild animals of the Harappan Civilisation.
Ans. Pet animals: Cattle, sheep, goat, buffalo and pig were the pet animals.
Wild animals: Boar, deer and gharial were the wild animals.
Q26. Write any three characteristics of the bricks used in the Harappan settlements.
Ans. Following were the characteristics of the bricks used in the Harappan settlements.
(i) Sun-dried or baked bricks were used.
(ii) Bricks were also baked in the kilns.
(iii) Bricks had standard ratio. Their length was four times than height and breadth
was twice bigger than the height.
Q27. How can you say that the people of the Mohenjodaro were concerned about their privacy?
Ans. The privacy of the people of the Mohenjodaro can be explained with examples of
residential buildings. The main entrance of the houses were made in unique style. It did
not give a direct view of the interior of the house or of courtyard. There were no windows
in the walls along the ground level.

Bricks, Beads and Bones

21

Q28. What does indicate towards town-planning of the Mohenjodaro?


Ans. Division of entire city into two towns and the grid pattern in which roads and streets
were laid down show the town planning of the Mohenjodaro.
Q29. What do you mean by the term Saddle Querns?
Ans. Saddle quern was a rude sandstone hand-mill used for grinding corn. It was shaped like
saddle used on the back of the horse. Saddle querns have been found from some sites of
the Indus Valley Civilisation. These seem to have been the only means in using grinding
cereals. These were made of hard, gritty, igneous rock or sandstone and mostly show
signs of hard usage.
Q30. How can you say that some important aspects of the Harappan's aspect are not known
to us?
Ans. The Harappan script is not deciphered. Scholars have not been able to read the script.
This inability has proved a stumbling block in obtaining the knowledge of the Harappan
culture.
Nothing can be said about the political system of the Harappan culture. Some scholars
are of the opinion that the Harappan had no rulers whereas others feel that there was
no ruler but there were several rulers.
Whether the burial places had elite have not been found.
On these grounds, we can say that our knowledge about some aspects of the Harappan
culture are not complete.
Q31. How can you say that the Harappan Civilisation was the first civilisation of India?
Ans. 4000 B.C. is marked as the period for the emergence of first civilization in some parts of
the world. This is approximately 6000 years ago. The Harappan culture also developed
in the Indian subcontinent about 4500 years ago. On this ground it can be said that it
was the first civilization of the world.
Q32. What do you know about Shamans?
Ans. Shamans were those people who claimed to have magical and healing power. Shamans
included both men and women. They also claimed to have power of communicating with
the other world.
Q33. Show that the Harappan culture was an urban culture.
Ans. The Harappan cities were planned and thickly populated. The roads were straight
and wide. The streets crossed each other at right angle. Every house had a well and a
bathroom. Houses were made of burnt bricks and contained more than one storey. Cities
had excellent drainage system. Lothal was famous for its dockyard. It was an important
centre of trade.

II. Short Answer Type Questions


Q1. In your opinion, why is the script of Harappan Culture considered mysterious or
enigmatic? What are the main characteristics of Harappan script?
Or
Write a brief note on the Harappan Script.
Or
What are essential values highlighted by Harappan Script?
[VBQ]
Ans. The Harappan script is called enigmatic because it has not been possible to decipher it
so far. So its mystery has still not been solved.

22

HistoryXII

Characteristics:
(i) lt had too many signs called enigmatic because it has not been possible to decipher
it so far.
(ii) The number of the signs of this script were between 375 and 400.
(iii) This script was written from right to left. It is clear from the fact that it had a wider
spacing on the right and cramping on the left. It seemed as if the writer began
writing from the right and them ran out of space in the left.
(iv) This script has been found on a variety of objects. It must also have been written
on some perishable material. All these things show that there was a widespread
literacy in the Harappan Civilisation.
Q2. Discuss the main characteristics of the town planning of the Harappan Civilisation.
Ans. The town planning of Harappan was of high quality. All towns were developed under
plan. The streets and roads of the towns were quite wide. All the roads intersected at
right angles. The people lived in the houses were made of bricks. The people belonging
to the ruling class had their homes on the citadel of the town. The common people lived
on the land below the citadel. The houses had a provision of doors and windows. Each
house had a courtyard, bathroom, kitchen and a staircase to take the residents on the
roof. A few houses had two or three storeys. Many people had big houses. Mohenjodaro
had a Great Bath with the length of 11.88 meters, width of 7.01 metres and depth of 2.43
metres. The biggest building in this town was the citadel. It was 45.71 metres long and
15.23 metres wide. Six citadels have been found in the Harappan Civilisation.
There was a very good provision of drains for the outlet of the water in the towns of the
Harappan Civilization. All the drains were made of concrete. They were covered with
such bricks which could be easily removed while cleaning. The water of the residential
drains fell in the gutters of the streets. There was a big drain outside city. The waste
water of the whole town was accumulated in it.

Bricks, Beads and Bones

23

Q3. Discuss the development made in the field and industry during the Harappan period.
Ans. The people of the Harappan Civilization were familiar with the use and productions
of bronze. The metal craftsmen prepared bronze by mixing tin in the copper. The
community of bronze craftsmen occupied an important place among the sculptors of
Harappan society. They made many kinds of instruments and weapons besides statues
and utensils. For example, many things have been excavated like the axe and dagger.
The things that have been found after excavations indicate that there were other
important crafts in the towns of Harappa. The people of Harappa used spinners to
prepare wool and coarse thread. They used to knit both woollen and cotton clothes. The
vast buildings made of bricks bear testimony to the fact that architecture was one of the
most important craft of the masons. The people of Harappa also built boats. They were
also skilled in making seals and sculpture. Some people made gold, silver and diamond
or gem ornaments. The craftsmen of Harappa were also very efficient in the making of
beads, the art of making utensils of mud, copper and bronze, etc. The mud-utensils made
by them were quite smooth and shining.
Q4. Tell a few features of the religion of the Harappan Culture which are still prevalent.
Or
Describe the essential characteristics of the Harappan religious culture.
Ans. The following features of the Harappan religion are still prevalent.
(i) Lord Shiva was worshipped by most of the people during the Harappan Civilisation.
He is still worshipped today.
(ii) The people of the Indus Valley worshipped mother goddess. Even today, the mother
goddess is worshipped all over India with utter devotion and dedication.
(iii) Like the people of Harappan Civilisation even today people find the abodes of gods
and goddesses in peepal and other such trees.
(iv) The Harappan worshipped ox and many other such animals. These days all such
animals are considered as the carriers of different gods and goddesses.
(v) The worship of Lingam is still prevalent in the Hindu religion.
(vi) The Harappan Civilisation considered water as pious and sacred. They used to
take bath in the great bath on all special religious occasions. This glory and piety
of the water still finds a prominent place in all the religions.
Q5. Relate any four factors of Indus Valley Civilization or Harappan Culture which are still
visible in the Indian society.
[VBQ]
Or
Discuss the contribution of the Harappan culture to the Indian Society.
Ans. The following four factors of the Indus Valley Civilisation can still be seen in the Indian
Society.
(i) Town planning: The towns of the Indus Valley were well planned. All the towns
had wide roads and streets. This feature of town planning can be seen in the cities
of present times.
(ii) Residence: The house of the Indus Valley had doors and windows like the present
day houses. Every house had a courtyard, bathroom and a staircase to go on the
roof or the first storey of the house.
(iii) Ornaments and Cosmetics: Like the modern women, the women of the Indus
Valley Civilisation were also fond of ornaments and cosmetics. They used lip -sticks

24

HistoryXII

and powder. They wore ornaments of different kinds. They liked to wear bangles,
ear-rings and necklaces.
(iv) Religious Equality: The religion of the people of the Indus Valley Civilisation
resemble the modern Hindu religion. They worshipped the Lord Shiva, the mother
goddess and other such gods and goddesses. Even today, such worship is prevalent
in the Indian society.
Q6. Explain main characteristics of the burials of the Harappan Civilisation.
Ans. The Burials found at the Harappan sites indicate that the deads were generally laid in
the pits. Sometimes these burial pits were made in different ways. For example, in some
Burials, the hollowed out spaces were lined with bricks.
Some people believed in keeping ornaments and valuable with the deads in burials with
the belief that these could be used by them in after life. Jewellery had been graved in,
pottery and ornaments have been found. It was found in the burials of both men and
women. In the mid 1980s, various excavations were made at the cemetery in Harappa.
The digging led to the finding of an ornament consisting of three shell rings, a jasper
bead and hundreds of micro-beads. This ornament was found near the skull of a male.
Some of the dead were buried with copper mirrors. But generally, most of the people did
not believe in burying precious things with the dead.
Q7. What was the basis of differences in the making of beads in the Harappan Civilisation?
Ans. During the Harappan Civilisation the differences in the making of beads were found on
the basis of the following grounds:
(i) On the basis of the variety of materials: Various kinds of materials was used
to make the beads. Some beads were made of two or more stones. These stones
were cemented together to make the beads. The stone of some of the beads was
covered with gold caps. The beads had numerous shapes. They were disc-shaped,
cylindrical, spherical, barrel-shaped and segmented. Not only this some of the
beads were decorated by incising or painting. Some beads wore beautiful designs.
(ii) On the basis of techniques: As the material for the making of beads differed, the
techniques also differed in accordance with the materials. Some of the beads were
moulded out of a paste made with steatite powder. It helped in giving a variety
of shapes to the beads. The beads made out of harder stones. The red colour of
carnelian was obtained by firing the yellow raw materials and beads, Some of the
beads were also polished.
Q8. How do archaeologists identify the centres of craft production?
Ans. The archaeologists identify the centres of craft production on the basis of materials used
like stone nodules, copper-ore, whole shells, tools, unfinished materials, rejects and
waste materials. Actually waste indicates towards craftwork. For example if the shell
or the stone is used to make any object then pieces of shell or stone will be discarded as
waste at the place of production.
Many a time smaller objects were made by using larger waste pieces, but minuscule bits
were generally left in the work place. These traces suggest that craft production was
also undertaken in large cities like Harappa and Mohenjodaro.
Q9. How do the archaeologists find socio-economic disparities in the Harappan society?
What disparities do they emphasise?
Ans. The archaeologists find many socio-economic disparities in the Harappan society. They
make the following disparities as their base for further study:

Bricks, Beads and Bones

25

(i) Burials. We find many burials at the Harappan sites. At that time, the dead were
generally laid in pits. Along with the dead body, different kinds of things were also
kept. These things could even be precious or ordinary. There was also a difference
in the pits of the dead. The common things were the symbol of ones weak economic
position.
(ii) Things of Luxury. The archaeologists also study artefacts to identify many other
social and economic differences. These things can be classified as utilitarian and
luxurious things.
The utilitarian things are of the objects of daily use. They are made of ordinary
material. Such as stone or clay. They include querns, pottery, needles and body
scrubbers. They were possessed by all the people in all the Harappan settlements.
On the other hand, the luxuries were those objects which were rare, which were
made of costly and non- local materials or were made with the help of complicated
technologies. For example, the pots of faience (a material prepared with the mixing
of silica, colour and gum were considered costly and precious because they were very
difficult to make. The economic status of those societies was comparatively high
where such things have been found.
Q10. Would you agree that the drainage system of the Harappan cities indicates town
planning? Give reasons for your answer.
Or
The drainage system in Harappan Civilisation indicates town planning. Support the
statement with suitable examples.
[Delhi 2014]
Ans. We completely agree with the fact that all Harappan cities had a carefully planned
drainage system. The drainage system was an integral part of the Harappan townplanning. It was also essential to keep the city neat and clean. From this point of view,
the drainage system of the Harappan cities was perfect. The domestic waste water
passed through gutters to f low out in the street drains.
It seems as if the streets alongwith the drains were laid out first. Then the residences
were made along side these roads. One wall of the house always touched the side of a
street so that the waste water may easily f low into the drains of the street.
The main drain was made of mud and sand bricks. It was covered with such bricks which
could be removed for the purpose of sanitation. The gutters of the houses first fell into a
dump or cesspit. The solid in the water was accumulated here and the water flowed into
the main drain. In this way, the dirty water drained out of the city. According to Macky,
It is certainly the most complete ancient system as yet discovered. In the end, we can
say that every house of the Harappan society was connected to the street drains which
were made of bricks set in mortar. They were covered with limestone or loose bricks
which could be easily removed for cleaning. In fact, the drainage system is considered a
wonder of archaeology.
Q11. List the materials used to make beads in the Harappan Civilisation. Describe the process
by which one kind of bead was made.
[VBQ]
Ans. To prepare beads was one of the most important craft of the Harappan Civilisation. It
was mainly prevalent in Chanhudaro.
Materials used: A large variety of materials was used to make beads. It included a
beautiful red colour stone like carnelian, jasper, crystal, quartz and steatite. Besides
copper, bronze, gold, shell, faience, terracotta or burnt clay was also used.

26

HistoryXII

The Process of Making Beads: The process of making beads was remarkable. It
differed according to the materials. It had the following stages:
(i) The beads did not have geometrical forms like the ones made out of harder stones.
They had a variety of shapes.
(ii) The red colour of carnelian was obtained by firing the yellowish raw material.
(iii) Nodules were chipped into rough shapes. Thus, they were finely flaked into the
final form.
(iv) The last phase of the process included grinding, polishing and drilling. The
specialised drills have been found at many sites like Chanhudaro, Lothal and
Dholavira.
Q12. How do we know about the religious practices of the people of Harappa?
Ans. Terracotta figurines and seals throw a clear light on the religious practices of the
Harappan people. The people of the Indus Valley Civilisation were icon-worshippers.
Discovery of a large number of statues and terracotta figurines prove this fact. These
statues and figurines are considered as gods and goddesses.
A large number of terracotta figurines found portraits of Mother Goddess. Standing
semi-nude female figure, wearing a girdle or band round her loins, with an elaborate
head dress and collar also show the religious belief of the people of the Harappa.
Animal worship also seemed to prevalent. Animals figures were represented on the
seals. A large number of animal figures have also been discovered.
Discovery of dancing girl made of bronze also throws light on the religious aspect of the
people of the Harappan Civilisation.
Q13. Write a short note on the Great Bath of Mohenjodaro.
Ans. The Great Bath was a rectangular tank. It was surrounded by a corridor on all the four
sides. There were two flights of steps on the north and south leading into tank, which
was made watertight by setting bricks on edge and using a mortar of gypsum.
There were rooms on three sides. Out of these three rooms, one was a large well. Water
from the tank flowed into a huge drain.
There was a smaller building to the north of a lane. It had eight bathrooms. Four were
situated on each side of a corridor. These bathrooms were connected with drain flowing
into a drain that ran along the corridor.
Some of the scholars believe that it was used for some religious purposes. It was used for
special ritual bath.
Q14. Cite examples to show that the Harappan culture was an urban one.
[VBQ]
Ans. The following examples show that the Harappan culture was an urban one.
(a) The houses were made of burnt bricks and contained more than one storey.
(b) The cities were well-planned and thickly populated.
(c) The drainage system was excellent with house-drains emptying into street-drains.
(d) The roads were straight and wide.
(e) The citadel of Harappa had public buildings.
(f) Most cities had huge granaries.
(g) After the decline of the Harappan culture town planning was forgotten and there
was absence of city life for about a thousand years.
(h) Lothal had a dockyard and was an important trading centre.

Bricks, Beads and Bones

27

Q15. Write a short note on script of the Harappans.


Ans. Script of the Harappans:
(i) The script was written from right to left. We know this because some seals show
a wider spacing on the right and cramping on the left as if the engraver began
working from the right and then ran out of space.
(ii) We still dont now what was written but we have some idea about the script. It was
not alphabetical (where each sign stands for a vowel or a consonants) and there are
just too many signssomewhere between 375 and 400.
(iii) Consider the variety of objects apart from seals, on which writing has been found
on copper tools, rims of black-slipped jars copper and terracotta tablets, jewellery,
bone rods and even an ancient signboard.
Q16. Describe briefly what was found in burials at the Harappan sites.
Ans. The following things have been found in burials at the Harappan sites.
(i) Jewellery has been traced in burials of both men and women.
(ii) There are several instances where the dead were buried with copper mirrors.
(iii) Some graves at Harappa had pottery and ornaments. These objects indicated a
belief that these could be used in the after life.
(iv) Throughout the length and breadth of the Harappan settlement the archaeologists
have found querns, pottery needles flesh-rubbers, etc.
(v) In the mid-1980s, in the excavations at the cemetery in Harappan an ornament
consisting of three shell rings, a jasper bead and hundreds of micro beads were
found near the skull of a male.
Q17. What are the sources of knowledge about the Indus Valley Civilisations?
[VBQ]
Ans. We get information about the Indus Valley Civilisation from many sources which are as
follows:
(a) The Harappan artisans made beautiful images of metals.
(b) Another important source of Harappan Culture is their seals. About 2000 seals
have been found and of these a great majority carry short inspirations with pictures
of the one-horned bull, the buffalo, the tiger and the elephant.
(c) The runs of various buildings, streets, bath, etc. excavated at Harappan, Mohenjodaro
and other sites throw a lot of light on Harappan Civilisation the ruins give an idea
of city dwelling with good planning and other good civic sense very clearly.
(d) Various specimens of art such as the clay-toys metal-articles reveal that they were
very skilled craftsmen.
Q18. Terracotta figurines and seals throw a great light on the religious practices followed by
the Harappan people. Discuss.
Ans. (a) A number of terracotta figurines portrait of mother goddess standing and seminude female figure, wearing a girdle or band round her loins with an elaborate
head dress and collar, etc.
(b) The most striking figurine is that of the bronze dancing-girl. She is standing in a
provocative posture with one arm on her hip and one lanky leg half-bent.
(c) A great number of terracotta and some figurines of animals have also been
discovered.
(d) The Indus Valley people were icon-worshippers. This has been proved by the gods
and goddesses.

28

HistoryXII

Q19. What were the materials used for the craft production during Harappan culture? From
where were these materials procured? Explain.
Ans. Materials were procured from the following areas.
(i) Copper was procured from the Khetri areas of Rajasthan. Gold was procured from
south India.
(ii) The Harappan got materials for craft production in different ways sell was available
from Nageshwar and Balakot. Shortughai was near the best source of lapis lazuli.
Steatite was procured from south Rajasthan and North Gujarat.
Q20. Write a short note on the Great Bath of Mohenjodaro.
Ans. The Great Bath:
(i) There were rooms on three sides in one of which was a large well. Water from the
tank flowed into a huge drain.
(ii) There is a great bath. This is a large rectangular tank in a courtyard surrounded
by a corridor on all four sides.
(iii) The unique structure as well as the context in which it was found (the citadel, with
several distinctive buildings) has led scholars to suggest that it was meant for
some kind of a special ritual bath.
(iv) Across a lane to the north lay a smaller building with eight bathrooms. Four on
each side of a corridor, with drains that ran along the corridor.
Q21. Examine the possible reasons for the end of the Harappan Civilisation.
Ans. The possible reasons for the end of the Harappan Civilisation are enlisted as under.
(i) Deforestation
(ii) Landslide
(iii) Climatic change
(iv) Earthquake
(v) Excessive Flood
(vi) Drying-up of rivers.
Many views are expressed by scholars, regarding the decline and disappearance of the
Harappan culture. Some of them are as follow:
(a) Perhaps the excessive use of deforestation caused by the use of trees for making
burnt bricks. Civic standard in the leading to ultimate decay.
(b) Frequent floods were also responsible for the evacuation of Mohenjodaro. Atleast on
three occasions devastating floods swept over the city according to geological evidence.
(c) Progressive desiccation due to change of climate is offered one possible reason for
the decline of the land and deterioration of agriculture.
(d) In the Rig Veda, Indra is said to have earned the name of Purandara by destroying
the puras or forts. These forts are mentioned in the Rigveda that Indus people
found in Harappan, Mohenjodaro and other places.
(e) The ultimate extinction was certainly due to invasion by the people who were
probably the Aryans. The end of the Indus Valley Civilisation must have come
about 1500 B.C.
Q22. Why did Cunningham, the first Director General of the ASI, miss the significance of the
Harappa? Explain.
[Delhi 2013 VBQ]
Ans. Cunningham, the first Director General of the ASI, missed the significance of Harappan
due the following confusion.
(i) Although Harappan artefacts were found fairly often in the 18th century and some
of these reached Cunningham yet he did not understand how old these were.
(ii) An Englishman gave a Harappan seal to Cunningham. He noted put it within the
time frame with which he was well known.

Bricks, Beads and Bones

29

(iii) Cunningham main focus was in the archeology of the early Historic (C6th century
BCE - 4th century CE) and later periods.
(iv) Cunningham, like many others, maintained that Indian history started with the
first cities in the Ganga valley. In this way he missed the significance of Harappa.
Q23. Describe the transformation of material culture of the Harappans after 1900 BCE.
Ans. Transformation of material culture of the Harappan after 1900 BCE.
The Harappans procured materials for craft production in various ways for instance
they established settlements such as Nageshwar and Balakot in areas where shell was
available other such sites were Shortughai, in far-off Afghanistan near the best source
of lapis lazuli a blue stone that was apparently very highly valued and Lothal which was
near sources of carnelian steatite and metal. Occasional finds of Harappan artefacts such
as steatite micro beads in these areas are indications of such contact. There is evidence
in the Khetri area for what archaeologists call the GeneshwarJodhpur culture, with its
distinctive non-Harappan pottery and an unusual wealth of copper objects.

III. Long Answer Type Questions


Q1. How can you say that Cunningham was confused while analyzing discovery of the
Harappan Civilisation?
Ans. Cunningham was the first Director General of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). He
started archaeological excavations in the mid of the 19th Century. Archaeologists of that
time preferred to use written word as guide to investigations. Actually Cunningham
was mainly interested in the archaeology of early history (Sixth Century BC to Fourth
Century BC) and later periods. He used accounts of Chinese travelers who visited
India between 7th BC to 4th BC to locate early settlements. Cunningham also collected
documented and translated inscriptions found during his surveys. He tried to recover
artefacts during excavations that he thought had some cultural values.
But a site like Harappa was completely different from the nature of research of
Cunningham because it was neither a part of the itinerary of the Chinese pilgrims nor
it was a historic city. Though Harappan artefacts were found fairly and some of them
reached Cunningham but he did not realize their importance.
For example once, a British officer gave a Harappan seal to Cunningham. He noted it but
tried to put it in the same time frame which he was familiar with. This was because like
many others he too believed that Indian history began with cities in the Ganga Valley.
Just because of his specific focus, he missed the importance of Harappa. Harappan Age
was much earlier than the age of Indian history imagined by Cunningham.
Q2. Explain the different characteristics of Mohenjodaro.
Ans. Mohenjodaro was a very important and unique city of the Harappan Civilisation. Though
it was discovered after Harappan yet it has been very popular because of its very unique
features. Its special features are as follows:
1. A planned urban centre: Mohenjodaro was a planned urban centre. It was
divided into two sections. One section of this city was small. It was built on a higher
place the second section was large but it was at a lower place. The archaeological
designated the first section as citadel and the second section as the lower town.
The citadel owed its height to the fact that the buildings were constructed on mud
bricks platforms. It had walls on all its sides.
2. The lower town: The lower town was also a walled town. Most of the buildings
were built on platforms. This platform served us foundations. It has been estimated

30

HistoryXII

that in one worker moved above a cubic metres of earth daily, it would have needed
four million person. In other words we can say that it required mobile stations of
labour on a very large scale.
All the building in the citadel was built on the platforms. Thus, the settlement
was first planned and then implemented as per the building plan. This planning
is also evident from the bricks which were both baked and sundried. These bricks
were of standardized ratio their length and width were four times and twice the
height respectively. Such bricks were used in all the settlements of the Harappan
Civilisation.
3. Well-planned drainage system: The drainage system of the Harappan city was
carefully planned. All the roads and the streets were laid out on a grid pattern. They
intercepted at the right angles. It seems that streets having drains were laid out.
Thereafter houses were built along them. Every house had at least one wall along a
street. So that the domestic waste water could flow into the drain of the street.
4. Domestic Architecture: The lower town of the Mohenjodaro had expansion of
residential buildings. All these buildings had a courtyard. The rooms were on all the
sides of the courtyards. In the hot and the dry weather the courtyards were centre
of activities like cooking and weaving. While constructing residential buildings, the
people had full concern for privacy. These buildings did not have any window in the
walls along the ground level. Besides the main entrance does not give a direct view
of the interior or the courtyard.
Every house had its own bathroom. It was flooded with bricks. Its gutter was
connected to the street drain through the wall. Some houses had also a staircase
to reach a second storey or the roof. Many houses had wells. These wells were in
a room, which was easily approachable. Anybody can reach it even from outside.
It was perhaps because of the reason that the passers-by can also use them. Many
scholars believe that there were about 700 such wells in Mohenjodaro.
5. The Citadels: The citadel had many buildings which were used for special public
purposes. The most important were the following two structures:
(i) The Warehouse: It had a vast structure. The lower portion of this building
was made of bricks. A part of this portion is still intact. But its upper portion
was made of wood. It had decayed since long.
(ii) The Great Bath: Another vast structure is the Great Bath. It was a large
rectangular tank in a courtyard. It had a corridor on all sides. It had steps on
both north and south sides so that one may go into it. It was made of bricks
and a mortar of gypsum. It had also rooms on its three sides. One room had
a large well. There was also a provision to f lush out water into a large drain.
In fact the Great Bath was a unique structure. It had distinctive features. It
was used for some kind of special ritual bath.
Q3. What matters were used for craft production in the Harappan Civilization? Also explain
their sources.
Ans. A number of craft production centres were there in Harappan Civilization. For this,
different types of raw materials could have been used. Some of the raw materials
required for craft production is given below:
(i) Carnelian
(ii) Jasper
(iii) Crystal
(iv) Quartz
(v) Steatite
(vi) Copper

Bricks, Beads and Bones

31

(vii) Bronze
(viii) Gold
(ix) Shell
(x) Faience
(xi) Terracotta or burnt clay
(xii) Different types of wood and stones
(xiii) Lapis Lazuli (A blue stone)
(xiv) Nickel
Sources: Soil, wood, etc. were the raw materials which were locally available. But
stones, fine quality wood, metals, etc. were procured from different places. For this
different methods were used to obtain them and these were:
(i) Establishment of settlements: Harappan people used to establish their
settlement at those places where raw material was easily available. For example
shell was easily available in Nageshwar and Balacot. Few other places were also
like Portugal in Afghanistan this place was situated near the source of Lapis
lazuli. In the same way Lothal for carnelian, Rajasthan and Gujarat were famous
for copper.
(ii) Sending expeditions: Sending expedition was another policy of obtaining raw
materials. For example expedition was sent to the Khetri region of Rajasthan for
copper and South India for gold. Local communities were contacted through these
expeditions. Huge reserves of copper products were found over here. Probably
inhabitants of this area used to send copper to Harappan people.
Q4. What problems do archaeologists face while reconstructing past?
Ans. There are certain problems in archaeological interpretation. Possibly most problems
come in the reconstruction of religious practices. Early archaeologists feel that few
unusual and unfamiliar objects were probably of religious importance. It includes
terracotta figurine of women who were heavily jewelled and some with elaborate
hair dresses. They were named as mother goddesses. Raw stone statues of men with
an almost standardized posture, seated with one hand on the knee also included in
this. Except this, statue of priest king is also a statue of this type. In other instances,
structures have been assigned ritual importance. They include the Great Bath and fire
altars found at Lothal and Kalibangan. Some important examples in this regard are
given below:
(i) Some seals depict ritual scenes. Efforts have been made to reconstruct religious
beliefs and practices by examining seals.
(ii) Some other seals depicting the pictures of plants, indicate towards worship of
nature. But some animals made on seals -like animal with horns, seems imaginary
and composite creatures.
(iii) Some other seals, a figure shown seated cross -legged in a yogic posture, sometimes
surrounded by animals. It has been regarded as depiction of Proto Shiva, who is
one of the major deities of Hinduism.
(iv) Except this conical stone objects have been classified as lingas.
Many reconstruction of religion of Harappan Civilisation have been made on the
assumption that similarities exist in the earlier and later religious traditions. It is so
because archaeologists generally move from known to unknown means from present to
past. This policy could be plausible in case of stone querns but not in case of religious
belief.
For example, seals of Proto-Shiva. There is a mention of a deity, called Rudra in the
most ancient religious text Rig Veda (500 to 1500 BC). Later on this name was used for
Shiva in the later Puranic traditions. But contrary to Shiva, Rudra is not mentioned as

32

HistoryXII

a Pashupati and a Yogi in Rig Veda. In other words, these depictions hardly match the
mention of Rudra in Rigveda.
Q5. Explain the functions that might have been performed by rulers in Harappan society.
Ans. Cities and settlement of Harappan Civilisation were well planned. Many craft production
centres were there for whom raw material was brought from far-off places. Agriculture
settlements were also developing. All these functions could have been performed by any
ruling class because general masses could not take important collective decisions. Yet
some scholars denying the existence of any ruling class in Harappan Civilisation but
it hardly seems reality. In short, the following functions could have been performed by
rulers in Harappan society.
(i) Making urban planning: Urban planning of Harappan Civilisation was of top
quality. Cities were developed according to proper plan. Streets and roads were
wide enough. All the roads bisect each other at right angles. People used to live in
houses of baked bricks. Length, breadths and width of the bricks were of standard
size. Ruler class used to live in citadel of towns and common people lived in lower
city. There were provision for windows and doors in the houses. Every house
had courtyard, stairs, bathroom, and kitchen. There were two or three storyed
buildings. People used to make large buildings. One great bath has also been found
at Mohenjodaro which could have been used for some kind of special ritual bath. It
was 11.88 metres in length 7.01 mts in breadth and 2.43 mt in depth. The largest
building of this town was the warehouse with the dimension of 45.71 15.23 mt.
Six warehouses have been found at Harappa.
Harappan cities had the carefully planned drainage system. Drainage system
was properly made which was covered with bricks. These bricks could have been
removed at the time of cleaning. Domestic waste water had to flow into the street
drains. Every house needed to have one wall along a street.
(ii) Different Crafts: different types of crafts prevailed in Harappan culture which
could have been regulated by the state. Tin and nickel were mixed by craftsmen
to make copper. Copper was used to make statues, jars and different types of
implements like axe, cutter, knife, etc. Evidences have been found about different
crafts prevailed in Harappan towns. They were very much expert in making seals
and jewellery of gold and silver and statues. Harappan craftsmen were also expert
in bread-making. They were familiar with the art of weight-making. Jars made by
them were quite shining.
(iii) Settlement near Raw material: Some raw materials were available for craftsmen
in local places. That is why craft centres were developed, by the state near those
areas where raw material were easily available. Raw materials included beads,
shells and metals etc.
(iv) Procuring raw material from distant places: Rulers used to send expeditions to
far-off places to procure raw material for craft production. For example expeditions
may have been sent to Khetri region of Rajasthan. (For Copper) and South India
(Gold).
(v) Contacts with distant lands: Rulers used to establish contacts with distant
lands. Mainly copper was brought through these contacts. Evidences have been
found that copper was brought from Oman, on the South east trip of the Arabian
Peninsula.

Bricks, Beads and Bones

33

Q6. Discuss the salient features of the town planning of Harappan Civilisation.
Or
Which essential values enhance the characteristics of Harappan civilisations?

[VBQ]

Or
How did architectural features of Mohenjodaro indicate planning? Support the statement
with examples.
[Delhi 2014]
Ans.

(i) Harappan was the first site to be discovered. One can estimate from the cities
which have been excavated that all the cities were developed on scientific lines and
they were well-planned.
(ii) The people of Harappan Civilisation were very skilled in architecture. The houses
of the Harappans were well planned. Their houses were made with burnt bricks.
The foundation of these houses were kept deep so that they may not damage during
the floods. The houses were airy and spacious.
(iii) Mohenjodaro was divided into two distinct areasthe citadel and the lower town.
The citadel was an elevated area as its buildings were constructed on mud brick
platforms. It contained public buildings like the Great Bath and the warehouse.
The warehouse was a massive structure of which the lower brick portions have
survived while the upper portion made of wood has decayed.
(iv) The Great Bath: The Great Bath of Mohenjodaro is a great landmark of Harappan
civilisation. It is astonishing to know how the people of Harappan might have built
such a huge Bath about 5000 years ago. The Great Bath was 180 feet in length
and 108 feet in width. In its middle, there was a tank which was 39 feet long, 23
feet wide and 8 feet deep. Near this tank, there was a well which was used to fill
water in this tank. There were flights of steps to get down and come up. There was
a separate provision in the tank for the outflow of dirty water. There were many
rooms adjoining this Great Bath. It is believed that the people used to come to take
bath on the occasion of religious ceremonies.
(v) During the excavations of the sites many other big buildings were found. It is
believed that these buildings were used an palaces and government offices. Big
granaries are found in Mohenjodaro, Harappa and Lothal. The grains were kept in
these store-houses. Many inns and rest houses were also built for the comfort of the
travellers.
(vi) One of the most distinct features of Harappan cities was the carefully planned
drainage system. The people of Harappan Civilisation have set up drainage system
for the outflow of dirty water purely on scientific lines. The domestic waste water
f lowed into the drains of the street. These drains further fell into a bigger drain
outside the city. These drains were so covered with bricks that there was no problem
in their cleanliness. No one was allowed to throw any rubbish in these drains.
From this drainage system, we come to know that the people of the Harappan
Civilisation took special care for cleanliness and sanitation.
(vii) Roads: The people of the Harappan Civilisation were well-versed in the art of
construction of roads. These roads were built all around the city. They were quite
wide between 13 to 34 feet. The roads were built in such a way that the f lowing air
may clean away the dirt. All these roads had a lighting system.

34

HistoryXII

IV. Passage-based Questions


1. Read the passage given below and answer the questions that follow:
How Artefacts are identified
Processing of food required grinding equipment as well as vessels for mixing,
blending and cooking. These were made of stone, metal and terracotta. This is an
excerpt from one of the earliest reports on excavations at Mohenjodaro, the bestknown Harappan site:

Saddle querns are found in considerable numbers and they seem to have
been the only means in use for grinding cereals. As a rule, they were roughly made of
hard, gritty, igneous rock or sandstone and mostly show signs of hard usage. As
their bases are usually convex, they must have been set in the earth or in mud to
prevent their rocking. Two main types have been found: those on which another
smaller stone was pushed or rolled to and fro, and others with which a second stone
was used as a pounder, eventually making a large cavity in the nether stone. Querns
of the former type were probably used solely for grain; the second type possibly only
for pounding herbs and spices for making curries. In fact, stones of this latter type
are dubbed curry stones by our workmen and our cook asked for the loan of one
from the museum for use in the kitchen.
FROM ERNEST MACKAY, Further Excavations at
Mohenjodaro, 1937.
Questions:
(i) Which type of querns have been found in Mohenjodaro?
(ii) How is the surface of grinding equipments?
(iii) Write any two characteristics of saddle querns.
(iv) What are two kinds of saddle?
Answers:
(i) Saddle querns.
(ii) The surface of grinding equipment was rough. It was made of hard rock or sand stone.
It indicates the signs of hard usage. Grinding equipments were set in earth so that they
may not rock or waver.
(iii) (a) They found in considerable numbers.
(b) They were made of hard, gritty igneous rocks or sandstone.

Bricks, Beads and Bones

35

(iv) (a) Saddles on which another small was pushed or rolled to and fro. These saddles
were used to grind grain ad cereals and were also called grinding saddles.
(b) In another type of saddle a second stone was used as a pounder. These saddles
were used to grind herbs and spices.
2. Read the passage given below and answer the questions that follow:
The Most Ancient System Yet Discovered
About the drains, Mackay noted: It is certainly the most complete ancient system as yet
discovered. Every house was connected to the street drains. The main channels were made
of bricks set in mortar and were covered with loose bricks that could be removed for cleaning.
In some cases, limestone was used for the covers. House drains first emptied into a sump or
cesspit into which solid matter settled while waste water f lowed out into the street drains.
Very long drainage channels were provided at intervals with sumps for cleaning. It is a
wonder of archaeology that little heaps of material, mostly sand, have frequently been
found lying alongside drainage channels, which shows that the debris was not always
carted away when the drain was cleared.
FROM ERNEST MACKAY, Early Indus Civilisation, 1948.
Drainage systems were not unique to the larger cities, but were found in smaller settlements
as well. At Lothal for example, while houses were built of mud bricks, drains were made of
burnt bricks.
Questions:
(i) The drainage of which places have been described?
(ii) Write the drawback in this sanitation system.
(iii) Except the drainage system, write three characteristics/features of the house.
Answers:
(i) The drainage of Indus valley civilisation has been discovered here.
(ii) In this sanitation system the debris was not always removed when the drain was cleared.
(iii) (a) Each house had a courtyard.
(b) Each house had a bathroom and a well.
(c) The f loor of the house made mostly made of bricks.
(d) A few house were double storeyed.
3. Read the passage given below and answer the questions that follow:
Evidence of an invasion
Deadman Lane is a narrow alley, varying from 3 to 6 feet in width At the point where the
lane turns westward, part of a skull and the bones of the thorax and upper arm of an adult
were discovered, all in very friable condition, at a depth of 4 ft 2 in. The body lay on its back
diagonally across the lane. Fifteen inches to the west were a few fragments of a tiny skull.
It is to these remains that the lane owes its name.
FROM JOHN MARSHALL, Mohenjodaro and the Indus Civilisation, 1931.
Sixteen skeletons of people with the ornaments that they were wearing when they died
were found from the same part of Mohenjodaro in 1925.

36

HistoryXII

Much later, in 1947, R.E.M. Wheeler, then Director-General of the ASI, tried to correlate
this archaeological evidence with that of the Rigveda, the earliest known text in the
subcontinent. He wrote:
The Rigveda mentions pur, meaning rampart, fort or stronghold. Indra, the Aryan war-god
is called puramdara, the fort-destroyer.
Where are or were these citadels? It has in the past been supposed that they were mythical
The recent excavation of Harappa may be thought to have changed the picture. Here,
we have a highly evolved civilisation of essentially non-Aryan type, now known to have
employed massive fortifications What destroyed this firmly settled civilisation? Climatic,
economic or political deterioration may have weakened it, but its ultimate extinction is
more likely to have been completed by deliberate and large-scale destruction. It may not be
a mere chance that at a late period of Mohenjodaro men, women, and children, appear to
have been massacred there. On circumstantial evidence, Indra stands accused.
FROM R.E.M. WHEELER, Harappa 1946, Ancient India, 1947.
In the 1960s, the evidence of a massacre in Mohenjodaro was questioned by an archaeologist
named George Dales. He demonstrated that the skeletons found at the site did not belong
to the same period:
Whereas a couple of them definitely seem to indicate a slaughter, the bulk of the bones
were found in contexts suggesting burials of the sloppiest and most irreverent nature.
There is no destruction level covering the latest period of the city, no sign of extensive
burning, no bodies of warriors clad in armour and surrounded by the weapons of war. The
citadel, the only fortified part of the city, yielded no evidence of a final defence.
FROM G.F. DALES, The Mythical Massacre at Mohenjodaro, Expedition, 1964.
As you can see, a careful re-examination of the data can sometimes lead to a reversal of
earlier interpretations.
Questions:
(i) Why is the lane called Deadman Lane?
(ii) How did John Marshall tend to excavate?
(iii) Why are earlier interpretations sometimes reversed?
(iv) According to R.E.M. Wheeler, what were the reasons for the destruction of Harappan
culture?
(v) Describe George-Dales argument put forward against Wheelers theory of large-scale
destruction.
Answers:
(i) It is called so, because in this narrow street a part of skull and the bones of the thorax
and upper arm of an adult were excavated discovered.
(ii) He tended to excavate the possible cause of the decline of the civilisation in the Indian
subcontinent.
(iii) It is because many new facts came into limelight by new scholars, archaeologists, who
discovered new sites of the same phase related to this civilisation.
(iv) According to him, Harappan social and economic culture changed due to climatic changes.
This might have brought deliberate and large-scale destruction. Another reason he put
forward that there might be a large scale massacre of men, women and children.

Bricks, Beads and Bones

37

(v) (a) There is lack of evidence of large scale destruction.


(b) No dead-body was found from the site of excavation. The skeleton found here did
not belong to this period.
(c) There is no sign of burning.

V. Map-based Questions
Q1. On the map of India, mark and locate any five Harappan sites:
Ans. Five sites of Harappan Civilisation are
1. Harappa
2. Lothal
3. Mohenjodaro
4. Nageshwar
5. Banawali

Harappa

Mohenjodaro

Lothal

Nageshwar

38

HistoryXII

Banawali

Q2. On the map of India, label and locate the following marked Harappan sites: Rakhigadi,
Lothal, Kalibangan, Kotdiji.
Ans.

Kalibangan
Rakhigadi

Kotdiji

Lothal

TEST YOUR SKILLS


Answer the following questions:
1. What do you mean by Hoards?
2. Name any four centres of crafts production of Indus people.
3. Write any two features of the Great Bath of Mohenjodaro.
4. Would you agree that drainage system of cities indicates town planning?
5. Give two features of Harappan script.
6. Describe main distinctive features of Mohenjodaro.
7. Discuss the salient features of Indus Valley town planning.
8. Discuss how archaeologist reconstruct past.
9. Describe the causes of the decline of Indus Valley.
10. Give a brief account about the life of Indus Valley people.

Bricks, Beads and Bones

39