Well, this is the last part of our articles on Indus Valley Civilization facts. Here we will learn about things like the type of script used by Indus people, the theories put forward about the decline of this great civilization etc. In case you want to go through the previous articles on Indus people, feel free to click through the links below:
- 20 Interesting Indus Valley Civilization Facts – Part I
- 20 Interesting Indus Valley Civilization Facts – Part II
- 20 Interesting Indus Valley Civilization Facts – Part III
- 20 Fascinating Indus Valley Civilization Facts – Part IV
So, without further ado, let us learn 20 facts about Indus Valley Civilization and try to understand what led to the decline of this great civilization. Shall we begin? But before we go ahead and start:
Scientists from Archaeological Survey of India and India’s premier technology institute: IIT Kharagpur – have identified that Indus Valley Civilization is way older than what was thought previously. The scientists have noted, through carbon dating of various pottery and animal remains that the Indus Valley Civilization is at least 8,000 years old while the previously held notion is that the civilization was 5,500 years old. This means that Indus Valley Civilization came to existence before the Egyptian Civilization (dated 7,000 ka BP to 3,000 ka BP) and Mesopotamian Civilization (dated 6,500 ka BP to 3,100 ka BP). Also, those scientists have identified a Pre-Harappan Civilization which started 1000 years before Indus Valley Civilization properly started. This means that ‘Cradles of Civilization’ as we have been taught in history has to be rewritten. The whole world owes to Indus Valley Civilization – the oldest and the most ancient and highly advanced civilization of antiquity! In case you are wondering where to find the study, you can head for the renowned journal: Nature, where the study was published on May 25, 2016.
Please note: ka BP stands for Kilo Annum Before Present where Kilo Annum is a period of 1,000 years. So, based on the new findings:
Pre-Harappan period: 9,000 ka BP to 8,000 ka BP (7,000 BCE – 6,000 BCE)
Indus Valley Civilization: 8,000 ka BP to 2,500 ka BP (6,000 BCE – 500 BCE)
Dates are approximate estimates
Amazing Indus Valley Civilization Facts: 1-5
1. Thanks to the very little knowledge that we have, we don’t know what were the exact uses of seals. There are nearly 4000 seals of different varieties like some have animals inscribed on them. On some of them Gods’ and Goddesses’ (Shakti or Maa Kali and Pasupati) images are present. Others were used in stamping clay on goods that were to be traded. However, the archaeologists believe that there are other reasons for these seals to be produced in such huge numbers which are yet to be known.
2. Coming to the script they used, it was pictographic (symbols and pictures) and Boustrophedon i.e. it started from the left side to the right side and then it continued without stopping from right to left side.
3. 400 symbols were used but the they used them very meagrely. They used 20 symbols at once which is so far the longest sentence or sequence found till now.
4. Their meagre usage of the symbols made many archaeologists and scholars to think that the script is not really a language and in 2004 Farmer, Sproat, and Witzel produced a paper saying Indus script is not a language but a set of non-linguistic symbols.
5. Some say that these symbols were exclusively used for trade purposes. But, if they were to be used for trade purposes, then why was there a mass production of pots and other ritual objects which had these symbols? No one has answered this question till now.
Amazing Indus Valley Civilization Facts: 6-10
6. What is surprising is that there are no monuments or palaces or temples found in this civilization. We don’t even have an idea of their political structure and religious beliefs.
7. As a challenge to the above paper, Kendriya Vidyalaya’s, Natwar Jha studied the seals and identified the Indus script as some type of Vedic Sanskrit.
8. He also said that the Egyptian and Babylonian civilizations owe a lot to the Indus people as the number and alphabet system was started from Indus Valley Civilization.
9. He also challenges the common notion that Sanskrit and other European languages developed from a proto-language. Instead, he says that Greek language was developed along the lines of Old-Brahmi script which originated in IVC.
10. So, according to him, all the European languages are born out of the language used during IVC time.
Amazing Indus Valley Civilization Facts: 11-15
11. No matter how great a civilization is, it has to sink one day or the other, obliging to wheel of time. IVC was no exception. This sinking started from 1900 BCE.
12. People started abandoning their cities from 1900 BCE and started to live along the other banks of the rivers.
13. The reasons behind the collapse is still unknown. But there are some theories proposed by scholars and archaeologists. The first and the most ridiculous theory one could ever frame was the Aryan Invasion theory by Mortimer Wheeler.
14. This theory finds its roots in the West claiming that they were Aryans and a superior race than Indians. The fact was that they just couldn’t digest to see a civilization being so advanced than their thinking.
Also Read: Aryan Invasion Theory – Debunking the Myth
15. The other theory was proposed by Lambrick and it is supposed to be one of the main reasons of the collapse of IVC. According to Lambrick, the climate changed from being warm and wet to cold and dry. As the Indus people depended on the rains, they couldn’t survive such severe climate change. However, this theory is no longer the most accepted theory as in 2016, Indian scientists came up with some amazing evidences wherein they proposed that weather change didn’t kill IVC abruptly but it was a gradual phasing out of the civilization because of changes in monsoon. Nature.
Amazing Indus Valley Civilization Facts: 16-20
16. The change of course of Indus river is also cited as one of the reasons for the collapse. Adding to this, Ghaggar-Hakra river bed dried up completely to make the once flourishing cities to deserts.
17. Another theory was proposed by Robert Raikes. He said that the change in tectonic plates were responsible for the change in the course of river Indus and which led to the collapse of IVC.
18. This theory, though not completely perfect, geologists say that the tectonic movements happened in the time when the great civilization was nearing its end.
19. IVC contributions are numerous. Many other coming civilizations used and further developed the technology used by Indus people. If the Indus script was the beginning of the language, then the whole world owes a lot to this civilization.
20. Needless to say, Hinduism or aptly put Sanatana Dharma took its shape and finds its roots in this great old yet urban civilization.
That’s it for now. That made pretty long facts list. And yes, allow us to tell you that archaeologists failed to know more about IVC as they know about other civilizations. It is just the tip of the iceberg folks! Wonder what marvels are to be unraveled when more excavations are done.