The depth of knowledge that Indus Valley Civilization people had is unfathomable. Historians, scholars and scientists are today still struggling to understand the extent of developed knowledge that people of IVC had. In this Part III of interesting Indus Valley Civilization facts, we will explore various such facts that will leave us awe-struck. We are sure, those ancient people will make us feel dumb for they harnessed epic knowledge for their time. So, let us begin… but before that…
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
Interesting Indus Valley Civilization Facts: 1-5
1. Mehrgarh was the oldest settlement of Indus Valley Civilization. It came to existence in pre-Harrapan period, circa 7,000 BCE. It started off as a small village. Herding and farming evidences have been found at Mehrgarh.
2. Streets of IVC cities and towns used planned and systematic grading for stormwater disposal. Underground pipes and channels running alongside the wide streets were the systems used for stormwater disposal. Especially the Harappans were the ones who mastered water management system better than anyone else. They also had intricate underground foul water drainage system in place. Those underground drains had terracotta lid coverings. Chambers were also built with lids that could be opened. The purpose of those chambers was cleaning.
3. One of the most striking feature of this civilization is the absence of the evidences of armies, slaves, wars, prisons etc.
4. Archaeologists think that either these evidences have been completely wiped out (which is highly unlikely) or they maintained an egalitarian system of governance.
5. The people of Indus Valley Civilization can easily be considered as masters when it comes to science. The knowledge that they had is highly unbelievable for a bronze-age civilization. They were precise in the measurements, their smallest measurement being 1.704 mm, the best of the civilizations of that age.
Interesting Indus Valley Civilization Facts: 6-10
6. They developed their own weight system, which was not similar to any system found in Mesopotamia or Egypt. They created stone cubes with weight increasing in ratio 5:2:1. They had the following weight units:
- 0.05 unit
- 0.1 unit
- 0.2 unit
- 0.5 unit
- 1 unit
- 2 unit
- 5 unit
- 10 unit
- 20 unit
- 50 unit
- 100 unit
- 200 unit
- 500 unit
7. They were the first to develop a unified system of weights (they were present in multiples of 16) and measures. They used ivory for making scales and other instruments (found in Lothal).
8. The sizes of the bricks were of the ratio 4:2:1. There were three types of bricks -mud bricks, burnt bricks and decorated bricks (which came from Kalibangan, Rajasthan only). Walls were not plastered.
9. The 4:2:1 or 1:2:4 ratio was used not just for making bricks but also for making houses and neighbourhood blocks. Archaeologists aren’t sure about the reason behind such standardization. It could have been deliberate or enforced or a simple practice – a convention that was in practice. It could also have had some religious significance.
10. They used decimal system. Each unit of weight measured 28 grams and they were similar to ounce or Greek’s uncia.
Interesting Indus Valley Civilization Facts: 11-15
11. They invented an instrument for the construction of docks. The accuracy of the structures like dockyard is amazing and they constructed these only after meticulously studying currents, tides etc.
12. In 2001, the archaeologists made a very shocking discovery. The Harappans were adept in medicine too. They made this discovery when they were studying remains of two men (from Mehrgarh, Pakistan). They actually practiced proto-dentistry during the period 5,500 BCE – 7,000 BCE.
13. Harappans had excellent knowledge of metallurgy and they created bronze, lead, tin and copper. No other civilization was so technologically developed as Indus Valley.
14. They knew many metals like silver, gold etc. and used them. Silver was used for the first time in Indus Valley Civilization only.
15. People of IVC loved art. They made several terracotta figures, statues, seals, pottery and many more with love.
Interesting Indus Valley Civilization Facts: 16-20
16. That is the reason why till this day everyone is spellbound by the anatomical details and realistic nature of the arts.
17. Not just dancing and painting, but they played and loved listening to music. Archaeologists found out an instrument similar to harp and there are evidences (from Lothal) of the usage of the stringed instruments.
18. The pillars’ tops were sometimes decorated with intricate designs and archaeologists believe that this kind of art was way advanced than all other civilizations.
19. They knew various types of cosmetics and facial paints; ornaments were worn by both men and women.
20. The usual games they used to indulge in are chariot race, dice and a game akin to chess.