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Archaeology is the study of people in the past from physical remains found in the

present. Each piece of evidence, no matter how small, can be an important chapter of a story about how people organized their day to day lives, how they developed complex ways of conducting business and politics, about their religious or supernatural beliefs, about how they taught their children, what they ate, or where they slept. Archaeologists are like detectives, searching for clues to reconstruct and understand the lives of ancient peoples. Each clue they find can bring us all closer to a better understanding of how present cultures developed.

Clues can be artifacts like stone or bone tools, pottery, or elaborate ornaments. They can be features, like house mounds, hearths, storage pits and depressions, or burials. Even the smallest stone flake, or fragment of animal bone can help tell the archaeologist more about how people lived in the past.

Food remains, like animal bones, seeds and other plant remains, and shells can be used to find out about what people were eating. But they can also be used to reconstruct past environments.

Surface features sometimes help to identify the location of old villages. Large mounds found at this site indicate raised central hearths where houses were built. Other mounds are refuse 'middens'. Surface features can also include post holes, pits and depressions, abandoned fire hearths, or scattered cultural debris like stone and bone fragments, metals, ceramics, and glass.

Indus Civilisation The Indus civilization (also known as the Harappan Civilization, the Indus-Sarasvati or Hakra Civilization and sometimes the Indus Valley Civilization) is one of the oldest societies we know of, including over 2600 known archaeological sites located along the Indus and Sarasvati rivers in Pakistan and India, an area of some 1.6 million square kilometers. The largest known Harappan site is Ganweriwala, located on the bank of the Sarasvati river. Timeline of the Indus Civilization Important sites are listed after each phase.

Chalcolithic cultures 4300-3200 BC Early Harappan 3500-2700 BC (Mohenjo-Daro, Mehrgarh, Jodhpura, Padri) Early Harappan/Mature Harappan Transition 2800-2700 BC (Kumal, Nausharo, Kot Diji, Nari) Mature Harappan 2700-1900 BC (Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro, Shortgua, Lothal, Nari) Late Harappan 1900-1500 BC (Lothal, Bet Dwarka)

The earliest settlements of the Harappans were in Baluchistan, Pakistan, beginning about 3500 BC. These sites are an independent outgrowth of Chalcolithic cultures in place in south Asia between 3800-3500 BC. Early Harappan sites built mud brick houses, and carried on long-distance trade. The Mature Harappan sites are located along the Indus and Sarasvati rivers and their tributaries. They lived in planned communities of houses built of mud brick, burnt brick, and chiseled stone. Citadels were built at sites such as Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro, Dholavira and Ropar, with carved stone gateways and fortification walls. Around the citadels were an extensive range of water reservoirs. Trade with Mesopotamia, Egypt and the Persian gulf is in evidence between 2700-1900 BC.

Indus Lifestyles Mature Harappan society had three classes, including a religious elite, a trading class and the poor workers. Art of the Harappan includes bronze figures of men, women, animals, birds and toys cast with the lost was method. Terracotta figurines are rarer, but are known from some sites, as is shell, bone, semiprecious and clay jewelry. Seals carved from steatite squares contain the earliest forms of writing. Almost 6000 inscriptions have been found to date, although they have yet to be deciphered. Scholars are divided about whether the language is likely a form of Proto-Dravidian, Proto-Brahmi or Sanskrit. Early burials were primarily extended with grave goods; later burials were varied. Subsistence and Industry The earliest pottery made in the Harappan region was built beginning about 6000 BC, and included storage jars, perforated cylindrical towers and footed dishes. The copper/bronze industry flourished at sites such as Harappa and Lothal, and copper casting and hammering were used. Shell and bead making industry was very important, particularly at sites such as Chanhu-daro where mass production of beads and seals is in evidence. The Harappan people grew wheat, barley, rice, ragi, jowar, and cotton, and raised cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats and chickens. Camels, elephants, horses, and asses were used as transport. Late Harappan The Harappan civilization ended between about 2000 and 1900 BC, resulting from a combination of environmental factors such as flooding and climatic changes, tectonic activity, and the decline of trade with western societies.