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Quick Revision Notes

on Indian History
Indian history forms an
important part of the General
Awareness paper of Civil Services (Prelims) Examination.
Based on analysis of types of
questions asked in previous
years, we have compiled this
feature to help you to be better
prepared for the examination, as
also to make your preparation
easier. This will be a regular feature in the magazine and in
coming months we will also
provide you with similar notes
on Indian Constitution and
other topics.
The Harappa
Culture/Indus Valley
1. The Civilization was
named Indus Valley Civilization by Sir John Marshal (1924), after its discovery by Daya Ram Sahni and
Vatsa in 1921-22. However,
Indus Valley Civilization is
not limited to areas around
Harappa or those lying in
the Indus valley alone.
2. The maximum number of sites were explored by
S.R. Rao, in Gujarat (190
sites). At present there are
over 350 sites which have
been excavated.
3. Modern technique of
carbon-14 dating has been
employed to calculate the
date of the Indus Valley Civilization. Harappan seals,
which have been obtained
from Mesopotamia provide
additional help.
4. The population was
heterogeneous, and at
Mohenjodaro four races
have been discovered. The
people were not of Dravidi-

8. Important Harappan sites,

year of discovery and discoverer
(a) Harappa
D.R. Sahni and M.S. Vatsa
(under Sir John Marshal)
(b) Mohenjodaro 1922
R.D. Banerjee
(c) Chanhudaro
Earnest Mackey/Majumdar
(d) Kalibangan
A.N. Ghosh
(e) Kot Diji
Fazal Ahmad
(f) Lothal
M.S. Vatsa/S.R. Rao
(g) Suktagender
George Dales
(h) Surkatoda
J.P. Joshi
(i) Banawali
R.S. Bisht
(j) Dholavira
1967/91 Joshi/Bisht
(k) Ropar
Talwar and Bisht
an origin. The population
was mostly belonged to the
mediterranean race.
5. Indus Valley Civilization people had contacts
with West Asia and Central
Asia. Their contacts are
proved by the discovery of
terracota figures of the
mother goddess, bull seals,
etc in West and Central Asia.
Their weights and measures resemble those of
Their drainage system
resembles that at Tell Asmar.
6. The largest Indus
Valley Civilization site is
The smallest site is
The largest sites in
India are Dholavira, Rakhigarhi.
The three nucleus sites
are Mohenjodaro, Harappa,
The number of sites which
are considered as cities are
7. Mohenjodaro is
located on the banks of
Indus river. Chanhudaro is

located on Indus/Sutlej;
Harappa on Ravi; Kalibangan on Ghaggar/Saraswati;
Lothal on Bhogavo; and
Ropar on Sutlej.
9. The same type of
layout, with a separate
acropolis and lower city is
found at Mohenjodaro,
Harappa and Kalibangan.
10. The citadel and the
lower city are joined at
Surkatoda and Banawali.
11. The citadel was normally smaller than the lower
city and lay to its West side.
12. Three divisions of
town were discovered at
13. The town which
shows marked differences in
its town planning and
drainage system from other
Indus Valley Civilization
sites is Banawali.
14. The town which
resembles European castles
(due to stone masonry) is
15. The Indus Valley
Civilization site where houses are built just next to the
wall is Desalpur.
16. Stone rubble has


been used at Kalibangan.

17. The site of Mohenjodaro was constructed at least
seven times.
18. The towns which
resemble castles of merchants are Desalpur, Rojdi,
19. The coastal towns
are: Lothal, Surkatoda, Balakot, Allahdino and Rangpur.
20. The shape of citadel
at Lothal is trapezium.
21. The houses were
constructed on the pattern
of gridiron (chess).
22. Fire altars have been
discovered at Kalibangan.
23. Stupa, great bath,
college, Hammam, granary
and assembly hall belong to
24. The cemetery R37,
containing 57 burials, is
located at Harappa.
25. Lothal is famous for
warehouse, granary, merchants house, besides its
26. The only site where
guard rooms were provided
at gates is Dholavira.
27. A ceramic bath tub
was discovered at Balakot.
28. The major seal producing units were at Chanhudaro.
29. A huge palace-like
building has been found at
30. Bead-makers shop
and equipments were found
at Chanhudaro and Lothal.
31. Maximum number
of seals have been found
in Mohendojaro (57%). Second maximum at Harappa


32. Persian-gulf seal
was found at Lothalit is a
button seal.
33. A Tiger seal was
found at Banawali.
34. Iraqi cylindrical
seal was found at Mohenjodaro.
35. A crucible for making bronze articles was discovered at Harappa.
36. Maximum bronze
figures have been found in
37. The Bronze dancing
girl was found in Mohenjodaro.
38. Mostly limestone
was used for sculptures.
39. Limestone sculpture
of a seated male priest was
found at Mohenjodaro.
40. An atta chakki (grinding stone) was discovered at
41. Deluxe pottery was
discovered at Banawali.
42. The only place
where pottery depicting
humans has been found is in
43. Pottery inkpots and
writing tablets (leafs) were
found at Chanhudaro.
44. War-tools made of
copper and bronze were discovered at Mohenjodaro.
45. The site where oxendriven carts were found was
46. A terracota model of
a ship was found at Lothal.
47. A seat latrine has
been found at Mohenjodaro.
48. A house floor containing the design of intersecting circles was found at
49. The seals depicting
the lord Pasupati Siva, Sumerian Gilgamesh and his two
lions were found at Mohenjodaro.
50. Agricultural implements were found in Mohenjodaro.
51. Ploughed field were

found in Kalibangan.
52. Jowar (Jau) was
found in Banawali.
53. Cotton spindles,
(and sewing needles) have
been found in Mohenjodaro.
54. Rice husk was discovered in Lothal and Rangpur.
55. The foreign site
where Indus Valley Civilization cotton cloth has been
discovered is Sumer.
56. Indus Valley Civilization people disposed of
the dead bodies in three
forms. At Mohenjodaro, we
find three forms of burials:
(a) Complete burialwhole
body buried along with the
grave goods. (b) Fractional
burialonly bones (after
exposure to beasts, birds,
etc.) were buried along
with goods. (c) Cremation
burialsbody was cremated in urns and then
buried under house floors or
57. Four pot burials
containing bone ashes were
discovered at Surkatoda.
58. Bodies were found
buried in oval pits at Ropar.
59. Important measurements:
Great Bath: 12 m x 7
m x 2.4 m.
46 m x 23 m.
Collegiate building:
10 m square court.
Cubical bricks:10 x 20
x 40 cm3.
Average brick size: 5.5
x 12.5 x 26 cm.
Ratio of length,
breadth and height of bricks:
4 : 2 : 1.
Larger bricks to cover
drains: 51 cm (+).
Stone weights used
for trade were in the denominations of: 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32,
..... 160 and decimal multiples of 16. Eg. 16, 320, 6400,
8000, 12800, etc.

Length was generally

measured in: Foot (37.6 cm)
and cubit (52 cm approx).
Granary at Lothal:
214 x 36 x 4.5 m.
storehouse: 50 m x 40 m, with a 7
m central passage.
60. The interesting evidences about the horse during Indus Valley Civilization
Horse bones have
been found in Surkatoda.
Horse tooth has been
found in Ranaghudai.
Terracota figure of a
horse has been found in
Ashes of a horse have
been found in Suktagendor.
61. Seals mostly depict
the humpless bull (unicorn).
62. 75% terracota figures
are of the humped bull.
63. The Garuda is
depicted on a seal from
64. Evidence of the rhinoceros comes from Amri
and Kalibangan. It also tells
us that there was plenty of
rainfall there.
65. The Sumerian Gilgamesh seal also shows two
66. Some other known
animals were bull, dog, rabbit and bird.
67. Though lot of buildings and bricks were found,
no brick kilns have been
found so far.
68. The customary vessels for drinking were goblets with pointed bases,
which were used only once.
69. The most extensively used metal in Indus Valley Civilization was pure
copper (unalloyed copper).
70. The metal which
made earliest appearance
during the Indus Valley Civilization was Silver.
71. The Indus Valley


Civilization forts were not

meant for defence from enemies. They were mere entry
points and provided safety
from petty robbers. They
also stood as a symbol of
social authority on an
72. The best information
on social life comes from the
terracota figures.
73. The weapons used
were: axes, bows, arrows
and the Gada. No defensive weapons have beenfound here. No swords were
discovered. They are considered to be overall a peaceloving race.
74. Houses never opened towards the main roads.
They opened towards the
galis. Exception is houses
found in Lothal.
75. The Indus Valley
Civilization was probably
ruled by the merchant class.
76. Mostly all cities had
a citadel or Acropolise. It
stood on a high mound, was
called upper city and was
fortified. Chanhudaro had
no citadel.
77. The greatest work of
art, of Indus Valley Civilization are the seals. They were
mostly rectangular or square
and were made from
78. The crossing point
of the First street and East
street of Mohenjodaro has
been named Oxford Circus.
79. The various minerals (metals) used by Indus
Valley Civilization people
and their sources are: Silver
from Afghanistan and Iran
and Iraq; Lead from Kashmir, Rajasthan, etc.; Gold
from Karnataka; Copper
from Rajasthan; Lapis Lazuli
from Afghanistan.
Iron was not known to
Indus Valley Civilization
80. Though pottery has


been discovered, no potters
wheel has been found (probably because it was wooden
and hence perished).
81. The first mention of
the possibility of the Harappan civilization was made as
early as 1826, by Charles
82. Sindon is the
Greek word for cotton and it
was grown earliest in the
Indus Valley Civilization
period only.
83. The Mesopotamian
king, whose date is known
with certainty (2,350 B.C.),
who claimed that ships from
Indus Valley Civilization
traded with him was King
Sargon of Akkad.
84. In Dholavira (Rann
of Kutch, Gujarat) Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)
has found elaborate stone
gateways with rounded
columns, apart from giant
reservoirs for water. A board
inlaid with large Harappan
script charactersprobably
the worlds first hoarding
was also found here.
85. In recent times,
archaeologists have excavated or are in the process of
digging up 90 other sites,
both in India and Pakistan,
that are throwing up
remarkable clues about this
great prehistoric civilisation.
Among them are: Indus Valley was probably the largest
prehistoric urban civilisation. The empire was ruled
much like a democracy and
the Indus people were
the worlds top exporters.
And, instead of the Aryans
it was possibly a massive
earthquake that did them
86. As per latest estimates, Indus Valley Civilization encompassed a staggering 1.5 million sq kman
area larger than Western
Europe. In size, it dwarfed

contemporary civilisations
in the Nile Valley in Egypt
and in the Tigris and
Euphrates valleys in Sumer
(modern Iraq). Its geographical boundaries are now
believed to extend up to the
Iranian border on the west,
Turkmenistan and Kashmir
in the north, Delhi in the east
and the Godavari Valley in
the south.
87. While Mohenjodaro
and Harappa are rightly
regarded as principal cities
of Indus Valley Civilization,
there were several others,
such as Rakhigarhi in
Haryana and Ganweriwala
province, that match them
both in size and importance.
88. Along with the Etruscan of Italy, the Indus
Valley script is the last script
of the Bronze Age that is yet
to be deciphered. So far no
such bilingual artefact has
been found that could help
break the Indus writing
89. The Indus Valley civilizations inscriptions are
usually short, made up of 26
characters written usually in
one line. The script, largely
glyptic in content, has
around 419 signs. The writing system is believed to be
based on syllables. The
Indus people also wrote
from right to left, as is manifest by the strokes.
90. The excavation of
Lothal, an Indus port town
located off the Gujarat coast,
shattered notions that the
Civilization was landlocked
and isolated. A 700 ft long
dock-even bigger than the
ones in many present day
portshas been discovered.
It took an estimated million
bricks to build. Hundreds of
seals were found, some
showing Persian Gulf origin,
indicating that Lothal was a

major port of exit and entry.

91. A lapis lazuli bead
factory, discovered in Shortugai in Afghanistan, is
believed to have been a
major supplier to Harappan
92. Harappans are credited with being the earliest
growers of rice and cotton.
93. Outside the Indus
system a few sites occur on
the Makran Coast (PakistanIran border), the westernmost of which is at Sutkagen
Dor, near the modern frontier with Iran. These sites
were probably ports or trading posts, supporting the sea
trade with the Persian Gulf,
and were established in
what otherwise remained a
largely separate cultural
region. The uplands of
Baluchistan, while showing
clear evidence of trade and
contact with the Indus Civilization, appear to have
remained outside the direct
Harappan rule.
94. East of the Indus system, toward the north, a
number of sites occur right
up to the edge of the
Himalayan foothills, where
at Alamgirpur, east of
Delhi, the easternmost
Harappan (or perhaps late
Harappan) settlement has
been discovered and partly
95. Besides Mohenjodaro and Harrapa, other
include Dholavira and
Surkotada in the Rann of
Kach; Nausharo Firoz in
Baluchistan; Shortughai in
northern Afghanistan; Amri,
Chanhu-daro, and Judeirjodaro in Sindh (Pakistan);
and Sandhanawala in
Bahawalpur (Pakistan).
96. Of all the Indus Valley Civilization sites, Harappa, Mohenjo-daro, Kalibangan and Lothal have been


most extensively excavated.

97. At major three sites
excavated, the citadel
mound is on a north-south
axis and about twice as long
as it is broad. The lower city
is laid out in a grid pattern of
streets; at Kalibangan these
were of regularly controlled
widths, with the major
streets running through,
while the minor lanes were
sometimes offset, creating
different sizes of blocks. At
all three sites the citadel was
protected by a massive,
defensive wall of brick,
which at Kalibangan was
strengthened at intervals by
square or rectangular bastions. In all three cases the
city was situated near a river, although in modern times
the rivers have deserted
their former courses.
98. The most common
building material at every
site was brick, but the proportions of burned brick to
unburned mud brick vary.
burned brick, perhaps
because timber was more
readily available, while mud
brick was reserved for fillings and mass work.
Kalibangan, on the other
hand, reserved burned brick
for bathrooms, wells, and
drains. Most of the domestic
architecture at Kalibangan
was in mud brick.
99. The bathrooms of
houses made during the
time were usually indicated
by the fine quality of the
brickwork in the floor and
by waste drains.
100. There is surprisingly little evidence of public
places of worship, although
at Mohenjo-daro a number
of possible temples were
unearthed in the lower city,
and other buildings of a ritual character were reported in
the citadel.

Minat Terkait