48 Lesser-Known Facts about Indus Valley Civilization

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Technological achievements of Indus Valley Civilization:

33The people of Indus Valley had excellent knowledge of metallurgy

Coach driver casted in metal

People were quite aware of certain new techniques in metallurgy. They used these techniques to produce lead, copper, tin and bronze. These metal products were popular items for export to oversea civilizations.

IVC-Fact#33 People of Harappan civilization had excellent knowledge of Metallurgy Click to Tweet

34Harappan people developed the most precise measurements humanity had at the time

Cubes used in IVC to measure weights

Archaeologists have found stone cubes which are clearly intended to be weights which increase in a ratio of 5:2:1 with weights of 0.05, 0.1, 0.2, 0.5, 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 units. The actual weights do not correspond to any of the then existing systems of Egypt or Mesopotamia. So it is safe to conclude that this is a locally invented system.

The markings on an ivory scale found in Lothal in Gujarat shows their smallest division was approximately 1.704 mm, the smallest division ever recorded on a scale of the Bronze Age.

IVC-Fact#34 Indus Valley people had the most precise measurement systems of weight and length of its time Click to Tweet

35Earliest scale to test purity of Gold

A touchstone bearing gold streaks was found in Banawali, the purpose of which was probably for testing the purity of gold (such a technique is still used in some parts of India).

IVC-Fact#35 Indus Valley people used scales to measure purity of gold, probably the earliest method to test… Click to Tweet

36They were the world’s first dentists!

Archaeologists studying the remains of two men from Mehrgarh, Pakistan, in 2001, made the discovery that the people of the Indus Valley Civilization, from the early Harappan periods, had the knowledge of proto-dentistry. Later, in April 2006, it was declared in the scientific journal Nature that the first evidence of drilling of human teeth in a living person was found in Mehrgarh. Eleven drilled molar crowns from nine adults were found in a Neolithic graveyard in Mehrgarh dating from 5,500 BC – 7,000 BC. According to the authors, their discoveries suggest a tradition of proto-dentistry in the early farming cultures of the region.

IVC-Fact#36 Indus Valley people were the first dentists. First evidence were found in Mehrgarh: 5500-7000 BC Click to Tweet

37The first people to domesticate Cotton

The earliest archaeological evidence for cotton use is from Mehrgarh, in the Kachi Plain of Balochistan, Pakistan, in the sixth millennium BC. People of the Indus and Gaggar-Hakra river valleys were, without a doubt, the first to produce cotton on an industrial scale. Cotton textile was one of the major export items that helped the growth of trade and economy of the civilization.

IVC-Fact#37 Indus Valley people of Mehrgarh were the first to domesticate cotton around 6th millennium BC Click to Tweet

38IVC people invented the world’s first buttons!

In the Indus Valley Civilization, buttons made from seashell were used for ornamental purposes rather than as fasteners. The first instances were found dating around c. 2800–2600 BCE. Some buttons were carved into geometric shapes and had holes pierced into them in order to attach it to clothing with thread.

The button, in fact, was originally used more as an ornament than as a fastening, the earliest known being found at Mohenjo-Daro in the Indus Valley. It is made of a curved shell and about 5000 years old. – Ian McNeil (1990)

IVC-Fact#38 Indus Valley Civilization invented the world's first buttons: 2800-2600 BCE Click to Tweet

39They made the world’s oldest signboard!

 

GCI-northern-gateway-Dholavira-citadel

In 1999, at Dholavira, archaeologists have discovered what apparently is the world’s first signboard. This board had stone symbols/letters of over 30 cms in height inlaid in a wooden frame. Since the Indus script has not been deciphered yet, we still don’t know what it meant. But it is believed that it was placed at the façade of the majestic north gate of the city’s citadel.

IVC-Fact#39 Indus Valley people made the world's first signboard at Dholavira Click to Tweet

40People were very fond of games particularly dice games

board games were popular in Indus Valley Civilization

The Harappans also made various toys and games, among them cubical dice (with one to six holes on the faces), which were found in sites like Mohenjo-Daro. Other toys include clay figures of bullock carts, miniature pots, utensils etc., spinning tops, marbles and more. Thus, we can say that not only the children but even the adults were playful in nature.

IVC-Fact#40 Indus Valley people were very fond of board games and dice games Click to Tweet

41They were very advanced in Art and Craft

Dancing_Girl_of_Mohenjo-daroHarappan art and craft had achieved a level of sophistication beyond its time. This can be seen from their ceramic and terracotta potteries; bronze, copper and other metal artifacts; their skills in bead-making, and other crafts.

This can be understood from the fact that the British archaeologist, Sir John Marshall, who found the bronze Dancing Girl statuette couldn’t believe that it predates Greek sculptures by thousands of years.

When I first saw them I found it difficult to believe that they were prehistoric; they seemed to completely upset all established ideas about early art, and culture. Modeling such as this was unknown in the ancient world up to the Hellenistic age of Greece, and I thought, therefore, that some mistake must surely have been made; that these figures had found their way into levels some 3000 years older than those to which they properly belonged … Now, in these statuettes, it is just this anatomical truth which is so startling; that makes us wonder whether, in this all-important matter, Greek artistry could possibly have been anticipated by the sculptors of a far-off age on the banks of the Indus. – Sir John Marshall

IVC-Fact#41 Indus Valley people were very advanced in Art and Crafts and were a major exporter Click to Tweet

16 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for this information. I love ancient history. I hope someone deciphers their language. Their lack of symbols being put together on stone makes me wonder if they used some type of paper to write on. If so, they would have had libraries to store them in. I’m sure more artifacts will be discovered over time that will shed more light on this interesting civilization.

    • google: S. Kalyanaraman Sarasvati Research Center May 26, 2017, for the recent decipher of Indus script. Also another researcher has done this: google: Suzanne Redalia – Apr 17, 2016.

  2. This civilization has been turned into a ‘Faceless’ (Possehl) one due to careless mistakes of historians. The present form of the RigVeda may be dated to about 1500 BC but Vedic culture is much older. Names such as Ayodhya (Rehman Dheri) Kashi, Koshala, Magadha (Sumerian Mah Gud) Melukhkha(Maha Uksha), Kalinga, Kikata etc. go back to this era. Some of the seals at least can be read if it is assumed that Brahmi was an offshoot of the Harappan writing system. The name Mohenjo Daro is a transform of Maha Indra Dvara.

  3. First time I have read such a detailed and most informative article on the Indus Valley Civilization although I belong to its geographic region, with my family originating in Ahmedabad and presently living in Karachi. I have visited both the Harrapa and Moenjo Daro sites, and am quite familiar with the present day geography and sociology of the complete Indus Valley Site in Pakistan. The Hakra River now exists only as the Hakra Distributory on the fringes of the green belt in the area of Bahawalpur.

  4. We do not know what happened to IVC. Yet a civilisation which lived for such a long time, even with migration must have left impressions or links with later civilisations. What I am saying is there should be continuum unless it is a magical vanishing of a civilisation. I am curious to know what are these continuum signs.

  5. Is it possible that the civilisation ended because of not one great flood but similar floods over a longer period of time thus forcing the few people left to migrate to other destinations?

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