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Complex Societies in the Indus Valley.docx

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Western University
Anthropology 2100
Peter Timmins

Jan, 28, 2013 Complex Societies in the Indus Valley -Sir Mortimer Wheeler did many excavations in the region with Indian students at sites like Harappa -The Indus valley flooded in 2010 which disturbed many of the sites located around it The Neolithic Period – ca 6000-3300 BC: -There were villages in the foothills of Baluchistan and Afghanistan like the Mehrgarh sites which are 200 km west of the Indus River and this includes several sites in a 495 acre area Mehrgarh Baluchistan - ca 6000-3300 BC: -The site was located on a trade route between Indus Valley and SW Asia and they grew wheat and herded goats as well as growing cotton and weaving cotton cloth which was traded -There were mud brick houses that are still visible today at their foundations and many clay bird-headed figurines were found as well Early Agriculture in India and Pakistan: -Was indigenous, but stimulated by crops introduced from the west and they were well established by 4000 BC -Indigenous Indian cultigens were rice and dwarf wheat and peas, barley and lentils were from SW Asia and they domesticated humped cattle, pigs and water buffalo Pre-Harappan Culture – 3300-2600 BC: -The villages were politically independent and self-sufficient and they had fortifications and village planning and mud brick houses were sometimes surrounded by a defensive wall -Kot Diji was a site with a defensive wall and flood dike and there is evidence that the site was burned twice Ecological Changes and the Harappans: -Pollen records indicate climatic changes ca. 2600 - 1000 BC and there was an increase in rainfall leading to the growth of more trees and grass -The increase in cereal pollen stimulated more farming which in turn stimulated population increases resulting in more irrigation and more agricultural production -Forests were cut down to clear land and wood was burned to fire bricks for building cities and as flooding increased more flood controls were needed so they built settlements on artificial mounds -Throughout the Harappan period there was an ongoing cycle of land use intensification and environmental degradation Harappan Civilization – 2600-1900 BC: -Had complex cities with distinctive architecture and artifact styles and Gregory Possehl says their emergence may relate to increased trade with Sumer and the Indus may be the place the Sumerians called Meluha so it could be a secondary state that developed under the influence of the Sumerian civilization -More likely though it is a mostly independent development because it is so different than Sumer -The Indus civilization has all the characteristics of a complex society such as urbanism, writing, centralized authority, monumental architecture, complex economy, and a state ideology -The major sites of interaction networks covered 770,000 square km Urbanism: -There were six large cities which were Harappa, Mohenjo-daro, Rakhigarhi, Kalibangan, Chanu, Daro, and Ganweriwala which all display careful urban planning and uniformity (ex: streets in grid pattern and sewage systems) -Mohenjodaro has a main street nine meters wide and an estimated population of 40,000 and they also had a well and narrow side streets -Harappa had private baths and controlled drainage The Citadel Mo
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