2 Marks Questions
Answer : John Marshall was the Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India. His contribution in the Indian Archaeology can be understood by the following points:
(i) He announced the discovery of new civilization i.e. Indus valley civilization.
(ii) He helped in the preservation or conservation of Sanchi Stupa.
Answer : R.E.M Wheeler was the Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India.
He was the first person who recognised that it was necessary to follow the stratigraphy of the mound rather than dig mechanically along uniform line which rectified the previous problems faced by the archaeologists.
Answer : Cunningham was the first Director General of the Archaelogical Survey of India who began archaelogical excavation in the mid-nineteenth century.
Cunningham used the accounts left by Chinese Buddhist pilgrims who visited the subcontinent between the 4th and 7th century CE to locate early settlements.
Answer : Harappa seals and sealings were used to facilitate long distance communication. The mouth of the bags of goods was tied up with rope and on the knot was affixed some wet clay on which one or more seals were pressed, leaving an impression.
This sealing conveyed that if the bag reached with its sealing intact, then it had not been tampered with and also it conveyed the true identity of the sender of the goods.
Answer : The Harappan settlements were divided into two sections, i.e. the Citadel and the Lower Town. These features are:
(i) The Citadel was smaller but higher than the Lower Town and was walled.
(ii) In the Lower Town, several buildings were built on platforms and all buildings activity within the city was restricted to a fixed area on the platforms.
Answer : Harappan seals usually have a line of writing, which remains undeciphered still today. Its features are:
(i) It is not alphabetical and has too many signs, somewhere between 375 and 400.
(ii) The script is written from right to left.
4 Marks Questions
Answer : The most unique feature of the Harappan Civilisation was the development of urban centres. Mohenjodaro is the most well-known site of Harappan Civilsation. The settlement was divided into following sections:
Citadel It was smaller but higher. It was walled and was physically separated from the lower town. Here the buildings were constructed with mud, bricks platform. Here, we find some structures that were probably used for special public purposes.
The lower Town The lower town was also walled. Several buildings were built on platforms, which served as foundations. All building activity within the city was restricted to a fixed area on the platforms.
Drainage System Mohenjodaro had carefully planned drainage system. The roads and the streets were laid out along an approximate ‘grid’ pattern, interesting at right angles. It seems that streets with drains were laid out first and then houses built along them. Every house had its own bathroom paved with bricks, with drains connected through the walls, to the street drains.
Answer : After 1900 BCE, very few Harappan sites were continued and significant changes appeared in the civilisation. These were:
(i) In this period, distinctive artefacts like weights, seals, special beads, writing, long-distance trade and craft specialisation disappeared.
(ii) House construction technique deteriorated and large public structures were no longer produced. Late Harappan Civilisation indicates a rural way of life. Long distance trade also disappeared.
The reasons for these changes were:
(i) These changes were probably the result of climate change, deforestation and excessive flood.
(ii) The shifting or drying up of rivers and overuse of the landscape might be the cause. There was also decline and abandonment of cities due to these reasons.
Answer : Archaeologists and historians found Harappan script enigmatic. The reasons behind it were:
(i) Harappan seals usually had a line of writing, containing the name and title of the owner, sometimes the motif conveyed a meaning to those who could not read.
(ii) The script was non-alphabetical, it had many signs, somewhere between 375 and 400. It was written from right to left.
(iii) Most inscriptions were short, the longest contained about 26 signs, each sign stood or a vowel or consonant. Sometimes it contained wider space, sometimes shorter, had no consistency. Till today, the script remains undeciphered.
Answer : Giving archaeologic interpretation to reconstruct religious practices of Harappan civilisation was not easy. The important facts to reconstruct the religious belief of the Harappan period are as follows:
(i) Archaeologists thought that certain objects which seemed unusual or unfamiliar may have had a religious significance. These included terracotta figurines of women, heavily jewelled with elaborate head dresses. These were regarded as mother Goddesses.
(ii) Rare stone statuary of men seated with one hand on the knee was regarded as ‘priest king’. Other structures found in Harappan Civilisation, like the great bath and fire altars found at Kalibangan and Lothal also were taken as significant for ritual practices.
(iii) Attempts were made to reconstruct religious beliefs and practices by examining different seals.
(iv) Mythical creatures like unicorn, figure seated cross-legged in yogic posture, sometimes surrounded by animals, regarded as ‘proto-shiva’ were all examples of Hindu religion. Conical stone objects were classified as ‘lingas’.
Many reconstructions of Harappan religion are made on the assumption that later traditions provide similarity with earlier ones. It follows from the rule that archaeologists try to know the facts by following the process of ‘known to the unknown.’ Thus, reconstructing religious practices was not easy for the archaeologists.
Answer : Refer to Q. No. 26.
Answer : According to historians mature Harappan culture developed in some of the areas occupied by the Early Harappan cultures. These cultures also shared certain common elements elements including subsistence strategies.
(i) The Harappans ate a wide range of plant and animal products, including fish and meat, maize, millets, pulses, rice and another eatables.
(ii) Cattle, sheep, goat, buffalo and pig were domesticated by the Harappans for their sustenance.
(iii) The evidence of wild species like boar, deer and gharial have also been traced from the remains of bones, but it is not sure whether the Harappans hunted these animals themselves or obtained meat from other hunting community.
(iv) Archaeological evidences suggested that oxen were used for ploughing and two different crops were grown together. As most of the sites are located in semi-arid lands, it is evident that water from canals and wells was used for irrigation.
Answer : Refer to Q. No. 20.
Answer : The archaeologists have tried to find out socio-economic differences among the Harappans through two types of evidences. These were:
Burials Burials have been significant evidence to establish social differences within the Harappa society.
The dead were generally laid in pits. There were differences in the way the burial pit was made. In some cases, the hallowed out spaces were linked with bricks.
However, whether these variations were an indication of social differences or not, it not yet established. Pottery, ornaments, jewellery of both men and women have been found in some burials. But the Harappans did not believe in burying precious things with the dead.
Artefacts Two types of artefacts have been found, i.e. ‘luxuries’ and ‘utilitarian’. Luxuries artefacts were made from costly and rare, non-local mateial with complicated tecnology e.g. little faience pots. Ulilitarian objects included objects of daily use made of stone clay, e.g. querns, pottery, needles, flesh-rubbers (body scrubbers), etc. As far as distribution of such artefacts is concerned, we find that rare objects made of valuable materials were generally concentrated in large settlements like Mohenjodaro and Harappa and are rarely found in smaller settlements.
Thus, the findings of the above artefacts prove that there were social and economic differences in Harappan culture.
Answer : In Harappan Civilisation, a variety of materials was used for craft production. These were:
(i) Clay was locally available, but stone, timber and metal had to be procured from outside.
(ii) They established settlements, such as Nageshwar and Balakot in areas where shell was available. Other such sites were Shortughai, the best source of lapis lazuli, a blue stone found here; from Lothal Carnelian, steatite were found.
(iii) Raw materials were also collected from Khetri region of Rajasthan (for copper) and South India (for gold). Recent archaeological finds suggest that copper was probably brought from Oman. The fact was also supported by Mesopotamian texts. Probably Harappan Civilisation was connected with Oman, Bahrain or Mesopotamia by sea.
Answer : Opinion of some of the archaeologists about the Harappan society are as follows:
(i) Some archaeologists opine that Harappan society had no rules and that everybody enjoyed equal status.
(ii) Other scholars have the opinion that there was no single ruler but several. Mohenjodaro had a separate ruler, Harappans had another. In the same way, other regions had different rulers.
(iii) Some scholars also argued that there was a single state given the similarity in artefacts, the evidence for planned settlements, the standardised ratio of brick size and the establishments near source of raw material.
(iv) Of all, the last theory seems to be themost plausible as it is unlikely that entire communities could have collectively made and implemented such complex decisions.
Answer : Chanhudaro was a tiny settlement as compared to Mohenjodaro. This area was exclusively devoted to craft production. Its features are:
(i) The main craft productions included bead-making, shell-cutting, metal-working, seal-making and weight-making.
(ii) Here variety of materials were used to make beads. Stones like carnelian jasper, crystal, quartz, steatite; metals like copper, bronze and gold, moreover shell, faience and terracotta or burnt clay were used.
(iii) Some beads were made of two or more stones, these were cemented together and some were made of stones with beautiful gold caps. The shapes were of different types, e.g. dice cylindrical, spherical, barrel-shaped, etc. Some beads were decorated by incising or painting and some had designs etched (engraved) on to them.
(iv) Different techniques were applied in making beads. Steatite was a very soft atone and could be easily moulded. But how the steatite micro bead was made remains a surprise for the archaeologists.
The red colour of carnelian was obtained by firing the raw material. Grinding, polishing and drilling completed the full process. Specialised drills have been found at Chanhudaro, Lothal and Dholavira.
Answer : Historians suggest that the most unique feature of the Harappan Civilisation was the development of urban centres, i.e., cities. The main features of Harappan cities were:
(i) The Harappan cities were well planned. The cities were divided into two sections which are one smaller and higher, i.e. the Citadel and other much larger but lower, i.e. the Lower Town. Both these sections were walled and physically separated from each other.
(ii) One of the most distinctive features of Harappan cities was the carefully planned drainage system. If we look at the plan of the Lower Town, the roads and streets were laid out along an approximate ‘grid’ pattern, intersecting at right angles.
(iii) At burials in Harappan area, the dead were generally laid in pits. Some graves contained pottery and ornament, which indicated the belief that these materials could be used in the afterlife. But the Harappan did not believe in burying precious things with the dead.
Answer : In order to identify centres of craft production, archaeologists usually look for the raw materials, like stone modules, whole shells, copper ore, unfinished objects, rejected and waste materials. Actually waste products indicate craft work. For example, if shell or stone is used to make any object, then pieces of shell or stone will be discarded as waste at the place of production.
These can be understood through following points:
(i) Both Nageshwar and Balakot are near coast and shell objects are found here. These areas were specialised centre for making shell objects, including bangles, ladles and inlay, which were taken to other settlement.
(ii) Similarly, some finished products like different pots and beads are found in Lothal and Chanhudaro, which were taken to the large urban centres such as Mohenjodaro and Harappa.
(iii) For making beads, stones like carnelian, jasper, crystal, quartz, statite and metals like copper, bronze, gold, and other materials like shell, faience, terracotta were used. For making beads, grinding, polishing and drilling were dome. Specialised drills have found at Chanhudaro, Lothal and Dholavira.
(iv) In order to identity the craft production centre, archaeologists look for raw materials and tools. Large waste pieces of raw materials indicated the specialised craft production centres. But sometimes minuscule bits suggest that craft production was also undertaken in large cities like Harappa and Mohenjodaro.
8 Marks Questions
Answer : The most unique feature of the Harappan Civilisation was the development of urban centres. Mohenjodaro is the most well-known site of Harappan Civilisation.
The following are the most unique architectural feature of Mohenjodaro:
Citadel It was smaller but higher. It was walled and was physically separated from the lower town. Here the buildings were constructed with mud, bricks platform. Here, we find some structures that were probably used for special public purposes.
These include the warehouse, a massive structure and the ‘Great Bath’. The uniqueness of the structure of ‘Great Bath’ suggested that it was meant for some kind of special ritual bath.
The Lower Town The lower town was also walled. Several buildings were built on platforms, which served as foundations. All building activity within the city was restricted to a fixed area on the platsforms. Sun-dried or baked bricks were used at all Harappan settlements.
The courtyard of the houses was the centre of activities like cooking and weaving, particularly during hot and dry weather. There were no windows in the walls along the ground level. Besides, the main entrance did not give a direct view of the interior or the courtyard.
Drainage System Mohenjodaro had carefully planned drainage system. The roads and the streets were laid out along an approximate ‘grid’ pattern, intersecting at right angles. It seems that streets with drains were laid out first and then houses built along them.
Every house had its own bathroom paved with bricks, with drains connected through the walls, to the street drains. Drainage systems were not only unique to the larger cities, but were found insmaller settlements also. All these features indicated that Mohenjodaro had a well planned architectural system.
Answer : If we want to analyse the concept of central authority of Harappan Civilisation, the archaeological findings provide no immediate answer.
In support of these, some reasons have given by some archaeologists:
(i) At the site Mohenjodaro, a large building was found, but there were no such specific evidences which could have any association with it.
(ii) A stone statue was found at the site of Mohenjodaro labelled as the ‘priest king’. It was so because archaeologists had prior information of such found at the site of Sind and which was labelled as the priest king. But till date, the ritual practices of Harappans have not been understood. So, there are no reasons of knowing whether those who performed ritual practices also held some political power.
(iii) On the other hand, some archaeologists have also the view that there were no rulers in the Harappan society. According to them, all enjoyed equal status.
(iv) Other archaeologists feel that there was no single ruler, but there were several rulers.
(v) Even some scholars argued that there was a single state which is evident from the similar artefacts, the planned settlements, the standardised bricks.
Answer : The aspects of Harappan economy that have been reconstructed from the archaeological evidences are:
Agriculture From the evidences, it has been found that the agriculture was one of the most important source of food. Evidences such as charred grains have been found in the Harappan Civilisation. The seeds like wheat, barley, lentil, chickpea and sesame were cultivated in the Harappa whereas millets were found in Gujarat. The evidence of rice cultivation was not there.
Evidence of agriculture was easy to find out, but there is difficulty to find out agricultural practices. From the finds of terracotta sculpture, it has been assumed that the oxen were used for ploughing the land. Moreover, terracotta models of plough also have been found at the sites in Ebolistan (Thar desert), Pakistan.
The field had two sets of furrows at right angles to each other. The irrigation was also known to the Harappans. Traces of canals, well also have been found at the Harappan site of Shortughai in Afghanistan. Besides these finds, several water reservoirs also have been used for the irrigation of agriculture.
Animal Domestication From the finds of bones of animals such as sheep, goat, cow, oxen, buffalo, etc, it has been assumed that the domestication of animals was also there.
Procurement of Crafts Prevalence of srtefacts such as pottery sculptures, bead making, seal and sealings were also there. Besides these, weaving, building construction, jewellery-making were there.
Trade The Harappans had long distance communication, it is evident from the finds of seals and sealings of Harappans in the distant sites of Mesopotamia.
From the finds of certain metals such as bronze, copper and gold in Harappa which eas procured in different sites, these metals were traded with the other distant civilisations developed in Oman. Archaelogists think that there were communication between Oman, Bahrain or Mesopotamia with the Harappan Civilisation.
Answer : The archaeologists found many evidences which show that the Harappans had contacts with distant lands. The important evidences are:
(i) Recent archaeological finds suggest that copper was probably brought from Oman, on the South-Eastern tip of the Arabian found Peninsula. Moreover chemical analysis proved traces of nickel both in Omani copper and Harappan artefacts. This suggests a common origin of both.
(ii) A large Harappan jar coated with a thick layer of black clay was found at Omani sites. It is possible that the Harappans exchanged the contents of these vessels for Omani copper.
(iii) Mesopotamian texts of third millennium BCE referred that copper came from a region called Magan. Historians thought that probably it was another name of Oman. Mesopotamian texts also mentioned contact with regions named Dilmun (probably the Island of Bahrain), Magan and Meluhha, possibly the Harappan region. Meluhha was a land of seafarers. Many products of Meluhha were mentioned. These were carnelian, lapis lazuli, copper, gold and varieties of wood.
(iv) Other archaeological finds suggest of long distance contacts which include Harappan seals, weights, dice and beads. All these evidences suggest that Harappan Civilisation was connected with Oman, Bahrain or Mesopotamia by sea.
(v) Depictions of ships and boats on seals indicate the trade relations between differnent countries.
(vi) Cylinder seal found in the Mesopotamia has humped bull motif which can be derived from the Indus region. The round ‘Persian Gulf’ seal found in Bahrain sometimes carries Harappan motifs. Local ‘Dilmun’ weights followed the Harappan standard.
All these evidences show that Harappan civilisation had good trade relations with other regions.
Answer : There is strong evidence that by 1800 BCE, most of the mature Harappan sites in regions like Cholistan had been abondoned. Simultaneously, there was a growth of settlements in Gujarat, Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh. At that time, distinctive artefacts of civilisation like weights, seals, special beads, writing, long-distance trade and craft specialisation disappeared. House construction technique deteriorated and large public structures were not produced.
A variety of explanations were given by scholars to explain the decline of mature Harappan Civilisation.
These reasons are:
(i) Climatic change
(iii) Excessive floods
(iv) Shifting and drying up of rivers
(v) Overuse of the landscape
Some of these reasons may be holding true for certain settlements, but they do not account for the collapse of the entire civilisation.
No single reason was responsible for the decline of this civilisation. The civilisation might be destroyed by invaders which was proved by the bulk of bones found. It indicated a slaughter. But the skeletons found did not belong to the same period according to George Dales. Thus, it was not concluded in favour of a dramatic collapse, rather it was believed that the end of Harappan culture was a gradual process.
Answer : The two discoveries in seals in Harappa and Mohenjodaro by Daya Ram Sahni and Rakhal Das Banerji led to the conjecture that these two sites were part of a single archaeological culture. Based on these finds, in 1924, John Marshall, Director General of the ASI announced the discovery of a new civilisation in the Indus valley to the world. Similar seals were also found in the excavation of archaeological sites of Mesopotamia. In this way, not only new civilisation came to limelight but we also came to know that this civilisation was contemporary to Mesopotamia.
Sir John Marshall’s term as the Director General of ASI was actually a term of major change in Indian archaeology. He was the first professional archaeologist who worked in India. He brought with himself his experience of Greece and Crete. Like Cunningham, he was also interested in spectacular findings. But he was equally interested in looking for patterns of daily life.
John Marshall tended to excavate along regular horizontal units, measured unit formly throughout the mound, ignoring the stratigraphy of the site and this was the biggest drawback in his excavation process. It means all the artefacts, found from the same unit, were grouped together, even if they were found at different stratigraphic layers. As a result, valuable information found about the civilisation was lost forever.
Answer : One of the most distinctive features of Harappan Civilisation was its carefully planned drainage system. If we look at the plan of the Lower Town, we can find that roads and streets were laid out along an approximate ‘grid’ pattern, intersecting at right angles. Every house had one wall alongside the street having drain connected to the street drain to flow out domestic waste water. It seems that streets with drains were laid out first and then houses built along them.
Mackay said about the drains, ” It is certainly the most complete ancient system as yet discovered”. According to him, every house was connected to the street drains. The main channels were made of bricks set in Mortar and were covered with loose bricks that could be removed for cleaning. Sometimes limestone was used for the covers.
In Harappa, house drains first emptied into a sump or cesspit into which solid matter settled while waste water flowed out into the street drains. Very long drainage channels were provided at intervals with sumps for cleaning.
Little heaps of material mostly sand were found lying alongside drainage channels, it meant that the debris was not always carted away when the drain was cleared.
Drainage systems were mostly found in smaller settlement, but were not unique to the larger cities. For example, at Lothal while houses were built of mud bricks, drains were made of burnt bricks. Therefore, we can say that Harappan cities have carefully planned drainage system.
Map Based Question
Value Based Questions
Answer : There are various evidences available which prove that transformation of material culture had been taking place in few sites of Harappan Civilisation.
These evidences are:
(i) This transformation of material culture, marked by the disappearance of the distractive artefacts of the civilisation such as weights, seals, special beads, etc.
(ii) Writing, long distance trade and craft specialisation also disappeared.
(iii) In general, far fewer materials were used to make far fewer things.
(iv) House construction techniques deteriorated and large public structures were no longer produced.
(v) There was a shift from a standardised weight system to the use of local weights.
(vi) Overall, artefacts and settlements indicate a rural way of life in what are called “Late Harappan” or “Successor Cultures”.
Answer : (i) The problem which has occurred in the Harappan Civilisation is that the frontiers of this civilisation have little or no connection with present day national boundaries due to partition of Indian sub-continent and Pakistan. However, with the partition of the sub-continent and the creation of Pakistan, the major sites of Harappan Civilisation are now in Pakistan territory.
(ii) The partition between the two nations i.e. India and Pakistan, created a problem of demarcation of Harappan sites. This has spurred Indian archaeologists to try and locate these sites in India.
After extensive survey of Kutch, Punjab and Harayana, a number of new sites have been discovered, e.g. Kalibagan, Lothal, Rakhi Garhi and most recently Dholavira.