Emuseum @ MSU


Ancient India

Indus Valley Civilization

The Beginnings and Origins of Indus Valley Civilization 2,000 BC

A People and the Geography:

India Map

The story of Indus valley civilization, also known as Harappa civilization, is a story of a people intricately tied to their environment. The geography of India is one of great extremes, encompassing desert, mountains, forest, and jungle. All of these environments are susceptible to unpredictable periods of flood, drought, and monsoon. Although India may bear some of the most extreme geological and climatic features, these difficult conditions were also a great asset to the development of its early civilizations. The Himalayas provided a great deal of protection from nomadic and military invasions from the north, and other mountain ranges provided similar protection in the west and east. The water ways of the Indus valley provided an excellent resource for trade and commerce throughout India's history, and were vital to the civilizations throughout the Indus.

    As is found with most state level societies, a rise in the cultivation of agrarian resources (specifically specialization), often leads to a surplus with an eventual population increase (making state level societies possible). The scenario of the Indus valley follows much the same principle. Archaeological resources suggest that the diverse geography of ancient India was increasing in the amount and specialization of faunal remains around the era of 2,400 and 1,000 BC. This specialization suggests that the Indus valley civilizations were dependent upon the lush alluvial soil of the Indus River, which produced high yields of cereal grains, and cultivated plant materials. By the time of 2,700 BC, the presence of a state level society is evident, complete with hierarchical rule and large scale public works (irrigation, etc.). Such large scale growth in so small a period of time can be attributed to two factors, an organized civilization which took direct control of its environments, and the unique and rich environmental resources India provided.