The Indus Valley

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By — McGraw-Hill Professional
Updated on Feb 3, 2012

The Indus Valley

The earliest Indus Valley civilization lasted from about 2500 to 1500 BC and was located in the Indus River valley in present-day Pakistan. This civilization is sometimes called Harappan, after one of its most important cities.

There are written records from this early civilization, but archaeologists and historians have not yet been able to decipher the language. Therefore, we know much less about this civilization than about Sumer or Egypt, which flourished at the same time.

It is possible, however, to study other evidence and come to some conclusions about the Indus Valley. Since no elaborate or advanced weapons have been discovered in the area, it was probably a peaceful society. The lack of major temples among the public buildings suggests that religion was practiced privately rather than controlled or encouraged as a matter of state. The cities of Harappan and Mohenjo-dara appear to be results of the same urban plan; both have identical street patterns. The public buildings have impressive indoor plumbing leading to sewage systems.

Evidence is too scarce for historians to be sure what caused the decline of this earliest Indian civilization. Natural disaster, such as a series of earthquakes, is one possibility.

Practice questions for these concepts can be found at: 

Early Civilization Practice Test

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