The name of the river “Indus” served as the basis for the name of the country – “India”, by which in ancient times they meant the space to the east of the Indus, where the states of Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh are now located. Until relatively recently (a few more than a hundred years ago), the first creators of civilization on the Indian subcontinent were considered the alien Aryans. It was generally accepted that the written texts did not preserve information about the great previous culture. Now we can say that they are still recognized, albeit with difficulty. In particular, in the “Geography” of Strabo, with reference to the Greek Aristobulus, it is said about a vast country abandoned by the inhabitants due to the change in the river bed of the Indus. Such information is sporadic, and sources characterizing the culture of Harappa, or the civilization of the Indus Valley, have been obtained and continue to be obtained during archaeological excavations.
The civilization of Harappa, unlike most other ancient civilizations, began to be studied relatively recently. Its first signs were discovered in the 60s of the XIX century, when near Harappa – in Punjab, samples of stamps, so characteristic of this civilization, were found. They were discovered during the construction of road embankments, for which purpose huge masses of the ancient cultural layer were used. An officer of the engineering troops A. Cunningham, later the first head of the Archaeological Service of India, drew attention to the seal. He is considered one of the founders of Indian archeology.
However, it was not until 1921 that an employee of the Archaeological Service, R.D. Banerjee, while researching a Buddhist monument at Mohenjo-Daro (Hill of the Dead), found traces of a much older culture, which he identified as pre-Aryan. At the same time, R.B. Sakhni began excavating Harappa. Soon, the head of the Archaeological Service, J. Marshall, began systematic excavations in Mohenjo-Daro, the results of which made the same stunning impression as the excavations of G. Schliemann in Troy and mainland Greece: in the first years, monumental structures made of baked bricks and works of art were found ( including the famous sculpture of the “king-priest”). The relative age of civilization, traces of which began to be found in various regions of the north of the peninsula, was determined thanks to the finds of characteristic seals in the cities of Mesopotamia, first in Kish and Lagash, then in others. In the early 30s of the XX century. the date of the existence of a civilization whose existence was not recognized in the ancient written texts of its neighbors was determined as 2500-1800. BC. It is noteworthy that, despite new dating methods, including radiocarbon dating, the dating of the Harappan civilization of the heyday is currently not much different from that proposed more than 70 years ago, although the calibrated dates suggest its great antiquity.
A lively debate was sparked by the problem of the origin of this civilization, which, as it soon became clear, spread over a vast territory. On the basis of the information that existed at that time, it was natural to assume that the impulses or direct influences that contributed to its emergence came from the west — from the region of Iran and Mesopotamia. In this regard, special attention was paid to the region of the Indo-Iranian border – Baluchistan. The first finds were made here back in the 1920s. M.A. Stein, but large-scale research was undertaken after World War II and the independence of the states of the subcontinent.
Before the emergence of independent states, archaeological research of the Harappan culture was mainly limited to the central region of the “Great Valley of the Indus” (a term proposed by MR Mughal), where the largest cities – Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa – are located. Then, in India, intensive research was carried out in Gujarat (large excavations – Lothal and Surkotada), Rajasthan (the excavations of Kalibangan are especially important here), Punjab. Large-scale works in the second half of the XX century. were carried out where the river used to flow. Hakra-Ghaggar. About 400 settlements have been discovered here with strata from pre-Harappan to post-Harappan cultures.
In the 50-60s, data were obtained on the Chalcolithic (Chalcolithic) cultures, the ceramics of which bore similarities to the finds known in Iran, Afghanistan, and southern Turkmenistan. The assumptions about the influence from these regions, which served as the cause of the emergence of the pre-Harappan cultures, and then of Harappa itself, were later adjusted. What appeared to be evidence of migrations began to be perceived as the result of interactions, influences that turned out to be beneficial, since the local population had the ability not only to perceive them, but also to transform them, based on their own traditions. Excavations in Pakistan, in particular the Neolithic – Bronze Age settlements of Mehrgarh on the river, played a special role in understanding the processes of the Indus Valley civilization. Bolan, conducted by French researchers.
For the preservation and future research of the monuments of the Harappan civilization, those undertaken by UNESCO in the 60s of the XX century are of importance. attempts to save one of the most important cities – Mohenjo-Daro from soil water and salinization. As a result, new data were obtained that refined and supplemented the already known.
Territory and natural conditions of the Indus Valley
The Indus Valley lies in the northwestern corner of the vast subcontinent and is currently mostly in Pakistan. It belongs to the zone of cultural integration, bounded in the north by the Amu Darya, in the south by Oman, stretching 2,000 km north of the Tropic of Cancer. The climate in the entire zone is continental, the rivers have an internal flow.
From the north, the subcontinent is limited by the highest mountain system of the Himalayas and the Karakorum, from where the largest rivers of the peninsula originate. The Himalayas play an important role, meeting the summer monsoon, redistributing its course, condensing excess moisture in glaciers. It is important that the mountains are rich in wood, including valuable species. From the southwest and southeast the peninsula is washed by the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal. The Indo-Gangetic lowland forms a crescent 250-350 km wide, its length from the Arabian Sea to the Bay of Bengal is 3000 km. Five tributaries of the Indus irrigate the Punjab-Pyatirechye plain – they are Dzhelam, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej. The western part of the Ganges valley and the area between the Ganges and Jamna (Doab) is the place where the classical culture of India, Aryavarta (the Land of the Aryans) was formed. In the Karachi region, the Indus deposits form a 200 km shelf.
To the south of the plain lie the hills and mountains of Vindhya, to the south – the arid Deccan plateau, framed from the west and east by mountain ranges – the Western and Eastern Ghats. Most of the rivers of the plateau flow from west to east, with the exception of only two of the significant ones – Narmada and Tapti. The geographical continuation of the peninsula is the island of Ceylon. The coastal area is narrow, with few good ports. The total length of the subcontinent from Kashmir to Cape Comorin is about 3200 km.
In the northwest, a significant part of Pakistan is occupied by the mountains and valleys of Baluchistan. This is an area that played an important role in the formation of the Indus Valley civilization.
The sources of the minerals used in antiquity were located both outside (which will be specifically discussed below) the subcontinent, and on it. Probably, copper came, in particular, from deposits between Kabul and Kurrat, from Baluchistan and Rajasthan (Ganesh-var-Khetri deposit). One of the sources of tin could be deposits in Bengal, it is possible that it came from Afghanistan. Gold and silver could have come from Afghanistan and the south of the Deccan. Semi-precious and ornamental minerals were delivered from Khorasan (turquoise), from the Pamirs, from Eastern Turkestan, from Tibet, from Northern Burma (lazurite, jade). Deposits of ornamental stones, from which they loved to make beads, were located on the subcontinent.
The climate, generally tropical monsoon, is at the same time diverse. In the Indo-Iranian border area, it is arid and semi-arid with predominantly summer precipitation. In Eastern Sindh, 7 mm of precipitation falls per year. In the north, in the Himalayas, winters are cold, on the plains they are mild, and summers are hot, temperatures up to + 43 ° C. On the Deccan plateau, temperature fluctuations in different seasons are less sharp.
The geographical position of the Indian subcontinent determines the specifics of its climate, and hence the characteristics of the economy. From October to May, rains are rare, with the exception of the west coast and parts of Ceylon. The peak of the heat is in April, by the end of which the grass burns out and leaves fall from the trees. The monsoon season begins in June, lasting about two months. At this time, activities outside the dwellings are difficult, nevertheless, it is perceived by the Indians as the Europeans – spring, the time of the revival of nature. Now, as partly in antiquity, two types of crops are practiced – rabbi, with the use of artificial irrigation, in which the harvest was harvested in early summer, and harif, in which the harvest was harvested in the fall.
The nature of the subcontinent is distinguished by a kind of severity – people have suffered and are suffering from heat and floods, epidemic diseases typical of a hot and humid climate. At the same time, nature served as a powerful stimulus for the formation of a vibrant and original culture.
Characteristics of the Harappan civilization
Chronology and cultural communities
The chronology of the Harappan civilization is based on evidence of its contacts mainly with Mesopotamia and radiocarbon dates. Its existence is divided into three stages:
- 2900-2200 biennium BC. – early
- 2200-1800 biennium BC. – developed (mature)
- 1800-1300 BC. – late
Calibrated dates date back to the beginning of its existence, dating back to 3200 BC. A number of researchers note that the calibrated dates are in conflict with the Mesopotamian dates. Some researchers (in particular, K.N.Dikshit) believe that the late period of the existence of the Harappan civilization lasted until 800 BC, i.e. time of appearance of iron here. Now it can be considered a generally accepted opinion that the end of the existence of civilization was not instantaneous and in some regions it existed until the middle of the 2nd millennium BC. and so on.
For a long time in science there was an idea of the Harappan civilization as something uniform and little changed over the centuries. This idea is the result of a lack of information and underestimation by archaeologists at a certain stage of research into facts indicating the peculiarities of the relationship between the economic activity of people and the natural environment, the characteristics of economic activity and culture in the broadest sense of the word. In recent decades, archaeologists have identified several zones characterized by specific features of material culture –
Nevertheless, the proximity of the material elements of civilization, at least in the period of its heyday, presupposes the existence of a culture whose carriers in different areas maintained close contacts with each other. How were their communities organized? Why did such a vast community develop at all? Why is it believed (although new data may disprove this) that large cities emerge relatively quickly? What role did trade play in civilization? Judging by how ideas about this culture are changing under the influence of new discoveries, its image is still very far from clarity.
Geography of the areas of cultural distribution and their features
The main areas of distribution of the Harappan civilization are the Indus Valley in Sindh with the adjacent lowlands, the middle reaches of the Indus, Punjab and adjacent regions, Gujarat, Baluchistan. At the peak of development, Harappa occupied an unusually vast territory for early civilization – about 800,000 square meters. km, significantly exceeding the territory of the early states of Mesopotamia and Egypt. Probably, not all territories were inhabited at the same time and developed with the same intensity. It can be assumed that the development of the Indus Valley also took place from the territory of Baluchistan; it was the inhabitants of this region that could lay the foundations of the Harappan civilization. At the same time, there is more and more evidence of the existence of pre-Harappan inhabitants in the Indus Valley. Gujarat becomes important only at a later stage, at the same time Makran was mastered (its coast is convenient for navigation), signs of the Harappan civilization indicate the gradual spread of its carriers to the south (in particular, in Kach, along with local ceramics, Harappan ceramics appears) and east. Climatically, these zones differ:
- The Pakistani plain is affected by the summer monsoons.
- On the Makran coast, the climate is Mediterranean.
- In Baluchistan, small oases are located in river valleys with permanent or seasonal streams, and pastures are located on the slopes of the mountains.
- In some areas (Quetta Valley), where the level of precipitation is relatively high (more than 250 mm per year), on a limited scale, non-irrigated agriculture is possible. In this area there are deposits of various minerals, copper; Lapis lazuli was recently discovered in the Chagai Mountains, but the question of using this deposit in ancient times is still open.
Baluchistan is important as a relatively well-studied region, where the dynamics of settlement distribution can be traced back to the Neolithic (Mehrgarh). At the beginning of the 3rd millennium BC. the population in the north and central part becomes rare and only in the south the culture of kulli continues to exist. It is possible that the reason is in the disruption of the old economic ties of the population of mountain zones and valleys. At the same time, the population of the Indus Valley is increasing, although the relative desolation of Baluchistan does not mean that only from this region there was an influx of population, moreover, it is very likely that, for various and still unclear reasons, people from other neighboring regions came to the region of the Harappan civilization. It is noteworthy that the Harappan settlements were also located on the edge of the Indus Valley, on the routes leading to Iran and Afghanistan.
The emergence of such a vast civilization is the result of economic and cultural integration, which preserves regional characteristics. The succession of development with the neighboring regions and with the pre-Harappan cultures of the Indus Valley can be traced in many ways. In the end, a completely peculiar culture was formed. Its most important features are
- extensive development of the valleys of large rivers,
- the emergence of large cities (evidence of the existence of a complex structured society or societies),
- exchange for long distances,
- the development of crafts and highly artistic arts,
- the emergence of writing,
- the existence of complex religious concepts, calendar, etc.
It is hardly productive to believe that the “idea of civilization” was brought to the Indus Valley from outside, from Mesopotamia or Iran. On the contrary, all the available data indicate its deep local roots, although one cannot ignore the role of contacts with other cultural formations, the extent of the supposed impact of which, however, remains unclear. So, A. Dani believed that in neighboring Iran, three regions played an extremely important role in the formation of Harappa – this is the southeast (Bampur, Tepe-Yahya and the coast), the Helmand region, an intermediary in the transfer of north and south-east Iranian cultural elements, and the Damgan region in the northeast. From there, communications spread through Afghanistan and Baluchistan. Further, it will be necessary to say what role distant ties played in the history of Harappa.
The central part of the Harappan civilization was located in the Indus Valley, a huge river with a variable bed, the depth and width of which doubled in summer as a result of melting snow and monsoon rainfall. Its waters bring fertile sediments, but the volatility of the river has created and continues to create great difficulties for land development. In Sindh, where one of the largest cities of the Harappan civilization, Mohenjo-Daro, is located, lush thickets of reeds and moisture-loving plants prevailed in the coastal areas, then there were forests in which reptiles, rhinos and elephants, tigers, wild boars, antelopes, and deer lived in ancient times. Until relatively recently, as mentioned above, these places were full of game. Many representatives of the local fauna and flora were depicted by the carriers of the Harappan culture on their products.
Another important territory of civilization was the Punjab, where the city that gave the name to the whole culture, Harappa, is located. The natural situation here is close to that of Sindh, flora and fauna differ little from Sindh. Rain farming is possible in the Islamabad region. Forests are common in the hills and mountains that flank the Punjab and surrounding areas. There is reason to believe that in antiquity in Punjab, especially in neighboring Rajasthan, mobile forms of cattle breeding played a significant role.
The geographic conditions of Gujarat are close to those of South Sindh. Recently, signs of the existence of pre-Harappan settlements have been found here.
Population of regions
Anthropological data, according to some researchers, speak of the heterogeneity of the anthropological type of the carriers of the Harappan civilization. Among them were representatives of the Mediterranean and Alpine types, according to some researchers originating from the west, Mongoloids from the mountainous regions and proto-Australoids, the alleged autochthonous population. At the same time V.P. Alekseev believed that the main type was the long-headed narrow-faced Caucasians, dark-haired and dark-eyed, akin to the population of the Mediterranean, the Caucasus, and Western Asia. It is possible that the diversity of the burial rites of Harappa itself, Mohenjo-Daro, Calibangan, Rupar, Lothal, Baluchistan speaks of the polyethnicity of the carriers of the Harappan culture. The appearance in late Harappa of cremations in urns (simultaneous burials in Swat) is noteworthy.
Household in the Harappan civilization
Due to the diversity of ecological conditions, two forms dominated in the economy – agriculture and animal husbandry and mobile livestock raising, gathering and hunting, and the use of resources of rivers and the sea also played a role. According to B. Subbarao, in the early history of India, three stages can be distinguished, with which the prevailing forms of management are associated –
- pre-Kharappan – in the northwest there were cultures of sedentary farmers and pastoralists, in the rest of the territory – hunters and gatherers.
- Harappan – there was an urban civilization, communities of archaic farmers, herders and hunter-gatherers.
- and post-Kharappan – settled agricultural cultures were widely spread, the area of which included Central Hindustan, which felt the strong influence of the Harappan civilization.
Rain farming was practiced on lands that were sufficiently wetted by monsoon rains. In the foothill and mountainous areas, stone embankments were erected to retain water, and terraces were built to set up cultivated areas. In ancient times, in the river valleys, although there is no definite data on this, flood waters were accumulated by creating dams and dams. There is no information about the channeling, which is understandable because of the thick layers of sediments. The main agricultural crops were wheat and barley, several types of lentils and peas, flax, as well as such an important crop as cotton. The main harvest is believed to be before the middle of the 3rd millennium BC. collected in the summer (rabbi). Later, in some areas, the harif harvest began to be practiced, in which the sowing was carried out in the summer, and the harvest in the fall. In this late period, millet introduced from the west and its varieties spread. Rice cultivation begins – prints have been found in Rangpur and Lothal, possibly cultivation in Kalibangan. In the west of Uttar Pradesh, intermediate from wild to cultivated forms have been identified. There was an opinion about the beginning of rice cultivation here in the 5th millennium BC, somewhat earlier than in China. It is believed that at the beginning of the 2nd millennium BC. this important culture is spreading more and more widely in South Asia, although its origins remain unclear.
New forms of agriculture made it possible to move away from the Harappa practice of growing winter cereals, thanks to which new zones were put into circulation in the old territories, and lands in the east were also developed. By the end of the 4th – beginning of the 3rd millennium BC. the life support base is becoming more diversified than before. The resources of sea coasts and rivers are being exploited more widely, in some settlements fish and shellfish were used more than other animal food (for example, Balakot).
As already mentioned, the Neolithic inhabitants of the territories, one way or another later covered by the Harappa civilization, were still engaged in animal husbandry. Different types of livestock prevailed in different places; on well-watered alluvial lands, large livestock dominated, although small ones were also raised. Outside the alluvium, the picture was reversed. In the alluvial valleys, primarily in the Indus Valley, the number of cattle was very significant – in some places up to 75% of all animals used (Jalipur near Harappa).
Important changes took place at the beginning of the 2nd millennium BC: in the settlement of Pirak in the northern part of the Kachi valley, not far from Mehrgarh, not only the bones of a camel and a donkey were found, but also the most ancient evidence of horse breeding in South Asia.
A primitive wooden plow was used to cultivate the land, into which bulls were harnessed, but it is obvious that small areas of especially soft soils were cultivated with a hoe, a tool such as a digging stick and a harrow. Traces of cross-plowing were found in Calibangan – further evidence of highly developed farming. The use of crop rotation is not excluded. The existence of different types of management is obvious; there is reason to believe that they played a complementary role. At the same time, there is no data on how the relations between, for example, predominantly fishermen and farmers or livestock breeders were regulated.
Settlements of the Harappan civilization
The study of the dynamics of the distribution of the Harappa culture is difficult due to the low availability of early strata. Systems of interconnected settlements of different sizes and functions are also difficult to identify due to the hiddenness of many settlements, primarily small ones, under sediment layers. Despite the difficulties in studying the dynamics of settlement, certain successes have been achieved in this area. Thus, it is believed that more than a third of the Amri-type settlements in Sindh were abandoned during the Harappan time, but the rest continued to exist in the southwestern part.
Most of the settlements are small, from 0.5 to several hectares, they are rural settlements. The population was mainly rural. More than 1000 settlements have now been discovered. There are four large settlements (in addition to two well-known ones, Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro, Ganverival and Rakhi-Garhi in Punjab), the area of which amounts to many tens of hectares, although it is difficult to determine exactly the inhabited territory. So, the DK hill, excavated in Mohenjo-Daro, has an area of 26 hectares, while the total area is determined at 80 and even 260 hectares, the E hill in Harappa – 15 hectares, although there are other hills here.
For a number of large settlements, a three-part structure was revealed – the parts received the conditional names “citadel”, “middle city” and “lower city”. In Dholavir, a fourth building area was also discovered. Both large and some relatively small settlements had bypass walls surrounding the territory of a sub-rectangular shape. They were built from baked bricks and raw materials (in Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro and some other settlements), stone and other available materials. It is believed that the main purpose of the bypass walls is not defensive, they were supposed to serve as a means of protection against floods. Perhaps their construction was the result of the desire to limit the habitat of certain social organisms. So, in Banavali, Surkotad and Kalibangan, the territory was divided by a wall into two parts. There is an opinion that the fortification itself was necessary only on the outskirts of the Harappan territory, at outposts created on foreign lands. Regular development of Harappan settlements sharply distinguishes them from the chaotic city planning of other civilizations of the Ancient East and may contribute to the reconstruction of the characteristics of social organization, which is still far from clear.
In favorable conditions for the study, it is possible to establish that the settlements were located in groups – “clusters”. The small number of settlements in the vicinity of Harappa is surprising. A cluster of settlements was discovered 200 km south of Harappa, near Fort Abbas. The early Harappan settlement of Gomanwala had an area of 27.3 hectares, perhaps almost the same as the modern Harappa. Another cluster was found upstream of the Ghaggar in Rajasthan – these are Kalibangan, Sisval, Banavali, etc .; here, the pre-Kharappian layers were also exposed (the Sotkhi-Kalibangan complex, which is similar to the Kot-Diji). With the beginning of Harappa, significant changes took place in the Hakra-Ghaggar system: the number of settlements quadrupled and reached 174. In the Fort Deravara cluster, the largest was Hanverivala (81.5 hectares), located 300 km from Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa.
At 320 km from Harappa, on Drshadvati, there is a settlement of Rakhigarchi, whose area is supposed to be 80 hectares, although it has not been excavated. In Gujarat, the Harappan settlements are small. In late Harappa there were more than 150 settlements here, many of them small and seasonal. The seaside Lotkhal stands out – a supposed port that traded in copper, carnelian, steatite, shells, maintained ties with hunting-gatherer communities and, perhaps, those who were engaged in specialized cattle breeding.
Recently, it has been suggested that on the territory of the Harappan civilization, from the previous period to the later one, there were 7 or 8 large settlements – “capitals” surrounded by towns and villages. In a strict sense, these were not central settlements, since they could also be located in the outlying territories, making contacts between ecologically and economically different zones.
It is advisable to consider the features of large settlements using the example of the long-studied Mohenjo-Daro. Its exact dimensions are unknown due to the accumulated deposits, but it is significant that traces of buildings were found 2 km from the supposed border of the city. During the heyday, the maximum number of inhabitants is determined at 35-40 thousand people. The thickness of the cultural layer is very significant – fragments of clay vessels were found at a depth of 16 to 20 m from the level of the modern surface, while the mainland was not reached. And now you can clearly see the ancient division of the city into two parts – the “citadel” and “lower city”, separated by an undeveloped area. Fired and raw bricks and wood were used as building materials. In all likelihood, fired brick was used because of its ability to resist the destructive effects of moisture.
The structures of the “citadel” were located on a five-meter brick platform. Two large structures of an unclear purpose have been excavated here, which, most likely, were intended for meetings (the assumption that one of them could be the residence of a high-ranking official is unlikely). One of them with an area of 70 × 22 m. With thick walls had a vestibule, the other – a hall with an area of about 900 square meters. m. – was divided into four parts by rows of pillars.
The base of the structure was also found here, the upper part of which was wooden. It was widely believed to be vast, with an area of 1,350 sq. m., a public granary, at the base of which deep ventilation ducts are made. A similar granary was found in Harappa at the foot of the “citadel”; here its area is 800 sq. m.
Finally, on the “citadel” there was a “large pool”, built later than other buildings. Its area is 11.70 × 6.90 m., Depth – 2.40 m. Wooden stairs coated with bitumen led to it from narrow sides. For waterproofing, lime and bitumen coating was made. The pool was filled from a nearby well, and emptied using a gutter in one of the walls. It was surrounded by a gallery, from which the pillars have survived. It is believed that he could serve for ritual ablutions, which were given great importance. Evidence of this is the existence of “bathrooms” in residential buildings.
“Nizhniy Gorod” was occupied by residential buildings. The blocks of houses were divided by straight, at right angles streets and lanes. The significant height of the walls – up to 6 m – caused the now rejected opinion that the houses were not one-story: the height of the walls, as well as the great depth of regularly located wells (one for every three houses), are the result of restructuring.
Premises with flat ceilings were grouped around courtyards, the area of the largest block, which consisted of two parts, connected by a covered walkway, is 1400 sq.m .; there is no reason to judge his belonging to a high-ranking person. In general, the area of houses reached 355 square meters. m, and they consisted of 5-9 rooms.
The landscaping was unusually advanced for antiquity. The houses are equipped with bathrooms and toilets. Sewer canals lined with baked bricks were laid under the pavements, settling basins were located at a certain distance from each other.
Relatively recent additional investigations of Mohenjo-Daro made it possible to trace changes in the principles of its development. During the period of developed Harappa, it was cramped, with axial wide streets. The houses were both small and large, and their plans were varied. No traces of craft activities have been found. Later, the number of small buildings increases, the layout becomes more unified. The crafting area is approaching the residential area. Finally, at a later stage of civilization, dwellings form isolated groups, traces of handicraft production have been discovered. The sewerage system is in decline, which indicates a crisis in the organization of urban life.
Crafts and arts
For the traditional culture of antiquity, to which the Harappan culture belongs, the division into craft and art is hardly legitimate. The creations of artisans, whether they were intended for everyday life or for ceremonies, are often marked by high craftsmanship. At the same time, among the things of each category, there are better and worse made, there are also rough ones, for the manufacture of which did not require great skill. Differences in the quality of products indicate the existence of high-class professionals, stone carvers, jewelers, sculptors. In different settlements, workshops were discovered where they made dishes, jewelry (including from shells), etc.
So, the production of tools, utensils, building materials was highly developed and specialized. One of the important indicators is the level of metalworking. The small number of weapons is noteworthy, although copper and bronze daggers and knives, arrowheads and spearheads have been found. The tools of labor are largely associated with the processing of wood (these are axes, chisels, adzes), with the household (needles, punctures). Vessels were made of copper and silver, rarely lead. Casting in open molds, cold and hot forging were known; some items were cast using the lost wax technique. Used alloys of copper with arsenic, lead and tin, and a large percentage – about 30 – of tin bronzes is remarkable. Jewelry (bracelets and beads) were made of stone, shells, copper, silver, rarely gold. Many bracelets were worn, as in later times; in all likelihood, this custom was of a ritual nature. In special cases, vessels made of copper and even gold were used.
Stone tools have not gone out of use either, and over time the variety of types decreases, the quality of raw materials and processing technology increase. Vessels were made of soft types of stone, including figured ones that had a ritual purpose, from various minerals – beads, seals. Materials for both metal and stone products were often delivered from afar.
Another indicator of a highly developed craft is ceramic production. The dishes were made on a circle of rapid rotation and fired in two-tier furnaces. The shapes are varied and generally standard – bowls, cups, dishes, braziers, vessels with a pointed bottom and stands, vessels for the manufacture of dairy products. The tradition of painting vessels is preserved, although it is fading away: painting is black on a red background, geometric and figurative – images of animals, plants, fish. Although the pottery is of good quality, the vessels are heavy and differ from the more refined items of the pre-Harappan time, which happens in pottery production not only in ancient cultures when it becomes mass.
Clay was used to sculpt female figurines, less often male figurines, including characters in horned headdresses. They are undoubtedly associated with mythological representations and rituals. These figurines are rather conventional, with molded details that convey body parts and numerous decorations. Very expressive figures of bulls, sometimes harnessed to carts, wild and domestic animals were made of clay and stone. At least some of them might have been toys.
Small stone and metal sculptures of men and women are distinguished by great lifelikeness, well conveying the anthropological type of at least part of the carriers of the Harappan civilization. The most famous is a fragment of a sculptural image of a bearded man in a diadem, in a garment decorated with relief shamrocks. The squint of his eye resembles the position of the eyelids of a meditating person.
The real masterpieces were stamps made mainly of steatite, intended, as the found prints show, to seal goods, although it is very likely that they were also perceived as amulets and talismans. They are flat, square or rectangular, on the back there is a ledge with a hole. A few samples are round; there are practically no cylindrical seals so characteristic of Mesopotamia, Iran and other regions of Western Asia. As well as on the vessels, mainly plants and animals were depicted (“tur”, the so-called unicorn, humpbacked bull, tiger, crocodile, snakes, fantastic polymorphic creatures). In Mohenjo-Daro there are about 75% of such images. The images are in-depth, made with great skill and understanding of the shapes of the bodies, rendered close to nature. As a rule, animals are depicted calmly standing near objects, which are interpreted as feeders or conventional symbols. In addition, specimens with images of male and female anthropomorphic creatures in various poses, including those reminiscent of yogic ones, have been found. They are represented by the participants in the rituals. In addition to the image, a short inscription could be placed on the seals. There are seals with conventional geometric shapes.
Images on seals are associated with holidays and rituals – feeding an animal, treating a snake, worshiping a tree in the branches of which a goddess could be depicted, the marriage of gods in an anthropomorphic and zoomorphic appearance. Judging by the available materials, the goddess played the main role in marriage myths. Images similar to those printed on seals are found on copper plates of unknown purpose. There were prismatic stone and clay objects, the belonging of which to the category of seals is questionable, perhaps they played the role of amulets. The seals could serve as signs of property, but there is no doubt that they also served ritual purposes, were something like amulets, and the images on them contain information about mythological representations and rituals. Research by W.F.