Early Cultures of Indus Civilization

Some of the earliest relics of Stone Age man in the subcontinent are found in the Soan Valley of the Potwar region near Rawalpindi, with a probable antiquity of about 500,000 years. Though no human skeleton of such antiquity has been discovered, yet the crude stone implements recovered from the terraces of the Soan Valley carry the saga of human toil and labor of the Stone Age men of the inter-glacial period. In terms of culture this period belongs to the Soan Culture. About 3,000 BC, amidst the rugged wind-swept valleys and foothills of Balochistan, one finds a more continuous story of human activity of the Stone Age men. These pre-historic men of the Stone Age settled in the valleys or villages. They were both herdsmen and farmers who lived on the outskirts of the plains with their cattle and cultivated barley and other crops. After careful excavations of the pre-historic mounds in these areas and layer-by-layer classification of their contents, the archeologists are of the view that there were two main cultures: Red-Ware Culture and Buff-Ware Culture. The formerly is popularly known as the Zhob Culture of North Balochistan while the other comprises Quetta, Amri Nal and Kulli Cultures of Sindh and South Balochistan.

Amri Nal at first originated in 1908 but most of its remains were found during the second excavation in 1928. It was situated 120 miles northwest of Moenjodaro and South of Quetta, Balochistan. The remains show that it was a modern and advanced mountain culture. There is a variety of colors and designs with pictures of animals seen in pottery. Some Amri Nal villages had stone walls and bastions for defence purposes and their houses had stone foundations. Amri culture of Sindh was also one of the earliest and largest cultures. It was situated 100 miles South of Moenjodaro, Sindh and was much influenced by Iranian culture. At Nal an extensive cemetery of this culture consists of about 100 graves. 4 layers were found among them the upper two are directly linked with Indus Civilization but the remaining two have no connection with Indus culture. It was excavated in 1929 AD and the excavation shows that it was known for its ceramic industry. In the lower layers there is a crude form of pottery but the upper layers show that advanced techniques were also used for making these pottery designs. It probably represents one of the local societies, which constituted the environment for the growth of the Indus Valley Civilization.

The remains of Kulli Culture are found at two places in the South west of Moenjodaro, Balochistan. It is considered as the most advanced and civilized culture and its last phase was contemporary with Indus Civilization. There were stone houses and the pottery designs are very impressive. Copper and bronze utensils were also used by them. They had trade relations with Mesopotamia and they used to export fragrant cream packed in beautiful jars. The cream is in the possession of a Sumerian Queen. A goddess wearing heavy jewelry and huge dresses is also found. A number of ornaments show that women of this culture used to wear jewelry.

The pre-historic site of Kot Diji in the Sindh province has furnished information of high significance that pushes back the origin of the Indus Valley Civilization and leads us to an evidence of a new cultural element of pre-Harappan era. It existed during 3500 BC and the area it covered was 25 miles North East of Moenjodaro, Sindh. When the primitive village communities in the Balochistan area were struggling to establish themselves against a difficult highland environment, at Kot Diji were a highly cultured people. They formed one of the most developed urban civilization of the ancient world that flourished from 2500 to 1500 BC in the Indus Valley sites of Moenjodaro and Harappa. These Indus Valley people possessed a high standard of art and craftsmanship and a well-developed system of quasi-pictographic writing still remains undeciphered despite many efforts. The ruins of Moenjodaro and Harappa show the unity of a people having the same mode of life and using the same kind of tools. The brick buildings of the common people, the public baths, the streets and covered drainage system, indeed, give a picture of very happy and contented people.

Another culture which is found on the left bank of the dead river Ghagger, district of Ghaggernagar, North Rajisthan is the Kalibangan. This site was excavated in 1961 by B.B Lal and B. K Thoper. Its culture was close to that of the Indus Valley. Like Moenjodaro and Harappa it had upper and lower towns; common people lived in lower town while the elite used to live in the upper one. Mud bricks were used for construction. Pottery of red and pink color with black and white painting on them is also found. Floral and animal pictures are painted on different objects. Moreover, uncovered field surface is found which means that wooden plough was used and wheat and barley were their main crops.

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