The History of Ancient India

Ancient Indian Temples
RajaRani Temple, Bhubaneswar

Scientific investigations about the history of ancient India have explored evidences that prehistoric people also had innovative life and developed civilizations. In India, the earliest imprints of the human activities go back to the Paleolithic Age which was roughly between 400,000 and 200,000 B.C. Cave paintings and stone implements during the ages of Harappan and Mohenjo-Daro. Which was discovered from this period in many parts of South Asia.

The evidence of the domestication of animals, wheel-turned pottery, permanent village settlements and the adoption of agriculture dating from the middle of sixth millennium B.C., found in the foothills of Baluchistan and Sindh, both situated in the present-day Pakistan. One of the first great civilizations – with a diversified economic and social system, urban centers and with a writing system – appeared around 3,000 B.C. along the Indus River valley in Sindh and Punjab. The remains of the two important cities – Harappan and Mohenjo-daro – reveal the astonishing engineering feats. Of which, the uniform urban plan of drainage, water supply and layout were well planned. The archaeological digs at about 70 other locations in Pakistan and India provide a composite picture of what is now generally known as the Harappan Culture (2500-1600 B.C.).

Ancient India History

History of Ancient India - RajaRani Temple, Bhubaneswar
RajaRani Temple, Bhubaneswar

Image: Ancient History Encyclopedia

Key areas from the history of Ancient INDIA

City Planning

The major cities contained some huge buildings including a citadel, a large bath – perhaps for communal and personal ablution – the differentiated living quarters, fortified religious or administrative centers enclosing the granaries and meeting halls and flat-roofed brick houses.

Trade and Agriculture:

Fundamentally a city culture, Harappan life was aided by commerce and the large-scale agricultural production, which incorporated trade with Sumer in Mesopotamia (modern Iraq). The people made weapons and tools from bronze and copper but not iron. Cotton and woven dyed for clothing purpose. Rice, wheat and different varieties of fruits and vegetables cultivated. Also number of animals domesticated including the humped bull.

Culture:

The Harappan culture was conservative and for centuries, it remained relatively unaltered. Whenever the cities were reconstructed after the periodic flooding, the whole new construction level followed the prior pattern. Though conservatism, regularity and stability seem to have been the hallmarks of these people, it is unclear who wielded the authority, whether a priestly, commercial or an aristocratic minority.

Script:

Till now, the most beautiful but concealed artifacts of Harappa unearthed to date. Those steatite seals found in large number at Mohenjo-daro. These flat, mostly square and small objects with animal or human motifs give the most accurate picture there is of the Harappan life. They also had the engravings generally thought to be in Harappan script, which evaded scholarly attempts at decoding it. The debate exist in large numbers as to whether the script represents an alphabet or numbers. If an alphabet, whether it is proto-Sanskrit or proto-Dravidian.

The possible reasons for the decline of Harappan civilization had troubled the scholars for a very long time. The invaders from Western and Central Asia considered by some of the historians, to have been the “destroyers” of the cities of Harappa, but this view was open to reinterpretation. The more plausible explanations were the recurrent floods caused by desertification. Along with that soil salinity and tectonic earth movement also have chances.

Also Read:

Ancient India History – Vedic Aryans

Numismatics of Ancient India

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