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1 R ISE OF C IVILIZATION [Indus2007Lec1.wpd] February 27, 2007 T. D’Altroy E ARLY H ARAPPAN C IVILIZATION ©Terence N. D’Altroy [sources: de Montmollin lecture notes; Wenke 1999:ch.10; Allchin and Allchin 1982, Rise of Civilization in India and Pakistan , CUP:ch.7, 8; Miller 1985; Possehl 1990; Kenoyer 1991;] 1. Harappan civilization a. 3rd of the 6 major civilizations b. in the NW corner of the Indian subcontinent 1. at border of Pakistan and India 2. today a. general introduction and overview b. geographic setting c. outline of the basic sequence d. pre-Harappan period 1. i.e., before state formation 2. and civilization e. theories for state formation 3. next lecture a. fully developed Harappan civilization b. collapse c. some comparisons with Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations B ACKGROUND TO U NDERSTANDING H ARAPPAN C IVILIZATION 1. latest of the 6 major ancient civilizations to be discovered by archaeologists a. 1924 article announced excavations at Mohenjo-daro 1. work of Sir John Marshall b. knowledge in ancient times: also disappeared 1. society apparently collapsed dramatically 2. separated from subsequent civilizations in India 3. relative separation and isolation from contemporaneous literate civilizations a. e.g., Mesopotamia 2. generally thought to be less developed or less spectacular than other civilizations a. state developed later 1. 2600 BC and after 1
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a. but new evidence pushes the earliest occupation of Harappa back to 3100 BC 2. 4100-3100 BC: for Mesopotamia 3. 3100 BC: for Egypt b. ergo: Harappan civilization potentially derivative 1. re: Mesopotamian contacts described later c. low incidence of certain markers of civilization 1. monumental architecture 2. writing: as yet obscure, not especially developed 3. luxury artifacts d. material record: looks simple, impoverished 1. thus underdeveloped, if we equate development with fancy artifacts and high art e. short span of existence: 500-600 years 1. perhaps now 1000 yrs f. collapse seems definitive 1. suggesting some kind of deficiency 3. understudied a. many sites covered under flood plain b. marginal scholarly position of subsequent civilizations in India c. geographic marginality 1. Harappan homeland is partitioned between Pakistan and India 2. neither claims it for historical roots d. writing system: not yet deciphered 1. later commentary also absent 2. compare to writings of Classical Antiquity for Egypt 3. or to 16th century for Mesoamerica and Andean South America e. “lost civilization” factor 1. cut off by its dramatic collapse 2. seemingly total collapse: mystique once shared by the Classic Maya in Mesoamerica G ENERAL O VERVIEW 1. principal elements a. settlement pattern 1. a few massive cities 2. clear evidence of central planning in some features 3. advanced water and sewage systems b. enormous region for the civilization 1. Harappan style: 800,000 - 1,250,000 sq km of Indus Valley 2. 800,000 sq km is 4 [ greater than S. Mesopotamia [Possehl]
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course ANTH V1008 taught by Professor D'altroy during the Spring '08 term at Columbia.

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