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surrounding smaller settlements and sources of raw materialsAmong materials included in this trading network were: shells, flint … lapis lazulicarnelianSteatite beadsgoldTin + copper =bronze
distribution of raw materials and finished products suggests raw materials were taken to specific processing centres and turned into standardized, finished products and then redistributed.Such finished products are found in H-G sites of peripheral regions suggesting trade was carried on with these group for some raw materialsSurplus goods were traded across Persian Gulf and across Indo-Iranian Plateau into Elam and Mesopotamia
Harappan Social OrganizationThe high degree of homogeneity across Harappan Civilization long seen as evidence for rigid hierarchical state – like we see in Egypt and the Mesopotamian citiesSuch systems typically include concentration of wealth in hands of few individuals who spend much of it on personal monuments.None of this is evident in Harappan society – not a single elite residence has been identified at Mohenjo-DaroSome obvious personal adornment, but no prestige objects or hoards of wealth
attempts to explain this discrepancy looked for evidence of simple priest-king elites (rather than political/military/religious elites of Mesopotamia or Egypt)Or attempt to explain this pattern as some sort of caste systemrecently, P. Rissman and D. Miller argued that uniformity of Harappan civilization reflects aversion to individualism and, thus, material wealth – equality was most prized virtueexample of standardization in Harappan society is the weight system:followed exponential system (1, 2, 4, 8, 16, etc.)
Indus ScriptHarappan civilization, like Meopotamia and Egypt, developed their own system of writing - Indus scriptmost examples of Indus Script are on seals or stamps (2000 of these), very similar to those of Mesopotamia - likely used for similar purposesIndus script has yet to be deciphered
Indus script studied for 70+ years - still cannot read it3 major reasons why Indus script is more difficult to decipher than hieroglyphics or cuneiform:1/ The writing occurs in very short texts2/ Unlike with Egyptian hieroglyphics, no multi-lingual texts have been discovered that can be used as a translation aid….
1799 - Napolean’s soldiers made lucky find in Nile Deltabasalt tablet (Rosetta Stone) dated to 196 BC records good deeds of Ptolemy V (who was 12 at the time) …… written in 3 languages: Greek, Demotic (later form of Egyptian writing), and Egyptian hieroglyphicsChampollion (Frenchman who deciphered Egyptian hieroglyphs) had the Rosetta stone and he knew Coptic/Demotic – modern descendant of ancient Egyptian language
3/ Scholars don’t know what language Indus script represents:an “Aryan” language, Dravidian, or alanguage isolate?“Aryan” is proposed historical language group ancestral to modern Indo-European languages and traditionally associated with semi-nomadic cultures of Central Asia – e.g., Kurgan CultureOne argument against this is lack of representation of horse in Indus texts or art – horses were central part of C. Asian culture