«Dr. J.M. Kenoyer on the Indus Civilization» - Free Essay Paper

Dr. J.M. Kenoyer on the Indus Civilization

Summary of the Contents of the Material

The material posted by Dr. Jonathan M. Kenoyer on the website focuses on exploring the ancient civilization of Indus, which is one of the largest four ancient urban civilizations, with the others being China, South Asia, Mesopotamia, and Egypt. Kenoyer explores various cities that formed a part of this great civilization. The Indus region was discovered back in the 1920s (“A brief introduction to the ancient indus civilization.” para. 1).

The material traces the excavations of Harappa. Charles Masson was the first person to come across the Harappa ruins during the late 1820s and the first to report the site existence (“A brief introduction to the ancient indus civilization.” para. 2). Sir Alexander was the first individual to conduct an excavation of the Harappa site during the years 1872-1873 and discovered an Indus seal albeit of unidentified source. In 1920, Rai Bahadur Saya initiated the extensive excavations at the Harappa site. Initially, his excavations at the site of Mohenjo Daro had highlighted the earliest forms of urban culture in the Indus Valley. Excavations of the site continued during the 1930s and 1940s, 1966 and, lastly, 1986 (“A brief introduction to the ancient indus civilization.” para. 2). Despite these extensive excavations, there is still a lot to be learned from the site, the bulk of which is yet to be excavated.

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Another aspect that is being explored in the materials is related to the recent highlights and discoveries that were obtained from the excavations that took place at Harappa during the 1998-2000 years period. Recent excavations have revealed that Harappa developed through five distinct stages. The first stage is the Hakra phase, which was characterized by the initial site occupation that occurred during the period before 3500 BC to 2800 BCE (“A brief introduction to the ancient indus civilization.” para. 2). As time went by, the political and economic significance, associated with this small community, expanded and grew tremendously during the Early Harappan phase that occurred between 2800 and 2600 BCE (“A brief introduction to the ancient indus civilization.” para. 2). Excavations that focused on these first two periods of development placed the emphasis on the organization of settlement, technologies, and political and social organization. The Kot Diji Phase marks the third phase during 2600-1900 BCE period, which was characterized by Harappa developing to become a major urban center having the linkages with other large settlements, towns, and centers found in the Indus Valley (“A brief introduction to the ancient indus civilization.” para. 2). The third phase was also characterized by considerable growth and expansion. The fourth and fifth phases occurred during the 1900-1300 BCE, and were typified by ideological, economic, and cultural transformations.

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The material also explores the various cities that formed a part of the ancient Indus civilization. The first city is Harappa, which thrived during the 2600-1700 BCE period in Western region of South Asia (“A brief introduction to the ancient indus civilization.” para. 2). Whereas the ancient culture of Harappans is yet to be decoded, archeological studies are slowly revealing the distinctive feature of this society by conducting the detailed research of its architecture and cities, trade and technology, economy, and arts. The Harappans have utilized standard weights and bricks, similar to those that were utilized in other cities, such as Dholavira and Mohenjo Daro, which had wide streets and were very well planned. These cities also had reservoirs, private and public wells, bathing platforms, and drains. In addition, skeletons and material culture, obtained from the Harappa cemetery, suggest a frequent intermingling of the communities that lived in the east and the west regions of Harappa. Settlement in Harappa occurred before the flourishing of the ancient Indus civilization, and still stands as a living town in the present day.

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Another important city that forms a part of the ancient Indus Civilization is Mohenjo Daro, also known as “Mound of the Dead.” This city thrived during the 2600-1900 BCE (“A brief introduction to the ancient indus civilization.” para. 2). This city was discovered during the 1920s and is located in the Sindh province in Pakistan. Only a few archeologists have been able to excavate this location. This city is commonly acknowledged as one of the most crucial early cities in the South Asian region, as well as the Indus civilization. However, it is not covered in most publications. An important feature of Mohenjo Daro city is the Great Bath, which contained two wide staircases as an entry. These staircases were located in the north and south of the facility (“A brief introduction to the ancient indus civilization.” para. 2). The floor of the Great Bath is watertight because of the bricks that have been tightly fitted on the edge with the help of a gypsum plaster. Excavations conducted during the 1920s and the 1930s of the city planning and architecture of Mohenjo Daro and Harappa were similar. Moreover, these two cities had the same cultural traditions.

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Three Interesting Topics

The first interesting topic relates to the progressive discovery of the Harappa site. In this respect, it is evident that, whereas the site was stumbled upon by Charles Masson during the 1820s, it was 100 years later in the 1920 that extensive excavations were finally initiated. Moreover, progressive excavations over the years have provided some crucial insights regarding this ancient civilization. The second most interesting topic in the material is that, even after years of excavation, more is yet to be discovered. This makes it an interesting site because of the vast information regarding this ancient civilization that is yet to be uncovered. The third interesting topic from the materials relates to the progressive development of the Harappa civilization. The materials show that Harappa developed through five distinctive stages, with each stage having its unique characteristics depending on initial occupation, the growth of the political and economic significance of the city, development with the aim of becoming a major urban center, and ideological, economic, and cultural transformations.

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