The Indus Valley civilization (also known as the Harappan civilization or Indus-Saraswati civilization) was virtually unknown until 1921, when excavations in the Indian Subcontinent revealed the cities of Harappa and Mohenjo-daro. Archaeology demonstrates that these cities were highly urbanized, served by sophisticated water-management infrastructures. With contested provenance, this “mysterious” civilization reached a mature urban phase around 2500 BCE and thrived for a thousand years, profiting from the highly fertile lands of the Indus/Saraswati river floodplain and trade with the civilizations of nearby Mesopotamia. The rather abrupt decline of the civilization, concomitant with the so-called Aryan invasion of the Indian subcontinent, is subject to much historical debate.
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