In History about India, You may have heard the names of Mohenjodaro and Harappa in your middle-class history books. What do these signify to you? Scholars tell us that they were the citys existing four-and-a- half thousand years ago and were parts of a forgotten civilization. Although they were the most important, these cities were not the only ones existing during those times within the boundaries of what is called the Harappan civilization. There were a large number of .other urban settlements about which you will learn in the course of this Unit. At its peak, this civilization covered a very wide area measuring around 1.8 million square kilometers. Its mature phase lasted for about 800 years and it maintained trade contacts with far-flung areas such as Mesopotamia (ancient Iraq) and Egypt. This Unit discusses the various aspects of Harappan Civilization. >
WHAT IS AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE
Archaeology, simply stated, is the study of human antiquities. An archaeologist is one who is involved in such studies. An archaeological site is a place where the remains of an old civilization exist, sometimes visibly but mostly under the cover of the earth. It needs a lot of careful digging and sifting which in archaeological terms is called “excavation”. After excavation the site reveals the existence of a human settlement with houses, streets, potteries, tools and other implements, sculpture, painting, writing etc. This ancient human settlement discovered or unearthed during the modern times is called an archaeological site.
Civil services Knowledge about archaeology and archaeological sites adds to the expertise of those tourism professionals who package tour or work as guides and escorts. There has been an increased interest in cultural and heritage tourism. In some countries tour operators package archaeological sites as tourism products and offer archaeological tours as special interest tours.
DISCOVERY AND NAMING OF THE HARAPPAN CMLIZATION
Nothing definitive was known about the indus valley civilization until in 1921an archaeologist, Daya Ram Sahni visited a village named Harappa in Western Punjab (now in Pakistan). It was believed by the villagers and some earlier archaeologists that it was a one- thousand year-old city which was ruined because of the wickedness of the king. After excavation it was established that it was a long-forgotten civilization almost five thousand years old and contemporary with the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt.
Unlike in Mesopotamia and Egypt, the script in which the Harappan people wrote is still not deciphered. So we do not know what those people called themselves and their civilization. We also do not know the ancient names of the various Harappan cities discovered so far. Wearer, therefore, forced to name them after the names of the modern places where these sites are located. Since Harappa was the first site to be discovered, the entire epoch was termed as the “Harappan Civilization” following a convention among the archaeologist to name it after the first- discovered site.