Time Period of Harappan Civilization| Chronology of Pre-Harappan and Harappan Cultures
Ascertaining the chronology of the Harappan civilization is a complex task. There are many problems that arise when determining the chronology, such as the time span between the rise and development of this civilization in the key areas and its peripheral spread in East and South, the difference in the determination of radiocarbon (C-14) from different sites, in India Traditional date of arrival of Aryans, findings of Harappan seals from various contemporary sites outside India, most sites lack exact time frame. Some of the dates suggested by many scholars based on their conclusions are as follows:
• Marshall, who played an important role in exploring the Indus Civilization through the excavation works in Mohenjodaro, said that Mohenjodaro remain habitable between 3250 and 2750 BC (aprox. 500 years). But he firmly believed that this period should not be associated with the whole upliftment and degeneration of the Indus Civilization. That is why he described the process of gradual development of this civilization as a thousand years long.
• MS Vats who had done Harappan’s excavation work during 1921-31, realized that the minimum attainable level of Harappa is old than the minimum attainable age of the Mohanjodaro and accordingly suggested that the period of this civilization is between 3500-2500 BC.
• Mackay, who carried forward the excavation work in Mohenjodaro (1927-28), stated that the minimum attainable level of Mohanjodaro was approximately 2800 BC. and maximum 2500 B.C. According to him, Mohan Jodaro’s life span was almost 300 years.
• CJ Gaid discovered different types of seals similar to Indus Valley Civilisation has been found in Ur (Mesopotamia) which date back to 2350 and 1770 BC indicates active business relationship. In ancient near east, discovery of a few seals indicated a yet later date.
• Stuart Piggott and SM Wheeler reconsidered the found evidence which includes the various items imported from Mesopotamia and fixed the possible date of the Indus Civilization between 2500-1500 BC. This includes evidence of active business with Mesopotamia in between 2300 to 2000 BC. However, Wheeler later changed his opinion and proposed last date for the fall of this civilization – 1700 B.C.
• In the year 1955, Albright concluded that the end of Indus Civilization would have happened around 1750 BC. They fixed this date to coincide with with the evidence from Mesopotamia.
• After the discovery of Radiocarbon dating, this system determined the dates of many samples of Harappan sites. Based on this method, FairServices suggested that the chronology of Harappan culture was reduced between 2000 to 1500 BC. Their conclusions were based on the excavation work done in the Quetta Valley. In 1964, D. P. Agarwal fixed dates of 24 dates based on the items obtained from various Harappan sites, including dates of Kot Diji, Kalibangan and Lothal and concluded on the basis that the chronology of the Indus Civilization from 2300 to 1750 BC.
• Robert H. Brunswig, who critically examined the evidence relating to artefact association showing contacts with Mesopotamia and Persian Gulf and the radiocarbon dates of five Harappan sites, suggested a three-period framework for the Indus civilization: the Formative phase 2800-2500 BC, the Mature phase 2500-2200 BC, and the Late phase 2200-2000 BC, after which Harappan culture, as a district entity, gradually ceased to exist.
The Chronology of Pre-Harappan and Harappan Cultures
|Time Period||Name of the Culture||Development|
|5500 BC to 3500 BC||Neolithic||In Baluchistan and the Indus plains settlements like Mehrgarh and Kili Ghul Muhammad came up. Beginning with pastoralism with limited cultivation and seasonal occupation of the villages, permanent villages emerged. Knowledge of wheat, barley, dates, cotton and sheep, goat and cattle. Evidences of mud houses, pottery and Craft-production found|
|3500 BC to 2600 BC||Early Harappan Period||Many more settlements established in the hills and the plains. Largest numbers of villages occur in this period. Use of copper, wheel and plough. Extra-ordinary range of pottery forms showing beginning of many regional traditions. Evidence of granary, defensive walls, and long distance trade. Emergence of uniformities in the pottery tradition throughout the Indus Valley. Also, the origins of such motifs as Pipal, humped bulls, Cobras, horned deity etc.|
|2600 BC to 1800 BC||Mature Harappan Period||Emergence of large cities, uniform types of bricks, weights, seals, beads and pottery. Planned township and long distance trade.|
|1800 BC Onwards||Late Harappan Period||Many Harappan sites abondoned. Interregional exchange declines. Writing and city life abandoned. Continuation of Harappan Crafts and pottery tradition. The village cultures of Punjab, Sutlej-Jamuna divide and Gujarat imbibe the Harappan crafts and pottery traditions.|