Indus Valley Civilization – Trade and transportation


  • Solid Wheels were used in Harappa
  • Bullock carts
  • Boats
  • Plank built watercraft with sails


  • Raw materials include copper ores, stone, semi precious shells etc.
  • Finished products include
  • Metallic pots and pans, weapons
  • Precious and semi-precious stones such as beads, pendants amulets
  • Ornaments of gold and silver
  • all exchanges through Barter system
  • did not use metallic money
  • Trade network
  • Afghanistan
  • Coastal regions of Persia
  • Dilmun and Makan were intermediate trading posts
  • Northern and western India
  • Mesopotamia
  • Greece and Egypt


Indus Valley Civilization-Religion

  • Worship of mother goddess
  • Terracotta figurines of semi-nude figures indentified with Shakti or Mother Goddess
  • A real at Harappa depicts the Earth or Mother Goddess, with plant growing from her womb
  • People offered burnt incense before her
  • Worship of Pasupathi
  • three faced male god
  • seated in a yogic posture
  • Surrounded by
  • rhino and a buffalo on the right
  • elephant and tiger on the left
  • two deer standing under the throne
  • Worship of Trees
  • Pipal tree was considered most sacred
  • discovered of a large number of seals with papal trees engraved on them
  • Worship of animals
  • worshipped animals such as the bull, buffalo and tiger
  • worship of Humped Bull was most prevalent
  • Mythical animals
  • Human figure with a bull’s horns, hoofs and a tail
  • Three-headed chimeras
  • human faced goat
  • semi-human semi-bovine creatures
  • No special places for worship such as temple
  • Symbolic representation of the phallus and vulva
  • Faith in Magic, Charms and Sacrifices
  • use of amulets suggests their belief in magic and charms
  • seals have figures of men and animals is act of sacrificing


  • Circular and Rectangular burials
  • Cremation was also practised
  • Megalighic burials were found at Surkotada and Dholavira

Belief in Life after Death

  • Disposed of their dead either by burial or by cremation
  • buried with household pottery, ornaments and other articles of daily use
  • preserved the ashes of the bodies in clay urns

Major Cities of Indus Valley Civilization


  • First site to be excavated
  • Established or river Ravi
  • Important findings
  • Citadel
  • 6 granaries in a row
  • Circular platform for thrashing grains
  • two roomed Barracks
  • bronze crucible


  • Literally “Mound of Dead”
  • Established on river Indus
  • Regarded as largest IVC site
  • the largest building is a granary
  • Important findings
  • Great Bath
  • For ritual bathing
  • Built with bricks
  • Side rooms for changing clothes
  • Bitumen is used to seal the walls and floors
  • Bronze Dancing girl statue
  • Steatite statue of a man with a beard
  • Unicorn seals
  • Pasupathi seal
  • Seal of mother goddess


  • city was divided into 6 sections
  • Vital trade centre for gems and ornaments
  • entry to the houses were directly connected to the main street
    Important findings
  • rice husk
  • artificial dock
  • Bead making factory


  • Many houses had wells
  • Important findings
  • Furrows indicating the Ploughed field
  • Brick platforms indicating granaries
  • Bones of camel
  • No presence of baked bricks or drainage system


  • has three citadels
  • Largest IVC site in India


  • Horse remains


  • Only city without citadel


Harappan or Indus Valley Civilization Town planning

  • Towns were divided into upper part with citadel and lower part
  • Materials
  • Sun dried bricks
  • Baked bricks
  • Buildings
  1. Private houses
  • both single and multi room houses
  • well and water reservoirs were common
  • taps inside every home
  • bathing areas and drains were made with baked bricks or stone
  • Two storey houses were common
  • Rooms were paved with bricks or fired terracotta cakes
  1. Large houses surrounded by smaller units
  • Large public structures
  • Granaries
  • Citadel


  • Straight roads
  • grid or rectangular pattern


  • Underground or covered drainage
  • Connected from rear side of the houses


Harappan or Indus Valley Civilization

Belongs to Bronze Age civilization ( 2500-1700 BC)


  • Harappa(1921)
  • Rai Bahadur Daya Ram Sahni
  • Mohenjo-daro(1922)
  • Rakhal Das Banerjee


  • Early Harappan phase (3500 BC – 2600 BC)
  • Mature Harappan Phase (2600 BC-1900 BC)
  • Late Harappan phase (1900 BC-1400 BC)


  • Civilization named after Harappa, the first of its sites to be excavated in 1920
  • Other names
  • Indus-Saraswati civilization
  • Saraswati civilization


  1. Mehrgarh
  2. South India

Geographical Extent

  • Most of the sites were not on the river Indus but on the Saraswati river and its tributaries between the Indus and Ganga
  • West: Sutkagendor in Baluchistan
  • East: Alamgirpur in Meerut
  • South : Daimabad in Ahmadnagar
  • North : Manda in Akhnoor District

Chalcolithic Sites

South-eastern Rajasthan

  • Ahar
  • stone axes and Blades were absent
  • Copper tolls were abundant
  • Gilund

Eastern India

  • Chirand
  • Burdwan distric
  • Midnapore district

Western Madhya Pradesh

  • Malwa
  • spindle whorls have been discovered
  • Kayatha
  • 29 copper bangles and two unique axes
  • necklaces of semi-precious stones such as steatite and carnelian beads
  • Eran

Western Maharashtra

  • Jorwe
  • Flat, rectangular copper axes
  • Nevasa
  • Daimabad
  • Chandoli
  • copper chisels
  • Inamgaon
  • Evidence of Rice
  • Figure of Mother goddess
  • Nasik
  • Navdatoli

Chalcolithic age-Culture

Chalcolithic Cultures

  1. Kayatha culture (2000-18000 BC) – Madhya Pradesh
  • Fortified settlements were found in balathal
  • Pottery
  • Red-slipped ware painted with designs in chocolate colour
  • Red painted buff-ware
  • Combed-ware bearing incised patterns
  1. Ahar or Banas culture (2000-1400BC) – Rajasthan
  • Larger than other settlements
  • Pottery: Black and Red ware with white designs
  1. Malwa culture (1700-1200 BC) – MP, Maharashtra
  • Major settlements : Narmada Valley, Navadatoli and Nagada
  • Pottery: Thick buff surface with designs in red or black
  • Wheat and barley were grown here
  1. Savalda culture(2300-2000 BC)
  2. Jorwe culture (1400-700 BC) –Nasik
  • Jorwe is a village situated on the Pravara river
  • Pottery : Painted black on-red with matt surface
  • settlements became stable and widespread
  1. Prabhas culture (2000-1400 BC)
  • Lustrous Red Ware
  1. Rangpur culture (1700-1400 BC) – Gujarat
  • Lustrous Red Ware


  • First to use painted pottery
  • Wheel made fine pottery is the specialty of the Chalcolithic culture
  • Pottery were given with fine slip of red, orange or russet colour
  • Floral, vegetal, anima, bird and fish motifs were used in the decorations
  • Black and red ware made its first appearance in the Chalcolithic sites


  • Beads of semiprecious stones like chalcedony, jasper, agate, carnelian, etc. were used
  • copper beads, bangles and anklets were common


  • Copper smelting was known
  • Microlithic tools on siliceous material were very common
  • People were unaware of Bronze


  • Regions: Ahar, Gilund, Nagada, Navadatoli, Eran, Prabhas, Rangpur, Prakash, Daimabad and Inamgaon
  • Ahar – copper tools
  • Tekkalkotta – gold and ivory
  • Jorwe – Pottery
  • Rajpipla – Semi precious stones

Religious practices

  • Worship of mother goddess and bull
  • Fertility cult was practised


  • Chalcolithic settlements flourished in the black cotton soil zone
  • Crops
  • Cultivated both kharif and rabi crops in rotation
  • Cereals such as barley and wheat were grown
  • Grown pulses such as the lentil, black gram, green, and grass pea
  • Reared buffalo, goat, sheep and pig for food
  • Neither plough nor hoe has been attested to at Chalcolithic sites
  • Perforated stone discs and digging sticks were found


  • Chalcolithic people believed in life after death
  • Dead used to be buried in their respective habitations
  • Buried in North to South position in Maharashtra
  • Fractinal burials were found at West Bengal
  • Buried in East to West position in South India
  • Feet used to be chopped off probably to prevent the dead from returning to this world
  • Five urns with pierced bottoms were used at Daimabad

Chalcolithic Age


  • Chalco-copper and lithic-stone
  • First metal age, copper and its alloy bornze were used
  • Marked the transition from stone age to metal age
  • In south Indian the Chalcolithic phase is called Neolithic-Chalcolithic phase


  • Both farming and hunting was prevalent
  • Nucleated settlement
  • beginning of social inequalities
  • People did not know writing
  • Fish and meat formed the staple diet
  • cotton was produced in Deccan
  • People knew spinning and weaving


  • Developed in the regions of central India and Deccan
  • First village system in India
  • Chalcolithic people did not use bricks
  • No burnt bricks were used
  • Walls were constructed out of mud or mud and wattle
  • Houses were either circular or rectangular in shape
  • Inamgaon yielded a evidence of circular pit house


Neolithic Age-Major Sites


  • Evidence of houses
  • Built of sun-dried bricks
  • with multiple rooms
  • crops like wheat, barley and cotton were discovered from here

Kashmir Valley

  • Burzahom
  • People lived in pits
  • dwelling pits were either circular or rectangular
  • used numerous tools and weapons made of bone
  • used coarse grey pottery
  • Gufkral


  • Chirand
  • Bone tools


  • Sanganakallu, Brahmagiri, Maski, Piklihal, Hallur

Uttar Pradesh

  • Allahabad
  • cultivation of rice

Andhra Pradesh

  • Around Bhima, Krisna and Tungbadra rivers
  • Budihal
  • Utnur
  • Earlist site
  • Nagarjunakonda

Tamil Nadu

  • Paiyampalli
  • Kavery

Belan Valley

  • Koldihwa
  • Domestication of Rice in 7000 B.C.
  • Mahagara
  • Garo hills in Meghalaya


Neolithic Age-Pottery, Arts, Ornaments and Burials


  • Burnished grey ware is the specialty of the Neolithic period
  • Usage of pottery increased to a great extent
  • Pottery was initially hand made but later turned on wheel and fired in large kilns


  • At Burzahom a stone slab is engraved with a hunting scene
  • It shows a stag or deer being hunted from the front with a bow and arrow and a spear from the rear


  • Beads of shell, steatite, terra cotta and siliceous stones and copper and gold were used
  • copper bangles from Brahmagiri and spiral ring from Narsipur are the few metal ornaments found in the Neolithic sites


  • Neolithic people buried accompanied by pottery and ornaments, stone tools and even headrest
  • Infants were buried in the urns, usually in the houses
  • At Burzahom in the Kashmir Valley, the dead used to be buried in oval-shaped pits dug usually into the house floors
  • Along with the human bones, the bones of dog and goat, which were perhaps sacrificed were also found
  • Fragmentary borials of five wild dogs antlers of barasinga were found


Neolithic Revolution

Neolithic Revolution

  • Sharp and polished Neolithic tools made way for cultivation
  • Wild animals were domesticated
  • Evolution of settled communities
  • Storage of grains due to surplus production


  • Ground and polished
  • smooth surfaced with symmetrical shapes
  • axes, adzes, shoe-lost Celts, long weeding hoes, picks with single or double working ends, chisels, axe-cum hammers
  • Made of diorite, basalt, slate, chlorite, schist, shale, gnesis, sand stone and quartzite

Regions of Neolithic agriculture

  1. Indus system
  2. Ganga Valley
  • Western India and the northern Deccan
  1. southern Deccan


Neolithic or New Stone Age


  • ‘neo’ new and ‘lithic’ stone
  • Coined by John Lubbock
  • Neolithic settlements in the India are not older than 6000 BC
  • Neolithic settlement in India were first developed in the west of the Indus


  • Cultivation of plants and the domestication of animals began
  • Led to settled life and growth of village settlements
  • Crops such as wheat, barley, rice, millet, lentils were cultivated
  • Domesticated animals include sheep, goat, cattle etc.



  • Houses were circular in shape built on a series of bamboo posts with a conical roof
  • In Kashmir valley, the Neolithic people of phase-I lived in circular, oval, rectangular or square pits
  • Walls were of wattle and split bamboo screen plastered with mud
  • Houses had a hearth in a corner, sometime only two stones juxtaposed
  • Nagarjunakonda and Paiyampalli have yielding evidence of dwelling pits

Mesolithic age-Society, Recreational activities and Burials


  • People began to have fixed settlements
  • People were essentially hunters, food-gathers and fishermen
  • domesticated varieties of animals like cattle, sheep and goat
  • hunted smaller animals with bows and spears
  • depended on vegetables or plants for food rather than animal meat

Recratinal activities

  • paintings at Bhimbetka
  • dances of ritual significance
  • musical instruments such as blowpipes and horns were used


  • rock-painting of a family mourning the death of a child at Bhimbetka
  • At langhanj human skeletons were associated with quartzite pebbles
  • four types burials
  1. Extended burial
  2. Flexed burial
  3. Fractional Burial
  4. Double Burial

Multiple bueials were witnessed at sarai Nihar rai and Mahadha

Mesolithic people interred objects like microliths, animal bones and beads along with the dead



Mesolithic age –Tools, Pottery and Arts

Microlithic Tools

  • Made of chipped and flaked stones
  • Length of tools varied from 1 to 8 centimetres
  • tools include blades, points, lunates, trapezes, scrapers, arrowheads, geometric and non-geometric tools


  • Reported from a number of excavated sites like Langhanj, Bagor , Nagarjunakonda, Chopani Mando
  • Pottery was wholly hand-made and usually coarse grained with incised impressed disigns rarely


  • Painted rock-shelters
  1. Mirzapur district of UP
  2. Bhimbetka near Hoshangabad, Adamgarh, Lakha Juar in MP
  3. Murhana Paharin in Uttar Pradesh
  4. Kupagallu in Karnataka

Paintings deal primarily with animals which are shown standing, moving running grazing etc

Humans are depicted in activities, such as dancing, running hunting, playing games and engaged in battle

Rhinoceros hunt is depicted in the caves of Adamgarh


Mesolithic or Middle stone age


  • ‘meso’ middle and ‘lithic’ stone
  • Middle stone age in India termed as Late stone age, Mesolithic or Microlithic period
  • Transitional phase between the Palaeolithic and the Neolithic ages
  • Warmer climate resulted in increased flora and fauna

Geographical Distribution

  • Langnaj in Gujarat
  • Bhimbetka in Madya Pradesh
  • Chopani Mando in Uttar Pradesh
  • Birbhanpur in West Bengal
  • Bagor in Rajasthan
  • Sanganakallu in Karnataka
  • Tuticorin in southern Tamil Nadu


  • People lived in huts with paved floors and wind screens
  • Huts were roughly circular or oval
  • People at Bhimbetka made with flat stone slabs

Palaeolithic Culture

Soan culture

  • Soan is a tributary of river Indus
  • Regions
  • sub-Himalayas region in Punjab and Himachal Pradesh
  • Sirsa Valley in Punjab and Beas-Banganga Valley in Himachal Pradesh
  • Three stages
  • Pre-Sohan
  • Late-Sohan
  • Early-Sohan
  • Sohan complex is also called Chopper chopping complex
  • use of pebble tools was dominant
  • two divisions of tools
  • chopper tools
  • chopping tools

Acheulian Culture

  • Acheulian Tool types
  • hand-axes
  • cleavers
  • retouched flakes
  • scrapers
  • Tools are charactecized by distinctive oval and pear-shaped “hand-axes”
  • Materials such as flint, chalcedony, quartzite, andesite, sandstone, chert, and shale were used
  • tools made in the Acheulian culture ae adnanced than tools in Soanian culture
  • Attirampakkam at Chennai in Tamil Nadu is the oldest Acheulian site in India (1.51 mya)

Upper Palaeolithic Age

Period: 40,000-10,000 BC


  • marks the appearance of new flint industries
  • modern human beings first appeared in the upper Palaeolithic age


  • Bhimbetka (MP)
  • Earliest rock cut paintings
  • Andhra Pradesh
  • Karnataka
  • Maharashtra
  • Chotanagpur Plateau
  • Gujarat


  • Less humid
  • belongs to end period of Ice age
  • Climate became comparatively warm
  • Increase in flora and fauna


  • Blades
  • Parralel-sided blades from a pepared core
  • blade tools are comparatively large
  • Burins
  • A chiselled stone with a sharp point
  • Used for engraving on rocks and bones
  • Scrapers
  • flint implement with a sharpened edge
  • used for scraping material such as hide or wood
  • leather, wood, and bone were also used
  • Bones were also used to make needles, fishing tools, harpoons, blades and burin tools

Middle Palaeolithic Age

Period :100,000-40,000 BC


  • Soan Valley
  • Crude pebble industry during Himalayas glaciations
  • Rohri hills
  • tools and weapons
  • Narmada Valley
  • Samnapu
  • Tungabadra
  • Bhimbetka
  • Nevasa

Flake tools

  • Made of Chert
  • a piece of hard stone made by chipping the edges
  • tools types
  • small and medium-sized handaxes and cleavers
  • Scrapers
  • Borers
  • Blade-like tools

Lower Palaeolithic Age

  • 50,000-100,000 BC
  • NO human remains were found during this period
  • Covers the greater part of the Ice Age
  • Tools
  • Quartzite pebble tools and flakes
  • Hand axes
  • Cleavers
  • Choppers
  • represents a Pre-hand-axe industry


  • Siwalik range
  • Soan valley in Punjab, now in Pakistan
  • Belan valley in Mirzapur district UP
  • pahalgam in Kashmir
  • Belan valley in Allahabad
  • Bhimbetka and Adamgarh Mdhya Pradesh
  • 16 R and Singi Talav in Rajasthan
  • Nevasa in Maharashtra
  • Hunsgi in Karnataka
  • Attirampakkam in Tamil Nadu

Palaeolithic or Old Stone Age

  • Paleolithic age – Palaeo old and lithic stone
  • Palaeolithic was coined by sir John Lubbock in 1865
  • people were mostly hunters and gathers
  • Belongs to Pleistocene period
  • Period when most of the earth surface was covered with ice
  • Humans were absent in colder regions but could thrive in tropical region
  • Sub-divisions
  • Lower Palaeolithic
  • Middle Palaeolithic
  • Upper Palaeolithic

Prehistoric Period

Period without any written records

  • Archaeological excavations are the only evidence for our cultural knowledge

Prehistoric period has three ages

  • The stones age
  • Palaeolithic age
  • Mesolithic age
  • Neolithic age
  • The Bronze Age
  • Indus valley civilization
  • The Iron Age
  • Vedic period
  • Early kingdoms



  • time before recorded history or the invention of writing systems

Origin of humans

  • archaic Homo sapiens evolved into anatomically modern humans in Africa
  • Humans inhabit India since Middle Pleistocene era


  • Divided into three periods based on tool-making technologies
  • Stone Age
  • Paleolithic
  • Lower Paleolithic
  • Handaxe and cleaver industries
  • Middle Paleolithic
  • flake tools technology
  • Upper Paleolithic
  • Flakes and blade tools
  • Mesolithic
  • Neolithic
  • Chalcolithic

-Bronze Age

– Iron Age

Pre Historic Findings

  • Bhimbetka- painted rock shelters
  • Nevasa- Evidence of cotton
  • Atranjikheda – Textile printing
  • Hastinapur – Wild Sugarcane
  • Inamgaon – statue of mother goddess
  • Mehrgarh – Earliest evidence of agriculture
  • Koldihwa Earliest evidence of rice
  • Bagor – Domestication of animal
  • Chirand – Serpent cult
  • Burzahom & Gufkral – Pit dwelling

Prehistory of India

  • First human settlement in India
  • Jwalapuram, Andhra Pradesh
  • Year, 70,000 YBP
  • Earliest archaeological site
  • Palaeolithic hominid site in the Soan River valley
  • Archaeological evidences
  • Remains of Homo erectus at Hathnora in the narmada valley
  • Belongs to Middle Pleistocene period
  • Major findings
  • No human fossils have been associated with stone age tools in India
  • stone tools dated between 2 MYA 1.3 MYA were excavated from Siwalik hills

Sources of Ancient Indian History

  1. Literary sources
  • Major literary sources
  • Vedic literature
  • Vedas and Vedangas
  • Later Vedic literature
  • Upanishads
  • Aranyakas
  • Brahmanas
  • Puranas
  • Buddhist literature
  • Jain literature
  • Sanskrit
  • Foreign accounts
  • Greeks
  • Chinese
  • Arabian
  • Common perception on literary sources
  • Religions in nature
  • Improper or insufficient chronology
  1. Archaeological sources
  • Architectural sources
  • Excavations
  • Epigraphic sources
  • Numismatic sources