Front cover image for The ancient Indus : urbanism, economy, and society

The ancient Indus : urbanism, economy, and society

Rita P. Wright (Author)
Overview: This early civilization was erased from human memory until 1924, when it was rediscovered and announced in the Illustrated London Times. Our understanding of the Indus has been partially advanced by textual sources from Mesopotamia that contains references to Meluhha, a land identified by cuneiform specialists as the Indus, with which the ancient Mesopotamians traded and engaged in battles. In this volume, Rita P. Wright uses both Mesopotamian texts but principally the results of archaeological excavations and surveys to draw a rich account of the Indus civilization's well-planned cities, its sophisticated alterations to the landscape, and the complexities of its agrarian and craft-producing economy. She focuses principally on the social networks established between city and rural communities; farmers, pastoralists, and craft producers; and Indus merchants and traders and the symbolic imagery that the civilization shared with contemporary cultures in Iran, Mesopotamia, Central Asia, and the Persian Gulf region. Broadly comparative, her study emphasizes the interconnected nature of early societies
Print Book, English, 2010
Cambridge University Press, New York, New York, 2010
xix, 396 pages : illustrations, maps, plans ; 24 cm.
9780521572194, 9780521576529, 0521572193, 0521576520
List of figures, tables, and boxes
Long-Forgotten Civilization:
Civilization rediscovered
Reconstructing a long-forgotten civilization
Perspectives on civilizations
Theoretical perspective
Indus Civilization: chronologies of Indus antecedents, coalescence, decline, and transformations
Rethinking perspectives on the Indus civilization
Geographical And Environmental Settings:
Factors to consider in assessing differences between past and present
Geography and climate today:
Geographical setting
Climate change before, during, and after peak periods of settlement
Indus in the past-documenting landscape and river system dynamics
Upper and lower Indus
New solutions and perspectives on climate change
From Foraging To Farming And Pastoralism:
From hunting and gathering to farming
Focus on Mehrgarh-the choice of a site and the establishment of a chronology
First Village (7000-4000 B C):
Burial patterns
Material culture and technology
External contacts
Summary-Period I/II
Villages At The Crossroads (4000-3200 B C):
Burial patterns
Material culture and technology
External contacts
Summary-Period III
Mosaic Of Villages And Towns (3200-2500 B C):
Burial patterns
Material culture and technology
External contacts
Summary-Period IV/VII
Settling Down: the domestication of plants and animals, the development of a village farming community into a sizable town, and expanded interaction
Era Of Expansion And Transformation:
Age of emerging polities
Upper Indus-Harappa excavations and the pre-urban period
Upper Indus-Ravi phase
Upper Indus-early Harappan/Kot Diji phase
Upper Indus regional surveys near Harappa
Ghaggar-Hakra-Cholistan survey:
Ghaggar-Hakra plains-Hakra phase
Ghaggar-Hakra plains-early Harappan/Kot Diji phase
Ghaggar-Hakra settlements in Northwest India
Expansion of settlements in the Upper Indus and Ghaggar-Hakra plains
Lower Indus Valley:
Lower Indus Valley-Hakra and Kot Diji phases
Lower Indus Valley-Amri phase
Expansion of settlement in the Lower Indus
Beyond the Indus and Ghaggar-Hakra plains-Baluchistan
Pre-urban ecological and settlement diversity
Urbanism And States: Cities, Regions, And Edge Zones:
Indus cities and states-the first urban climax
Indus cities:
City plans and physical layouts
Nonresidential structures
Public works
Walls and separated sectors (neighborhoods) city plans and physical layouts summarized-nonresidential structures, public works, walls, and neighborhoods
City and countryside:
Upper Indus and Beas regional surveys near Harappa
Ghaggar-Hakra Plain-Cholistan regional surveys
Ghaggar-Hakra Plain-northwest India
Lower Indus regional surveys interpreting the evidence for Indus cities, city-states, and regional surveys
Urbanism at its margins, gateway towns and edge zones
Uniformity and diversity-cities, regions and edge zones
Agropastoral And Craft-Producing Economies I-Intensification And Specialization:
Craft production:
Craft production and intensification
Craft production and specialization-resource availability and selection, technical skills, and specialized production
Ceramic production
Stoneware bangle production
Seal production
Intensification and specialization of craft production
Agropastoral Production:
Agriculture and intensification
Specialization of cropping patterns and regional diversity
Pastoralism and intensification
Pastoralism-specialization and regional diversity continued use of wild plants and animals- foraging and fishing
Specialization and intensification of the Agropastoral and craft-producing economy. Agropastoral And Craft-Producing Economies II-Diversification, Organization Of Production, And Distribution:
Diversification and the organization of production, distribution, and exchange
Diversified crafts and the organization of craft production
Seal production
Ceramic production
Stoneware bangle production
Diversification and organization of production-seals, ceramics, and stoneware bangles
Diversification of raw materials and finished products-the organization of interregional exchange:
Lapis Lazuli
Carnelian, Chalcedony, Agate, and Jasper
Precious metals-copper, gold, lead, silver, and tin
Diversification of craft production, organization, and distribution
Diversification of land, labor, and the organization of Agropastoral production Diversification of farming-multicropping, plow agriculture, crop processing, fiber crops, and aboricuture
Diversification of pastoralism-specialized breeds, food and fiber, animal provisioning, mobility, and the organization of production
Organization of interregional exchange of plant and animal products
Agropastoral and craft-producing economies-intensification, specialization, diversification, and the organization of production and distribution
Lure Of Distant Lands:
Lure of distant lands-Dilmun, Magan, and Meluhha
Mapping the third millennium B C
Indus and Mesopotamian contact by sea and over land-texts and archaeology
Indus contact beyond Mesopotamia-by sea and over land:
Indus contacts along maritime routes
Indus contacts along overland routes
Indus and an interconnected third-millennium world
Landscapes Of Order And Difference-The Cultural Construction Of Space, Place, And Social Difference:
Landscapes as community identity-Mohenjo-Daro, Dholavira, and Harappa
Landscapes as social order:
Space and public works
Interior spaces and social differences
Landscapes and memory:
R37 cemetery and cemetery H at Harappa
Cemetery at Kalibangan
Human remains at Mohenjo-Daro
Death and memory in the Indus
Community identity, social order, and memory
Models For Indus Religious Ideologies Direct Historical Analogies And The Study Of Indus Religion:
Identifying ceremonial places
Terracotta masks, figurines, and narrative imagery
New approaches to uncovering Indus ideologies
Comparative study of early civilizations
Alternative visions-masks and figurines:
Terracotta masks
Terracotta figurines
Alternative visions-seal and tablet narrative imagery:
Themes and motifs in Indus narrative imagery
Decoding Indus narrative
Cross-cultural comparisons:
Mesopotamian seal imagery
Iranian seal imagery
Rethinking Indus religion and world views, shared vocabularies, modes of presentation and systems of thought
Indus pantheon, elements of order, and conceptions of power and hierarchy
Decline And Transformation And The Comparative Study Of Early States:
Decline and transformation of the Indus
Causes of a general nature:
Environmental changes-climate, precipitation, and river courses
Massacres and Aryan invasions
Disruptions and changes in intercultural trade
Shifting regional histories, transformations, and decline-causes of a local nature Upper Indus (cemetery H/late Harappan)
Lower Indus-late Harappan and Jhukar styles
Post-urban/late Harappan: the Ghaggar-Hakra (Cholistan and Northwest India)
Post-urban/late Harappan-Kutch, Gujarat, and Sorath Harappan
Borderland regions-Afghanistan and Baluchistan (west and southern margins)
Collapse, transition, or transformation-culture traits and political structure
Cycles of change or breakdown of society
Indus civilization in comparative perspective:
Harappan economy and society
Indus urbanism and city-states