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You Are Here: Home > Essay Topics > History Essays and Research Papers > Ancient World History  > Essay on The Indus Valley Civilization (c. 2500 B.C.-c. 1500 B.C.)

  Ancient World History

Essay on The Indus Valley Civilization (c. 2500 B.C.-c. 1500 B.C.)

As early as 6000 B.C., villages began appearing in the valley formed by the Indus River. The town of Mehrgarh, for instance, was a small settlement at the foot of the mountains separating the subcontinent from what is now Iran and Afghanistan. It appears that the people of Mehrgarh domesticated (tamed) sheep, goats, and cattle; grew various grains; used stone tools; and may have engaged in trade (exchange of goods) with peoples in surrounding areas.

Eventually these villagers moved southward, into the flood plains created by the Indus, where the soil was better for farming. This better physical environment made possible the establishment of walled cities containing thousands of people. Technology advanced: from making tools of stone, the craftsmen of the Indus Valley began creating knives, axes, and arrows from copper. They also produced pottery and small figures of male and female deities.

As to exactly who the people or peoples of the Indus Valley were--that is, their place of origin and their ethnicity--historians know little. The Indo-Europeans who later invaded the area described them primarily by the ways in which they differed from themselves. Whereas the Indo-Europeans were Caucasians ("white," in everyday terms), they referred to the inhabitants of the Indus Valley as "people with a black skin." It is also apparent that the Indus Valley peoples had flatter noses than those of the Indo-Europeans, who called them "noseless."

These terms suggest that the peoples of the Indus Valley may have shared some racial characteristics with the people who lived south of the Sahara Desert in Africa, however, there is no clear evidence that they came from that part of the world. What is clear is that the Indo-Europeans looked down on the peoples they conquered. Yet the Indus Valley civilization was one of the most advanced in all of human history.

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