Indus Civilization At Least 8,000 Years Old, Not 5,500: Scientists


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It may be time to rewrite history textbooks. Scientists from IIT-Kharagpur and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) have uncovered evidence that the Indus Valley Civilization is at least 8,000 years old, and not 5,500 years old, taking root well before the Egyptian (7000BC to 3000BC) and Mesopotamian (6500BC to 3100BC) civilizations. What’s more, the researchers have found evidence of a pre-Harappan civilization that existed for at least 1,000 years before this.

The discovery, published in the prestigious ‘Nature’ journal on May 25, may force a global rethink on the timelines of the so-called ‘cradles of civilization’. The scientists believe they also know why the civilization ended about 3,000 years ago — climate change.

“We have recovered perhaps the oldest pottery from the civilization. We used a technique called ‘optically stimulated luminescence’ to date pottery shards of the Early Mature Harappan time to nearly 6,000 years ago and the cultural levels of pre-Harappan Hakra phase as far back as 8,000 years,” said Anindya Sarkar, head of the department of geology and geophysics at IIT-Kgp.

The team had actually set out to prove that the civilization proliferated to other Indian sites like Bhirrana and Rakhigarrhi in Haryana, apart from the known locations of Harappa and Mohenjo Daro in Pakistan and Lothal, Dholavira and Kalibangan in India. They took their dig to an unexplored site, Bhirrana — and ended up unearthing something much bigger. The excavation also yielded large quantities of animal remains like bones, teeth, horn cores of cow, goat, deer and antelope, which were put through Carbon 14 analysis to decipher antiquity and the climatic conditions in which the civilization flourished, said Arati Deshpande Mukherjee of Deccan College, which helped analyse the finds along with Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad.

The researchers believe that the Indus Valley Civilization spread over a vast expanse of India — stretching to the banks of the now “lost” Saraswati river or the Ghaggar-Hakra river – but this has not been studied enough because what we know so far is based on British excavations. “At the excavation sites, we saw preservation of all cultural levels right from the pre-Indus Valley Civilization phase (9000-8000 BC) through what we have categorised as Early Harappan (8000-7000BC) to the Mature Harappan times,” said Sarkar.

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While the earlier phases were represented by pastoral and early village farming communities, the mature Harappan settlements were highly urbanised with organised cities, and a much developed material and craft culture. They also had regular trade with Arabia and Mesopotamia. The Late Harappan phase witnessed large-scale de-urbanisation, drop in population, abandonment of established settlements, lack of basic amenities, violence and even the disappearance of the Harappan script, the researchers say.

“We analysed the oxygen isotope composition in the bone and tooth phosphates of these remains to unravel the climate pattern. The oxygen isotope in mammal bones and teeth preserve the signature of ancient meteoric water and in turn the intensity of monsoon rainfall. Our study shows that the pre-Harappan humans started inhabiting this area along the Ghaggar-Hakra rivers in a climate that was favourable for human settlement and agriculture. The monsoon was much stronger between 9000 years and 7000 years from now and probably fed these rivers making them mightier with vast floodplains,” explained Deshpande Mukherjee.

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Indus Valley Evolved Even as Monsoon Declined

They took their dig to an unexplored site, Bhirrana — and ended up unearthing something much bigger. The excavation also yielded large quantities of animal remains like bones, teeth, horn cores of cow, goat, deer and antelope, which were put through Carbon 14 analysis to decipher antiquity and the climatic conditions in which the civilization flourished, said Arati Deshpande Mukherjee of Deccan College, which helped analyse the finds along with Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad.

The researchers believe that the Indus Valley Civilization spread over a vast expanse of India — stretching to the banks of the now “lost” Saraswati river or the Ghaggar-Hakra river — but this has not been studied enough because what we know so far is based on British excavations. “At the excavation sites, we saw preservation of all cultural levels right from the pre-Indus Valley Civilisation phase (9,000-8,000 years ago) through what we have categorised as Early Harappan (8,000-7,000 years ago) to the Mature Harappan times,” said Sarkar.

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The late Harappan phase witnessed large-scale de-urbanisation, drop in population, abandonment of established settlements, violence and even the disappearance of the Harappan script, the researchers say. The study revealed that monsoon started weakening 7,000 years ago but, surprisingly, the civilization did not disappear.

The Indus Valley people were very resolute and flexible and continued to evolve even in the face of declining monsoon. The people shifted their crop patterns from large-grained cereals like wheat and barley during the early part of intensified monsoon to drought-resistant species like rice in the latter part. As the yield diminished, the organised large storage system of the Mature Harappan period gave way to more individual household-based crop processing and storage systems that acted as a catalyst for the de-urbanisation of the civilization rather than an abrupt collapse, they say.

Source: Times of India

21 comments on "Indus Civilization At Least 8,000 Years Old, Not 5,500: Scientists"

  1. pns mani says:

    While the info is interesting, there is NO need to “estimate” the date running back to thousands of years before – plenty of Imagination used in process, for sure; I had opportunity to accompany an archaeologist and Forest officer long time ago – in 1950s – on a tour to confrim some ancient civilization documents and had long discussion with them; could find Pali script on rocks, and deep down images of deities in part BUT how to establish the period ? they agree quite a lot of imagination had to be used ALSO to fit in data with findings !!
    Let us carry on with good work on topic, but not seek pride over discovery !

  2. Krishna says:

    So what is the advantage we get now? India is riding on top of every crime and other bad things in the world. Nor we are advanced in any other good field.

  3. advani chanderban ghanshamdas yokohama chandru says:

    we are proude and proud and keep our cheek upwards

  4. K.S.Subramanian says:

    The more and more I learn of our glorious past more and more I am ashamed of our present state of affairs of our country, our politicians and people as a whole.

  5. narayana says:

    Time to rewrite Indian History candidly.

  6. Rana says:

    Yes , Indian Civilizations is very old more older than 10,000.year´s …. We must be Proud … on Vedic Civilization ….

    Thanks,

    Rana

  7. m.v.rao says:

    sie,
    in case i want to know the antiquity ages of particular item, where and whom i have to approach. in case of an idol in a temple is to be assessed the antiquity ages. what is the procedure.
    with regards.
    mvrao
    29th may 2016

  8. Bhavik says:

    Truth is what realized sages revealed. 1st,
    It is not 13.8 Billion years, it has been trillions of years for universe, passing through infinite cycles per nature of Tridevs. Earth is 500 millions years old, civilization is 200 millions of years old. Actual Kailasha is 900 Million light years away. Another earth like planets is over 550 M light yrs away. So any of these dating is false per ever changing and inconsistent scientific theories. Influence of cosmos is evident within each soul. Vedic based Hindu religion is the only one has obtain knowledge of real Gods, not man turned in to God like JC or M.. I have nothing against them but While they follow their single claimed books while ours follows self sufficient truth which cannot be denied upon which many books have been written to your abilities and experience. Other religions didn’t even know Sun being the center let alone believe it is alive consist of soul, worthy of worship like many other. Before there was single continent and bharatiya vedic culture and implied (swanantra) freedom oriented path of many Hindu religion then came the divisions. 2nd, measurements per B.C. is a western man made idea to dictate their religious terms on all deliberately calculated to mislead real history discoveries. Accurate calendar is Vikram S per cosmos and our existence in this solar system. 3rd, India has been mother of all languages, culture and religion yet people of India are critical nor appreciate because they are possessed by the asuras leading the falsehood measurements, ideas etc.

  9. T SIVAPRAKASDAM says:

    It is very good to establish the Indian history is more than 8,000 years. But if go thru the Bhagvatham we can find the history very clearly.But the civilized or agangharam of lot of people in India accepts the history written by foolish British people since they ruled us.Now the govt. has to take up systematically to rewrite the history of India.

  10. I.Venushankar, C/E says:

    Dear Sir
    Good day
    Today’s subject found good.
    Indian Civilizations is very old more older than 10,000 Year´s We must be Proud on Vedic Civilization ….

    Thanks,

  11. Prof.Dr.Dileep Wani says:

    Is Andronovo culture older than Indus Valley culture ?
    Prof.Dr.Dileep Wani
    Pune,Maharashta,India

  12. Gray Eagle - Robert says:

    India is the mother of us all.
    Wonderful if they could rise up and sweep all the modern corruption away and revert to the old ways.

  13. B K B Rao says:

    I was always saying that most of our culture and literature ended in the last ice age remaining in Mahabharata battle Distorted history and modern secularists are first to degrade India followed the path of Mekauley and others but not the present researches.one TN minister even wanted to dredge the Rama Sethu.Secularism should not be. obstruction to teach our old glory and puranas. Why these so called universal lovers question Muslim nations to adopt secularism?Today you can send man and bring back him from Moon similarly inolden days saints visualisedthe things from distant plants and travelled mentally and physically but all vanished Being a retired prof from IIT’Kharagpur I wish many more discoveries

  14. RamjamTR says:

    As long as Corrupt politicians rule this country I dont foresee any improvement There is total lack of discipline Which need to be cultivated in every individual and it is possible only by a dictatorial administration by a great Guru. There should be complete modification in the electoral practices and I feel Adult franchise should be replaced by Tax paying responsible citizens who contribute to the development of the country and the people. The ruling party should leave the Govt 90 days before the election and the administration should be handed over to the Governor The laws are never implemented and the corrupt go unpunished There must be capital punishment for murders and rape and similar severe crimes Once the culprit is sentenced the sentence should be carried out in letter and no sympathetic pardons and premature release on some VIPs birth day/independence day/republic day etc, Our Motherland can progress only when the reservations and minority status is completely removed and equal opportunity for EVERY CITIZEN is assured All admissions ,job appointments, promotions etc only on the basis of qualifications. The minority status, reservations are created for the sole purpose of politicians survival and vote banking. The country has gone to …….. because of this reservations, minority advantages etc. All should be give equal opportunity in every aspect. Every one including law makers,judiciary,ministers all are accountable

  15. natarajan.s says:

    It is thrilling to study of our ancient civilization and it is also giving us feeling of sadness as our society had not improved to the glory of our oldest culture.Let us try and try to establish the feeling ONENESS among All.

  16. natarajan.s says:

    Study of our Ancient Civilization makes us to feel proud of our Nation.Our indian culture is the Best One and it should be mainted and followed by the Principles of Dharma.

  17. S Kalyanakrishnan says:

    Post independent India saw a PM who was more inclined to claim of an “egalitarian” outlook and contempt for anything from our glorious past. Sanskrit ,Vedic and Puranic literature was treated with contempt, not even getting the patronage that was available at the time of Mughals!!! Pseudo Historians like Thapar decided what history is to be taught! No significant importance to history of the Hindu rulers like vijayanagara and other dynasties, many of whom had at points of time had more prominence than the Moghuls. Tipu sultan who wrecked Hindus, plundered temples and resulted in mass killings and forced conversions, was white-washed and picturised as ‘Martyr’ who fought the British!!!
    All these call for a comprehensive rewriting of Indian history. Let that effort be objective, without any bias to any prejudiced schools.
    Thanks for the scientific exposition of our true history by our scholars.

  18. K.N.Pandey says:

    Respected sir,
    Articles provided by Divine is very useful. I again request you to kindly provide articles in Hindi language.
    regards, Pandey

  19. vishnu says:

    Wonder full Article

  20. Sai Gopal says:

    Its really great to discover such things. With regard to dates of civilization, though we may not be able to find out correct date, we can take help of scientific methods such as carbon dating etc to find out how old these structures are. Good article.

  21. vejan says:

    … Indian / Vedic history has been rewritten. … Please check out the page-link – Ithihaasa – on Facebook.

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