The Harappan Civilization

Denay Taylor, Melissa Mukuna, and Emily Sedgwick

Where Did the Harappan People Live?

The Harappan people lived in now Pakistan and Western India, in a place more commonly known as the Indus Valley. Below contains more of the specifics.


  • Located the most in modern Pakistan and northwestern India, but artifacts of these people were also found in Egypt, Afghanistan, and Iran

  • Were in rich lands surrounded by highlands, oceans, and desert

  • Small colonies have been found in Turkmenistan and Gujarat

  • At one time, could have population of 5 million (gives an idea of the size)

  • Could have 1,056 cities and settlements or more

What Was the Culture of The Harappans?

Not much is known of the religious Harappan culture being that much of their ancient literature is still untranslated. It is believed that their religion and culture largely incorporated cows because they were used as a staple food (along with wheat). For example, the amount of cows along with land that a person had might of contributed to wealth and status held within the community.

It has been observed that the gods of this culture (portrayed on pottery and sculptors) share many similarities with the gods of other cultures. For example, there was a mother goddess, and a three faced male god with horns like the Hindu god Shiva. The dead were buried with items, such as food, model people, and homes, which is similar to the ancient Egyptian culture.

Seals were a big part of this culture. Being so, fig trees may have been sacred to them, because they show up in many seals. (Seals also happen to be important to Hindu culture.)

These ancient peolple liked to play, and made toys from baked clay. Most children worked around the house, although some may have went to school, seeing as there were scribes. However, it isn’t known whether or not everyone went to school. Lastly, there have been preserved paw prints found in homes, so people could have owned pets, from monkeys, birds, and goats to lizards and snakes.

How Did They Run Their Society?

There isn't really much evidence supporting any one theory of a government.

The theories include:

1)There was one ruler, being that there is a very common consistency of the style of structures built; brick size, settlements

2)There were several rulers, meaning that the civilization was split up into different parts, and each part was ruled over by a different person

3)There were no rulers. Much wasn't said on whether or not there was some type of democracy, but being that there was harmony among the people, for the most part, and that they styles of the communities are consistent, it is possible.

Was There Such a Thing As a Social Class or Status?

Yes! There were social classes. They could be divided into three categories:

1)Elite class

2)Middle class

3)Relatively weaker class (lived in towns that were generally fortified)

Major Contribution or Inventions

There were new developments in handicraft with carnelian (a red-brown mineral), seal carving and great advancements in metallurgy, which is related to the properties of metals like copper, bronze, lead, and tin. The Harappan Civilization, apart of the of the Indus Valley cities, is known for its urban planning, baked brick houses, complex drainage systems, water supply systems, and groups of sizable non-residential structures.

Occupations of the Harapen People

Many of the jobs of the Harappan people included fishing, making tools, pottery, and weapons, and weaving cotton into clothes. Since seals and many different types of architecture were common, it is safe to say that there were occupations corresponding with the other characteristics of the civilizatio, listed.

What Was Eaten?

A very large variety of foods were eaten by the Harappan people. The staple food (food that makes up dominant part of the populations diet, are normally eaten regularly) of this early civilization is wheat. Being that these early people enjoyed splendor, their tastes didn't only reside to wheat. They enjoyed other foods such as barely, dates, maize (corn), rice, fish mutton, and poultry such as chicken, pork, and even turtles.

Did They Interact With Other Civilizations?

The Harappan economy depended mainly on the trading and bartering with other civilizations such as Iran and Turkmenistan. Artifacts from this civilization have also been found in places as far out as Egypt and Crete. Although this theory is still being disputed, it is said that The Harappan civilization along with many other nearby cities might have been overthrown by the Aryans.


It is believed that the Harappan people used more of a bartering and trading system, rather than currency.