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Indus Civilization Writing System research paper

Indus Civilization Writing System research paper:
Early civilization was first witnessed in parts of Asia and Middle East. Egyptians and Sumerians were some of the oldest people to develop in the world. In East and South Asia similar developments were being implemented along river bends and valleys. Some of these oldest developments were being carried out in the Yellow River valley, China. Here, the rich silt from Northern China provided the ideal grounds for civilization. The first Asian civilization was witnessed in the Indus River Valley. This civilization was witnessed in the 3rd millennium B.C (Kenoyer 7). This was more than a millennium prior to the Yellow River development. This civilization is also known as Harappan culture and can be categorized in the Bronze Age development together with Egypt and Mesopotamia.

Ravi or Harappan stage was the first to be witnessed in the Indus development. The phase got its name tribute to a river in the vicinity called Ravi River. This Ravi stage lasted for approximately one thousand years. On River Hakra another phase came after Ravi. The phase was known as the Hakra stage. The last phase was known as the Kot Diji phase. In Ravi and Kot Diji stage, settlements some discoveries were made of early writing. These writings were dated back to 3300-2800BC together with the Egypt and Mesopotamian writings.

These civilizations covered the whole of present day Pakistan and significant parts of both India and modern Afghanistan. Indus got its name from the Indus River which provided the Indus with water to irrigate and for their domestic use. The silt in the valley provided the fertile soils for agriculture (Kenoyer 26). The strategic position of the Indus valley helped in maintaining security. The Deccan plateau and the Himalayas protected the Indus from attacks from other people. The estimated area was about 1,250,000 km squared. Some of these examples of this extended development were parts of north Afghanistan in Shortughai and Hindon near Delhi in India. The population regarding all these areas was estimated to have reached the heights of about 4.5 million people. Most of this civilization is not fully known to people since it was forgotten till in the early 20th century. Writings of these developments still aren’t well scrutinized by humans and remains unidentified. Like its rival civilization, Indus disappeared in a mystery. It is accounted to the disastrous events during the time and the early invasions from their rivals. Most facts remain unknown to people about this civilization; like the language spoken by the people during this development is a mystery, no one can tell exactly the names of these people (Mughal 88). This is in contrast with Early Egypt and Mesopotamia civilizations.

Most of the people lived in enclosed cities where they could get access to the basic needs more easily. The Indus valley had a number of settlements which were referred to as cities. The residents of these cities were mostly traders and artisans. Trade was more defined here with people from the outside coming to bring their good here. The foreign materials were used for construction of city seals, ornaments for the dwellers and other household goods (Ratnagar 49). The beads made were impressive and were used to make ornaments for the wealthy city dwellers. The seals comprised of images of their gods and animals they reared. Trade goods were well trademarked with these seals. The owners of the goods wanted to maintain the originality of their goods to avoid counterfeits. This gives us the sense of early standardization that still guides production up to today. Goods in our modern trade have to possess a trade mark seal to verify that is original. It’s truly the epicenter of urban society with all the houses in the Indus getting access to water and a good drainage system to maintain the emphasized hygiene.

Technologically, most advancement was witnessed in agriculture. But there in Indus area, controversies with some scholars indicating that food was brought to the Indus from foreign land is still heated. Other archeologist like G.Shaffer argued that agriculture was indigenous in the Indus valley. The people here used mostly wheat and cereals. Barley was also a major ingredient in the food used by the Indus. The fertile Indus soil can give a supporting hand on this. The land here was also productive due to the adequate water for irrigation from the rivers in these areas. The agriculture as the studies suggests must have been enough to feed a large number of people in the Indus valley. Technology in agriculture must also have borrowed some aspect here. The plough was also used in this valley for cultivating the land. Although there is no evidence of a defined system of irrigation, the frequent floods might have been used to water the crops in the fields (Ratnagar 63). The Indus must have dug canals to divert water to build small lands that were managed by small number of people unlike in most early civilizations that people were forced to work on lager rice plantations.

Moreover, the act of water harvesting was practiced in the Indus valley. This was a major step forward on the modern technology in agriculture where the water stored can be used to grow crops. Studies have shown presence of some reservoirs on the Indus valley. The people in this civilization depended on the monsoon winds which made the weather pattern to provide rainfall for only four months in a year (Thapar 28). The stored water was hence used the dry periods of the year for both domestic and agriculture use.

Inclusive of all these advancement scripting and writing was also developed by the Indus. The rocky terrain and metal availability in the valley was a major influence to invention of these writings. In Indus valley, several writings have been found .The oldest and most prominent writings were several forms of seals. The seals are still in good conditions and the written material is quite visible. These seals were made of metal or rock curved in some shapes and writings scripted on them. Seals were useful to the Indus as they were used to mark their belongings and trade goods. Since clay and other malleable were widely used here, seals were very important in making impressions on them.

Most of these seals have being around the world of archeologists but very little have been heard from them depicting what the seals represented. The progress on finding the truth about these well-designed writings cannot be wholly seen as blame on the scholars. The earlier used clues by archeologist to decipher the writings were all missing in the Indus scripts. The writings were small and brief bearing 5 symbols as the mean number of writings per seal. The mammoth but few seals had up to 26 symbols. Language that the Indus used is a mystery and no one knows the meaning of a single symbol in the seals. Texts in these seals were not bilingual.

Scholars have come up with different theories to try and uncover this mystery. The first one was just a little acknowledgment on the non prior or present existence of such a language. Some said that the language was Aryan. This is a mixture of several languages; Indian, Iranian, Indonesian and English. Since most Northern Indians spoke Indo-European so the people here in the Indus Valley might have spoken old Indo-European language (Ratnagar 49). Although this might seem like a slight break through, the major short coming is giving to the fact that Indo-European cultures used horses in all their transportation purposes and none was discovered on the seals or the remains of horses on the Indus soil.

Furthermore, archeologist yet came up with another theory which stated that the language was Dravidian. This language is spoken mostly in South India. This theory can be seen as the closest one to uncovering this mystery. The Vedic texts have shows some considerable influence of the Dravidian language. It’s thought that the Aryan replaced the Dravidian. The Dravidian might have formed the basis of what is currently spoken by Indians. A feature like the retroflex consonants in Indian pronunciations is some but a few evidence supporting this theory. There is also the structural examination that shows the Dravidian presence in Indus valley texts. The analysis simply states the possible agglutinative nature of the language spoken in the Indus valley. The language here had a number of similar signs with different signals ranging from 1 to 3 per sign. The final signs acted as the suffixes to modify words giving them a new meaning. This is well displayed by the Dravidian language.

The language used by Indus had approximately 400 script symbols and about 200 signs. The script used must have been logo phonetic; signs were used for their real meaning and phonetic values. Most of the writings were in picture forms but the signs at the end changed the mother meaning of a word. With all these writings the Indus could possible and effectively communicate through scripted pieces of metal, reeds or rocks. The seals were mostly useful in trade arenas where they could be used to mark goods and be used as currencies, pass to some areas and so on.

The civilization of the Indus was a major step forward to what we enjoy today in terms of technology, and advancement in major fields of our lives. Ranging in all dimensions of food, life style, and health education and scripting information on materials in our modern world. The Indus mostly feed on bread made of wheat. Barley and rice were also used as food in the Indus valley. Fruits were many in this area, consisting of peas, dates with some areas melons being grown for nutrition. This is the life style in Middle East; these foods are still eaten today there and all over the world (Thapar 28). With all these contributions to the civilization of the world the Indus made a major step forward towards the urbanization of most parts of the world. The trade, city planning, transportation and agriculture made it possible to have our modern cities and have strategies to manage their lives in a mannerly way.

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Oct 13, 2011

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