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larging our knowledge of this early civilization.2) Particularly important have been the long-continued recent excavations at Harappa3) and Dholavira.

The Indus Civilization came into being as the result of a long cultural evolution in the Indo-Iranian borderlands. From the first stage of development,4) about 7000–4300 BCE, some twenty relatively small Neolithic villages are known, practically all in highland valleys. People raised cattle, sheep and goats. They cultivated wheat and barley, and stored it in granaries. Pottery was handmade, and human and bovine figurines attest to fertility cults. Ornaments reflect small-scale local trade.

Stage two, about 4300–3200 BCE, is Chalcolithic. Village size grew to dozens of hectares. Settlements spread eastwards beyond the Indus to Cholistan to the delta of the ancient Sarasvati river, apparently with seasonal migrations. Copper tools were made, and pottery became wheel-thrown and beautifully painted. Ceramic similarities with south- ern Turkmenistan and northern Iran also suggest considerable mobility and trade.

Stage three is the Early Harappan period about 3200–2600 BCE. Many new sites came into existance, also in the Indus Valley, which was a challenging environment on account of the yearly floods, while the silt made the fields very fertile. Communal granaries disappeared, and large storage jars appeared in house units. Potter’s marks suggest private ownership, and stamp seals bearing geometrical motifs point to devel-

opment in administration. Irrigation canals were constructed, and ad- ______________________________

2) The results are being collected in a book series in progress called The Indus Age by Gregory L. Possehl, with a monumental volume on The Beginnings (1999). Possehl has recently produced a summary for the general public (2002). Several other good surveys have come out during the past few years as well: Jansen et al. 1991; Kenoyer 1998; Indus Civilization Exhibition, 2000; McIntosh 2002. There are also two good websites, one of them in Japan, providing up-to-date information: http://www.harappa.com; http://bosei.cc.u-tokai.ac.jp/˜indus/english/index.html.

3) See reports of the Harappa excavations by Meadow et al. and http://www.harappa. com.

4) I am following here the periodization suggested by Possehl (2002).


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