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makes the Indus Civilization strikingly different from its counterparts for instance in Mesopotamia and Egypt. Another reason is the Harappan concern for civic amenities such as wells and drains, with the result that their cities attest to considerable social egality. It is thought that the political power was less centralized and more corporate.7)

Development of water traffic made it possible to transport heavy loads along the rivers, and to start direct sea trade with the Gulf and Mesopotamia. Over thirty Indus seals and other materials of Harappan origin, such as stained carnelian beads, have been found in Western Asia. On the other hand, a single Gulf seal excavated at the Harappan port town of Lothal is the only object of clearly Western Asiatic origin discovered in the Greater Indus Valley.

Around 2000–1900 BCE the Indus Civilization came to an end in the Indus Valley, although it lingered some centuries longer in Gujarat and Maharashtra. Multiple reasons are assumed to have caused this down- fall of urban life, which led also to the disappearance of the Indus script. The Harappans are estimated to have numbered about one million. This population continued to live, but the culture gradually changed. One important factor of change was that new people started coming to Greater Indus Valley. First among these were the long-time neighbours of the Indus Civilization, people of the Bactria and Margiana Archaeo-

logical Complex (c. 2600–1400 BCE).8) ______________________________

7) Cf. Possehl 2002: 56–57, 148–149. — One could compare the ‘republics’ of northeastern India in early historical times, governed by a gana or samgha, and described by Sharma (1968). They have roots in Vedic times, when “the many ra$ jan-s . . . denied permanent overlordship to any in their midst” (Scharfe 1989: 233; cf. Sharma 1968: 8–12). “According to a later Buddhist tradition there were 7,007 r$ajan-s in Vais& a$ li ruling jointly through their assembly; K[autilya’s] A[rthas& a$ rastra] XI 1, 5 speaks of the men of the samgha-s that live on the title r$ajan” (Scharfe 1989: 233). Strabo (Geography 15,1,37), referring to anonymous writers in the plural (Megasthenes is mentioned as the source in the next sentence), states: “They tell also of a kind of aristocratic order of government that was composed outright of five thousand counsellors, each of whom furnishes the [[new]] commonwealth with an elephant” (tr. Jones 1930: VII, 65; I suggest deleting the word new in Jones’ translation of tôi koinôi) (cf. Scharfe 1989: 233, n. 24).

8) For the BMAC, see especially Sarianidi 1986; 1990; 1998a; 1998b; 2001; 2002; 2005; Amiet 1986; Hiebert 1994; Kosarev et al. (eds.) 2004 [2005]; for new evidence from


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