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Occupation & Trade of Harappa Civilization

Occupation & Trade:

Like other civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Greece, Indus valley grew on the floodplains of river Indus. The original cities and many of the towns seemed to have been built right upon the shores of the river.

The Harappans were agriculturalists, Their economy was entirely dominated by horticulture. There were massive granaries in each city. The Indus River valley was quite fertile when the Harappans thrived there. Many of the Harappan seals had pictures of animals that imply a wet and marshy environment, such as rhinoceroses, elephants, and tigers. The Harappans also had a wide variety of domesticated animals: camels, cats, dogs, goats, sheep, and buffalo.

Rainfall in Sind and Punjab was heavy. There is evidence of the cultivation of wheat, barley, peas, mustard, cotton and rice. Domesticated animals were kept in the house. Horse bones have also been discovered at Surkotda, indicating use of the animal. The main diet consisted of wheat, barley and milk products. Fruits, vegetables, fish and meat were also consumed. Music and dance appear to be the main sources of entertainment. The discovery of various equipments such as axes, knives, spears and daggers made of bronze and copper suggest metal work as a major profession commonly pursued in the towns. Copper was used for making weapons and utensils besides ornaments. Spinning, weaving and pottery also formed important occupation. Pottery in red with designs painted in black resembling shapes such as interesting circles, pipal, leaves, peacocks were on it. The discovery of numerous seals made of clay with figures of animals like the tiger, rhinoceros, elephant and crocodile gives us more information of the significance of these animals in the Harappan society. These seals also have inscriptions in pictographic script. Agriculture with domesticating animals was a major occupation. The location of granaries near river, where the civilization itself flourished was an important feature. Trade:

The Harappan cities were connected with rural agricultural communities and distant resource and mining areas through strong trade systems. They used animals river boats and bullock carts for transport. This trade is reflected in the widespread distribution of exquisite beads and ornaments, metal tools and pottery that were produced by specialized artisans in the towns and cities. The major commodities in internal trade consisted of Cotton, lumber, grain, livestock and other food stuffs. A highly standardized system of weights was used to control trade and also probably for collecting taxes.

The Indus valley people had also close commercial relation with Central Asia, the Arabian Gulf region and the distant Mesopotamian cities, such as Susa and Ur Excavations at Lothal reveals the existence of a dock supporting the activities of trade in that period. Trade also existed with Northern Afghanistan from where the Harappans bought the famous blue gemstones,` Lapiz Lazuli`.

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