Indus Valley Civilisation: ask the expert

Posted January 13th, 2010 by Andrea Vianello

A rare opportunity for students of Indian archaeology has just come to my attention: Harappa.com is organising an “Ask the Expert” event.  A panel of experts including Asko Parapola, Iravatham Mahadevan, Richard Meadow, Shereen Ratnagar, Rita Wright and others will answer many of the questions that can be presented until the end of January 2010 through Facebook. A few topics have been listed to match the comptencies of the panel of experts, any serious question is welcome. Please try to make your question as clear and specific as possible. Answers will appear at http://www.harappa.com/ in February-March, 2010. (e.g. not on the facebook page which is for posting questions only).

Possible topics for questions:

  • Origins of the Civilization
  • The people of the Indus Valley
  • Technology and Skills
  • Governance and Daily Life
  • Indus Script and Language
  • Internal and External Trade
  • Urbanisation and City Architecture
  • Decline of the Indus Civilization

I would like also to mention a book that I have only recently managed to access: Trading Encounters by Shereen Ratnagar, published by Oford University Press India in 2005, ISBN 9780195680881. It has been reviewed in the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, 2009, 38: 2, pp. 429-430. The books is an excellent resource for learning about Third Millennium BC trade between India and Mesopotamia and it contains some general considerations on ancient trade as well. This is a very interesting and important area of research. Recent research (Archaeological, Linguistic and Historical Sources on Ancient Seafaring, 2009, ISBN 9789048127191) has revealed “An increasing weight of evidence (…) that the three main bodies of water that surround Arabia – the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea – not only offered a rich resource base for thousands of years of human occupation in the subcontinent, but also witnessed some of the world’s earliest seafaring and maritime exchange activities. Evidence for maritime contact over long distances is for this arena also amongst the oldest in the world”.