The Mature Indus Tradition was a state-level society without a standing army found in Pakistan and in northwest India from 4600-3900 BP (2600-1900 BC). Subsistence was mainly based on agriculture and animal husbandry. There was a five-tiered settlement hierarchy with regional cities at the top. Large public structures include: massive brick foundation platforms and city walls; waterproof tanks, wells and drainage systems; and buildings called granaries, although their function is unknown. It was a time of regional cultural integration, as seen in art and technology, and of inter-regional and long-distance trade. Seals, sealings, writing, and standardized weights were used, as well as an advanced pyrotechnology evident in ceramic, stone, and metal.
Select the Tradition Summary link above for a longer description of the culture.
Asia --South Asia
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Documents referred to in this section are included in the eHRAF Archaeology collection and are referenced by author, date of publication, and title where necessary.
The Mature Indus tradition is located in the Indus Valley in Pakistan, in northwest India including the state of Gujarat, and in northeastern Afghanistan. It occurred from 4600–3900 BP.
Four documents provide overviews of the tradition: Allchin and Allchin (1997), Kenoyer (1998), and Possehl (2002). Possehl (1992) concentrates on the Sorath Harappans found in the Indian state of Gujarat.
There are multiple excavation reports for sites, including ones pertaining to the discovery of the tradition in the early 1920s such as Vats (1940) at Harappa, and Marshall et al. (1931) and Mackay (1938) at Mohenjo-daro. More recent excavations at Harappa are summarized in Dales et al. (1991) and in Meadow and Kenoyer (1994, 1997, 2005). The history of archaeological excavations at Harappa are discussed in Dales (1991 "Project Director's introduction") and Possehl (1991).
Other specialized reports are: Hemmy (1938 “System of weights” and “Relation to Egyptian and Sudan weights”); Dales (1991 "Some specialized ceramic studies…") and Wright (1991) examine ceramic technology; Belcher (1991) writes about fish remains and Meadow (1991) covers other faunal remains; Miller (1991) describes botanical remains; Amundson and Pendall (1991) explore the environmental context of Harappa; Kenoyer (1991) tests models of urban development at Harappa. Seals and their possible revelations about religious practices are examined by Dhyansky (1987) and Hiltebeitel (1978).
For further information on individual works in this collection, see the abstracts in the citations preceding each document.
Bronze ( artifacts, metallurgy) – use "NONFERROUS METAL INDUSTRIES ( 328 )"
City gates – see Gateways
City walls – use "PUBLIC STRUCTURES ( 344 )" for construction, description ; – use "MASONRY ( 333 )" for brick types ; – use "SETTLEMENT PATTERNS ( 361 )" for presence, distribution ; – use "REGULATION OF TRAVEL ( 486 )" for control of access to a city
Ethnicity – use "RACIAL IDENTIFICATION ( 144 )" for biological diversity ; – use "CULTURAL PARTICIPATION ( 184 )" for differences in dress, artifacts, etc. ; – use "INTER - ETHNIC RELATIONS ( 629 )" for interactions
Family burial plots – use "LINEAGES ( 613 )"
Gateways – use "STREETS AND TRAFFIC ( 363 )" for presence/absence ; – use "PUBLIC STRUCTURES ( 344 )" for description ; – use "MASONRY ( 333 )" for brick types ; – use "REGULATION OF TRAVEL ( 486 )" for control of access
Incense-burner – use "PRAYERS AND SACRIFICES ( 782 )"
Kutch ( Kacch, Kachchh, Katch, Kuchchh, Rann of Kutch, Great Rann of Kutch, Little Rann of Kutch ) – seasonal salt marsh – use "LOCATION ( 131 )" for geographic position ; – use "TOPOGRAPHY AND GEOLOGY ( 133 )" for environmental characteristics
Maritime activity – use "ROUTES ( 487 )"
Massacre – use "BURIAL PRACTICES AND FUNERALS ( 764 )"
Perimeter wall – see City walls
Raan of Kutch – see Kaach
Ringstones – large stone rings, possibly bases for wood columns – use "CONSTRUCTION ( 331 )"
Terracotta cake – shaped ceramic nodule – use "CERAMIC TECHNOLOGY ( 323 )" for function in retaining/dissipating heat ; – use "FOOD PREPARATION ( 252 )" for use in baking bread ; – use "CONSTRUCTION ( 331 )" for use as gravel, crushed
Wasserluxus – symbolism of water ( German: "water splendor.") – use "ETHNOGEOGRAPHY ( 823 )"
Yoga – use "THEOLOGICAL SYSTEMS ( 779 )"
Yoga positions – use "ASCETICISM ( 785 )"