Wednesday, September 14, 2011

13. Indus Seal (Pakistan, 4000-2000 BC)

Peace and good plumbing!
Nobody knew anything about the Indus Valley Civilization, the big cities at Harappa and Moheno-Daro, until 1924; hitherto, historians and archeologists had known about the Nile and the Tigris/Euphrates. No one has yet figured out the writing of the Indus people, so we still don’t really know very much about them—for instance, on this little label-maker (used to make a mark on wax), are the glyphs at the top some kind of writing, or just decorative, and if so what do they mean? They haven’t found any tombs from this civilization, just the buried city locations, and from what I understand they’re remarkable mostly as wonders of urban planning. Huge, cookie-cutter housing developments (reminds me of some suburbs I know), good plumbing, hygiene, and bathing facilities all the way across, and no indication that “The wealthy live here, the poor over there.” Was it a civilization that wasn’t about dividing people up into high and low status? (How could such a thing exist? It hasn’t, since.) And why did they suddenly vanish? “Climate change,” say most authorities. Ah, mysteries…

No comments:

Post a Comment