Indus Age: The Beginnings

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University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999 - History - 1063 pages

About 4,500 years ago a great civilization arose on the plains of the Indus Valley, in what is now Pakistan and India. Known as the Indus or Harappan civilization, it began as a collection of villages and farming communities and developed into a complex urban society that flourished from about 2600 to 2000 B.C. The Indus civilization was the largest of the Old World's ancient complex societies, larger than either the Mesopotamian or the Egyptian, but it is not nearly so well known as its smaller neighbors.

Indus Age: The Beginnings is part of a projected four-volume series on the whole of ancient Harappan history. It tells the story of the modern discovery of the Harappan civilization, starting in the early nineteenth century, when the city of Harappa was visited by antiquarians with little understanding of the ancient history of Pakistan or India. The realization that the sites dated from the Bronze Age, and were contemporary with those of the Sumerians, came as late as 1924, and important archaeological discoveries continued to be made in the area, under the guidance of Sir Mortimer Wheeler, until 1947.

The second half of the book discusses the cultural geography of the greater Indus area and traces a cultural history of the peoples of the Indus Age from the beginnings of the domestication of plants and animals to the threshold of civilization in the area. In so doing, Gregory Possehl constructs an innovative, comprehensive chronology for the region, building on the gazetteer of archaeological sites the author has developed over the past decade. Possehl's discussion of the early Neolithic communities and the early Harappan stage, in particular, represents a significant new contribution to the study of the Harappan Civilization.

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Great work on Indus valley culture, Its setting, maturity and transformation. I strongly recommend this book for study to any one interested in any capacity to Harappan culture. It summarizes all previous literature in logical setting. I have no doubts in admitting Possehl's work as an authority on Indus valley civilization.  


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About the author (1999)

Gregory L. Possehl (1941-2011) was Professor and Chair of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania and Curator-in-Charge of the Asia Section of the University of Pennsylvania Museum. He is the author of Indus Age: The Writing System, among other books.

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