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Keywords: Indus Valley Civilization, Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro, Lothal, Indus Valley seals, Great Bath at Mohenjo-Daro, granary, Priest King statue, ancient civilizations, ancient urban settlements, ancient artifacts, interpreting artifacts, archaeologist, trade, barter, medium of exchange, city-state, primary and secondary sources of data, AD/CE, BC/BCE, climate change
Children are often fascinated by the pyramids of Egypt and many know and relish all kinds of information and facts about that era. The remains from the Indus Valley Civilization are from roughly the same period. The links and information compiled here are about the people who lived from 3500 to 1700 BCE in the Indus Valley in modern day Pakistan and India and other countries of the region. The people of this region developed a sophisticated and technologically advanced urban culture. There is archaeological evidence of urban planning, a system of uniform weights and measures, city wide drainage systems in the settlements and knowledge of metallurgy.
The following are links to videos, slide shows, museums, online educational games and more.
What is a Civilization? Some questions and talking points: View slides of artifacts and aspects of life from Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa and ask children of different ages these questions.
A Time Line of Ancient History: When did the people of the Indus Valley Civilization, the ancient Greeks and the Romans live? The time line is interactive and you can add your own events. Click on each bar to see details.
Go on an expedition with famous explorer Professor Indus
(Find the game under Activities on the page at
Meet Professor Indus. He is on a mission to find the ancient city of Mohenjo-Daro. Join him on his mission. Professor Indus and you go on a mission to find the city of Mohenjo-Daro, explore the site when find it, dig for artifacts, put them in a museum and find out about the mysterious priest king.
(Image reproduced with permission of the BBC)
A day with a bread maker's son in an ancient city: Read a fictional story about a boy living around 2100 BCE. The story is based on artifacts found at an Indus Valley excavation site. From the British Museum.
Extensive teacher resources about the Indus Valley Civilization: There are extensive teacher resources at this link.
Children are often fascinated by the pyramids
of Egypt and many know and relish all kinds of information and
facts about that era.
The remains from the Indus Valley Civilization are from
roughly the same period.
The Indus Valley people
lived from 3500 to 1700 BCE in the Indus Valley in modern day
Pakistan and India and other countries of the region. The people of
this region developed a sophisticated and technologically advanced
urban culture. There is archaeological evidence of urban
planning, a system of uniform weights and measures, city wide
drainage systems in the settlements and knowledge of
This lesson complies links to videos, slide shows, museums,
online educational games along with talking points and discussion
prompts about the Indus Valley Civilization.
This lesson complies links to videos, slide shows, museums, online educational games along with talking points and discussion prompts about the Indus Valley Civilization.
Devised by Judith
Evans at Rosebery School in Loughborough.
In the village of Harappa (in
modern day Pakistan) there was a very old ruined castle built on a
hill. Nobody knew who had lived there but local legend said that it
had been the home of an evil Rajah (a kind of king), who had been
punished by the gods for the bad things he did, by a huge fire that
burned down his castle. The ruins had stood for hundreds of years
and children used to play on them.
Whenever visitors came they were shown the ruins.
In 1826 an English visitor called Charles Masson saw the
ruins. Some years later
another visitor, an archaeologist named Sir Alexander Cunningham,
visited Harappa, but the ruins had been knocked down and all that
was left was a huge mound of stones and rubble.
Four hundred miles away from Harappa was a large area of
ruined brick mounds.
The people who lived nearby thought that it was a very old burial
site, and called it Mohenjo-Daro or 'Mound of the Dead'.
Historians used to think that the oldest cities in India and
Pakistan were built in 500BCE.
Charles Masson was an English traveler who visited North West India
in 1823. He wrote about the things he saw: 'In Harappa a ruined
brick castle with very high walls and towers, built on a hill'.
In 1853 Sir Alexander Cunningham went to study the ruins in Harappa.
The buildings had been completely knocked down, but he looked very
carefully through everything he could see. He found some small
square stones that were very polished. They had engravings of
animals and designs that no-one in India had found before. In
the 1920s R D Banerji found polished stone seals just like the ones
at Harappa. He was excavating at Mohenjo-Daro, which was miles away
near the Indus River. He found these seals in the remains of a large
city and it was at least 3500 years old.
these early excavations more and more archaeological work has been
done in the Indus valley area. Thousands of settlements and some
cities have been found. They all have the stone seals and artifacts
just like the ones at Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro.
the British ruled India they built railways to make their lives
easier. An engineer called Robert Brunton ordered workers to knock
down some old walls and empty buildings. They laid the railway
tracks on the stones. In 1921 the Indian government paid an
archaeologist named Daya Ram Sahni, to find out more about Harappa.
A trench was dug along the top of a mound. In the bottom were
lots more of the stone seals like the ones Sir Alexander had found.
Mr. Sahni dug further down and found seven or eight layers of
houses, one on top of the other. It was an enormous city. It
was also a very old city, from about 2500 BCE. This meant that
it was as old as the pyramids in Egypt.
The cities at Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro had streets, baths and
storage for grain. In
the houses archaeologists found gold and silver objects, toys made
from stone and jewelry made from precious stones. Nobody knows much
about the people who lived in
the Indus valley 4500 years ago, but we do know they were
some of the first people on earth to live in cities.
How can we learn about the geographic features, government, agriculture, trade, architecture, music, arts, religion, roles of men, women and children in the sites of the Indus Valley?
How do you interpret archaeological evidence when there is no written record?
Think like a scholar as you compare maps, timelines, primary and secondary sources of data and multiple cause and effect criteria to explain historical events.
at some pictures in the slide show about toys, clothes, jewelry,
seals, drains, wells and buildings, figurines and pictures of the
‘priest king’.. (Choose slides from the index
http://www.harappa.com/indus3/slideindex.html ) Look at the
details of buildings, clothes, coins, toys and talk about them.
Listen to your child's answers and questions.
For young children:
What do you think their toys were like? Are they like your toys? What were they made of? Why?
Are their houses like ours?
For 2-5 graders:
Where is the Indus Valley?
How long ago did these cities exist?
What can we learn from the artifacts found there? e.g. the seals tell us that they had a written language.
What did they do with the seals?
Grades 6 and Up:
Encourage the older child to read the essay http://www.harappa.com/indus3/e1.html
What can we infer about the people and their way of
life from the buildings, city planning and absence of weapons?
What can we infer about trade and their contact with
the rest of the world from the seals and weights and measures found?
Updated March 2012