We have been studying it all wrong – not only the date but also the cause of the decline of Indus Valley Civilization.
The Indus Valley Civilization, as a new study conducted jointly by students from IIT-Kharagpur and ASI reveals, is not 5300 years old but over 8000 years old!
This means that the Indus Valley Civilization is older than both the Mesopotamian (6500 BC–3800 BC) and Egyptian Civilizations (3200 BC- 525 BC).
But that is not all. The researchers also discovered evidences of a civilization dating before the Indus Valley Civilization, till now believed to have existed from 3300 BC to 1300 BC.
The researches dug in an Indian site Bhirrana (or Bhirdana) in Haryana’s Fatehabad district and discovered the oldest pottery.
Anindya Sarkar, head of the department of geology and geophysics at IIT-Kgp, said that a technique called the ‘optically stimulated luminescence’ was used on the shards confirming that it was some 6000 years old (around 4000 BC).
“The technique placed the cultural levels of pre-Harappan Hakra phase as far back as 8,000 years,” said Sarkar.
In fact, the ASI had in 2012 declared had pushed back the starting date of the Harappan civilization on the basis of radio-metric dates from Bhirrana which placed the cultural remains of the pre-early Harappan to 7380 BC to 6201 BC.
Indus Valley Civilization, also known as Harappan Civilization because Harappa was the first site that was discovered, extended from the River Indus in Pakistan to the Ghaggar-Hakra River in Haryana, which some believe was once the Vedic River Saraswati.
The team found evidences of pre-Indus Valley Civilization phase (9000-8000 BC) to the mature Harappan phase at the site in the form of animal bones and teeth and other artefacts.
Till now it was believed that the civilization almost collapsed overnight. The Europeans and left historians propounded the ‘Aryan Invasion Theory’ in support of their claim that Harappans were killed off by marauders.
But the researchers found something else.
A study of the animal bones and teeth revealed that the area was once fed by waters from much heavier monsoon season than is in our times.
And they also found that even as the monsoons declined, the people of the area did not disappear but changed the crop pattern to suit the climate change.
Eventually, the fall in yield and further climate change led to de-urbanization leading to the end of the civilization.
Very recently, the Aryan Invasion Theory was debunked with a scientific study of the walls of Dholavira in Rann of Kutch in Gujarat. Dholavira is another Indus Valley Civilization site. The research reveals that the walls were constructed to defend the city from tsunami and not invaders.
The study has been published in the ‘Nature’ journal on May 25.