In The Earliest Cities (Class 6 History Chapter 3 Notes)

Harappan Cities: Mohenjodaro, Ganweriwala, Kalibangan, Harappa, RakhiGarhi, Chanduharo, Lothal, Dholavira, Surukotada
The Earliest Cities in the Indian Subcontinent
Harappa is the chance discovery by an archaeologist. It was found to be 4700 years old. Earlier, it was thought to be a mound with ready made stock  of high quality brick and a lot of building from this site were destroyed.

What was special about these cities?
  1. These cities were divided into two or more parts.
  2. The west was smaller but made on higher ground. Commonly, described as the citadel.
  3. The east was larger in area but on lower ground and called as the lower town.
  4. Often a boundary of baked brick is built around each part.
  5. In some cities, special buildings are built in citadel such as the Great Bath in Mohenjodaro. The Great Bath is considered to be a holy place.
  6. In Kalibangan and Lothal, fire altars are found.
  7. In Mohenjodaro, Harappa and Lothal, store houses or graneries are found.

Houses, Drains and Streets
  1. Generally houses were either one or two storeys high. The rooms were built around a courtyard.
  2. Most houses has separate bathing area and some have water wells for water supply.
  3. The city has well developed drainage system.

Life in the City
  1. The Harappan cities were very busy places.
  2. There were people who planned and administered the workings of these cities. Mostly probably, their rulers.
  3. There were scribes, who tracked and recorded, workings of cities and helped in preparing seals.
  4. There were crafts persons, both men and women, making all kinds of things in their homes or workshops.

New Crafts in the City
  1. Most of the things found by archaelogists are made of stone, shell and metal, including copper, bronze, gold and silver.
  2. Copper and bronze were used to make  tools,  weapons,  ornaments  and  vessels.
  3. Gold  and  silver  were  used  to  make  ornaments and  vessels.
  4. One can also found toys, beads, weights and blades.
  5. Toys were made up of terracotta, beads were made up of carnelian, blades are made up of stones and weights were made up of chert stones.
  6. Cotton was probablly grown around Mehrgarh about 7000 years ago, and there were evidence of cotton in Harappa.
  7. Archaeologists have also found beads,  bangles, earrings, and tiny vessels made up of faience. It is an artificial material made from sand and quartz.

In Search of Raw Materials

  1. Raw  materials  are  substances  that  are  either found naturally or produced by people. These are then processed to produce finished goods. For example, silver, gold and cotton.
  2. Harappans brought copper, tin, gold, silver and precious stones from distant places as they lacked in these materials.
  3. They may have bought copper from present day Rajasthan and Oman (West Asia), tin from Afghanistan and Iran, gold from Karnataka and precious stones from Gujarat, Iran and Afghanistan.
  4. They mixed copper and tin to make much stronger bronze.

Food for People in the Cities
  1. Farmers and herders in countryside produced food for cityfolks.
  2. They grew wheat, barley, pulses, peas, rice, sesame, linseed and mustard.
  3. They started using plough to dig earth for turning the soil and sowing seeds.
  4. Some form of irrigation was used.
  5. They reared  cattle,  sheep, goat  and  buffalo.
  6. They collected fruits like ber, fished and hunted wild animals like antelope.

Harappan Towns in Gujarat
  1. The city of Dholavira was located on Khadir Beyt in Rann of Kutch, present day Gujarat.
  2. Dholavira was divided into three parts.
  3. Each part surrounded by massive stone walls with an enterance.
  4. There were large open areas where cermonies would have held.
  5. A large inscription on white stone was found in Dholavira.


  1. Lothal stood beside a tributary of Sabarmati River near Gulf of Khambat.
  2. It is situated near areas where semi precious stones were easily available.
  3. It is important place for making  objects  out  of  stone,  shell  and  metal.
  4. There were hundreds of seals are recovered from Lothal.

Seals and sealings

  1. Seals may have been used to stamp bags containing  goods  that  were  sent  from  one  place  to another.
  2. After  a  bag  was  closed,  a  layer  of wet clay was applied on the knot, and the seal was pressed on it. The impression of the seal is known as  the sealing.
  3. If the sealing was intact, one could be sure that the goods had arrived safely.

The mystery of the end
  1. Around 3900 years ago, it is found that people suddenly stopped living in cities. Writings, seals and weights were no longer used. Imported raw materials became rare. In Mohenjodaro, garbage was piled up on the roads. New and unimpressive houses were built. The drainage system was broken.
  2. There is no single reason behind this event. Different scholars suggested different theories for this. Some of them are drying up of rivers, deforestation, floods, and failure of administration.
  3. People moved to newer and smaller settlements in east and south.
  4. The second wave of cities only emerged after 1400 years later.
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