About 5000 years ago, a great civilization arose in the valley of the five rivers-the Punjab. It lasted for about a thousands years. Then it lay buried under layers and layers of the earth for century after century. Nobody knew anything about it until 1920. By a lucky chance, the ruins of a city were discovered when a road was being built in that area. This city is called Mohenjo-Daro or Mound of the dead. A little later, Harapa was discovered.

Mohenjo-Daro was built nearly 500 years ago. But few cities today are as well planned. The city was surrounded by a high wall to keep off attacks from enemies. At one end of the city was a raised man-made platform. This is known as the citadel. All the important offices were built here. Around the citadel were the houses of the rich.

The farmers and laborers lived outside the wall near their farms. They grew wheat, barley, rice and cotton and kept cattle.

The houses of the well-to-do were large and built of bricks. The bricks were made of mud and dried in the sun. There were many rooms around a central courtyard. Some of the houses had two stories. Ever house had a well and more than one bathroom.

We do not know if the people of Mohenjo-Daro had kings to rule over them or priests to guide them. Some historians think that they had kings who were also priests. Others say the city was ruled by a council of wise men. But there is no doubt that the city was well governed.

There was trade between the Indus valley and countries as far away as Mesopotamia. Goods were carried over land and across the sea.

Pottery, grain, cotton goods and carved bronze figures were exchanged for metal.

What did the people of Mohenjo-Daro do with their time? They were very skilled potters. They also carved beautiful figurines out of bronze, copper, gold and silver. Even in those times, fine cotton cloth was woven.

What are special to the Indus valley civilization are the seals that have been found. They are made out of baked clay or delicately carved out of stone. The pictures on the seals tell us a great deal about the people who made them. But we really do not known what the seals were used for. The seals also show us what their writing looked like. But it is a real pity that nobody has yet been able to read its meaning. All that we know is that their alphabet had two hundred and seventy letters.



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