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Creation of Indus Valley Civilization and its sewage system

The ancient civilization selected for this research is the Indus Valley Civilization, from 3000 BCE to 1300 BCE (Robinson 2021:78-84). Indus Valley Civilization is also known as Bronze Age Civilization and Harappa Civilization as the usage of bronze metal was first introduced in this civilization (Suryanarayan et al. 2021:109-223). Harappa refers to the place's name where the first site of the Indus Valley Civilization was founded after excavation by the archaeologists in the early 20th Century in the Punjab province of British India. The Indus Valley Civilization was spread in the vast areas of East and South Asia that included the countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and some parts of India. It was situated along the basins of the Indus River. The Indus Valley Civilization is known for using technology for making carts and early boats (Eskelson 2020:29-47). Moreover, advanced architecture and advance construction activities were also observed that were used to build dockyards, warehouses, brick platforms and protective walls (Green 2021:162-195). In this paper, the technological advancement pertaining to efficiently creating a sewage system in the Indus Valley Civilization will be discussed. Also, the paper will focus upon the cultures adopted by them, relation with the other civilizations and the implications of the culture of Indus valley Civilization.

The diversified culture and religion among the people helped create the Indus Valley Civilization and build the structure of the city of the civilization. The culture of the people of the Indus Valley Civilization involved merchants, farmers and artisans (Ali 2021:89-97). These different cultures among the people helped them indulge in the activities of goods and services with other parts of the world. Due to this, there was a need construct well defined and efficient drainage system to slope out the waste waters. Later, all the households incorporated vertical and horizontal drains which were remarkable and no other civilization had witnessed such a remarkable sanitation system.  Moreover, the urban culture among the people united them along with the use of advanced technology to build the Indus valley Civilization as a city. It was among the first urban center in the region that employed the people and other work according to the talent and capabilities they acquired. All the drains from every household emptied it into the large drains which were located under the streets. The development of the Indus Valley Civilization in the region included the contribution of all the professions related to agriculture, commerce and technology. Around 2000 BCE, the Indus Valley Civilization saw an exponential rise in the economy due to the increase in the trading of goods and services in the region (Robinson 2021:78-136).  Due to this there was a need for underground sanitation and the drains were later then covered with slab stones and the pits were built from bricks. In this period, technology such as irrigation systems in agriculture and the usage of boats and carts for trading goods and services developed rapidly. From 2500 BCE to 2000 BCE, the population of the Indus Valley Civilization grew to around 4 to 6 million people in the region (Cleuziou and Tosi 2021:125-163). The advancement in technology during this period introduced the urban culture in the region that created more job opportunities for them.  

Technology in IVC

Fig-1- Harappa Sewage system

Source: sewerhistory.org

The new technology was being developed to measure the quantities of the goods purchased and sold in the region's markets most accurately (Ali 2021:89-97). The measurement of the quantities of the goods was done by using the concept of ratios. The technology used by the people of IVC included precision weights, standardized burnt bricks and cotton in the different forms. The technology related to metallurgy was also developed by the people of the Indus Valley Civilization that abled them to produce good quality metals such as copper, bronze, lead and tin (Khan et al. 2020:48-97). These metals produced increased the durability of the products consumed by the people and helped improve the standard of living of the people of the Indus Valley Civilization. For example, the technology enabled the people to build instruments for measurements, equipment related to medical science, goods such as pots and jewels, buttons and decorative, and the well (Hidayatullah et al. 2020:67-88). In medical science, the people of Harappa used the technology to cure people of chronic diseases by adopting the method of Trephination. The medical treatment under the method of Trephination, a hole is made inside the skull of the human being to identify and cure diseases such as brain disorders with the help of the advanced level of technology (Khan et al. 2020:48-97). The evidence of this treatment among the people is found in bones of skulls with a hole in them at Lothal, Kalibangan and Burjholm.

 

Fig-2- Harappa Sewage system

Source: https://scroll.in/article/813120/mind-the-gap-why-the-decline-of-harappan-civilisation-sent-indias-sewage-system-down-the-drain 

The technological equipment such as precision weights and shovel for shaping the brick made commodities used in the various activities of the Indus Valley Civilization required a lot of effort and a suitable amount of knowledge from the people of the civilization. With the aid of this, where many buildings in Mohenjo-Daro were built with more than two stories, drains from each story was connected to the public drains (Cleuziou and Tosi 2021:67-79). The people's creative thinking and the need for growth among the people increased the possibility of the inventions and their usage of them (Hidayatullah et al. 2020:67-88). The people of Mohenjo-Daro and Dholavira sites of the Indus Valley Civilization built the wells in their regions with the help of technology of seal carving to increase the depth of the well. The excavation showcased the fact that the pipes extracted were around 4000-3000 B.C old in the Indus Valley Civilization and the oldest ruins were the copper pipes that were built under the streets of the city (Malik 2020:83-108).

Possibility of the Technology – Advanced sewage system

 

Fig – 3 Sewage system and wells during IVC

Source - https://indus-valley-civ.weebly.com/health-and-sanitation.html

 The evidence of technology was the discovery of copper metal water pipes during the excavation if the Indus Valley Civilization. The wells built by them also included other features of basic amenities such as a bathing pool, underwater steps for guiding the level of water and the religious figures as sculptures inside the well (Cleuziou and Tosi 2021:67-79). The technology for building the sewage system in the Indus Valley Civilization was made possible by using unique architectural designs. It was done to manage the flow of waste water so that disruption can be avoided in the day-to-day life of the people. People built the canals using the technology of detailed drainage system and water supply system and broad waterways in the most effective manner. People of the Indus Valley Civilization also built the Cholan tank to manage the sewage system in the most difficult conditions such as heavy rainfall, drought or flood (Malik 2020:83-108). Water from the villages were situated at the upper level of the civilization and was made to float in the downwards direction to avoid floods in the villages. People of the Indus Valley Civilization used the advanced technology method of sewage system after the outbreak of cholera in the 19th century. The toilets were flushed by emptying the water jar which is drawn from the central well of the town.

Fig – 4 Sewage system and wells during IVC

Source - https://www.ancient-civilizations.com/lesser-known-facts-indus-valley-civilization/drainage-water-management-harappa/ 

The Indus Valley Civilization was also able to build some connections with other major civilizations in the other parts of the world. The riverine civilizations of Egypt along with the river of Nile, the civilization of Mesopotamia and the civilization of China that was situated on the banks of Yellow and Yangtze River (Green 2020:162-195). The Indus Valley Civilization was also able to influence the other cultures among the people by its flora, fauna and habitats that were around 9 to 10 times larger than the other civilizations.

The impressive engineering of IVC has accomplished new heights of engineering 4,500 years ago in building efficient drains that had contributed in the sewage system (Eskelson 2020:29-47).

The Indus Valley Civilization also shared commercial and cultural relations with the civilization of Mesopotamia through the exchange of various kinds of goods and services. The products shared among the civilizations included stamps and seals, pottery, jewels, cylinder seals, and different kinds of essential items. In the exchange of this IVC taught them to build pipe lines 60-70 cm down the street (Daggumati and Revesz 2021:1-11). The sides were covered with bricks in certain way and the same can be removed when and where required. On the other hand, it has been found that the stamps and seals that were used in the Indus Valley Civilization were influenced by the design of the civilization of Mesopotamia (Eskelson 2020:29-47). In the exchange, the sculptures of the Mesopotamian culture were carved out on the stamps and seals that were used in the Indus Valley Civilization.

IVC and other Civilizations pertaining to sewage/sanitation system

 

Fig – 5 Sewage system and wells during IVC

Source - https://theindusvalleycivilization.weebly.com/houses.html 

The Indus Valley Civilization represented a higher level of culture in the society by respecting the values and beliefs of all the people in the region. The people of the Indus Valley Civilization believed in worshipping God and conducted various kinds of rituals before starting any major work in the region and constructing drains were one of it (Sen 2022:309-324). The cultural art of the Indus Valley Civilization included various special objects that were made by the people, such as seals, pottery, gold jewelry, terracotta products, bronze metal sculptures and steatite. In order to make these, the water was used and hence, the ancient drains were used to build inside the premise of the city named, Mohenjo Daro. It was the culture that the drains will come out from each house and will join each other in the center street. That is the reason that there were 700 wells constructed in order to fetch the underground water to the surface level (Zimmer 2021:32-34). The culture of IVC inclines towards the fact that the city incorporates various manholes for the cleaning and the remarkable engineering implies that this was one of the major reasons for the development of the Indus Valley Civilization. The pits under the street are cleaned from time to time basis and the fact cannot be ignored that these pits were also used as the grit chambers.

The cultures and the contribution of the Indus Valley Civilization created a positive and strong impact on the people of the civilization and motivated them to work more towards the growth and development of the civilization (Daggumati and Revesz 2021:1-11). The people were encouraged to explore more places around the world and studied the methods or techniques used by other civilizations, such as Mesopotamian Civilization. The contributions of the Indus Valley Civilization also improved the standard of living of the people in the region. For example, the people of the Indus Valley Civilization were able to build sewage and irrigation systems to improve the standard of living in the area. Moreover, the Indus Valley Civilization people were ready to face climatic problems such as floods, drought, and heavy rainfall (Cleuziou and Tosi 2021:67-79). The people learned from other civilizations and innovated new ways to solve the problems related to weather conditions by creating a proper flow of water and proper storage systems.

The acropolis, Lothal was constructed near the warehouse and was created by the size of 61 meters and was consistent with the extensive drainage system. On the other hand, the “Great Bath” is undoubtedly considered as the oldest water tank for public used for bathing in the ancient time. The water tank was built north-south 12 meters and with the width of 7 meters all together (Daggumati and Revesz 2021:1-11). Also the maximum depth of the water was counted 2.4 meters. The drainage system of Lothal sanitary at the acropolis had the hallmark of various Indus cities. The unique and remarkable sanitary system of the Indus Valley Civilization inclined towards the fact that the main sewer was built with the depth of 1.5 meters (Cleuziou and Tosi 2021:67-79). On the other hand, it was built with the width of 91 cm (Green 2020:162-195). The fact cannot be ignored that the brilliant architecture and the engineering had held the pipelines to move from north south to east west. At the end of the drain, a screen is built to hold back the entire wastes that are in solid form and accordingly the liquid carries along the rest of the remaining pipeline.

 

Fig – 6 Sewage system and wells during IVC

Source: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/article/mohenjo-daro

Conclusion

From the above discussion, it can be concluded that the ancient culture is depicted by the Indus Valley Civilization. It is observed that this civilization used advanced technology in their sewage system as a significant tool for the growth and development of the people in the region. The research shows the diverse culture adopted by the people of the Indus Valley Civilization that helped them to influence other civilizations in the world pertaining to the sewage system. People of the Indus Valley Civilization was equipped with advanced technology as it is found that they built useful architectural structures such as granaries, complex irrigations systems and wells. These marvelous structures helped them solve their problems and made their work more productive in society. The Indus Valley Civilization is one of the largest and most successful civilizations in the world that created new ways to solve the world's problems and started the trading of goods and services with other parts of the world.

References Cited

Ali, J.  (2021). Indus Valley Civilization. Available at SSRN 385-871.

Cleuziou, S., & Tosi, M.  (2021). In the Shadow of the Ancestors: The Prehistoric Foundations of the Early Arabian Civilization in Oman: Second Expanded Edition. Archaeopress Publishing Ltd.

Daggumati, S., & Revesz, P. Z.(2021). A method of identifying allographs in undeciphered scripts and its application to the Indus Valley Script. Humanities and Social Sciences Communications, 8(1):1-11.

Eskelson, T. C.  (2020). How and Why Formal Education Originated in the Emergence of Civilization. Journal of Education and Learning, 9(2):29-47.

Hidayatullah, K. M., Asadullah, K. M., Ali, A. K. B. A. R., & Jian, Y. U. E. (2020). Comparative biological analysis to investigate the genetic hierarchy of the Indus valley civilization. Journal of East China Normal University (Natural Science). 7(1):63-65 

Green, A. S.  (2020). Debt and inequality: Comparing the “means of specification” in the early cities of Mesopotamia and the Indus civilization. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, 60, 101-232.

Green, A. S. (2021). Killing the priest-king: addressing egalitarianism in the Indus civilization. Journal of Archaeological Research, 29(2):153-202.

Malik, N. (2020). Uncovering transitions in paleoclimate time series and the climate driven demise of an ancient civilization<? A3B2 show [editpick]?>. Chaos: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Nonlinear Science, 30(8):83-108.

Khan, S., Dialynas, E., Kasaraneni, V. K., & Angelakis, A. N. (2020). Similarities of Minoan and Indus Valley hydro-technologies. Sustainability, 12(12):48-97.

Robinson, A.  (2021). The Indus: lost civilizations. Reaktion Books., 78-136

Sen, J. (2022). A Deep Ecological Exploration of Indian River Systems: Review of Its Cultural Landscape and Triveni Sangam Case. Riverine Systems, 309-324.

Suryanarayan, A., Cubas, M., Craig, O. E., Heron, C. P., Shinde, V. S., Singh, R. N., ... & Petrie, C. A. (2021). Lipid residues in pottery from the Indus Civilisation in northwest India. Journal of archaeological science, 125:105-291.

Zimmer, H. R.  (2021). Myths and symbols in Indian art and civilization. Princeton University Press. 629:294-513

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