A new study indicates that the Ancient Indus Valley Civilization is around 8,000 years old and predates Ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian by thousands of years.
Based on a new study, researchers have come to the conclusion that the ancient Indus Valley civilization –best known for their well-planed cities—is around 8000 years old predating Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamian civilizations
The Indus Valley Civilization has already been considered by researchers as one of the oldest civilizations on the planet, but it turns out they date further back then scientists previously believed.
While many people around the globe consider the Ancient Egyptian and Sumerian civilization as one of the most complex civilization to have developed in the distant past, the truth is that the Indus Valley Civilization might predate them by some 2,500 years.
But not only does the new study reveal fascinating details about this ancient civilization, but it also sheds light on why the flourishing ancient civilization eventually collapsed.
In order to come to this conclusion, researchers from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), Institute of Archaeology, Deccan College Pune, and IIT Kharagpur gathered a number of pottery fragments and animal bones from Bhirrana in the north of the country and submitted the items to carbon dating.
Researchers also used ‘optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) method’ to see whether or not climate change could be responsible for the eventual fall of the Indus Valley civilization.
‘Based on radiocarbon ages from different trenches and levels the settlement at Bhirrana has been inferred to be the oldest (>9 ka BP) in the Indian sub-continent,’ the experts wrote in Nature’s Scientific Reports journal.
While there are still a number of tests required, the new study clearly indicates that the Indus Valley civilization predates the ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilization, which were also considered extremely sophisticated architects and engineers.
Researchers believed that civilization spread across parts f modern-day Pakistan and northwestern India during the Peak of the Bronze age when a staggering five million people inhabited one million square miles along ancient citadels erected at the basin of the Indus River.
Thanks to the number of artifacts and pottery fragments recovered from several ancient sites, researchers found out that ancient people were extremely skilled craftsmen and metallurgists with advanced knowledge of metallurgy that allowed them to work copper, bronze, lead and tin with ease. Thousands of years ago, people mastered brick-backing techniques which allowed them to control the supply and drainage of water.
‘Our study pushes back the antiquity to as old as 8th millennium before present and will have major implications on the evolution of human settlements in Indian sub-continent,’ said Anindya Sarkar, a professor at the department of geology and geophysics at IIT Kharagpur, in an interview with International Business Times.
Further evidence discovered at ancient sites such as Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro prove that ancient people were adept town planners, engineers, and farmers.
Interestingly, Mohenjo-Daro was one of the most important cities of South Asia and the Indus Civilization together with Harappa, which was one of the first and most important ancient settlements of the world.
According to some researchers, densely populated Mohenjo-Daro was destroyed nearly instantly over 2000 years ago by a huge explosion which, according to ancient alien theorists and other researchers, was caused by the detonation of a nuclear bomb. It is estimated that at its peak, Mohenjo-Daro was inhabited by 40,00 inhabitants even though some scholars have come up with a much larger number saying that it was inhabited by over 100,000 inhabitants in the past.
The Collapse of the Indus Valley Civilization
In the past, researchers thought that one of the main factors that lead to the collapse of the Indus Valley civilization was climate change and the eventual decrease in water levels of the Indus River. However, this might not have been the cause after all.
‘Our study suggests that the climate was probably not the cause of Harappan decline,’ researchers wrote.
While there is evidence of different weather patterns in the distant past, there is evidence at Bhirrana, which suggests that people continued to survive despite changing weather patterns.
‘Increasing evidence suggests that these people shifted their crop patterns from the large-grained cereals like wheat and barley during the early part of intensified monsoon to drought-resistant species of small millets and rice in the later part of declining monsoon and thereby changed their subsistence strategy,’ added researchers in their study.
What probably caused the demise of ancient metropolises was the change in crops harvested by people thousands of years ago. Deurbanization of major ancient sites were caused due to the lack of large food storage facilities. People decided to swap to personal storage spaces
which allowed families to be taken care of.
‘Because these later crops generally have much lower yield, the organized large storage system of mature Harappan period was abandoned giving rise to smaller more individual household based crop processing and storage system and could act as a catalyst for the de-urbanisation of the Harappan civilization rather than an abrupt collapse,’ the team concluded.