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Early India: Trade Activities of Indus Valley Civilization

Trade and Exchange

  • One of the sources of Harappan economy was trade and exchange activities.
  • Harappans had close trade contacts with the Mesopotamians and also with various cultures of India.
  • The Harappan seals and materials have been found in the Sumerian sites in Oman, Bahrain, and Iraq and Iran.
  • The cuneiform inscriptions mention the trade contacts between Mesopotamia and Harappans.
  • The mention of “Meluhha” in the cuneiform inscriptions refers to the Indus region.
  • A Harappan jar has been found in Oman.
  • Harappan seals, weights, dice and beads are found in Mesopotamia.
  • Carnelian, lapis lazuli, copper, gold and varieties of wood were exported to Mesopotamia.
  • Harappans also interacted with various regions of India and acquired raw materials and processed them.

Weights and Measures

  • Harappans had developed proper weights and measures.
  • Since they were involved in commercial transactions, they needed standard measures.
  • Cubical chert weights have been unearthed from Harappan sites.
  • The weights exhibit a binary system.
  • The ratio of weight is doubled as 1:2:4:8:16:32.
  • The small weight measure of 16th ratio weighs 13.63 grams.
  • They also used a measuring scale in which one inch was around 1.75 cm.
  • Weights made of chert were cubical.
  • They used binary numbering system (1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, etc.).
  • They might have been used for weighing jewellery and metal.

Seals, Sealing and Scripts

  • The seals from various media such as steatite, copper, terracotta and ivory are frequently found in the Harappan sites.
  • The Harappan script has not yet been convincingly deciphered.
  • About 5,000 texts have been documented from the Harappan sites.
  • The longest text has about twenty six signs.
  • Some scholars are of the view that it is Dravidian.
  • Seals might have been used as an identity marker on the materials that were transported.
  • They might have indicated the ownership.

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