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Chapter 2 Sanitation and wastewater technologies in Harappa/Indus valley civilization (ca. 26001900 BC

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Chapter 2 Sanitation and wastewater technologies in Harappa/Indus valley civilization (ca. 26001900 BC
   1 Chapter 2 Sanitation and wastewater technologies in Harappa/Indus valley civilization ( ca . 2600-1900 BC) Saifullah Khan 2.1 INTRODUCTION Historians know less about the civilization in the Indus Valley than about those to the west. They have not yet deciphered the Indus system of writing. Evidence comes largely from archaeological digs, although many sites remain unexplored, and floods probably washed away others long ago. At its height, however, the civilization of the Indus Valley influenced an area much larger than did either Mesopotamia or Egypt.  No one is sure how human settlement began in the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent. Perhaps people who were arrived by sea from Africa settled in the south of the Indus valley. Northern migrants may have made their way through the Khyber Pass in the Hindu Kush Mountains. Archaeologists have found evidence in the highlands of agriculture and domesticated sheep and goats dating to about 7000 BC. By ca . 3200 BC people were farming in villages along the Indus River (Smith, 2006 ) . Around 2500 BC, while Egyptians were building pyramids, people in the Indus Valley were laying the bricks for India’s first cities. They built strong levees, or earthen walls, to keep water out of their cities. When these were not enough, they constructed human-made islands to raise the cities above possible floodwaters. Archaeologists have found the ruins of more than 100 settlements along the Indus and its tributaries mostly in modern-day Pakistan. The largest cities were Kalibangan, Moen-Jo-Daro, Harappa, Dholavira, and Lothal. (Carry, 2012). One of the most remarkable achievements of the Indus Valley people was their sophisticated city  planning. The cities of the early Mesopotamians were a jumble of buildings connected by a maze of winding streets. In contrast, the people of the Indus laid out their cities on a precise grid system. Cities featured a fortified area called a citadel, which contained the major buildings of the city. Buildings were constructed of oven baked bricks cut in standard sizes, unlike the simpler, irregular, sun-dried mud bricks of the Mesopotamians. Early engineers also created sophisticated plumbing and sewage systems. These systems could rival any urban drainage systems built before the 19th century. The uniformity in the cities’  planning and construction suggests that the Indus peoples had developed a strong central government (Wright, 2010). So far as the srcin of the word Indus is concerned, Scholars are of the opinion that the name "Indus" is the srcin of the word "Hindu." The srcinal Indian name of the river is Sindhu. The ancient Iranians had difficulty in pronouncing an initial sibilant "s" and changed it to an aspirate sound "h", hence, "H-indu" instead of "S-indhu." The Greeks referred to the river as the "Indos," and the later Arabs referred to it as "al-Hind." Eventually the name came to be applied to the people of the subcontinent, namely, the "Hindi," the "Hindus" and the "Indians" (Kosambi, 1964).I t is believed that the Indus Valley   2 Civilization belonged to the copper Stone Age as the presence of iron tools and implements has not yet  been established at any part of this civilization The Indus civilization is best known through the excavation of Moen-Jo-Daro which literally means "The mound of the dead," which is located in Sind, about 40 kilometres from Larkana town, and another almost due north of Hyderabad city about 209 kilometres (Gray, 1940). A similar and larger ruin, Harappa, is located some 644 kilometres northeast of Moen-Jo-Daro in Punjab province, and in this general area between Moen-Jo-Daro and Harappa there are numerous mounds indicating other cities of same Indus civilization, and in addition there are mounds of an even earlier and distinct Amri Culture. The third site Lothal (dockyard of the Indus Valley Civilization) was discovered some 60 years ago, located about 7kms away from the Ahmedabad-Bhavnagar highway, India (Agarwal, 2009). The upper levels of Moen-Jo-Daro are dated about 2550 BC. The lower levels probably go back much further, but high groundwater has prevented effective excavation into these earlier cities (Kenoyer, 1998). The mounds above the ruins average 2 to 3 meters in height (with maximum of 7 m) and cover an area of about one kilometre (Gray, 1940), but floods and erosion by Indus river have probably greatly reduced the srcinal extend of the ruins (Figure 2.2). 2.2 PHYSICAL SETTINGS As the name denotes, the greater Indus region was home to the largest of the four Ancient urban civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, South Asia and China and was spread along river Indus and its tributaries that is Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej. Geographically, the civilization was covered an area of one million square kilometres (Sharma, 1992), bounded by great Himalayas in the North, Arabian Sea in the South, Rajasthan desert in the East and rugged hills and plateaus of Balochistan in the West. The most out standing sites are Moen-Jo-Daro, Harappa, Kot Diji, Dhulavira, Rakhigarhi, and Lothal (Figure 2.1). The remains of the Harappan settlements are located in a vast desert region of Cholistan, Thar, Nara, and Kharan deserts in the lower Indus basin. The Indus civilization sites have arid continental climate (precipitation less than 254mm) with hot long summers and short winters (Hasan and Khan, 2010). Some of the sites like lothal and Sutkanjen Dor have marine climate and under the influenceof the Indian ocean (Figure-2.1). Figure 2.1  Indus valley Civilization, Major sites and Interaction Networks ( ca . 2600-1900 BC)     3 There are two theories about the climate of Indus civilization. According to the first theory the climate has been changed. It used to be wet, rainy and severe. There were a lot of floods as well especially during snowmelt in March. These floods resulted in the change of the river course. The agricultural growth mainly depended on the rains. Moen-Jo-Daro was destroyed nine times by the heavy floods. The second theory says that the weather was hot and dry and in support of this argument they say that the baked bricks were only used for construction purposes on the riverbanks and not used in Baluch areas away from the river (Admin, 2005). 2.3 HISTORY, CALTURE, AND TOWN PLANNING OF INDUS VALLEY CIVILIZATION 2.3.1 Introduction   The current work deals with the evaluation of sanitation and wastewater management and town  planning of the Indus Valley Civilization with special reference to Harappa, Moen-Jo-Daro, Dholavira  and Lothal. The work is based on the personal visits of the sites and literature. Some of the information regarding the Indus Valley Civilization have been collected from the field, whereas most of the historical information from the work of the previous workers. The work explains historical background, town  planning, culture, drainage, sanitation, toilets, baths, water reservoirs, and dockyards of the Indus Valley Civilization. Harappa located at 72 0 -75` east longitude and 30 0 -53` north latitude at the eastern bank of Indus river in Upper Indus Basin. The second major site of the Indus civilization is Moen-Jo-Daro, located at 68 0  east longitude to 27 0 -42` north latitude at the western bank of Indus river in Sind province, Lower Indus Basin, Pakistan. The third site of Dholavira is at 70 0 -17` east longitude to 24 0  north latitude at the southeastern border of Pakistan near coast of Indian ocean in district Gujrat, India. The forth site, Lothal is located at 72 0 -20` east longitude to 22 0 -78` north latitude on the coast of Indian ocean, district Gujrat, India (Figure 2.1). 2.3.2 History   During the 1980’s, while the construction of railway line was going on in Pakistan, French archaeologists found the remains of Indus valley Civilisation at Harappa and Moen-Jo-Daro. They excavated it further to discover systematic housing colonies built by mud of the Mehargarh people. Further excavation leaded to discovery of their amazing irrigation and drainage system. Unearthed ornaments,  plates and dishes, drinking glasses, tools made up stones, painted bowls and jars further established the facts about their prosperity and development (Kenoyer, 1998). Anthropologists believe that these centres of Indus Valley Civilization were epitome of development and one of the finest examples of flourishing trade and agriculture based economy. The people of Indus Valley Civilization made the clever and resourceful use of rivers present in their area surrounding them. Mohen-Jo- has a sophisticated system of water supply & drainage and its brickwork, is highly functional and completely waterproof. The granaries are also intelligently constructed, with strategic air ducts and platforms (Figure 2.2). Figure 2.2  Town planning of Indus Valley Civilization (Kenoyer, 1998). Moen-Jo-Daro  Harappa Mound s Lothal   4   2.3.3 Calture   The civilisation of Indus valley was mostly an urban culture maintained by additional agricultural  production, trade and commerce. Craft of the Indus Valley Civilization was very advanced. Iron as a metal was unknown to the Harappan people but copper and bronze were used in making statues. Music and dance appear to be the main sources of entertainment (Figure 2.3). Figure 2.3  Music and Dance of Indus Valley Civilization  (Kenoyer, 1998) Agriculture was their main occupation. There has been enough evidence of the cultivation of wheat, barley, peas, mustard, cotton and rice. Enough evidence of religious practices was not found as no temples have yet been discovered. From the Pashupati seal, it appears that they worshipped Lord Shiva. Several earthenware figurines of Mother Goddesses have also been found. It is also said that nature worship had been a significant part of their ritual as discovered in the seals (Kenoyer, 1998). The people of Indus Civilization had highly developed chalcolithic (stone implements contemporary with copper or bronze) culture which was similar to and in some respect superior to the contemporary Mesopotamian and Egyptian civilization (Gray, 1940). They were organized into towns, with a well developed commerce in all directions. They had wheeled vehicles for transport. They were skilled metal workers, using gold, silver, copper and lead, and tin in bronze. They made cotton into textiles. They had domesticated the dog, pig, sheep, buffalo, humped zebu, camel, and elephant, but probably not the horse or cat. They had well built and commodious houses, and baths, with drainage system built of well burned brick, and the common  people probably enjoyed a degree of comfort unknown in other parts of the world, for in other contemporaneous civilizations the skill of the artist and builder was lavished upon the temples and places,  but the homes of the ordinary people were apparently inadequate and ephemeral hovels. 2.3.4 Town Planning Indus Valley Civilization had a proper town planning with well laid out streets, separate living quarters, flat-roofed brick houses, and efficient drainage system and ventilation . Town Planning is one of the most outstanding and remarkable features of the Indus Valley Civilization. The Town Planning of Indus Valley Civilization reveals that the civic organisations of the city were highly developed and even at the  present age, the sites are special attractions for archaeologists. Archaeological surveys have revealed several interesting facts about Harappa, Moen-Jo-Daro and lothal town planning. In the 3rd decade of the  present century, archaeological investigations had been conducted at Moen-Jo-Daro,Harappa and lothal, which have brought out many interesting observations. The people at that time were technologically advanced and very knowledgeable in the laying out of the construction of the city as a   whole (Rothermund and Kulke, 1998). The roads, dwelling houses, large buildings and forts (dockyards) were very well executed. People followed a system of centralised administration (Figure 2.2). The houses were even  protected from sounds,   5   Figure 2.4  Great bath at Moen-Jo-Daro (Kenoyer, 1998). odours,   and thieves. The streets were formed in grid system. Similar sized bricks were used for construction of buildings; wood and stone were also used in buildings. Municipal authorities maintained effective drainage system. Harappan, Moen-Jo-Daro and Lothal town planning had the insertion of many travelling houses, which ranged from two roomed to large buildings. Houses were properly placed on both   sides of the roads, and also in the   lanes. Moen-Jo-Daro has a sophisticated system of water supply and drainage and its brickwork, is highly functional and the amazing part of it is the great bath (Figures 2.4 and 2.5), streets, bathrooms, and drainage and sanitation system. The granaries are also intelligently constructed, with strategic air ducts and platforms are divided into units. Figure 2.5  House Bathroom and outlet, House Bathing Platform at Moen-Jo-Daro, and row of private Bath at Lothal (Kenoyer, 1998). House Bathroom and outletHouse Bathing Row of Private bath, Sanitation,
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