Innovative Harappans used commodes thousands of years ago

February 5th, 2011 - 9:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Aligarh, Feb 5 (IANS) The innovative spirit of the Harappan civilisation that thrived thousands of years ago was far ahead than any other in India. Besides the Great Bath of Mohenjodaro, which is the first known evidence of a swimming pool, the Harappans also had a dockyard, introduced furrowed fields for agriculture and the commode system of latrines, an expert has said.Speaking on “Harappan Culture: New Discoveries and Perspectives”, Prof Vasant Shinde of Deccan College, Pune, highlighted the innovative spirits of the Harappans, who thrived from 3,300-1,700 BC in the Indus Valley — in what is now Pakistan and western India.

Delivering the first Prof R.C. Gaur Memorial Lecture at Aligarh Muslim University’s department of history Saturday, Shinde said: “Because of the interconnections with the Mesopotamian and Egyptian civilizations, the Harappans introduced certain new methods and techniques in the field of architecture, art and commerce.

“The Great Bath of Mohenjodaro is the first ever known evidence of swimming pool. The first evidence of dockyard has been traced out at Lothal (Gujarat), and the first ever known furrowed field for the cultivation of crops has been found at Kalibangan (Rajasthan).”

The archaeologist said that Dholavira in Kutch is a site of distinct nature as being divided in three parts - named as castle, middle town and lower town, unlike the other Harappan cities that were divided only in two parts i.e. citadel complex and lower town.

“As the site was located in the dry zone of Kutch, the Harappans applied new techniques by making underground tanks and wells for depositing the water of rain.

“The site has also exhibited the building structures made of blocks of stones unlike the other Harappan sites, where the structures are found of mud and burnt bricks. The commode system of latrines, which is usually considered a Western innovative style was originally a contribution of Harappans as noticed at Dholavira,” he said.

Prof. Shinde also highlighted the reasons for the decline of Harappan culture. The drying up of Ghaggar-Hakra river valleys leading to environmental degradation and the decline of foreign trade are the more reasonable factors of decline of the ancient civilisation than the older views of sudden Aryan encroachment and floods.

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