IVC --Jonathan Keynoyer

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INDUS VALLEY CIVILIZATION Also referred to as the Harappa culture, the Indus Valley civilization was the earliest urban, state-level society in South Asia (2600–1900 B.C.) and was contemporaneous with state-level societies in Egypt and Mesopotamia. The core area for settlements of the Indus Civilization has been found in the alluvial plains of the Indus River and its tributaries, as well as along the now dry bed of the Sarasvati-Ghaggar-Hakra-Nara river system that flowed east of the Indus. This eastern river has many modern names but is thought to be associated with the ancient Sarasvati River mentioned in the Rig Veda. Settlements of the Indus Civilization were also established in the rich agricultural regions between the Ganga and the Yamuna rivers and throughout modern Gujarat. Because of its vast extent, the term "Greater Indus Valley" has come to be accepted by most scholars as representing the territories surrounding the Indus River that include sites of this civilization.

In some circles, a new name, the Indus-Sarasvati or Sarasvati civilization, has begun to appear, based on the unsubstantiated argument that a larger proportion of the ancient sites were situated along the bed of the now dry Sarasvati-Ghaggar-Hakra-Nara River. Although the Sarasvati mentioned in the Rig Veda and later Mahābhārata texts is said to be a major river flowing to the sea, with many large and populous cities along its banks, most sites along the dry river channel are relatively small, and even the few large ones are not as large as the major cities on the Indus or its tributaries. Furthermore, the only reason so many small sites have been discovered along the dry river channels is because the region was abandoned and there was very little sedimentation and site disturbance in later times. Most of the smaller settlements along the Indus were covered by flood sediments or buried by later historical villages and cities.

The total geographic area encompassed by sites associated with the Indus Valley civilization is over 262,500 square miles (680,000 sq. km) and includes most ofmodern Pakistan and parts of western India and northern Afghanistan. Indus artifacts have been found at sites in Oman and the Persian Gulf region, as well as in Iran, Iraq, and various Central Asian countries, such as Turkmenistan.
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