Chapter 4 In the Earliest Cities

Chapter Review: ▸ Life in the City : Harappa was a busy place. Rulers planned buildings, traders travelled to distant places to procure raw materials and scribes prepared exotic seals.
▸ The Story of Harappa : The cities of the Indus Valley Civilisation are known as the Harappan cities. Rediscovered in the 1920s after excavations in Sindh and Punjab in present day Pakistan, these cities flourished since the 3300 BC.
▸ Scribe : A person who was employed to make copies of documents before the invention of printing.
▸ Seals : Scribes prepared seals and used a special pictographic script. Pictures of birds and animals were also used.
This is the earliest known form of writing in the continent.
▸ Layout of the Cities :
(i) The Harappan cities were divided into two parts: the citadel and the lower town. Walls were fortified with bricks in interlocking patterns.
(ii) Streets were laid out straight and cut each other at right angles.
(iii) Drains ran parallel to each other and had covers.
(iv) The citadel was located at a higher level and had special buildings.
(v) The Great Bath in Mohenjodaro was a tank used for bathing rituals.
(vi) Kalibangan and Lothal had fire altars where sacrifices may have been performed.
(vii) The lower town was the residential area where houses were one or two storeys high and built around a corridor.
▸ Stone Weights and Beads : Stone weights made of chert were used for weighing precious metals or stones. Beads made of carnelian have been found which were used in ornaments. An artificially produced substance called faience was also used to make bangles and beads.

Textbook Questions

Let’s Recall


Question1. How do archaeologists know that cloth was used in the Harappan civilization?
Answer: Actual pieces of cloth have been found in Mohenjodaro, attached to the lid of a silver vase and some copper objects. Spindle whorls have also been discovered, which were used to spin thread. This indicates cloth was used in the Harappan civilisation.


Question2. Match the columns:
Copper Gujarat Gold Afghanistan Tin Rajasthan Precious stones Karnataka.
Answer: Copper Rajasthan Gold Karnataka Tin Afghanistan Precious stones Gujarat, Afghanistan.


Question3. Why were metals, writing, the wheel and the plough important for the Harappans?
Answer: ▸ Metals were used for Copper and bronze: Making tools, weapons, ornaments, vessels.
Gold and silver: Ornaments, vessels.
▸ Writing has always been a very important means of communication. It was important for the Harappans also.
▸ The wheel was used in carts and pottery.
▸ The plough was used to dig the earth for turning the soil and for planting seeds.

Let’s Discuss


Question4. Make a list of all the terracotta toys shown in the lesson.
Which do you think children would have enjoyed playing with the most?
Answer: Terracotta toys are the model of clay, which have animal figures. Most enjoyable of the toys are probably models of cattle, rhinoceros, cow, etc.


Question5. Make a list of what the Harappans ate, and put a tick mark against the things you eat today.
Ans. The people of Harappa eat wheat, barley, pulses, peas, rice, sesame, linseed and mustard fish and meal of hunted animals.


Question6. Do you think that the life of farmers and herders who supplied food to the Harappan cities was different from that of the farmers and herders you read about in chapter 3? Give reasons for your answer.
Answer: Some points of difference between the lives of farmers and herders who supplied food to the Harappan cities, and those of the previous chapter:
(i) Tools. Harappan farmers and herders used a wooden tool called plough which was used for turning the soil and planting seeds. The earlier farmers and herder used mortars and pestle for grinding grain. Their tools were also made of bone.
(ii) Irrigation. Harappan farmers and herders used irrigation for better produce while the earlier ones did not.
(iii) Storage. The Harappan farmers stored food in wellbuilt granaries and not in clay pots, baskets, etc.
(iv) Residence. Harappan farmers lived on the outskirts of cities, whereas there were no settled cities in the time of the farmers and herders in Chapter 3.

Let’s Do


Question7. Describe three important buildings in your city or village.
Are they located in a special part of the settlement (e.g. the centre)? What are the activities that take place in these buildings?
Answer: The answer to this question depends on the city/village you live in. Take the help of your teacher to prepare the answer.


Question8. Are there any old buildings in your locality? Find out how old they are and who looks after them.
Answer: The answer to this question depends on the locality you live in. Take the help of your teacher to prepare the answer.

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