The Indus Valley Civilization, 3300 BC–1800 BC, was an ancient civilization thriving along the lower Indus River and the Ghaggar-Hakra river in what is now Pakistan and western India. Among other names for this civilization is the Harappan Civilization of the Indus Valley, in reference to its first excavated city of Harappa.
The Indus Civilization is among the world's earliest civilizations, contemporary to the Bronze Age civilizations of Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt. It peaked around 2500 BCE in the western part of South Asia, declined during the mid-2nd millennium BCE and was forgotten until its rediscovery in the 1920s by RD Banerjee.
To date, over 1,052 cities and settlements have been found, mainly in the general region of the Hakra-Ghaggar river and its tributaries. Among the settlements were the major urban centers of Harappa and Mohenjo-daro, as well as Dholavira, Ganweriwala, Kalibanga, Lothal, and Rakhigarhi.
The Indus civilization was predated by the first farming cultures in south Asia, which emerged in the hills of what is now called Balochistan, to the west of the Indus Valley. The best-known site of this culture is Mehrgarh, established around 6500 BCE. These early farmers domesticated wheat and a variety of animals, including cattle. Pottery was in use by around 5500 BCE. The Indus civilization grew out of this culture's technological base, as well as its geographic expansion into the alluvial plains of what are now the provinces of Sindh and Punjab in contemporary Pakistan and Northern India.
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