NCERT Solutions for Class 12th: Ch 1 (Theme 1) Bricks, Beads and Bones (Harappan Civilisation) History

Page No: 26

Answer in 100-150 Words

1. List the items of food available to people in Harappan cities. Identify the groups who would have provided these.


Food Groups who provided these items
Products taken from plants Foods gatherers
Flesh and fish Hunter groups
Wheat maize, millets, pluses, Rice and other eatable products Agricultural groups

2. How do archaeologists trace socio-economic differences in Harappan society? What are the differences that they notice?


Following examples can be cited to show the existence of social and economic variations in the Harappan society:

(i) Study of burials is the one example. In the Harappan sites, the deads were usually laid in pits. There were differences in the way the burial pit was made – in some instances, the hollowed-out spaces were lined with bricks. But these may not be taken as a social difference.
(ii) Some graves contain pottery and ornaments, have been found. Jewellery has been found in burials of both men and women. These findings can point out social and economic differences.

(iii) The artefacts, which archaeologists broadly classify as utilitarian and luxuries. The first category includes objects of daily use made fairly easily out of ordinary materials such as stone or clay. These include querns, pottery, needles, flesh-rubbers (body scrubbers), etc., and are usually found distributed throughout settlements.

(iv) Objects of luxuries were rare or made from costly, non-local materials or with complicated technologies. Little pots of faience were considered as precious. They were also not easy to make. These show the existence of social and economic variations in the Harappan society.

3. Would you agree that the drainage system in Harappan cities indicates town planning? Give reasons for your answer.


Yes, I agree with that the drainage system in Harappan cities which indicates the town planning can cite the following reasons in support of my answer.

(i) Bricks, sundried or baked were of standard ratio. The length and breadth of bricks were of four times and times and twice the height respectively. These bricks were used at all the settlement of the Harappan civilisation.

(ii) It appears that human settlement was made by planning from the beginning. The city was restricted to the fixed area of platforms.

(iii) The drainage system needed a planning for its execution. It seems that first drainage were laid out and then houses were built along with the drains very house were supposed to have at least one wall along a street to allow the domestic waste water to flow out in the street drains. The plans of the lower town show that roads and streets were laid out along an approximate grid pattern, intersecting at right angles.

4. List the materials used to make beads in the Harappan civilisation. Describe the process by which any one kind of bead was made.


Materials for making beads included beautiful red coloured stone-like carnelian , jasper, crystal, quartz and steatite. Besides these, use of copper, bronze, gold, shell, faience, terracotta or burnt clay was also used.
Process of making of Beads-
Making of beads differed as per the materials used. Beads had variety of shapes. They did not make geometrical shapes like one made up of harder stones.
Nodules were to be chipped for making rough shapes. They were finally flaked into the final form.
By firing the yellowish raw material, the red colour of carnelian was obtained.
Grinding , polishing and drilling constituted the last phase. Chanhudaro, lothal and dholavira were famous for specialised drilling.

5. Look at Fig. 1.30 and describe what you see. How is the body placed? What are the objects placed near it? Are there any artefacts on the body? Do these indicate the sex of the skeleton?


Following observation can be obtained after looking at the figure:

(i) Body has kept in north-south direction in a pit.

(ii) Many graves contain pottery and ornamentals which include jar.

(iii) Yes, jewellery like bangles are there on the body.

(iv)Yes, this indicates towards the sex of the skeleton, i.e it is the boy of women.

It is concluded that there were great social or economic difference among the people living within the area of the Harappan Civilization. But as a whole it appears that the Harappan did not believe in precious things with the dead.

Page No: 27

Write a short essay (about 500 words) on the following: 

6. Describe some of the distinctive features of Mohenjodaro.


Some of the distinctive of Mohenjodaro are:

• Planned City: Harappa was a planned urban centre. It had two parts. One part of the city was small .it was built on a higher place. The second part was comparatively large. it was built on a lower place. The first part was designed as citadel and the second part was a lower town. The Citadel owes its height to the fact that buildings were constructed on mud brick platforms. It was walled, which meant that it was physically separated from the Lower Town.

• The lower town: The Lower Town was also walled. Several buildings were built on platforms, which served as foundations. it would have required four million person-days, in other words, mobilising labour on a very large scale. Once the platforms were in place, all building activity within the city was restricted to a fixed area on the platforms. So it seems that the settlement was first planned and then implemented accordingly. Other signs of planning include bricks, which, whether sun-dried or baked, were of a standardised ratio, where the length and breadth were four times and twice the height respectively. Such bricks were used at all Harappan settlements.

• Drainage system: One of the most distinctive features of Harappan cities was the carefully planned drainage system. roads and streets were laid out along an approximate “grid” pattern, intersecting at right angles. It seems that streets with drains were laid out first and then houses built along them. If domestic waste water had to flow into the street drains, every house needed to have at least one wall along a street.

The citadel: The Citadel owes its height to the fact that buildings were constructed on mud brick platforms. It was walled, which meant that it was physically separated from the Lower Town. It is on the Citadel that we find evidence of structures that were probably used for special public purposes.It includes Warehouses and Great bath which were the two important constructions.

7. List the raw materials required for craft production in the Harappan civilisation and discuss how these might have been obtained.


Following is the list of raw matarial required for the craft production in the Harappan civilisation:

• Stones like carnelian (of a beautiful red colour), jasper, crystal, quartz and steatite; metals like copper, bronze and gold; and shell, faience and terracotta or burnt clay.

• Some of the raw materials were locally available whereas some were purchase from the distant places. Soil and wood were locally available raw materials. Stones , fine quality wood , meatals were procured from distant places.

• The Harappans produced materials for craft production in various ways. For instance, they established settlements such as Nageshwar and Balakot in areas where shell was available. Other such sites were Shortughai, in far-off Afghanistan, near the best source of lapis lazuli, a blue stone that was apparently very highly valued, and Lothal which was near sources of carnelian (from Bharuch in Gujarat), steatite (from south Rajasthan and north Gujarat) and metal (from Rajasthan).

• Another strategy for procuring raw materials may have been to send expeditions to areas such as the Khetri region of Rajasthan (for copper) and south India (for gold). These expeditions established communication with local communities. There is evidence in the Khetri area for what archaeologists call the Ganeshwar-Jodhpura culture, with its distinctive non-Harappan pottery and an unusual wealth of copper objects. It is possible that the inhabitants of this region supplied copper to the Harappans.

8. Discuss how archaeologists reconstruct the past.


• Archaeologist excavate the sites of the ancient past related to culture or civilisation.They find out the art and craft such as seal, material, remains or houses, buildings, pots, ornamentals, tools , coins weights, measurement and toys etc.

• Skulls, bones jaws, teeth of the dead bodies and materials kept with these dead bodies are kept with these dead bodies are also helpful to the archaeologists. With the help of botanist and zoologists, archaeologists study the plants and animals bones found at different places.

• Archaeologists try to find out the tools used in the process of cultivation and harvesting. They also try to find out traces of wells, canals, tanks, etc as they served means of irrigation.

• Different layers of sites are observed to find out different things. These things give the picture of socio-economic condition such as religious life and the cultural life of the people.

• Tools, unfinished products waste materials, help in identifying the centres of crafts production. Indirect evidences also help the archaeologist in reconstructing the past.

• Archaeologist develop frames of references, it can be better understood by this fact that the first Harappan seal that was found could not be understood till archaeologists had a context in which to place it- both in terms of cultural sequence in which it was found and in terms of a comparison with finds in mesopotamia.

• Examination of seals helps in constructing the concept of religious belief of the period. Seals depicts religious scenes. Some animals such as the one-horned animals, often called the unicorn depicted on the seals appear mythical, composite creatures. In some seals, a figure has been shown sitting crossed legs in a yogic posture. All these represent the religious concept of the period.

9. Discuss the functions that may have been performed by rulers in Harappan society.


There are different views on the Harappan society. One group of archaeologists suggest that the Harappan society had no rulers and so everybody enjoyed equal status. The other group of archaeologists are of the opinion that there was no single ruler but several ones. The third theory sees the most suitable. It suggests that it is unlikely that entire communities could have collectively made and implemented such complex decisions.
Evidences show that complex decision were taken and implemented in the harappan society. Extra ordinary decision were taken and implemented in the Harappan artefacts as evident in pottery, seals, weights and bricks show the complex decisions.
Plans and layouts of the city were prepared under the guidance and supervisions of the rulers. Big buildings , palaces, forts ,tents , wells, canals and granaries were constructed.
Cleanliness was the responsibility of the rulers. Roads, lanes and drains were also constructed.
The rulers also looked after the welfare of the economy. They used to inspire the farmers to increase agricultural production. They also motivated the craftsmen to promote different handicrafts. External and internal trade were both promoted by the ruler. The ruler used to issue common acceptable coins or seals, weights, and measurement.

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