Segments in this Video

Mohenjo-daro (02:33)


Mohenjo-daro on the Indus River was a well-planned brick city with sophisticated wells, drainage and sewer systems. Baths were sacred to the Indus people, who bathed in large public baths.

The Mysterious Indus (03:21)

The Indus created seals depicting Zebus and undecipherable writing, making the Indus a mysterious civilization. Statues provide clues to their appearance and culture.

Archaeologists Excavate Dholavira (03:52)

Dholavira on Khadir Bet Island is the first Indus Valley ruin opened to the public. It flourished 4,500 years ago. Dr. Bisht of the Archaeological Survey of India leads an excavation team at the site.

Bisht Explores Dholavira's Ruins (03:15)

Dr. Bisht believes huge ditches at Dholavira were once reservoirs. The city had a walled fortress and an urban district. Computer animation depicts how the city may have looked and operated.

Dholavira's Reservoir System (02:51)

Evidence of a dam points to a system that harnessed river water into reservoirs. The people of Dholavira used the area's natural geography to channel the water around the city.

Search for the Ghaggar Hakra (04:08)

Archaeologist Nauriyal questions why cities like Kalibangan were so far from the Indus River. Indian legend recalls the Sarasavati, or Ghaggar Hakra River. Satellite photos show traces of a river.

Ghaggar Hakra Runs Underground (03:29)

An underground water vein tapped by farmers is what remains of the Ghaggar Hakra. The Indus flourished on the Ghaggar Hakra and Indus Rivers. Modern Indians still depend on underground water.

The Importance of Water in Dholavira (03:42)

Dholavira's design directed water into specific areas. Rain water was channeled aqueducts. There was a distinction between rain and river water; ground water was the most sacred.

Modern Society Linked to the Past (04:35)

Today, people call the Indus the "Highway of Life." It is still used as a major artery for travel, just as it was in the past. Modern wooden boats resemble boats depicted on Indus seals.

Indus Artifacts (03:23)

Indus artifacts such as seals, tools and children's toys point to a highly advanced urban civilization. There are no signs of war or destruction. People were basically middle class without total hierarchy.

Ancient Characters Discovered (04:16)

Ten quartz characters are uncovered at Dholavira. Dr. Bisht believes they are the oldest in the world. Linguist Prof. Parpola attempts to decipher the symbols with a database of Indus characters.

Deciphering Dholavira's Symbols (02:38)

Parpola finds similarities between the Dholavira characters and the Dharma chakra, often used as the symbol of the ideal king. The characters may be the names of members of authority.

Dholavira's Flair for Fashion Jewelry (02:39)

Dholavira had a workshop where colorful beads were fashioned for jewelry. Beads and other Indus Valley relics are preserved in a museum in Abu Dhabi, Arabia.

The Saar Burial Mounds in Bahrain (04:08)

The Saar Burial Mounds in Bahrain contain seals bearing Indus symbols and Cuneiform characters. The seals were used in business deals. The Indus and Mesopotamian people traded with Bahrain.

Bahrain Connects Two Civilizations (02:57)

Indus artifacts are found in Mesopotamia. Archaeologists hope to find a decipherable link between the two at excavation sites in Bahrain, the trade intermediary between both civilizations.

Lack of Water Leads to Indus' Demise (04:30)

Dholavira's prosperity depended on trade routes following the Ghaggar Hakra and the sea. A shift in the river led to the city's demise. The reverence for water remains deeply ingrained in India.

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Indus: The Unvoiced Civilization

Part of the Series : Messages from the Past: Reassessing Ancient Civilizations
DVD Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



Shrouded in mystery, the details of the Indus Valley civilization are slowly being extracted from the archaeological record. In this program, Richard Meadow, of Harvard University; R. S. Bisht, of the Archaeological Survey of India; linguist Asko H. S. Parpola; and other experts investigate the language, customs, and beliefs of the inhabitants of Mohenjo-daro, Harappa, Dholavira, and Kalibangan. Satellite photos, maps, relics, and an extraordinary 3-D computer re-creation of Dholavira and its water management system shed light on topics including the enigmatic Sarasvati River and Indus Valley links to Bahrain and faraway Mesopotamia. (59 minutes)

Length: 60 minutes

Item#: BVL11655

ISBN: 978-0-7365-5878-5

Copyright date: ©2000

Closed Captioned

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Only available in USA and Canada.