NCERT Solutions for Class 12 History Chapter 1 - Bricks, Beads and Bones The Harappa Civilisation
113. List the items of food available to people in Harappan cities. Identify the groups who would have provided these.
Ans. There were several varieties of the food available to the Harappan people. There were products that was obtained from the plants and was collected by the food gatherers. There was availability of animal flesh and fish that was taken from the hunting communities. Apart from these there was availability of large number of agricultural crops like wheat, barley, pulses and rice that was grown by the agricultural communities.
114. How do archaeologists trace socio-economic differences in Harappan society? What are the differences that they notice?
Ans. The socio-economic differences in the Harappan society were traced on the basis of studying the burial systems and the luxuries possessed by different groups.
- In the Harappan society there was a general tradition that the dead people were buried in the pits. Some of the pits was also filled with pottery and other ornaments.
- The artefacts discovered from the Harappan site is divided into two categories. These two categories are utilitarian and luxuries. The utilitarian objects are used for daily chores and are made of stone and clay. On the other hand the luxury items are made from valuable materials like faience. Gold jewellery has also been discovered from several sites of Harappan.
115. Would you agree that the drainage system in Harappan cities indicates town planning? Give reasons for your answer.
Ans. One of the most astonishing features of the Harappan civilisation was the drainage system of their cities. It was very carefully planned. Some of its features are: The streets and towns in the cities were laid out in a grid pattern intersecting at the right angles. The streets had proper drains at regular intervals having a fixed pattern. Every house was connected with the drainage system for the carrying of the waste to the disposal centre. There was cesspits at regular intervals so that any issue with the blockage of the drainage can be easily resolved. The drainage system of the Harappan cities was the sign of the engineering genius of the people of Harappa.
116. List the materials used to make beads in the Harappan civilisation. Describe the process by which any one kind of bead was made.
Ans. Bead making was an important activity for the people of Harappan civilisation. The most important site for this activity was Chanhudaro. Chanhudaro was a small discovered site of about 7 hectares. The significance of this site is that it is generally known for its craft productionactivities. Some of the prevalent activities in this site were bead making, shell cutting, seal making, metal cutting, etc. Some of the important features of bead making are:
- There was the use of a variety of materials for making beads. Some common stones used for this purpose are carnelian, crystal, quartz, and steatite.
- The use of metals like copper, bronze and gold and shell, terracotta and faience was also prevalent in bead making.
- The beads were of different shapes like cylindrical, spherical and barrel shaped segmented.
- The decoration of the beads were done by incising or painting and some had designs etched on them.
117. Look at Fig. 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?
Ans. The observations that can be made after looking at the pictures are:
- The direction of the body has been kept in the North-South direction in a pit.
- The graves contain pottery and other ornaments which was buried with them.
- There is presence of bangles on the body of the given image.
- These observations suggest that the given figure is of a female.
118. Describe some of the distinctive features of Mohenjodaro.
Ans. Some of the distinctive features of the Mohenjodaro are:
- The settlements in the Mohenjodaro were divided into two sections. The first section was at the higher level but was smaller in expansion. On the other hand, the second section was at the lower level but was larger in expansion. The upper section was designated as the citadel by the archaeologist and the lower section was known as the Lower Town.
- The streets and towns in the cities were laid out in a grid pattern intersecting at the right angles. The streets had proper drains at regular intervals having a fixed pattern.
- There was the discovery of The Great Bath which was a rectangular tank. It was located in a courtyard surrounded by walls on all four sides.The steps leading to the tank was present on the north as well as the south. The rooms were also present on the three sides of the structure.
119. List the raw materials required for craft production in the Harappan civilisation and discuss how these might have been obtained.
Ans. There was the use of a variety of materials for making beads and for other craft activities. Some common stones used for this purpose are carnelian, crystal, quartz, and steatite. The use of metals like copper, bronze and gold and shell, terracotta and faience was also prevalent in bead making.
Some of the different strategies used by the Harappan people for procuring the raw materials are:
- The Harappan made establishments such as Nageshwar and Balakot in the areas where the availability of shell was there.
- Some of the other established sites of Harappans were Shortughai, in far off Afghanistan. It was the best source of Lapiz Lazuli.
- The Harappans also used to send expeditions to the regions rich in minerals. For example, they sent expeditions to the Khetri mines in Rajasthan which is rich in copper and expeditions to South India rich in gold.
- There were also links of coastal communication with other nations of the world.
- The exchange of commodities was prevalent in the Harappan culture through land and water medium.
120. Discuss how archaeologists reconstruct the past.
Ans. The archaeologists reconstruct the past through several methods:
- They perform excavations at different sites and gather the artefacts obtained from those sites.
- The artefacts are properly studied by the archaeologist which help them in understanding about the customs and traditions of the people inhabiting the site of excavation.
- The discovery of potteries, seals, construction materials, burial sites and other artefacts provides a great deal of information about the social and cultural history of the civilizations.
- Apart from this the discovery of the skulls, bones and teeth of the human beings helped in understanding about the physiology of the humans.
121. Discuss the functions that may have been performed by rulers in Harappan society.
Ans. There are several theories concerning the type of political administration in the Harappan civilisation:
- Some archaeologists have labelled Mohenjodaro as a palace and a stone statue was labelled as a priest-king. The city would have served as the centre of political power.
- According to some archaeologists, Harappan society had no rulers and everybody used to enjoy equal status in the society. Some archaeologists suggest that there was no single ruler, but a plethora of rulers ruled over the vast civilisation.
- Some of the functions of the rulers would be taking important political and economic decisions of the society. Another major function would have been to oversee the construction of the prominent buildings of the Harappan civilisation like great bath, tanks, wells, canals and palaces.
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