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Ancient Pakistan - Books

Indus Pakistan

May 7, 2012
United Kingdom
This thread is dedicated to being a resource base on Ancient Pakistan. We will list any books, websites or academic publications that deal with the ancient history of Pakistan. Only information that is about the history of Indus Basin/Pakistan or substantively so should be posted here.

I begin this by acknowledging the work of Pakistan's celebrated archaeologist the late Prof. Ahmad Hasan Dani. For five decades he has worked on the Indus Basin, Pakistan one of the world's greatest archeological treasures in the same category as Egypt. It would be appropriate to say what "Nile is to Egypt Indus is to Pakistan".

Prof. Ahmad Hasan Dani has always argued that to understand Harappa or Mohenjo Daro one has to look at the Central Asian connection. In doing so he has ran into the much touted fantasy of many Indian's - the so called Dravidian connection.

He was appointed lifetime director of the Taxila Institute. Over the years he has been awarded Hilal-e-Imtiaz by Pak government, Legion de'honneur by the President of France, Order of Merit by Germany,Knight Commander by Italy and in 2004 was awarded the title of "'Distinguished National Professor" by Higher Education Commission of Pakistan. He could speak over 15 languges from Sanskrit, Persian, Arabic, French, Italian etc.

I see him as the guardian and custodian of our history. He has gone but he has left us incredible legacy and he has inspired a whole crop of Pakistani's who no doubt will contribute to writing of our history which only Egypt or Mesoptomia can match. What went on thousands of years ago on our land, the Indus Valley helped to shape the world history.

* Ahmad Hasan Dani - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
* Obituary: Ahmad Hasan Dani | Science | The Guardian

University professors, professionals and students showered praise on Dani at a memorial seminar held at Quaid-e-Azam Univeristy (QAU) on Wednesday. The seminar, which marked Dani’s 93rd birth anniversary, was organised by QAU’s Taxila Institute of Asian Civilisations (TIAC).

An authority on South and Central Asian archaeology and history, Dani published over 30 books, taught as a professor of history and archaeology at different universities and made several archaeological discoveries including the excavation of a pre-Harappan site in Rehman Dheri and of Gandhara sites in Swat, Peshawar and Dir during his career. The government awarded Dani the Hilal-e-Imtiaz — Pakistan’s second-highest civilian award — in 2000 for his achievements and contribution to the Humanities. He was serving as TIAC’s honorary director at the time of his death. Dani a ethnic Kashmiri was born in British India, on June 20, 1920. He died in Islamabad on January 26, 2009, at the age of 88.

Ali Beg, a friend of Dani, said he was a well-known figure from Dushanbe, Tajikistan, to Tashkent, Uzbekistan, because of his extensive research in Central Asia. “Dani was like an ambassador of Pakistan in Central Asia,” said Beg, who had travelled with Dani through Central Asia back in 1993. Click below on the link and see how Prof. Dani blows the Dravidian bubble.

* Ahmad Hassan Dani Interview Contents

Below is the link to youtube where you will hear the discrimination the young Dani had to face from the Hindu administration at the Banaras University before 1947. He had to eat alone in a separate room.


I would strongly suggest that patriotic Pakistani's buy at least one book and even if you don't read it donate it to school or the local library. In doing this your supporting our history and spreading the knowledge of our gereat past to others, something that I feel we have terribly neglected and in doing so allowed a gready neighbour to claim what is ours. Time to take back the greatness of our forefathers.

History of Pakistan: Pakistan Through Ages Hardcover – 8 Oct 2007
by Ahmad Hasan Dani

The historic city of Taxila Paperback – 1986
by Ahmad Hasan Dani

Recent Archaeological Discoveries in Pakistan Paperback – Dec 1988

human civilization along the Karakoram Highway Monuments(Chinese Edition) Paperback – 1991
by (BA ) Dani & ZHU

Our Chinese friends might be interested in this.

Central Asia Today Hardcover – 22 Jun 1996
by Ahmad Hasan Dani

New Light on Central Asia Hardcover – 20 Mar 1996
by Ahmad Hasan Dani

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Indus Pakistan

May 7, 2012
United Kingdom
As you can see from some of these books Prof. Dani felt that Indus Basin/Pakistan in antiquity recieved significant influence from Central Asia and Iran. One example is how various artifacts found in Harappa were made of Lapis Lazuli from mines in Central Asia.

The young Dani had also worked under the great British archaeologist Sir Mortimer Wheeler who had been involved in the excavation of IVC sites in Pakistan in late 1940s. The book belows was actually published in 1950s. You will notice it say's 5,000 years of Pakistan when the political entity was only 3 years old.

When ever I add "Ancient" as a prefix to "Pakistan" I get howling and screaming from Indian's because somehow they find that offensive. It is almost hilarious to see their reaction which can trigger of paroxyms of abuse. Yet 65 years ago one of the greatest archaeologist of his time, Sir Mortimer Wheeler had no problem in talking of "Pakistan" and "Five Thousand Years" when the country was less then three years old.

Sir Wheeler one of the foremost archaeologist of his time used 'Pakistan' as coterminous and meant the Indus land and it's people. Names come and go but land and people continue through the ages in a continous path of evolution.

Today Indian's never stop reminding us that "Pakistan came into being in 1947" when the truth is history is always related to people and land. A fact that Sir Wheeler acknowledged by headlining his book "5,000 years of Pakistan".

If I change my name today from Atanz to Peccava I remain the same person, my parents remain the same, my family remains the same, my grandparents, my lineage and my ancestors remain the same. That is because I am simply the same person. This is something to bear in mind.

Pakistani's your land and your ancestors were there at the dawn of history. Your mighty Indus, Pakistan, Nile, Egypt, Tigris and Euphrates, Mesopotamia/Iraq, Yellow River, China are the cradles of human civilization. Carry that as a badge of pride.

If only in 1950s Pakistan had focussed on the glorious history of our ancestors and our land I am convinced we would not have had half the problems that we have today. However I feel a palpable change. In time I have no doubt Pakistan will celebrate her history.

Our friends will wish us well on the road to rediscovery and our enemies will scream and cry fowl. We all know who get's agitated at the mere mention of Pakistan's ancient history!

Five thousand years of Pakistan: an archaeological outline
by Sir Mortimer Wheeler.

Sir Robert Eric Mortimer Wheeler
Royal Book Co., 1950 - History - 149 pages
0 Reviews
Conpiled For The Purpose Of Presenting To Readers A Brief Sketch Of Imposing Material Heritage Of Pakistan Prior To The Death Of Aurangzeb In 1707. Part I West Pakistan Has 16 Chapters. Part Ii East Pakistan Has 7 Chapters-Followed By Retrospect And Prospect. Appendices. Morethan 20 Plates. Around 19 Figures.

I also must include Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan and his great effort to connect with our ancestors. You don't have to be PPP supporter to appreciate this book.

The Indus Saga And The Making Of Pakistan
by Aitzaz Ahsan

Inspired by Prof. Dani's lifetime work and Aitzaz Ahsan Mukhtar Ahmad has made a gargantuan effort and has written series of five books that cover Ancient Pakistan from prehistory or the stone age all the way to demise of the Harappan civilization.

The books listed below are a tour de force on the history of Pakistan and extremely detailed thus are heavy reading. However these books in time will be looked as the begining of serious rewriting of Pakistan history not based on myth, or political compulsions but based on archeology of the Indus Basin. They male invaluable referance books.

Ancient Pakistan - An Archaeological History: Volume I: The Stone Age (Volume 1) Paperback – May 29, 2014
by Mukhtar Ahmed (Author)

Ancient Pakistan - An Archaeological History deals with the prehistory of Pakistan from the Stone Age to the end of the Indus Civilization. This particular volume, The Stone Age, concerns with the first appearance of man in northern Pakistan more than a million years ago and traces his cultural history up to the emergence of agriculture and sedentary living in this region. The book is written for students of ancient history, anthropology, and archaeology. The material is

Ancient Pakistan - An Archaeological History: Volume II: A Prelude to Civilization (Volume 2) Paperback – May 29, 2014
by Mukhtar Ahmed (Author)
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ISBN-13: 978-1495941306 ISBN-10: 1495941302 Edition: 1st

This book is the second volume of a much larger project, Ancient Pakistan - An Archaelogical History, which deals with the prehistory of Pakistan from the Stone Age to the end of the Indus Civilization ca. 1500 BC. This particular volume, A Prelude to Civilization, is concerned with the beginning of agriculture, sedentary living and the emergence of village farming communities in the Greater Indus Valley, leaving the reader at the threshold of the Harappan Civilization. The material is generously illustrated with a large number of maps, tables, drawings, and photographs. A comprehensive bibliography is provided for those who want to dig deeper into the subject.

Ancient Pakistan - An Archaeological History III: Volume III: Harappan Civilization - The Material Culture [Kindle Edition]
Mukhtar Ahmed (Author)

This is the third volume of a much larger project, Ancient Pakistan - An Archaeological History, which deals with the prehistory of Pakistan from the Stone Age to the end of the Harappan Civilization ca. 1500 BC. This particular volume, Harappan Civilization - The Material Culture, deals with the entire gambit of the urban phase of the Indus Civilization, from its beginning to its decay and the ultimate end. The books covers such topics as the origins, settlement pattern, subsistence economy, architecture, town planning, Indus seals, arts and crafts, metallurgy, decay, and the post-Harappan cultural landscape. Every chapter is profusely illustrated with colored sketches and colored photographs. An extensive bibliography is also provided.

Ancient Pakistan - An Archaeological History: Volume IV: Harappan Civilization - Theoretical and the Abstract (Volume 4) Paperback – June 4, 2014
by Mukhtar Ahmed (Author)
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ISBN-13: 978-1496082084 ISBN-10: 1496082087 Edition: 1st

This is the fourth volume of the Ancient Pakistan - An Archaeological History. It deals with a number of issues of the Indus Civilization, which are primarily of theoretical importance. The main topics that have been discussed are the social and political organization of the Harappan society, the Harappan religion, the Indus script and language, the beginning and the end of this vast civilization, and the recent attempts in creating some myths around the Indus Civilization.

Ancient Pakistan - An Archaeological History: Volume V: The End of the Harappan Civilization, and the Aftermath (Volume 5) Paperback – May 30, 2014
by Mukhtar Ahmed (Author)

This book is the fifth and the last volume of a much larger project, Ancient Pakistan - An Archaelogical History. which deals with the prehistory of Pakistan from the Stone Age to the end of the Indus Civilization. This volume deals with the decay and demise of the Indus Civilization and its devolution into post-Harappan regional cultures under the impact of the intruding pastoral nomads from the West, the Indo-Aryans being one of them. A comprehensive bibliography is provided for those who want to dig deeper into the subject.

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Indus Pakistan

May 7, 2012
United Kingdom
The Greeks in Ancient Pakistan

The book presents features of Greek or Hellenic Dynasties' rule in Pakistan from Alexander's invasion in 326 BC till Kushan period 3rd century C.E.



Alexander the Great in Ancient Pakistan: Campaigns in Bajaur, Swat, Punjab, Sindh & Makran; Intellectual environment at the time of Alexander’s invasion; Cities & Cantonments built by Alexander the Great; Encounters with Eastern Religions.

Indus Greek Period: Socio-political environment; Demetrius the Founder; Apollodotus the Conqueror; Menander the Consolidator; Menander’s Q&A with Nagasena (Milandapanha); Indus Greek cities at Taxila & Shaikhan Dheri; Classical Greek Temple at Jandial; Coinage.

Philhellenic Dynasties: Hellenic credentials of Indo-Scythians, Indo-Parthians and Kushans; Scythian-Parthian Rule, Kushan Rule; Philhellenic artifacts.

Patronage of Buddhist institutions: Menander’s and Kanishka’s active espousal of the Buddhist Cause; construction of Buddhist Sangharamas on a large scale.

Gandhara Art: Greek & Persian influences in Gandhara Art.

Trade & Commerce: Overland & Maritime trade; Contribution’s of Skylax and Nearchus in opening up of Maritime routes for trade between East and West.

The Indus Greeks, like their ancestors th Bactrian Greeks, were inspired by the Greeks of Asia Minor in the fields of Architecture and town planning. In Asia Minor the expatriate Greeks built a number of new cities. Over a period of time they developed their own styles in architecture and town planning..........The Hippodamian concept of town planning found application in the layouts of Indus greek cities at Taxila and Peuceloitus.

Professional Reviews The new synthesis
The Greeks in Ancient Pakistan
By Rafi-us Samad
Reviewed by Pamela Taylor

Alexander the Great of Macedonia established a vast empire in the 330s and 320s BC by storming across the globe from his northern Greek homeland as far as today’s Pakistan, where he spent three years before dying in Babylon in 323 on his return march to Greece at the age of 32. His premature death meant that his empire instantly fell apart, but also guaranteed Alexander’s own enduring unique fame, whether as Alexander or Sikander. After Alexander the Mauryans from Northern India dominated the area for a while, only to be replaced by descendants of Alexander’s soldiers who remained in the Bactrian region north of the Hindu Kush.
It was during the centuries that followed that what we now think of as Indus Greek culture flourished. It was of course a culture that brought together many different elements into a new synthesis, most exquisitely expressed in the masterpieces of Gandharan sculpture, which increasingly focused on Buddhist themes. It also produced work of the highest quality in coinage, in jewelry and in other fields, for example, town planning.
Alexander had chroniclers with him, so that in contrast to most earlier and many later empire builders, precise and reasonably reliable details of his life and campaigns survive, and for the later period there are works by Greek writers such as Megasthenes. These written sources add a whole new dimension to the silent evidence of numismatics, architecture and art.
Rafi Samad, an engineer by training, has carefully assembled all the available evidence, together with the work of specialist research scholars, to provide this straightforward account of the Greeks in the Indus region, for which he coins the term Indusland. After a general introduction, he proceeds chronologically from Alexander’s campaigns of 3274-324 BC to the philhellenic Scythian, Parthian and Kushan dynasties from about 85 BC to 490 AD. Further chapters discuss intellectual and religious interaction, the Greek influence on both architecture and Gandhara art, and finally trade and commerce.
The author has performed a valuable service in bringing together such scattered information. Some of the most useful parts of the book are effectively catalogued, for instance, of the Greek cities; the statues which show the development of Gandhara art; coins and some of the other finds from Taxila, the pre-eminent locus of Greek interaction with local cultures.
In the sections of the book devoted to Alexander, the focus is inevitably on his military campaigns and victories. This emphasis on the military aspects of the subject reflects the primary sources, since the contemporary writers focused almost entirely on the campaigns and the regions through which they and the army passed. Samad is cool-headed about the identification of various uncertain locations, a topic which has sometimes roused pathological levels of scholarly passion.
Nevertheless the concentration on Alexander is excessive, and reflects a more general problem. Samad fails to distinguish sufficiently between the impact and importance of overlordship on the one hand, and the longer term quotidian dynamic of different communities, many of them initially traders rather than soldiers, living and interacting together. The book is therefore rather less than the sum of its several excellent parts, since solid detail in the specific chapters is sometimes contradicted is facile general statements elsewhere. The author knows but forgets that there were already Greek traders in the area before Alexander arrived. Trade and commerce, which ought to be central, only appear as a short final chapter.
A similar reluctance to look at previous or wider contexts is apparent in chapters 8 and 10, which deal with interaction in philosophy and religion. Many of the archaeologists and historians whom Samad acknowledges are western, and he is certainly right in perceiving an earlier imperial bias which claimed the flow of enlightenment to have been entirely a one-way process.
But his own efforts are weakened by unconscious acceptance of the old imperial belief, wrong on all counts, that the Greeks were the forerunners of the Roman and British empires, and therefore entirely in an anachronistic western camp. Thus he opens chapter 10 by claiming that they had been isolated and unaware of higher religious concepts until Alexander’s eastward campaigns, but then admits that contact with the Achaemenid empire had started the process three centuries earlier. As today, processes of cultural contact and exchange took place through many different channels.
The book is copiously illustrated, although many of the pictures and all of the maps are smudgy. It is also let down by poor copy-editing. Greek and Latin endings for personal names are used indiscriminately, as are upper and lower case for terms such as Silk Route. Such flaws are not only irritating but undermine the credibility of what is in fact a useful book.

Greeks in Pakistan.

The invasion of Alexander the Great of the territories,which now constitute Pakistan ,was an event of great significance not only because of the extraordinary nature of the military expenditure undertaken by one of the worlds greatest conquerors, but also because it was the first time that direct contacts were established between Europe & South Asia. Alexanders invasion opend up a new era of mutually benificial trade and cultural exchanges between the two regions,more than 2,000 miles apart.

The fairly intense interaction between ancient South Asia and Greece,which commenced with the invasion of invasion of Alexander in fourth century BC, continued for almost seven centuries till the middle of 5th century AD. After Alexander it was the Seleucid and Bactrian Greeks settled in West and Central Asia,who continued to interact from across the borders,before the Bactrian/Indus Greeks conquered Gandhara and Punjab, Ancient Pakistan in the begining of 1st century BC.The Indus Greeks were succeeded by the philhellenic Scythian,Parthians and Kushans,who continued to rule Ancient Pakistan,till the middle of 5th century AD

During this extensive period,the nature and extent of Greek involvement and the impact,which the interactions produced in Ancient South Asia and Greece,has been the subject of much controversy.This book incorporates the latest material,which has become available through the research of international scholars.This material has been critically evaluated and supplemented by the author´s own critical analysis of the Hellenistic influences on local art and the influence of eastren Philosophy and religions on the intellectual movments in Greece and elsewhere in Europe.

The book also seeks to identify places and regions mentioned by Alexander´s Generals in their accounts of his military campaigns in the territories,which now constitute Pakistan.It provides latest information on the Alexandrias and the cities founded by the Indus Greeks in this region and on the cantoments and military posts established by Alexander.

A modern reminder of Pakistan's connection with Alexander's Greeks.

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Apr 6, 2010
I remember posting "Pakistan: A Short History" ed. by I. H Qureishi before. Must have disappeared during the time the site was down.

Anyways The first section of that book deals with Ancient-Pre Islamic Pakistan by Professor Dani. Was a great read and very easy to understand for the layman. I was like 12 when I first read it hehe,

wikipedia link on the book A Short History of Pakistan - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Indus Pakistan

May 7, 2012
United Kingdom
The Grandeur of Gandhara: The Ancient Buddhist Civilization of the Swat, Peshawar, Kabul and Indus Valleys
  • Rafi-us Samad
Reviews Table of Contents Introduction «Back

Sound Bite
The northwestern regions of Pakistan and southeastern regions of Afghanistan were once the heart of a highly developed civilization whose cultural impact was felt from China to Persia. A major center of Buddhism, its cultural attainments were highlights of ancient civilization.

The author's research, accompanied by some 60 illustrations, offers Americans an entirely new understanding of the desolate region shown on the nightly news.

The Persian, Greek and Central Asian invasions of Gandhara, rather than causing wide scale destruction in the region, promoted the development of a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic society. After a gestation period of about half a millennium, this region blossomed into a unique civilization in the opening years of the Common Era.
About the Author
Mr. Rafi-us Samad has authored two previous books on cultural history and ancient civilizations: Ancient Indus Civilization (2000), and The Greeks in Ancient Pakistan (2002). Articles by the author have also been published in the leading English language newspapers in Pakistan.

This book is based on his analysis of the reports of renowned archaeologists who carried out excavations at various sites, information gathered during the past decade through extended visits to numerous archaeological sites associated with the lost Gandhara Civilization including those in the Taxila, Peshawar, Charsadda, Mardan and Swat regions in Pakistan, and study of the large number of artifacts from these sites which are on display in museums at Taxila, Peshawar and Karachi.

Mr. Samad is chief executive of a private consultancy firm in Karachi; part of his education comes from Manchester University and Ashridge Management College, in the UK.

About the Book
Detailed archaeological excavations were started at sites in northern Pakistan and Afghanistan in the late-19th century. Through these excavations, eminent archaeologists such as Aurel Stein, Alexander Cunningham, John Marshall, J. Barthoux and...
More »
Cultural Issues
History: Ancient
The World Beyond the US

Pages 286
Year: 2011
LC Classification: DS392.G36S26 2011
Dewey code: 954.91'32--dc22
BISAC: HIS017000 HISTORY / South Asia
Soft Cover
ISBN: 978-0-87586-858-5
Price: USD 23.95


ANCIENT, MEDIEVAL AND RECENT HISTORY AND COINS OF PAKISTAN. By Rear Admiral Sohail A. Khan. pp.157. Islamabad, Leo Book, 1998.

This book is being distributed free by the Pakistan Numismatic Society and in the first instance anyone interested should contact Mobin Ahmed at ageco@isb.paknet.com.pk.
This volume is being distributed free of charge by the Pakistan Numismatic Society. It is divided into four sections. The first provides brief overviews of each of the dynasties and series of coins from the early punchmarked until the British annexed India. Each series is accompanied by black and white illustrations (of variable quality). The second section covers the same material again with some additional discussion of the history and the coins. This is followed by a set of essays and a fourth section of maps, chronologies and genealogical information.

So how does the content compare to Khan's stated aim of producing a 'handbook' of the regions coins? The answer is that Khan falls somewhat short of this goal. The black and white illustrations are usable and the text is clear and concise. The chronologies and tables of kings are simple and convenient, though I am at a complete loss as to why the chronology begins halfway through the period covered by the book. In a handy and easy to use format the book provides an overview of the coins of Pakistan. So in its own terms the book is broadly successful.

But there are failings with the book. The illustrations, as mentioned above, are not good enough. The quality is not the only problem. There are not enough coins illustrated. For the Kushan Empire Khan illustrates coins of Heraus/Sanab, Kanishka, Huvishka, Vasudeva. The coins of Kajula, Soter Megas, Wima Kadphises, and the later Kushans are missing. This might have been an acceptable ommission if space had been a problem but nearly forty pages are wasted in the third section of the book. The third section consists of three essays, none of which add anything worth reading. The essays contain no new material and Khan is not a sufficiently talented writer to be read for pleasure. This section could have been dropped in favor of a greater number of illustrations of the coins. Had Khan done so the books value to collectors would have been greatly enhanced.

In addition to the problems of illustration there are a number of errors in the book: ancient economies are not divided into coinage and barter systems; nor are coins as useful to historians as Khan implies in his introduction; Soter Megas is not a synonym for the Kushan king Vasishka (27); Kanishka was not a Buddhist; and Khan's discussion of the date of Kanishka is rather confused (75). These errors are misleading and irritating.

Most of these criticisms should be directed at the publishers Leo Books. The quality and number of the pictures is their responsibility. As for the third section they should have raised concerns with the author. It is an authors job to provide something that is worth being considered for publication; it is the publishers job to ensure that when it is published it is worth reading. On this occasion Leo Books have fallen short.

The book is being freely distributed by the Pakistan Numismatic Society and as such it is a useful overview for those interested in coins. It is not, however, a good introduction to economic history and its value to Kushan studies is in what it says about non-Kushan coins.

The Ancient Indus by Rita P. Wright

Considering the apparent depth of human misery in parts of Afganistan and Pakistan at the moment, it seems a little trite to also point out that this area is the site of some of the most interesting and early cities. Rita P Wright is the sort of courageous archaeologist who has spent her career uncovering this still-mysterious area of the earth, and this book, The Ancient Indus, published in 2010 by Cambridge University Press, presents some of the latest findings.

The first chapter deals with the history of the discovery which started when a deserter from the British East India Company, who went under the alien of Charles Masson, discovered a mound adjacent to the city of Harappa as he journeyed through the Punjab on horseback in 1829. The importance of the site only really came to the attention of the western world when article in the London Illustrated news by John Marshall declared the great age of the site comparing it with the hey-days of Mesopotamia and Egypt.

Mortimer Wheeler later took an interest in the place, and wrote an influential book called the Indus Empire in 1966 (which I've ordered), but some of his ideas, for instance that the cities died out due to being overrun by Aryan invaders from the north, are now mostly dismissed. The cities seemed to be unusual in that they seem to be unprepared for war. Although raised above the flood plains and divided by walls these seem to be for segregation rather than defence.

The second chapter considers the modern ideas explaining the collapse of the civilisation, which started around 1900BC. The Monsoon shifted, as did the course of the rivers. Earthquakes too could have an an effect, as could the silting up the rivers and the coastline extending south.

In the third chapter I learnt about the evidence of the start of farming in the area: specifically in Mehrgarh, a particularly impoverished and underdeveloped area of Pakistan, a mountainous region, just to the west of the valley. Some crops and animals were thought to be locally domesticated, while others were thought to be imported from the middle east. By 4,500BC domestication of both animals and crops was widespread.

There was an interesting section considering a particular site in Mehrgarh which described some aspects of the the life of a community living there from 7,000-2,500BC, and the changes as the settlement became larger and more urban. The average life expectancy seemed to go down, judging from the ages of the bodies exhumed from the cemeteries, and the birth rate went up. Pots became more sophisticated, some of them thrown onto a wheel and decorated with gazelles, and the oxygen and temperature of the kilns controlled to change the colour of the clay. But the best artwork seemed to come from the early part of their history. In the first era, 7,000- 4,000BC, the figurines are symbolic and strikingly beautiful.

Chapter 4 describes the rise of the city: the migration to the plains, the establishment of small villages and then the planning and the establishment of the cities. The earlier technologies of the people in Mehrgarh are developed and new ones added. The enlargement of the communities allow people to become specialised, and a hierarchy is developed with communities of 'crafters' established in 'industrial' locations. There is a cubical weight system, the bricks are standardised and an early form of script is marked on pottery.

Chapter 5 introduced me to the specific wonders of the five main individual Indus cities. Although they interacted and were based on the same culture, each one had their own individual characteristics. Mohenjo-daro, for instance, was the largest, but also short-lived. It was established quickly over just a few years on a raised platforms built above the plain, and had a sophisticated plumbing system of drain, cess-pits, baths and vertical shafts for wells, and a system of parallel roads.

Harappa, in contrast, still exists today, and although no great bath has been discovered as in Mohenjo-daro there is an unexplained large building of many small rooms which can only be described in terms of what it is not: not a granary, nor a barracks, nor a temple...

The cities are thought to have been similar in concept to the city-states of Ancient Greece in that they each controlled a a network of smaller towns and villages which were mutually dependent in terms of the supply of raw materials and goods.

In addition to the Indus valley proper there were also empire outposts and gateways. For instance, in northern Afghanistan 500km away, there was a small settlement called Shortugai, thought to be established by Harappan people to take advantage of the supply of lapis lazuli. It seems to have been a Harappa city in miniature.

Chapter 6 is an in depth look at the Harappan crafts. I read about carnelian beads that took a fortnight to produce, miniature steatite beads glazed with sand lime and clay and stoneware bangles which were restricted to the cities since their method of production was incredibly sophisticated and involved clay purification, a potter's wheel and then such careful control of a kiln that the product has a shiny metallic lustre and has the properties of glass.

Trade was another important aspect of Harappan life, and during their Urban phase (2,600 - 1,900 BC) the Harappans had important links with Mesopotamia and the Arabian peninsular. Chapter 7 describes aspects of this: the use of seals as identification of goods, the system of weights made from the same chert to establish uniformity, the use of shells, precious metals, and semi-precious stones and the idea that some of the articles made could serve as 'monies' for use in trade. One idea I found exciting was that in Mesopotamia there were Harappan emigres who served as 'tongue exchangers' and there is therefore the prospect that one day a tablet containing both Sumerian and Harappan script might be found, and so the language and writing of Harappa with its 400 signs might be interpreted.

Chapter 8 considers more aspects of the Harappan contact with distant places, which leads to chapter 9's consideration of the administration and social organisation of a Harappan city. There is evidence of a privileged society sporting carnelian beads instead of terracotta, copper bowls instead of pot, and a hierarchy of elite merchants, specialist traders, family groups and individuals and possibly state institutions - segregated by walls and spaces and proximity to cess pit. Houses had bathing platforms, toilets,wells, refuse disposal systems. In some ways the living conditions of the cities of Harappa seem to surpass the conditions of some parts of Pakstan today.

Chapter 10 is an assessment of what is known or postulated about the Harappan religion. Some people have looked at it in comparison with the history of modern religions of the area; while others have compared it with other religions of the time. It ends with a detailed examination of Harappan seals and imagery and involves processions of worshipers wearing horned headresses, priests or shamans, and deities which have animal and human characteristics.

In chapter 11 there is an assessment of the evidence for the decline of the empire and its causes, as well as a description of the changes in lifestyle as life became more difficult. As in Greece after the Mycenae, there was a dark age. People forgot how to write because the contraction of trade meant there was no longer any need. Some cities were abandoned altogether, while some became overpopulated in some parts and abandoned others.

Overall, a very interesting book with a lot of fascinating information, although it is an academic one written for undergraduates, and therefore uses the vocabulary and sentence structure of the social sciences textbook.

Ancient Greek Sites in Pakistan: Jhelum, Taxila, History of Jhelum, Sirkap

Purchase includes free access to book updates online and a free trial membership in the publisher's book club where you can select from more than a million books without charge. Chapters: Jhelum, Taxila, History of Jhelum, Sirkap, Sagala. Excerpt: Sohail Gate, Rohtas Fort . The recorded history of Jhelum , a district of modern-day Pakistan , covers thousands of years. It has since its creation changed hands from Greek , Persian , Hindu , Muslim , Sikh and British rule to present day Pakistan . Jhelum is near the site of the famous Battle of the Hydaspes between the armies of Alexander the Great and Raja Porus This battle took place a few miles downstream from the city centre, along the river banks. The city was founded to commemorate the death of Alexander's horse, Bucephalus , and was originally called Bucephala. Nearby there is also the historic 16th century Rohtas Fort , another historic fort since Sikh era located at the backside of main Bus stand near Railway Phatak Jhelum City now being used as stores under Railway Authorities and also Tilla Jogian ; a centuries-long history of the area. Early history The history of the district dates back to the semi-mythical period of the Mahabharata . Hindu tradition represents the Salt Range as the refuge of the five Pandava brethren during the period of their exile, and every salient point in its scenery is connected with some legend of the national heroes. Modern research has fixed the site of the conflict between Alexander and Porus as within Jhelum district, though the exact spot at which the Macedonian king effected the passage of the Jhelum (or Hydespes) has been hotly disputed. Greek Period Ancient graveyard of Alexander 's period Alexander moved from Taxila of Raja Ambhi, whom he subdued without fight, to Kalar Kahar. From there he moved over the Salt Range, turning left, along the western bank of River Jhelum, which he called Hydaspes.Opposite him on the other bank was a Raja Porus. They fought Alexander's big...

Product Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781155542515
  • Publisher: General Books LLC
  • Publication date: 5/5/2010

The Indus Delta Country. a Memoir Chiefly on Its Ancient Geography and History ... with Three Maps.

by Malcolm Robert Haig

FACT: Did you know Pakistan has one of the largest repository of ancient Manuscripts in the world.

Empires of the Indus: The Story of a River – April 5, 2010
by Alice Albinia (Author)

“Alice Albinia is the most extraordinary traveler of her generation. . . . A journey of astonishing confidence and courage.”—Rory Stewart

One of the largest rivers in the world, the Indus rises in the Tibetan mountains and flows west across northern India and south through Pakistan. It has been worshipped as a god, used as a tool of imperial expansion, and today is the cement of Pakistan’s fractious union. Alice Albinia follows the river upstream, through two thousand miles of geography and back to a time five thousand years ago when a string of sophisticated cities grew on its banks. “This turbulent history, entwined with a superlative travel narrative” (The Guardian) leads us from the ruins of elaborate metropolises, to the bitter divisions of today. Like Rory Stewart’s The Places In Between, Empires of the Indus is an engrossing personal journey and a deeply moving portrait of a river and its people. 18 illustrations
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Nov 1, 2010
United Kingdom
Now this has cemented in Pakistanis minds what actually was our Ancient History, this beautiful quote tell all: Nile is to Egypt Indus is to Pakistan".

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