Harappan Civilization: Economic Life

Economy was mainly agrarian but heavily supported by trade and commerce. There emerged a village-town interrelationship for the supply of food and many other necessary products.

Dockyard at Lothal

Important Features

  1. Trading network both internal and external
  2. trade via land (cart with solid wheels) and sea routes (ships)
  3. uniformity in weight and measures
  4. external trade with Mesopotamia via Oman and Bahrain
  5. Docyard at Lothal for external trade


  1. Indus people sowed seeds in the flood plains in November, when flood water receded, and reaped their harvests of wheat and barley in April before the advent of next flood.
  2. They gres wheat, barley, rai, peas, seasamum, mustard, rice (only Lothal), cotton , dates, melon etc. ( First to produce cotton).
  3. In kalibangan fields were ploughed with wooden ploughs.
  4. Ramains of horse at Surkotda and dongs with men in grave at Ropar have been discovered.
  5. Food grains were stored in granaries

Trade and Commerce

  1. Well developed internal and external trade. No metallic money. Barter system was prevalent.
  2. Uniformity in weight and measures. Weights were made of limestone, steatite and were cubical in shape. 16 was the unit of measurement (16, 64, 160, 320 etc.)
  3. Flint tool work, shell work, bangle making, pottery making were practiced. Bead making factory existed in Chanhudaro and Lothal,
  4. Dockyard has been dicovered at Lothal. Rangpur, Somnath and Balakot functioned as seaports, Sutkagendor and Sutkakoh functioned as outlets.
  5. Inland transport was done with bullock carts.
  6. The standar Harappan seal was a square or oblong plaque made of steatite stone. The primary purpose of the seal was probably to mark ownership of property, but they may have also served as amulets.
  7. The Mesopotamian records from 2350BC onwords refer to trade relations with Meluha, the ancient name of the Indus region. Harappan seals and other material has been found at Mesopotamia. Also traded with Sumer also. Two intermediate trading stations called Dilmun (Bahrain) and Makan (Makran).

Sources of Raw Materials

  1. Copper: Khetri mines in Rajasthan, Baluchistan, Oman
  2. Gold: Kolar gold fields of Karnataka, Afghanistan
  3. Silver: Jwar mines in Rajasthan, Mesopotamia
  4. Shell: Nageshwar and Balakot
  5. Lapis Lazuli: Badakshan and Shortughai
  6. Steatite: South Rajasthan and Norht Gujarat
  7. Carnelian: Bharuch in Gujarat

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