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Age of second urbanization – Indus Valley Civilization

Updated on September 7, 2016

Indus valley

Indus valley civilization tools

Indus Valley Civilization

It was only during the period of Mahajanapadas that the towns started emerging again. From about 400 BC many factors led to the growth of cities. These factors were intensification of agriculture and increase in trade and commerce. This period is called by historians as the Age of Second Urbanization.

A tremendous growth was witnessed during this period of second urbanization in two areas agriculture and trade. Both internal and external trade flourished. This rise was given an impetus by the use of money. Arts and crafts also furnished. These factors encouraged the growth of towns and cities. The developments had one thing in common – the use of iron.

The use of iron began in the sub – continent around 3,000 years ago. The growth in the use of iron tools can be traced back around 2,500 years ago. Iron tools like axes were used for clearing forests, and the ploughshare was used the increase the agriculture production.

Agricultural developments

The largest collection of iron tools and weapons has been discovered at the megalithic burial sites of the Chalcoithic Age.

Once the land was cleared and made fit for agriculture the plough-share was used for ploughing. Now, the next step was irrigation. Canals were dug to carry water from the rivers to the fields. Artificial tanks were also constructed. Water was released from these tanks and rivers into canals that fed the fields with water. Agricultural produces increased tremendously.

Blacksmith were in great demand and it became a specialized skill. The technique used for making iron was applied to make things of glass, ivory, beads, bones and shells.

Indus civilization crafts

Features of this period

Pali and Sanskrit books give detailed information about flourishing towns. Some of them were Pataliputra, Rajagriha, Ayodhya, Varanasi, Kaushambi and Sravasti. The main features of this period were :- 1) use of iron tools and implements. 2) use of northern Black polished ware. 3) use of burnt brick. 4) use of metal money. 5) expansion of agriculture because of better tools and improved methods of irrigation. 6) use of ring wells as toilets or drain pipes or garbage bins. 9Ring wells are rows of ceramic rings placed one on top of the other).

Residents of the village

In the southern and the northern part of the Indian subcontinent, there were at least three different kinds of people. Large landowners in the Tamil region were known as Velour, ordinary ploughmen were known as uzhavar and landless laborers, including slaves were known as kadaisiyar and adimai.

The village headman was known as the Grama Bhojaka in the northern part of the country. The post was hereditary and usually men from the same family, held the position for generations. The Grama Bhojaka was often the largest landowner. He had slaves and hired workers to cultivate the land. He was given power, he also collected taxes from the villages on the order of the king. He also functioned as a judge, and sometimes as a policeman.

Indus Valley civilization is 8000 years old

Craft people

It is clear that archaeological evidences for many crafts may not have survived. From literary evidence, we came to know that the manufacturing of cloth was important. There were famous centers such as Varanasi in the north, and Madurai in the south Both men and women worked in these centers.

Northern Black Polished Ware (NBPW) was another important type of pottery. It is black in color and exhibits a very fine polish or sheen. It was first produced around 500 BC in the Ganga valley and was largely used throughout the Mauryan Empire.


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