Seals, Script, Weights in Indus Valley Civilisation

The Harappan civilization, also known as the Indus Valley Civilization, is renowned for its distinctive seals, script, and standardized weights, which provide valuable insights into various aspects of their society, economy, and culture. Here's an overview of seals, script, and weights in Harappa:

  1. Seals:
    • Harappan seals are small, rectangular objects made primarily of steatite, a type of soft stone. They typically measure a few centimeters in length and are engraved with intricate designs, symbols, and inscriptions.
    • These seals served multiple functions, including administrative, economic, religious, and possibly decorative purposes. They were used to impress markings on clay tablets, pottery, and other surfaces, possibly for trade, accounting, identification, or authentication purposes.
    • Harappan seals often depict a variety of motifs, including animals (such as bulls, elephants, rhinoceroses), human figures, mythical creatures, and abstract symbols. These motifs are typically rendered in a stylized and geometric manner, with a high degree of precision and symmetry.
    • Many Harappan seals feature a unique script known as the Indus script, which remains undeciphered. The script consists of a series of symbols or characters arranged in rows or columns. While the exact meaning and purpose of the Indus script remain uncertain, scholars speculate that it may represent a form of writing or communication used by the Harappans.
  1. Script:
    • The Indus script is an ancient script used by the Harappan civilization, primarily on seals, pottery, and other objects. It is one of the world's oldest known writing systems and remains undeciphered.
    • The script consists of a set of symbols or characters, estimated to number between 400 to 600, arranged in sequences or clusters. These symbols exhibit a combination of pictographic, logographic, and possibly syllabic characteristics.
    • Despite numerous attempts by scholars to decipher the Indus script, its underlying language, grammar, and syntax remain elusive. The absence of bilingual inscriptions, as well as the limited length and context of surviving texts, presents significant challenges to decipherment efforts.
  1. Weights:
    • The Harappans used standardized weights for trade, commerce, and economic transactions. These weights were typically made of stone, terracotta, or bronze and were calibrated to specific units of measurement, such as the unit of weight known as the "Indus Valley weight standard."
    • Harappan weights come in various shapes and sizes, including cubical, cylindrical, and rectangular forms. They often feature markings or inscriptions indicating their weight or value, along with geometric or decorative patterns.
    • Archaeological excavations at Harappan sites have uncovered large numbers of standardized weights, suggesting a well-developed system of weights and measures in Harappan society. These weights were likely used in markets, warehouses, and administrative centers to ensure fairness and accuracy in commercial transactions.

Overall, seals, script, and weights are important artifacts of the Harappan civilization, providing valuable clues about their administrative practices, communication systems, and economic organization. Despite remaining undeciphered, the study of these artifacts continues to shed light on the complexity and sophistication of Harappan society.