The finale episode, First Civilizations – Trade episode 4, examines an ancient civilization unlike any other, that of the Indus Valley. Rather than imposing order through war or religion, it relied on the free flow of trade. The exchange of goods promoted wealth, co-operation and trust.
A look at the first human civilizations, which emerged in the Near East, Egypt, the Indus Valley, China, the Andes, and Mesoamerica. All subsequent civilizations have been derived from these original six foundational civilizations. First Civilizations Having lived as mobile foragers for 99 percent of our time on Earth, why did humans set out on the road to civilization? How did they create villages, towns, cities, and states, and establish the blueprint for the modern world?
First Civilizations identifies four cornerstones of civilization – war, religion, cities and trade – and explores each in the context of a different location, from Mexico, Guatemala, Iraq, Turkey, Egypt, India, and Pakistan, to Oman, Morocco, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Unearth the latest archaeological discoveries, test new theories, and uncover original information as dramatic reconstructions and computer graphics visualize the lost world of the first civilizations.
In each of the four episodes, discover how our ancestors were motivated by the same impulses that persist today – the inevitability of war, a need for religion, the lure of the city, and a love of trade.
First Civilizations episode 4 – Trade
Indus Valley Civilisation
The Indus Valley Civilisation was a Bronze Age civilisation in the northwestern regions of South Asia, lasting from 3300 BCE to 1300 BCE, and in its mature form from 2600 BCE to 1900 BCE. Along with ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia it was one of three early civilisations of the region comprising North Africa, West Asia and South Asia, and of the three, the most widespread, its sites spanning an area stretching from northeast Afghanistan, through much of Pakistan, and into western and northwestern India. It flourished in the basins of the Indus River, which flows through the length of Pakistan, and along a system of perennial, mostly monsoon-fed, rivers that once coursed in the vicinity of the seasonal Ghaggar-Hakra river in northwest India and eastern Pakistan.
The civilisation’s cities were noted for their urban planning, baked brick houses, elaborate drainage systems, water supply systems, clusters of large non-residential buildings, and new techniques in handicraft (carnelian products, seal carving) and metallurgy (copper, bronze, lead, and tin). The large cities of Mohenjo-daro and Harappa very likely grew to containing between 30,000 and 60,000 individuals, and the civilisation itself during its florescence may have contained between one and five million individuals. Gradual drying of the region’s soil during the 3rd millennium BCE may have been the initial spur for the urbanisation associated with the civilisation, but eventually also reduced the water supply enough to cause the civilisation’s demise, and to scatter its population eastward.