Understanding Harappa: Civilization in the Great Indus Valley

Shereen Ratnagar

First published 2001

2006 (second edition)


x + 166 pages

colour and b/w illus. and maps

8.5 x 5.5 inches

ISBN: 81-89487-02-7

Rs 300 / $15

All rights available

Awarded The muzaffar ahmed memorial prize

This slim volume is an attempt to rouse the interest of students and non-specialists in the early civilization of the Indus valley and adjoining regions of Pakistan and India. The challenges of archaeological interpretation are discussed, together with maps, site plans, and illustrations of artefacts, but the evidence is presented in social terms rather than in a technical way. In an attempt to cast an overall perspective, the Indus civilization is presented in the context of contemporary cultural development in South Asia as well as western and central Asia. This revised edition refers to new ideas on the civilization and to recent excavations at a small but significant site.

Shereen Ratnagar took her training in the archaeology of India at the Deccan College, Pune, and in Mesopotamian archaeology at the University of London Institute of Archaeology. She taught for many years at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. Her publications include Encounters: The Westerly Trade of the Harappa Civilization (1981), Enquiries into the Political Organization of Harappan Society (1991), and The End of the Great Harappan Tradition (2000).

“Ratnagar’s book, built on the experience of years spent in the study of Harappa, is . . . a model of scholarly restraint and sobriety. [It] summarizes the knowledge accumulated through all the specialist work into a compelling tour of distant horizons. It is richly illustrated with photographs, maps and sketches.”