In the Earliest Cities CBSE Class 6 history Chapter 3 Notes

BoardCBSE Board, UP board, JAC board, HBSE Board, Bihar Board, PSEB board, RBSE Board, UBSE Board
Class6th Class
ChapterChapter 3
Chapter NameIn the Earliest Cities
TopicIn the Earliest Cities CBSE Class 6 history Chapter 3 Notes
Especially Designed Notes forCBSE, ICSE, IAS, NET, NRA, UPSC, SSC, NDA

In The Earliest Cities

The Story of Harappa

  • About 150 years ago, remains of 4700 years old buildings have been found, which was of the site of Harappa, an old city, in present-day Pakistan.
  • At the time, when railway lines were being laid down for the first time in the Punjab, the remains of Harappa seemed like a mound that was a rich source of readymade, high quality bricks which were used to build railway lines.
  • About 80 years ago, archaeologists found the site and realised that this was one of the oldest civilisations in the sub-continent and the city they found was a part of it.
  • Many of Harappan cities were divided into two or more parts – a citadel, the part to the West was smaller, but higher, and the other one was the part to the East that was larger but lower, called the lower town.
  • The strong walls were made of well baked bricks which were laid down in an interlocking pattern and have lasted for thousands of years.

The Great Bath

  • In Mohenjodaro, the special building, Great Bath, was lined with bricks, coated with plaster and made water-tight with a layer of natural tar.
  • It had steps leading down to it from two sides, while there were rooms on all sides.
  • Water was probably brought in from a well, and drained out after use.
  • Perhaps on special occasions, important people of the city took a dip in the tank as suggested by the archaeologists.
  • The cities such as Kalibangan and Lothal had fire altars, where sacrifices may have been performed.
  • And some cities like Mohenjodaro, Harappa and Lothal had elaborate storehouses.

Houses, Drains and Streets


  • One or two storeys high houses with rooms were built around a courtyard.
  • Most houses had a separate bathing area, and some had wells to supply water.

Drains and Streets

  • The drains were covered and the inspection holes were provided at intervals to clean them.
  • The drains were laid out in straight lines, and also each drain had a gentle slope so that water could flow through it.
  • Very often, drains in houses were connected to those on the streets and smaller drains led into bigger ones.
  • All three houses, drains and streets-were probably planned and built at the same time.

Life in the City

  • After seeing the structurally planned cities, archaeologists suggested that probably there were rulers”.
  • It is likely that the rulers sent people to distant lands to get metal, precious stones and other valuable objects.
  • The rulers kept the most valuable objects, such as ornaments of gold and silver, or beautiful beads.
  • There were scribes, people who knew how to write, who helped prepare the seals and perhaps wrote on other materials that have not survived.
  • Besides, there were crafts persons (men and women), making all kinds of things either in their own homes or in special workshops.
  • Many terracotta toys, toy cart, toy plough have been found.

New Crafts in the City

  • Most of the objects found in Harappan cities by archaeologists were made of stones, shells, metals such as copper, bronze, gold and silver.
  • Copper and bronze were used to make tools, weapons, ornaments and vessels.
  • Gold and silver were used to make ornaments and vessels.
  • Apart from these artefacts, beads, weights and blades are the most important things found by the archaeologists.
  • Harappan’s rectangular seals made of stone usually have motifs of an animal carved on them.
  • Earthen pottery with beautiful black designs also has been found at the Harappan site.

Cotton and Cloth

  • From the site of Mehrgarh, traces of cotton have been found, which were grown about 7000 years ago.
  • From the site Mohenjodaro, actual pieces of cloth were found attached to the lid of a silver vase and some copper objects.
  • Archaeologists have also found spindle whorls, made of terracotta and faience, which were used to spin thread.
  • Of all found objects, many objects were made by the specialists.
  • A specialist is a person who is trained to do only one kind of work. For example cutting stone, or polishing beads, or carving seals.

In Search of Raw Materials

  • Raw materials are those substances that are processed to produce finished goods, and are either found naturally (such as wood, or ores of metals) or produced by farmers or herders.
  • While some raw materials used by the Harappans were local but many items such as copper, tin, gold, silver and precious stones had to be brought from distant places.
  • The Harappans probably got copper from present-day Rajasthan and even from Oman in West Asia.
  • Tin, which was mixed with copper to produce bronze, may have been brought from present-day Afghanistan and Iran.
  • Gold could have come all the way from present-day Karnataka, and precious stones from present-day Gujarat, Iran and Afghanistan.

Food for People in the Cities

  • The people living in the countryside grew crops and reared animals, supplied food to crafts persons, scribes and rulers in the cities.
  • From the remains of plants, the archaeologists suggest that the Harappans grew wheat, barley, pulses, peas, rice, sesame, linseed and mustard.
  • A farming tool, the plough, was used to dig the earth for turning the soil and planting seeds.
  • While real ploughs, which were probably made of wood, have not survived, toy models have been found.
  • In the dry regions, some form of irrigation may have been used as the water was stored and supplied to the fields when the plants were growing.
  • Water and pastures were available around the settlements as the Harappans reared cattle, sheep, goat and buffalo.
  • In search of grass and water in dry and summer season, large herds of animals were probably taken to greater distances.
  • The Harappans collected fruits like ber, caught fish and hunted wild animals like the antelope.

A Closer Look – Harappan Towns in Gujarat

  • The Harappan towns Dholavira and Lothal have been discovered in the state of Gujarat.

Site of Dholavira

  • The city of Dholavira was located on Khadir Beyt in the Rann of Kutch where there was fresh water and fertile soil.
  • Dholavira was divided into three parts, and each part was surrounded with massive stone walls, with entrances through gateways.
  • There was also a large open area in the settlement where public ceremonies could be held.
  • The large letters of the Harappan script that were carved out of white stone and perhaps inlaid in wood, was a unique find, as generally Harappan writing has been found on small objects such as seals.

Site of Lothal

  • The Harappan site Lothal was located on the bank of a tributary of the Sabarmati river in Gujarat, close to the Gulf of Khambat.
  • This site was an important centre for making objects out of stone, shell and metal.
  • The other raw materials such as semi-precious stones were easily available here.
  • The city was also known for a storehouse as many seals and sealings (the impression of seals on clay) were found in this storehouse.
  • Evidence of a workshop for making beads has been found here.
  • The pieces of stone, half made beads, tools for bead making, and finished beads have all been found here.

The Mystery of the End

  • Decline of the Harappan cities has been noticed around 3900 years ago as the writing, seals and weights were no longer used and people stopped living in many of the cities.
  • Raw materials brought from long distances became rare, garbage piled up on the streets, the drainage system broke down, and new, less impressive houses were built, even over the streets.

Reasons for the Fall of the Harappan Cities

  • Till date, no concrete reasons have been found out by the scholars, but some of the scholars suggest the reasons that the rivers dried up.
  • While other scholars have suggested that there was deforestation because large quantity of fuel was required for baking bricks and for smelting copper ores.
  • Besides, grazing by large herds of cattle, sheep and goat may have destroyed the green cover, while in some areas there were floods.
  • But none of these reasons can explain the end of all the cities, since the flooding, or a river drying up would have had an effect in only some areas.
  • It seems as if the rulers lost control.
  • Some sites in Sind and West Punjab (present-day Pakistan) were abandoned, while many people moved into newer, smaller settlements to the East and the South.
  • New cities emerged about 1400 years later.

1. City A large and densely populated urban area, may include several independent administrative districts.

2. Citadel Parts of Harappan cities to the West that were smaller but higher.

3. Ruler A person who rules or governs; a person who exercises dominion or controlling power over others.

4 Metal Any of several chemical elements that are usually shiny solids that can be formed into sheets etc.

5. Bead A bead is a small, decorative object that is formed in a variety of shapes and size of a material such as glass, plastic, wood or pearl and that is pierced for threading or stringing.

6. Scribe The people who knew how to write, who helped prepare the seals.

7. Seal A device incised to make an impression; used to secure a closing or to authenticate documents.

8. Crafts persons. The men and women making all kinds of things either in their own homes, or in special workshops

9. Terracote Hard, reddish brown baked clay.

10. Faience Artificially produced shiny, glassy surface meterial used to make beads, bangles, earrings and tiny vessels.

11. Specialist A specialist is a person who is trained to do only one kind of work, for example cutting stone, polishing beads etc.

12. Raw material Raw materials are those substances that are processed to produce finished goods and are either found naturally (such as wood, or ares of metals) or produced by farmers or herders.

13. Plough A tool used to dig the earth for turning the soil and planting seeds.

14. Irrigation Supplying dry land with water by means of ditches etc.

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