Chronology of Indus Valley Civilization

The chronology of the rise and fall of the Harappan civilization has been an issue of debate and controversy. Substantive work was done by Marshall who dated this civilization between the 3250-2700 BC. The modern research based upon the C-14 dating or radiocarbon dating has placed it between the 2900 BC to 2000 BC.

However, recent excavations by the Harappa Archaeological Research Project have been able to build on these earlier studies to define at least five major periods of development.

  • This latest project was started by the University of California and it was named University of California-Berkeley Project which started in 1986 under the leadership of Dr. George F. Dales at Harappa in Pakistan. Dr. Dales died in 1992 and the Government of Pakistan named it as Harappa Archaeological Research Project. Website:

These five periods represent a continuous process of cultural development where new aspects of culture are balanced with long term continuities and linkages in many crafts and artifact styles.

  • Period 1 : Pre-harappan or Ravi aspect : 3300 BC – c. 2800 BC
  • Period 2 : Kot Diji or Early Harappa: c. 2800 BC – c. 2600 BC
  • Period 3A: Harappa Phase A c. 2600 BC – c. 2450 BC
  • Period 3B : Harappa Phase B c. 2450 BC – c. 2200 BC
  • Period 3C : Harappa Phase C 2200 BC – c. 1900 BC
  • Period 4 : Harappa/Late Harappa Transitional c. 1900 BC – c. 1800 BC (?)
  • Period 5 : Late Harappa Phase c. 1800 BC (?) – < 1300 BC

Please don’t cram these dates. The only thing should be kept in mind is that the civilization dates back to around 3300 BC to 1300 BC.

  • The researches have made it clear that the Harappan Civilization was definitely in contact with the Mesopotamian civilization in 2600 BC.

The most accepted timeline for development from the Neolithic period to early historic period through Harappa Civilization is as follows: (all dates are approximates)

  • Early Food Producing Era: 6500 – 5000 B.C.
  • Regionalization Era: 5000 – 2600 B.C.
  • Indus Civilization – Harappan Culture Integration Era : 2600 – 1900 B.C.
  • Late Harappan Period: 1900 – 1300 or 1000 B.C.
  • Post-Indus Tradition, Painted Grey Ware +1200 – 800 B.C.
  • Northern Black Polished Ware: + 700 – 300 B.C.
  • Early Historic Period : 600 B.C.
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  • nazarit hussain bangyal

    Much useful data for an civil service aspirant…….:-ß