by Laura Plamondon, Santa Clara University

This webquest explores the Harappan civilization before it faded away. Students will study the ruins found by archeologists and information developed from the ruins and artifacts to create a short skit portraying daily life in the Indus Valley of 2500 B.C.E.


Who were the ancient people of the Indus Valley?  

Mesopotamia and Eygpt are civilizations that grew around a major river system, and archeologists and scholars have been able to study the growth of these civilizations.  But, the people of the ancient Indus Valley appear from somewhere, with a fully developed civilization already intact, and then a few thousand years later, that civilization faded away.

Click on mask to see a map of the Indus Valley of 3000 years ago.


The Ancient Indus Valley people are a mystery to archeologists and even to people who currently live in the the region.   The ancient Indus River flows near where is flows today, starting in the tall mountains of the Himalayas, and flowing through the rich, fertile valley of the current country of Pakistan.  Who were the people who lived here?  What was their language?  What did they believe in?  Did they have creation myths like other civilizations?  

Mostly, archeologists cannot agree on what caused their decline.  These peoples' civilization sort of faded away, although it is believed that the people of the area did not all move away or die off in large numbers.  Because this civilization did not leave alot of information for the future and the things they did leave do not completely tell us about the people of this ancient society, there is controversy about how much of this ancient society influenced Hinduism, the current major religion of India.

So much is not known about this ancient civilization, and this webquest is meant to help you think about what the people of that time might have been like.  

How would we know about these people?  How could we find out?

Archeologsts have just such a job.  They uncover artifacts and ruined buildings and piece these things together in a timeline.  Then, they make "educated guesses."

BUT....What if someone could go back in time (say, through some ancient supernatural force) and find themselves in the period they have been studying?  Even if they only had one day, what might they learn?  If they knew the language, they'd learn even more.  If they knew just a little about the people, when they came back, that time traveller could tell us a lot more than what we know already.  

You are going back in time....