Indus Valley Civilization Current Affairs - 2019
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The Government of India is planning to establish a National Maritime Heritage Museum at Lothal in Gujarat. The museum will also act as an independent research center for archaeology of boat building, reconstruction of maritime history and materials traded. It will hold display of salvaged materials from shipwreck sites in Indian Ocean waters.
The underwater archaeology involves remains of submerged shipwrecks, ports and records of maritime activity from archaeological excavations. The shipwrecks studies in India were initiated in 1989 in the Sunchi Reef, Goa. According to UNESCO, there are around 3 million undiscovered shipwrecks on the world’s ocean floor.
India has vast potential with its rich maritime history. The archaeological evidence from South East Asia and Persian Gulf say that Indian maritime voyagers ventured into eastern and western seas even before 4000 years ago. Studying about sunken ships will help to fill in gaps in India’s maritime history and trade links with other countries.
Lothal is an ancient city of Indus Valley Civilization. It was discovered in 1954 by the ASI (Archaeological Survey of India). The site is important as the irrigation tank of the city was used as a dock in ancient times. Also the city was a part of a major river system (the five rivers flowing through Punjab) on the trade route. The GoI has requested UNESCO to add Lothal into the lists of UNESCO Heritage sites. The requisition is yet to receive approval.
Tags: Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) • ASI Museum • Indus Valley Civilization • Maritime Industry • National Maritime Heritage Museum
A recent research paper has claimed that majority of Indus Valley inscriptions were written logographically (by using word signs) and not by using phonograms (speech sounds units). This paper titled Interrogating Indus inscription to unravel their mechanism of meaning conveyance was published in Palgrave Communications, a Nature group journal. It mainly focused on understanding how Indus inscriptions conveyed meanings, rather than on deciphering what they conveyed.
They were discovered from nearly 4,000 ancient inscribed objects, including seals, ivory rods, tablets, pottery shards, etc. They are one of most enigmatic legacies of Indus Valley civilization which have not been deciphered due to absence of bilingual texts, extreme brevity of inscriptions, and ignorance about language(s) encoded by Indus script.
Key Findings of Paper
Majority of the Indus Valley inscriptions were written logographically (by using word signs) and not by using phonograms (speech sounds units).
The inscriptions can be compared to structured messages found on stamps, coupons, tokens and currency coins of modern times.
It classifies signs into nine functional classes. Based on various archaeological evidence it claims that inscribed seals and tablets were used in some administrative operation that controlled the commercial transactions prevalent in the trade-savvy settlements of the ancient Indus valley Civilisation.
The popular hypothesis that Indus valley seals were inscribed with Proto-Dravidian or Proto-Indo-European names of seal-owners does not hold ground.
Though many ancient scripts use rebus principle methods (in which word-symbol sometimes gets used only for its sound value) to generate new words, but inscriptions found on Indus seals and tablets have not used rebus as mechanism to convey meaning.
Significance of this study: It could serve as basis in future for deciphering of Indus Valley script.