Early Evidence of Writing from the
Indus Valley Civilisation


Here are examples of seals, probably used in trade, belonging to a civilisation that grew up around the Indus river valley more than 2,500 years ago BC. The seals are made of steatite (a form of soapstone) and engraved with animal motifs and a pictographic script as yet undeciphered.

It is currently thought that the Indus valley civilisation extended from the northwestern parts of the Indian subcontinent through to Gujarat, Haryana and the Indian Punjab. The sites discovered so far were apparently part of an integrated and interconnected urban culture and reveal trade links to central Asia and Mesopotamia. As well as thousands of these square and rectangular seals, archaeologists have uncovered a wealth of other remains, including gold ornaments and beads, terracotta figures, ivory, bronze vessels and glass.

The British Museum (c. 2600-1900 BC)
Copyright © The British Museum

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