Argue in favor of one of the possible beginning points of South Asian cultural history, using good evidence to back up your choice of “beginning”
South Asia, one of the most ancient civilizations in the world, has been building on a long history that dates back over 5000 years. Civilization with such a rich history is often the subject of extensive debate due to its difficulty in reconstructing early South Asia with inadequate evidences. In recent decades, our knowledge on Harappan Civilization, a prehistoric civilization at the Indus Valley, has undergone rapid change as a result of archaeological discoveries. The discovery of their settlement, urban infrastructure, artifacts, and technological innovations, together suggests that Harappan Civilization is the beginning point of the South Asian cultural history.
In early years, many believed that South Asia began in the second millennium, the era where the Vedas, world’s most ancient literature, was composed.[footnoteRef:1] This evidence, along with other material remains led archaeologists into believing that the Indian culture began at the Vedic period. However, through radiocarbon dating, it was later discovered that civilized life have begun at least 1500 years earlier in time, situating the earliest settlements at another period— the Harappan period.[footnoteRef:2] In addition, evidence of urban civilization was found in the Indus Valley. The discovery of Harappan cities, Mohenjo-daro and Harappa, uncovers artifacts such as standardized weights and measures, indicating the existence of urban settlements with social organization as early as 2600 BCE.[footnoteRef:3] [1: David Ludden, “Inventing Civilization,” India and South Asia: A Short History, (2014): 9-19] [2: Thomas Trautmann, “The Beginning of Indian Civilization”, India: Brief History of a Civilization, 2nd ed (2015): 28] [3: Jonathan Kenoyer, “Introduction to Around the Indus in 90 Slides,” The Ancient Indus Valley Civilization 3500-1700 BCE, accessed September 22, 2017, https://www.harappa.com/slide/weights-harappa. ]
Excavation of Harappan cities also reveals one of the most remarkable findings of this civilization; cities that are well planned with skillfully constructed drainage systems.[footnoteRef:4] Moreover, large public structures such as the great bath, the earliest public bathing complex that possibly serve religious functions are found.[footnoteRef:5] These structures are evidence of...