Answer: Mesopotamian texts
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Strategies for procuring materials during Harappa:
- While some such as clay were locally available, many such as stone, timber and metal had to be procured from outside the alluvial plain.
- Terracotta toy models of bullock carts suggest that this was one important means of transporting goods and people across land routes.
- Riverine routes along the Indus and its tributaries, as well as coastal routes were also probably used.
Materials from the subcontinent:
- The Harappans established settlements such as Nageshwar and Balakot in areas where shell was available.
- Other such sites were Shortughai, in far-off Afghanistan, near the best source of lapis lazuli, a blue stone that was apparently very highly valued, and Lothal which was near sources of carnelian (from Bharuch in Gujarat), steatite (from south Rajasthan and north Gujarat) and metal (from Rajasthan).
- Another strategy for procuring raw materials may have been to send expeditions to areas such as the Khetri region of Rajasthan (for copper) and south India (for gold). These expeditions established communication with local communities.
- Occasional finds of Harappan artefacts such as steatite micro beads in these areas are indications of such contact.
- There is evidence in the Khetri area for what archaeologists call the Ganeshwar-Jodhpura culture, with its distinctive non-Harappan pottery and an unusual wealth of copper objects. It is possible that the inhabitants of this region supplied copper to the Harappans.
Contact with distant lands:
- Copper was also probably brought from Oman, on the southeastern tip of the Arabian Peninsula.
- Chemical analyses have shown that both the Omani copper and Harappan artefacts have traces of nickel, suggesting a common origin.
- A distinctive type of vessel, a large Harappan jar coated with a thick layer of black clay has been found at Omani sites. Such thick coatings prevent the percolation of liquids.
- Mesopotamian texts datable to the third millennium BCE refer to copper coming from a region called Magan, perhaps a name for Oman, and interestingly enough copper found at Mesopotamian sites also contains traces of nickel.
- Other archaeological finds suggestive of longdistance contacts include Harappan seals, weights, dice and beads.
- Mesopotamian texts mention the products from Meluhha: carnelian, lapis lazuli, copper, gold, and varieties of wood.
- A Mesopotamian myth says of Meluhha: “May your bird be the haja-bird, may its call be heard in the royal palace.” Some archaeologists think the haja-bird was the peacock.
- It is likely that communication with Oman, Bahrain or Mesopotamia was by sea. Mesopotamian texts refer to Meluhha as a land of seafarers.