NIAS Public Lecture: “The Indus Civilization: New Insights on Trade, Technology, Ideology and Writing” By Prof. Mark Kenoyer, JRD Tata Auditorium, NIAS, 1700hrs

National Institute of Advanced Studies

Indian Institute of Science Campus, Bengaluru 560 012


NIAS-TCS Heritage Initiative

Invites you to a

Public Lecture


The Indus Civilization: New Insights on Trade, Technology, Ideology and Writing



Prof. Mark Kenoyer

University of Wisconsin-Madison


Friday, 18th August, 2017, 5.00 PM, JRD Tata Auditorium, NIAS


Chairperson: Prof Sharada Srinivasan, Dean, School of Humanities, NIAS


Abstract: This lecture on the Indus Civilization will focus on some of the most important new discoveries made at Harappa and other sites in Pakistan, India, Oman and other regions. The new findings reveal a shift in perspectives on how the Indus Civilization emerged around 2600-1900 BC. We now know that the origins of this culture can be traced to much earlier periods along the Indus and adjacent regions. New discoveries indicate that different regions contributed to the emergence of early urban society, rather than just one site or area. Regional variations also suggest that this culture adjusted to different local environments and socio-economic and political developments. The shared character of the Indus cities can also be understood through the study of the distinctive technology, ornaments, textiles, ceramics, architecture, art and ideology. The lecture will also discuss the origins of the Indus script and the changing uses of the writing system during the 700 years of the Indus urban phase. The diversity of objects with Indus script will also be presented to illustrate the ways that writing was used in the earliest cities. Although the Indus script has not been deciphered, we can still determine the major ways in which it was used. The disappearance of the writing system will also be discussed with implications for its link to major languages and cultural traditions of the region. Between 1900-1000 BC the cities and settlements of this civilization began to change. Major issues that contributed to these changes will be discussed along with the important legacy of the Indus Civilization that has impacted later cultures and continues up to the present.


About the speaker: Jonathan Mark Kenoyer, Professor in Anthropology, one of the most eminent experts on the archaeology of the Indus Civilization, has taught at the University of Wisconsin, Madison since 1985.  He has served as Field Director and Co-Director of the Harappa Archaeological Research Project since 1986.  His work has been featured in the National Geographic Magazine, Scientific American and on  He has a special interest in ancient technologies, crafts and socio-political organization.  He has contributed to major exhibitions such as Great Cities, Small Treasures: The Ancient World of the Indus Valley, in 1998-1999, at the Asia Society and Art of the First Cities: The Third Millennium B.C. from the Mediterranean to the Indus at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, May, 2003.


For further information, please contact Prof. Sharada Srinivasan

Friday, August 18, 2017