Mass Production Building Materials Cosmetics Vedic Period


While I have been writing articles on the advanced technologies developed by the ancient Indians,especially in the Vedic Times, I was curious to find out how they produced the various things they needed to sustain such a large civilization

Look at what we come to know of the Life of the Vedic people from the Sarasvati Civilization.

Sarasvathi Civilization Building in ruins.jpg
“Granary,” a massive building with solid brick foundations with sockets for a wooden super structure and doorways.


Town Planning: The excavations of the ruins showed a remarkable skill in town planning. The main streets and roads were set in a line, sometimes running straight for a mile, and were varying in width from 4 meters to 10 meters. Most of these roads and streets were paved with fire brunt bricks. On the either side of the street stood houses of various sizes which did not protrude into the streets. The main streets intersected at right angles, dividing the city into squares or rectangular blocks each of which was divided length wise and cross wise by lanes. Some buildings had a lamp post and a well. There was an elaborate drainage system which emptied into the river.

The Drainage System: The Drainage System of the Indus Valley Civilization was far advanced. The drains were covered with slabs. Water flowed from houses into the street drains. The street drains had manholes at regular intervals. Housewives were expected to use pits in which heavier part of the rubbish will settle down while only sewerage water was allowed to drain off. All soak pits and drains were occasionally cleaned by workmen. In every house there was a well-constructed sink, and water flowed from the sink into the underground sewers in the streets. This elaborate drainage system shows that the Indus Valley people were fully conversant with the principles of health and sanitation.

Houses: The houses were of different sizes varying from a palatial building to one with two small rooms. The houses had a well, a bathroom, and a covered drain connected to the drain in the street. The buildings were made of burnt bricks, which have been preserved even to this day. Sun-dried bricks were used for the foundation of the buildings and the roofs were flat and made of wood. The special feature of the houses was that rooms were built around an open courtyard. Some houses were double storied. Some buildings had pillared halls; some of them measured 24 square meters. It is assumed that there also must have been palaces, temples or municipal halls.

Great Bath: One of the largest buildings was the Great Bath measuring 180 feet by 108 feet. The bathing pool, 39 feet long, 28 feet wide and 8 feet deep was in the center of the quadrangle, surrounded with verandahs, rooms and galleries. A flight of steps led to the pool. The pool could be filled and emptied by means of a vaulted culvert, 6 feet and 6 inches high. The walls of the pool were made of burnt bricks laid on edge, which made the pool watertight. The pool was filled with water from a large well, situated in the same complex. Periodic cleaning of the pool was done by draining off the used water into a big drain. The Great Bath building had six entrances. The Great Bath reflected the engineering genius of those ancient days.

Great Granary: Another large building in the city was the Great Granary which was made about 45 meters long and 15 meters wide. It was meant to store food grains. It had lines of circular brick platforms for pounding grain. There were barrack like quarters for workmen. The granary also had smaller halls and corridors.


Food: Specimens of wheat and barley show that they were cultivated in that region. Rice was also probably grown. There is evidence to show that date palms were grown in the area. Besides these, the diet of the people consisted of fruits, vegetables, fish, milk and meat of animals i.e. beef, mutton and poultry.

Dress: From the sculptured figures it can be seen that the dress of men and women consisted of two pieces of cloth-one resembling a dhoti, covering the lower part, and the other worn over the left shoulder and under the right arm. Men had long hair designed differently. Women wore a fan shaped head dress covering there hair. The discovery of a large number of spindles showed that they knew weaving and spinning. Similarly it was concluded, by the discovery of needles and buttons, that the people of this age knew the art of stitching.

Ornaments: Both men and women wore ornaments made of gold, silver, copper and other metals. Men wore necklaces, finger rings and armlets of various designs and shapes. The women wore a head dress, ear rings, bangles, girdles, bracelets and anklets. Rich people wore expensive ornaments made of gold while the poor had ornaments made of shell, bone or copper.

Cosmetics: The ladies of Mohen-jo-daro were not lagging behind in styles as used by the ladies of the present day, when it came to the use of cosmetics and the attainment of beauty. Materials made of ivory and metal for holding and applying cosmetics prove that they knew the use of face paint and collyrium. Bronze oval mirrors, ivory combs of various shapes, even small dressing tables, have been found at Mohen-jo-daro and other sites. Women tied the hair into a bun and used hair pins made of ivory. Toilet jars, found at Mohen-jo-daro, show that women took interest in cosmetics.

Furniture and Utensils: The furniture and utensils found at Mohen-jo-daro show a high degree of civilization because of their variety in kind and design. The beautifully painted pottery, numerous vessels for the kitchen, chairs and beds made of wood, lamps of different material, toys for children, marbles, balls and dice, indicate what people manufactured in those days.

Conveyance A copper specimen found at Harappa resembles the modern Ekka (cart) with a top-cover. Bullock carts with or without the roof was the chief means of conveyance.

Amusements and Recreation: The Indus Valley people liked more of indoor games than outdoor amusements. They were fond of gambling and playing dice. Dancing and singing were considered great arts. Boys played with toys made of terracotta, while girls played with dolls.

This lifestyle requires Mass production.

I have been able to find references about the Mass production of some items.

I am searching for further evidence for other items.

The people of the IVC manufactured bricks whose dimensions were in the proportion 4:2:1, considered favorable for the stability of a brick structure. They used a standardized system of weights based on the ratios: 1/20, 1/10, 1/5, 1/2, 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500, with the unit weight equaling approximately 28 grams (and approximately equal to the English ounce or Greek uncia). They mass-produced weights in regular geometrical shapes, which included hexahedra, barrels, cones, and cylinders, thereby demonstrating knowledge of basicgeometry.[20]

The inhabitants of Indus civilization also tried to standardize measurement of length to a high degree of accuracy. They designed a ruler—theMohenjo-daro ruler—whose unit of length (approximately 1.32 inches or 3.4 centimetres) was divided into ten equal parts. Bricks manufactured in ancient Mohenjo-daro often had dimensions that were integral multiples of this unit of length.[21][22]

Mehrgarh, a Neolithic IVC site, provides the earliest known evidence for in vivo drilling of human teeth, with recovered samples dated to 7000-5500 BCE.

 Indus Sarasvathi Civilizaton

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