Variability, adaptation, fragility, resilience and the Indus Civilisation

Lecture by Cameron Petrie (University of Cambridge).

2017.11.16 | Julie Thomsen Raunstrup

Date Tue 03 Apr
Time 12:00 13:00
Location Centre for Urban Network Evolutions (UrbNet) Aarhus University Moesgård Allé 20, DK-8270 Højbjerg Denmark Building 4230-232


The Indus Civilisation was South Asia’s first complex society and at its height
(c.2500-1900 BC), its urban centres and settlements were distributed across
much of modern Pakistan and parts of India. It thus stretched across an area that
was far more diverse environmentally and far more extensive than the
contemporary civilisations in Mesopotamia and Egypt. The Indus Civilisation is
typically termed ‘urban’, but there were only five large city-sized centres, and most
Indus settlements were actually towns or villages, implying that it was
predominantly a rural society that spanned a range of different environments. The
Indus urban centres declined in the early 2nd millennium BC and it was not until
the 1st millennium BC that similarly-sized settlements reappeared on the
subcontinent, but the causes and nature of these transformations remain poorly
understood. This presentation will introduce the work of the Land, Water and Settlement and TwoRains projects, and will consider the nature of variability in the Indus context and explore how Indus populations were adapted to their environment, and the degree to which they were fragile and/or resilience to social and climate change.



Cameron Petrie is Reader in South Asian and Iranian Archaeology, at the University of Cambridge, and conducts research on the archaeology of India, Pakistan and Iran. He has been based in Cambridge since 2005, when he became the Research Councils UK Fellow in South Asian and Iranian Archaeology, and was subsequently appointed as a lecturer in 2010. Prior to that he was the Katherine and Leonard Woolley Junior Research Fellow at Somerville College Oxford (2003-2006), and was appointed to that position after finishing his PhD at the University of Sydney (1998-2002). He is co-director of the Land, Water and Settlement and TwoRains research projects, and has been working in India since 2008.

History and archaeology, Lecture/talk