The antiquity of the Harappan civilization has long been a matter of controversy among the historians. Sir john Marshall had declared that the birth, extension and destruction of the Harappan civilization took place between 3250 BC. And 2750 BC.
Others, however, preferred to fix the date between 2500 BC. And 1500 BC. Recently attempts have been made to determine the date of the civilization on a scientific basis. Accordingly, certain amendments to the previous time-scale have become necessary. The new time-scale for the Indus Valley or the Harappan civilization has been determined to lie between 2300 BC and 1750 BC.
This has been widely accepted by the historians. As regards the origin of the civilization the recent opinion is that though originated by the native people the makers of the Harappan civilization had, in all probability, been inspired by foreigners.
Initially, historians were of the opinion that the extent of the Harappa civilization was very narrow. But gradually with the discovery new sites of the Harappa civilization it has come to light that two confines of the civilization embraced a vast region.
The extent of the Harappa civilization has now been determined to be a vast territory stretching for more than 1000 kilometer from north to south and about 1500 kilometer from west to east. It has been presume that the Harappa city-dwellers moved in different directions in ore to find out suitable land for agricultural development as well development in trade and craft. Obviously, the expansion of the Harappan culture took place as a natural process.
An important aspect of the Harappan civilization was the class divided society. Excavations have brought to light two different types of houses in the Indus cities. The difference of wealth in these two types of houses has also been established.
In tiny dwelling to quantity of wealth discovered has been less than that found in large houses. On the basis of all these evidences historians have opined that the Harappan society became class-divided on the basis of wealth or property.
In the opinion of Gordon Childe, the Harappan society was mainly divided into three classes, namely, the wealthy ruling class, the rich merchants or businessmen, and the poor laborers artisans. Both al Mohenjodaro and Harappa public granaries and citadels enclosing the granaries have been found. All these were owned by the ruler where his real wealth was accumulated.
Needless to say, the Harappan ruling classes were rich people. Spacious two-storeyed houses of burnt bricks were the places where the merchant community used to live. A surprising amount of ornaments of gold and silver has been collected from the ruins of these houses, contrast, the poor laborers or artisans used to stay in mud-brick quarters where only ornaments made of copper or stone have be found.