Do you know the causes of decline of the Harappan Civilisation

The Harappan culture flourished about 1800 BC. Afterwards, the culture began to decline. Many mature Harappan sites in regions such Cholistan were abandoned by the 1800 BC. Population expanded in new settlements in Gujarat, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh.

There is no unanimity among historians on the exact reason of the decline of this civilization. Different scholars have put different theories of decline of this civilization forward. The following table gives the important theories and their profounder regarding the decline of Harappan Civilisation.

List of Archaeological Sites of Indus Valley Civilisation

Different Opinions about the Decline of Harappan Civilisation



Stuart, Piggott and Gordon-Childe

External aggression (Aryan invasion)

MR Sahni


KVR Kennedy


Marshall and Raikes

Tectonic disturbances

Aurel Strein and AN Ghosh

Climate Change

Walter Fairservis

Deforestation, scarcity of resources, ecological imbalances

Marshal, SR Rao, Maickey


GF Hales

The destruction due to change in the course of river Ghaggar.


In his Ancient India mentioned that the climatic, economic and political civilisation and argued that the decline was actually due to a large-scale destruction.

George Dales

In his ‘The Mythical Massacre at Mohenjo-Daro’ refuted Wheeler’s Theory of Invasion and argues that the skeletons found did not belong to the Harappan period and were burials of irreverent nature.

The decline of the civilisation was attested by the following major changes:

1. Disappearance of seals, the script, distinctive beads and pottery.

2. The shift from the standardized weight system to use of local weights.

3. The decline and abandoned of cities.

4. Aryan invasion was believed to be major reason for the decline of Harappan Civilisation.

The material culture transformed into a few Harappan sites so occupied after 1900 BC. Distinctive artefacts such as weights, seals, bead etc. disappeared. House construction techniques deteriorated, large public structures were no longer produced.

History of Ancient India Complete Study Material


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