NCERT Solutions For Class 12 History Chapter 1 Bricks, Beads and Bones The Harappan Civilisation

Here you will find NCERT Solution Questions for Class 12 History with Answers PDF Free Download based on the important concepts and topics given in the textbook as per CBSE new exam pattern. This may assist you to understand and check your knowledge about the chapters. These Solution Questions Answers are selected supported by the newest exam pattern as announced by CBSE.


Q1. List the items of food available to people in Harappan cities. Identify the groups who would have provided these.


FoodGroups who provided these items
Products taken from plantsFoods gatherers
Flesh and fishHunter groups
Wheat maize, millets, pluses, Rice and other eatable productsAgricultural groups

Q2. How do archaeologists trace socio-economic differences in Harappan society? What are the differences that they notice? [Delhi, All India 2009, 2011]

Answer: (a) Archaeologists trace socio-economic differences in Harappan society in the following ways:

Looking for “luxuries”.
(b) The archaeologists have noticed the following differences in the socio-economic conditions in Harappan society :

In the Harappan society, the dead were generally laid in pits. In some burial pits the hallowed-out spaces were lined with bricks.
Some graves contain pottery and ornaments.
In some instances the dead were buried with copper mirrors.
Artefacts are divided into two categories – utilitarian and luxuries. The utilitarian objects are of daily use. These are made of ordinary materials such as stone and clay. These are found in all settlements. Luxury items are found in large settlements of Harappa and Mohenjodaro. These are made of valuable materials like faience. Gold too was rare and precious as all the gold jewellery has been found at Harappan sites.

Q3. Would you agree that the drainage system in Harappan cities indicates town planning? Give reasons for your answer.

Answer: Yes, I agree with that the drainage system in Harappan cities which indicates the town planning can cite the following reasons in support of my answer.

(i) Bricks, sundried or baked were of standard ratio. The length and breadth of bricks were of four times and times and twice the height respectively. These bricks were used at all the settlement of the Harappan civilisation.

(ii) It appears that human settlement was made by planning from the beginning. The city was restricted to the fixed area of platforms.

(iii) The drainage system needed a planning for its execution. It seems that first drainage were laid out and then houses were built along with the drains very house were supposed to have at least one wall along a street to allow the domestic waste water to flow out in the street drains. The plans of the lower town show that roads and streets were laid out along an approximate grid pattern, intersecting at right angles.

Q4. List the materials used to make beads in the Harappan civilisation. Describe the process by which any one kind of bead was made.

Answer: Materials for making beads included beautiful red coloured stone-like carnelian , jasper, crystal, quartz and steatite. Besides these, use of copper, bronze, gold, shell, faience, terracotta or burnt clay was also used.
Process of making of Beads-
Making of beads differed as per the materials used. Beads had variety of shapes. They did not make geometrical shapes like one made up of harder stones.
Nodules were to be chipped for making rough shapes. They were finally flaked into the final form.
By firing the yellowish raw material, the red colour of carnelian was obtained.
Grinding , polishing and drilling constituted the last phase. Chanhudaro, lothal and dholavira were famous for specialised drilling.

Q5. Look at figure 1.30 (See NCERT page-26) and describe what you see. How is the body placed? What are the objects placed near it? Are there any artefacts on the body? Do these indicate the sex of the skeleton?

Answer: Following observations can be obtained after looking at the figure:

Body has been kept in North-south direction in a pit,
Many graves contain pottery and ornaments which include jar.
Yes, jewellery like bangles are there on the body.
Yes, this indicates towards the sex of the skeleton, Le. it is the body of a woman.
It is concluded that there were great social or economic differences among the people living within the area of the Harappan Civilisation. But as a whole it appears that the Harappan did not believe in burying precious things with the dead.

Q6. Describe some of the distinctive features of Mohenjodaro.

Answer:Some of the distinctive of Mohenjodaro are:

• Planned City: Harappa was a planned urban centre. It had two parts. One part of the city was small .it was built on a higher place. The second part was comparatively large. it was built on a lower place. The first part was designed as citadel and the second part was a lower town. The Citadel owes its height to the fact that buildings were constructed on mud brick platforms. It was walled, which meant that it was physically separated from the Lower Town.
• The lower town: The Lower Town was also walled. Several buildings were built on platforms, which served as foundations. it would have required four million person-days, in other words, mobilising labour on a very large scale. Once the platforms were in place, all building activity within the city was restricted to a fixed area on the platforms. So it seems that the settlement was first planned and then implemented accordingly. Other signs of planning include bricks, which, whether sun-dried or baked, were of a standardised ratio, where the length and breadth were four times and twice the height respectively. Such bricks were used at all Harappan settlements.

Drainage system: One of the most distinctive features of Harappan cities was the carefully planned drainage system. roads and streets were laid out along an approximate “grid” pattern, intersecting at right angles. It seems that streets with drains were laid out first and then houses built along them. If domestic waste water had to flow into the street drains, every house needed to have at least one wall along a street.

The citadel: The Citadel owes its height to the fact that buildings were constructed on mud brick platforms. It was walled, which meant that it was physically separated from the Lower Town. It is on the Citadel that we find evidence of structures that were probably used for special public purposes.It includes Warehouses and Great bath which were the two important constructions.

Q7. List the raw materials required for craft production in the Harappan Civilisation and discuss how these might have been obtained.

Answer: (a) The raw materials required for craft production in the Harappan civilisation was as given below:

Stones like camelian, jasper, crystal, quartz and steatite;
Metals like copper, bronze and gold, and
Shell, faience and terracotta, or burnt clay.
(b) The above raw materials might have been obtained as mentioned below :

They established settlements such as Nageshwar and Balakot in areas where shell was available. Other places were Shortughai, in far-off Afghanistan, near the best source of lapis lazuli, a blue stone and Lothal near the sources of camelian, steatite and metal.
The second way was to send expeditions to areas such as the Khetri region of Rajasthan for copper and south India for gold.
The third way to have contact with distant lands. For example, copper was brought from Oman, on the south-eastern tip of the Arabian peninsula. Mesopotamian texts mention contact with Meluhha, possibly the Harappan region. It is likely that communication with Oman, Bahrain or Mesopotamia was by sea.

Q8. Discuss how archaeologists reconstruct the past.

Answer:• Archaeologist excavate the sites of the ancient past related to culture or civilisation.They find out the art and craft such as seal, material, remains or houses, buildings, pots, ornamentals, tools , coins weights, measurement and toys etc.

• Skulls, bones jaws, teeth of the dead bodies and materials kept with these dead bodies are kept with these dead bodies are also helpful to the archaeologists. With the help of botanist and zoologists, archaeologists study the plants and animals bones found at different places.

• Archaeologists try to find out the tools used in the process of cultivation and harvesting. They also try to find out traces of wells, canals, tanks, etc as they served means of irrigation.

• Different layers of sites are observed to find out different things. These things give the picture of socio-economic condition such as religious life and the cultural life of the people.

• Tools, unfinished products waste materials, help in identifying the centres of crafts production. Indirect evidences also help the archaeologist in reconstructing the past.

• Archaeologist develop frames of references, it can be better understood by this fact that the first Harappan seal that was found could not be understood till archaeologists had a context in which to place it- both in terms of cultural sequence in which it was found and in terms of a comparison with finds in mesopotamia.

• Examination of seals helps in constructing the concept of religious belief of the period. Seals depicts religious scenes. Some animals such as the one-horned animals, often called the unicorn depicted on the seals appear mythical, composite creatures. In some seals, a figure has been shown sitting crossed legs in a yogic posture. All these represent the religious concept of the period.

Q9. Discuss the functions that may have been performed by rulers in Harappan society.

Answer: There are different views on the Harappan society. One group of archaeologists suggest that the Harappan society had no rulers and so everybody enjoyed equal status. The other group of archaeologists are of the opinion that there was no single ruler but several ones. The third theory seems the most suitable. It suggests that it is unlikely that entire communities could have collectively made and implemented such complex decisions.

Evidences show that complex decisions were taken and implemented in the Harappan society. Extra ordinary uniformity of Harappan artefacts as evident in pottery, seals, weights and bricks show the complex decisions.

Plans and layouts of the city were prepared under the guidance and supervisions of the rulers. Big buildings, palaces, forts, tanks, wells, canals and granaries were constructed.

Cleanliness was the responsibility of the ruler. Roads, lanes and drains were also constructed.

The rulers also looked after the welfare of the economy. They hsed to inspire the farmers to increase agricultural production. They also motivated the craftsmen to promote different handicrafts. External and internal trade were both promoted by the ruler. The ruler used to issue common acceptable coins or seals, weights and measurements.

Rulers were expected to provide relief during natural calamity. During flood, earthquake, epidemics, the ruler provided grains and other eatables to the affected people. During foreign aggression, the rulers defended the city.

Q10. On the given map, use a pencil to circle the sites where evidence of agriculture has been recovered. Mark an X against sites where there is evidence of craft production and R against sites where raw materials were found.

Answer: (i) Sites of agriculture: Harappa, Banawali, Kalibangan, Mohenjodaro, Dholavira (Gujarat).
(ii) Sites of craft production: Chanhudaro, Nageshwar, Balakot.
(iii) Sites of raw material: Nageshwar, Balakot, Khetri.

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NCERT Solutions for Class 12 History

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