05 Jul 2011

TEDxSMU Tuesday 7.5.11

Events, Ideas, News No Comments

Rajesh Rao


Indus Valley Civilization (aka Harappan Civilization, the Indus-Sarasvati or Hakra Civilization)

Indus Valley Civilization, Wikipedia

“The Indus Valley Civilization (IVC) was a Bronze Age civilization (3300–1300 BCE; mature period 2600–1900 BCE) that was located in the northwestern region] of the Indian Subcontinent…Geographically, the civilization was spread over an area of some 1,260,000 km, making it the largest ancient civilization in the world.”

“The ancient Indus systems of sewerage and drainage that were developed and used in cities throughout the Indus region were far more advanced than any found in contemporary urban sites in the Middle East and even more efficient than those in many areas of Pakistan and India today. The advanced architecture of the Harappans is shown by their impressive dockyards, granaries, warehouses, brick platforms, and protective walls.”

The Indus Valley and the Genesis Of South Asian Civilization, International World History Project

“Between about 1500 and 1000 B.C., as the great cities of the Indus region crumbled into ruins, nomadic Aryan invaders from central Asia moved into the fertile Indus plains and pushed into the Ganges River valleys to the east. It took these unruly, warlike peoples many centuries to build a civilization that rivaled that of the Harappans.”

New Developments in Study of Ancient Civilizations

Beyond Mesopotamia: A New View Of The Dawn Of Civilization, ScienceDaily, August 3, 2007

“For decades, school children have learned that human civilization emerged about 5000 years ago along the Euphrates River in Mesopotamia, along the Nile, and along the Indus River. But archaeologists working in a broad arc from the Russian steppes through Iran and onto the Arabian Peninsula are finding evidence that a complex network of cities may have thrived across the region in roughly the same era, suggesting a dramatic new view of the emergence of human civilization.”

Scientists Explore Hidden World of Ancient Maritime Maya, ScienceDaily, May 23, 2011

NOAA-sponsored explorers are searching a wild, largely unexplored and forgotten coastline for evidence and artifacts of one of the greatest seafaring traditions of the ancient New World, where Maya traders once paddled massive dugout canoes filled with trade goods from across Mexico and Central America. One exploration goal is to discover the remains of a Maya trading canoe, described in A.D. 1502 by Christopher Columbus’ son Ferdinand, as holding 25 paddlers plus cargo and passengers.

Lost Civilization Under Persian Gulf? ScienceDaily, Dec. 8, 2010

A once fertile landmass now submerged beneath the Persian Gulf may have been home to some of the earliest human populations outside Africa, according to an article published in Current Anthropology.

Pre-Columbian Societies in Amazon May Have Been Much Larger and More Advanced Than Thought, ScienceDaily, Oct. 25, 2010

The pre-Columbian Indian societies that once lived in the Amazon rainforests may have been much larger and more advanced than researchers previously realized. Together with Brazilian colleagues, archaeologists from the University of Gothenburg have found the remains of approximately 90 settlements in an area South of the city of Santarém, in the Brazilian part of the Amazon.

Further Resources

The Long Now Foundation 

The Long Now Foundation was established in 01996* to develop the Clock and Library projects, as well as to become the seed of a very long-term cultural institution. The Long Now Foundation hopes to provide a counterpoint to today’s accelerating culture and help make long-term thinking more common. We hope to creatively foster responsibility in the framework of the next 10,000 years.

Empires of the Indus: The Story of a River, by Alice Albinia

One of the largest rivers in the world, the Indus rises in the Tibetan mountains and flows west across northern India and south through Pakistan. It has been worshipped as a god, used as a tool of imperial expansion, and today is the cement of Pakistan’s fractious union. Alice Albinia follows the river upstream, through two thousand miles of geography and back to a time five thousand years ago when a string of sophisticated cities grew on its banks.

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, New Edition, by Jared Diamond

The phenomenal bestseller—over 1.5 million copies sold—is now a major PBS special. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Guns, Germs, and Steel is a brilliant work answering the question of why the peoples of certain continents succeeded in invading other continents and conquering or displacing their peoples. This edition includes a new chapter on Japan and all-new illustrations drawn from the television series.

Cave of Forgotten Dreams, 2010

Werner Herzog gains exclusive access to film inside the Chauvet caves of Southern France, capturing the oldest known pictorial creations of humankind in their astonishing natural setting.

Related TED Talks

Wade Davis on endangered cultures, TED2003

With stunning photos and stories, National Geographic Explorer Wade Davis celebrates the extraordinary diversity of the world’s indigenous cultures, which are disappearing from the planet at an alarming rate.

Murray Gell-Mann on the ancestor of language, TED2007

After speaking at TED2007 on elegance in physics, the amazing Murray Gell-Mann gives a quick overview of another passionate interest: finding the common ancestry of our modern languages.

Erin McKean redefines the dictionary, TED2007

Is the beloved paper dictionary doomed to extinction? In this infectiously exuberant talk, leading lexicographer Erin McKean looks at the many ways today’s print dictionary is poised for transformation.

Steven Pinker on language and thought, TEDGlobal 2005

In an exclusive preview of his book The Stuff of Thought, Steven Pinker looks at language and how it expresses what goes on in our minds — and how the words we choose communicate much more than we realize.

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