SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY IN ANCIENT INDIA

 

The ancient people of India display a fascinating history with regard to science and technology, which dates back over 6000 years. While some evidence of technological advances has been discovered prior to the Valley Of Indus Civilisation, it was with this era that the most significant findings remain a matter of intrigue to modern scientists.

By about 4500 Before our Common Era (BCE), an effective irrigation system had been implemented to ensure a greater and healthier amount of arable land. This meant that the civilisation could prosper and increase its spread across a far greater area. Due to the greater population over a wider area, formal sewerage and irrigation systems were put into place. By 3000 BCE, water storage systems were developed by this civilisation, which had established formal settlements over much of the land. Just 400 years later, a canal irrigation system was being implemented for an even more effective approach. Another positive effect of increasing the amount of arable land was the increased variety of soils and growing conditions, allowing for a far greater number of different crops, including cotton and sugarcane. These crops further developed the land and civilisation in terms of their own resources and what they could sell.

The next major advancement was that of private ablutions. Evidence found in the Indus homes indicates that these bathrooms were situated on the ground floor, while clay pipes carried the soiled water away from the home and to the drainage system. This was in 2800 BCE and, only 100 years later, large sewer systems were put into place for such waste. Pipes would lead to a cesspool, which had stairs leading into it for it to be cleaned on a regular basis. Asphalt was used at the joins of these clay pipes to prevent leaking.

In addition to sewerage and drainage, the Indus Civilisation also developed a method of standardisation of weight and measurement. This system was used mainly in connection with construction, at least in its initial stages. Measuring devices have been found with calibration, indicating the level of technological advancement of which these people were capable. Excavation and surveying equipment has also been discovered, as have maps and construction plans.

Kilns and ovens have been found in Balakot and Kalibangan, dating back to about 2500 BCE. Some furnaces were used to bake clay good for use around the home and in industry. Underground hearths were also found at Kalibangan.

Other significant developments that took place in ancient times, most of which were the models for modern equipment, are the understanding of tides, hydrography, animal-drawn carts and swords. When India was colonised by the Europeans, the skills of these people began to spread all over the world. Today, they are considered to be as a result of modern advancement, not as the centuries-old systems they truly are.


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