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The Indus

Lost Civilizations

The Indus civilization flourished for half a millennium from about 2600 to 1900 BCE, when it mysteriously declined and vanished from view. It remained invisible for almost four thousand years, until its ruins were discovered in the 1920s by British and Indian archaeologists. Today, after almost a century of excavation, it is regarded as the beginning of Indian civilization and possibly the origin of Hinduism. The Indus: Lost Civilizations is an accessible introduction to every significant aspect of an extraordinary and tantalizing “lost” civilization, which combined artistic excellence, technological sophistication, and economic vigor with social egalitarianism, political freedom, and religious moderation. The book also discusses the vital legacy of the Indus civilization in India and Pakistan today.

208 pages | 50 halftones | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | © 2015

Lost Civilizations


History: Ancient and Classical History

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"Robinson’s new book is a clear summary of what we know, and a tantalizing account of what we might yet know. . . . Robinson does a commendable job of laying out the evidence in all its incompleteness and ambiguity."


“Wonderfully eloquent and informative new book. . . . Robinson examines by chapter every aspect of this deliciously intriguing civilisation, from religion, society, art, trade, and agriculture, to their origins, disappearance, and rediscovery . . . a comprehensive account of the Indus people, condensed into a highly accessible volume—and a very good read indeed.”

Current World Archaeology

“A very well-written, well-illustrated popular account of the Indus civilization. . . . This new work is an important addition to the literature because of the author’s extensive knowledge of the subject, his use of the most recent sources, and his succinct but engaging style.”


"Robinson writes with an elegant clarity which comes from a masterly overview of the subject and transmits some of the mysterious excitement which this enigmatic civilization evokes."

Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society

“Robinson does an excellent job of condensing key Indus issues to their core, framing them in terms accessible to the intelligent enthusiast and archaeologist alike. Robinson is a superb writer. With numerous other books on ancient civilizations to his credit, he knows how to make things interesting without going into numbing detail, always keeping the narrative thread alive . . . well-illustrated and highly recommended.”

Omar Khan | Harrapa

“A brief but excellent introduction to the Indus Civilization.”

Indian Historical Review

"Robinson’s detailed, yet gripping and clear, portrait of this important cultural ancestor is highly recommended."

Fortean Times

"Cleverly weaves a rich and intricate tapestry of life in the third millennium BC. . . . All aspects of the discourse on the Indus world, whether secular–mundane or religious–sacred, are subjected to Robinson’s penetrative analysis and intellectual rigor."


“Robinson creates a brilliant portrait of one of the world’s most enigmatic early civilizations. In doing so, he crosses the boundaries between different academic disciplines with effortless panache and high learning. This succinct account of the Indus civilization, its script, religious beliefs, and its complex inheritance, places a vigorous, urban society in its rightful historical context. Everyone interested in ancient civilizations should read this eloquent, closely argued biography (it is nothing less) that brings the Indus people in from the historical shadows.”

Brian Fagan, author of The Great Warming and Elixir: A History of Water and Humankind.

The Indus is very well written and eminently readable. . . . Robinson deals with all the unsolved problems in a fair manner and with balanced judgement . . . a valuable contribution to the literature on the Indus civilization.”

Iravatham Mahadevan, Indus epigraphy expert

Table of Contents

1. An Enigmatic World
2. Discovery
3. Architecture
4. Arts and Crafts
5. Agriculture
6. Trade
7. Society
8. Religion
9. Decline and Disappearance
10. Deciphering the Indus Script
11. Indus Origins of Hinduism?
12.The Indus Inheritance


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