Segments in this Video

Ancient Trade Evidence (04:47)


In Oman, archaeologist Jeff Rose discovers a 4,000-year-old petroglyph of Zebu cows. Nearby, a beehive tomb contains pottery from the Indian subcontinent. Copper and long distance trade fueled the rise of civilization.

Mohenjo-daro (05:07)

Archaeologist Uzma Rizvi discusses the role of trade in the 4,500-year-old Indus Valley civilization. Products include carnelian beads, carved figures, and copper smelting. A bronze statuette exhibits high quality craftsmanship.

Indus Civilization Craftsmanship (04:15)

Physicist Mathieu Thoury uses photo-luminescence spectroscopy to analyze an ancient amulet. It is the first evidence of lost wax casting used for precision metal work. Archaeologist Benoit Mille demonstrates the process that fueled production and trade.

Lohari Ragho Excavation (04:08)

Trade expands our needs and wants; markets grow, alliances form, and society progresses. The Indus Valley benefits from overlapping weather systems enabling year round cultivation and food surpluses. Carnelian beads found in a farming site demonstrate long distance trade networks.

Indus Civilization Trade Nexus (02:30)

Archaeologists are discovering an extensive merchant network outside cities in the Indus Valley. Archaeologists Adam and Lily Greene use ancient maps and local knowledge to locate small settlements; evidence includes pottery.

Establishing Trust (05:23)

Merchants take a leap of faith to build trade networks. Psychologist Tim Hahn believes our brains evolved to be innately trusting. In an experiment, participants are rewarded by exchanging money with a partner.

Ancient Business Transactions (02:37)

Indus Valley merchants pioneer the use of seals for documenting sales and as claim tags. Animal images function as brands and labels.

Indus Valley Urban Design (03:26)

Rather than building monumental architecture, cities promote free trade through organization and standardization, including pioneering fresh water and sewage systems. Rizvi discusses innovative drainage technology.

Dholavira Archaeological Site (03:44)

Archaeologist Michel Danino discusses rainwater reservoirs that sustained the Indus Valley city during dry periods—the oldest known urban water management system. Structures are designed to withstand seismic activity; brick dimensions provide maximal structural strength.

Peaceful Civilization (04:03)

Societies based on trade avoid war. Architectural ratios in Indus Valley cities suggest a faith in progress and growth. Sites lack evidence of organized religion, conflict or despotic rulers; regional settlements imitated a franchise system, rather than a centralized one.

Blueprint for Modern Civilization (02:17)

Trade, production, consumption and urban design in Indus Valley cities inspire today's economic system. High trust societies promote individual freedoms, entrepreneurship, and empathy. View the extent of the Indus Valley Civilization.

Indus Valley Breakdown (05:37)

Around 1900 BC, trade seals disappear and a drought dries the Sarasvati River. Skeletons reveal leprosy, bacterial infection, tuberculosis, and malnutrition. Long distance trade brings disease, disrupting urban food supplies and social collapse.

Eroding Trade Trust (02:39)

The Indus Valley Civilization's collapse affects long distance trade partners. An Oman settlement relocates from the beach to a mesa for defense. Rose discusses the natural ebb and flow of civilizations.

Credits: First Civilizations: Part 4 (00:30)

Credits: First Civilizations: Part 4

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First Civilizations: Part 4

Part of the Series : First Civilizations
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



Trade explores the civilizing effect of buying and selling goods. In particular, the Indus Valley Civilization—on the borders of modern-day India and Pakistan—was seemingly created with the single purpose of encouraging the free flow of trade. The knock-on effects were massively beneficial—an increase in wealth, co-operation and trust.

Length: 54 minutes

Item#: FPT166874

Copyright date: ©2018

Closed Captioned

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