Revisiting Ancient Societies of the Harappan and Egyptian Civilizations: Anthropological Perspectives

Main Article Content

Muhammad Azam Sameer
Mohsen Muahammad Negm El-Din
Tamer Gad Rasheed
Abu Hassan Bakry
Ayesha Shabbir


The history of ancient Harappan and Egyptian civilizations was and still an area of interest attracting researchers and scholars all over the world, to investigate the constituents and the hidden secrets of such great civilizations. Undoubtedly, archaeology is standing as the main science concerned with studying the cultural products of ancient societies, especially the material culture represented by all physical remains whether organic or inorganic ones. However, there are certain drawbacks associated with the extensive use of archaeological methods only. Consequently, this project seeks to use additional tools, methods, and approaches that would open new dimensions of investigation and analysis. This could be attained by adopting the anthropological perspective as the main entrance for revisiting the ancient Harappan and Egyptian civilizations differently. This does not mean that anthropology is an alternative to archaeology, but both are complementary to each other. Owing to various approaches used under the umbrella of anthropology like; ethno-archaeology, bio-archaeology, bio-culture, ethnography approaches etc. Anthropological perspectives have the ability to study cultural, social and biological dimensions of different societies like Harappan and Egyptian, whether recent or ancient. Consequently, the present study objective is to utilize the anthropological methods to help filling these gaps, which are persisted in the knowledge of ancient Harappan and Egyptian civilizations. Especially those issues related to; kingship, administration, kinship, political and socio-cultural life, environment, religion, dress, gender, human body in funerary and medical treatments, funerary populations, grave gods, fertility, birth, child-care, health, hygiene, studies on human skeletons, and everyday life. That is to mean that all human- mediated processes and events would be included within the scope of this project regarding anthropology.

Harappan civilization, egyptian civilization, anthropology, archaeology, cross-cultural comparison, ancient societies

Article Details

How to Cite
Sameer, M., El-Din, M. M., Rasheed, T., Bakry, A., & Shabbir, A. (2019). Revisiting Ancient Societies of the Harappan and Egyptian Civilizations: Anthropological Perspectives. Asian Research Journal of Arts & Social Sciences, 9(2), 1-13.
Original Research Article


Blackman WS. The fellahin of upper Egypt. With a new introduction by Salima Ikram. Cairo: AUC Press; 2000.

Gange D. Dialogues with the dead: Egyptology in British culture and religion, 1822-1922. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2013.

Bussmann R. Egyptian archaeology and social anthropology. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2015.

Wright RP. The ancient indus: Urbanism, economy, and society. Cambridge University Press; 2009.
[ISBN: 978-0521572194]

Childe VG. The town planning review. The Urban Revolution, Liverpool University Press.1950;21(1).

Dibyopama A, Yong JK, Chang SO, Dong, HS, Vasant, S. Human skeletal remains from ancient burial sites in India: With special reference to harappan civilization. Korean Constitutional Anthropology Journal. 2015;28(1):1-9.

Kenoyer JM. Indus urbanism: New perspectives in its origin and character. In The ancient city: New perspectives in the Old and New World. Joyce Marcus and Jeremy A. Sablof, eds. Santa Fe, NM: SAR. 2008;85–109.

Petrie CA. South Asia. In Oxford handbook of cities in history. Peter Clark, ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2013;139–173.

Possehl GL. The indus age: The beginning. Oxford- IBH, New Delhi, India; 1999.

Wheeler REM. The Indus civilization. Third edition, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 1968.

Agrawal DP. The Indus civilization: An interdisciplinary perspective. Aryan, Delhi; 2007.

Wright RP. The ancient Indus – Urbanism, economy and society. New York: Cambridge University Press; 2010.

Lal BB. The earliest civilization of South Asia. Delhi: Aryan; 1997.

Kenoyer JM. Ancient cities of the Indus valley civilization. Karachi: Oxford University Press. Layton, R. An introduction to theory in anthropology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 1998.

Mughal MR. The early Harappan period in the Greater Indus Valley and Northern Baluchistan. Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, Dept. of Anthropology; 1970.

Childe VG. New light on the most ancient Near East. Praeger Publications; 1953.

Skibo JM, Graves, MW, Stark, MT. Archaeological anthropology: perspectives on method and theory. University of Arizona Press, Tuscon; 2007.

Shankland D. Archaeology and anthropology: Past, present and Future (London: Berg); 2012.
[ISBN: 978-0-85785-419-3]

Shinde VS, Kim YJ, Woo EJ, Jadhav N, Waghmare P, Yadav Y, et al. Archaeo-logical and anthropological studies on the Harappan cemetery of Rakhigarhi, India. Plos One. 2018;13(2):e0192299.

Petrie CA, Singh RN, Bates J, Dixit Y, French CAI, Hodell DA, Jones PJ, Lancelotti C, Lynam F, Neogi S, Pandey AK, Parikh D, Pawar V, Redhouse DI, Singh DP. Adaptation to variable environments, resilience to climate change: Investigating land, water and settlement in Indus northwest India. Current Anthropo-logy. 2017;58(1):1–30.

Ruth M, Mark P. The comparative method in anthropology. Current anthropology. 1994;35(5).

Philipsen G. Speaking culturally: Explora-tions in social communication. Albany, New York: State University of New York Press; 1992.

Dewan M. Understanding ethnography: An ‘exotic’ ethnographer’s perspective. In: Mura P, Khoo-Lattimore C. (eds) Asian Qualitative Research in Tourism. Perspectives on Asian Tourism. Springer, Singapore; 2018.

Sameer MA, Zhang JZ, Zhang ZH, Fang XX. Bronze age and iron cultures in xinjinag, liaison to Harappa: A retrospect. International Journal of Heritage, Art and Multimedia. 2018;1(3):51-70.

Renfrew C. Prehistory: The making of the human mind. New York: Modern Library; 2008.

Sundam DA. Survey on prehistoric cultural remains in tang river valley in Bolangir, Odisha, India. Journal of Multidisciplinary Studies in Archaeology 2018;6:242-260.

UNESCO World Heritage. Archaeological Site of Mehrgarh; 2004.

Jarrige C, Jarrige JF, Meadow RH, Quivron G. Mehrgarh field reports 1975 to 1985 - From the Neolithic to the Indus civilization. Karachi, Dept. of Culture and Tourism, Govt. of Sindh and the French Foreign Ministry; 1995.

Sameer MA, Zhang JZ, Yang MM. Approaching the origins of rice in China and its spread towards Indus valley civilization (Pakistan, India): An Archaeo-botanical Perspective. Asian Journal of Research in Crop Science. 2018;2(3):1-14.

Fuller DQ. Finding plant domestication in the Indian Subcontinent. Current Anthro-pology. The University of Chicago Press. 2011;52(S4).

Leprohon RJ. The great name: Ancient Egyptian royal Titulary. Society of Biblical Literature; 2013.
[ISBN: 978-1-58983-735-5]

Redford DB. Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times. Princeton: University Press. 1992;6.

Eiwanger J. Merimde Beni-salame. In Bard, Kathryn A. Encyclopedia of the Archaeo-logy of Ancient Egypt. London/New York. 1999;501–505.

Shaw L. The oxford history of ancient Egypt. Oxford University Press. 2000;479.
[ISBN: 0-19-815034-2]

Costantini L. The beginning of agriculture in the Kacchi plain: The evidence of Mehargarh. In: Allchin B (ed) South Asian archaeology 1981, Cambridge University Press. 1984;19-33.

Rao SR. Archaeological Survey of India. 1985;27-29.