NCERT Solutions for Class 12 History Chapter 1: Bricks, Beads and Bones

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Chapter1. Bricks, Beads and Bones The Harappan Civilisation
TextbookThemes in Indian History-I
CategoryNCERT Solutions for Class 12

It is important to use NCERT Solutions for Class 12 History as they can give students a clear understanding of the syllabus. Class 12 History has fifteen chapters, and our NCERT Solutions are a detailed guide that covers each of them. It provides step-by-step solutions to all the questions in the textbook. On this page, we have provided you with complete Solution of Chapter 1 – Bricks, Beads and Bones The Harappan Civilisation.

NCERT Solutions for Class 12 History Chapter 1

Bricks, Beads and Bones The Harappan Civilisation Solutions

Answer in 100-150 Words

Q1) List the items of food available to people in Harappan cities. Identify the groups who would have provided these.


Product taken from plantsFood gatherers
Flesh and FishHunter groups
Wheat, Maize, Pulse, Rice and other eatable productsAgricultural groups

Q2) How do archaeologists trace socio-economic differences in Harappan society? What are the differences that they notice?

Answer) Archaeologists trace socio-economic differences in Harappan society in the following ways:

  • Burials
  • Looking for “luxuries”.

Archaeologists also study artefacts to identify social differences. They classify artefacts as utilitarian and luxuries. The utilitarian objects were made out of ordinary materials such as stone or clay. These include querns, pottery, needles and flesh-rubbers (body scrubbers). They are usually found distributed throughout settlements. Luxuries are rare or made from costly, non-local materials or with complicated technologies (such as little pots of faience). Only wealthy social groups could have used luxuries.

Q3) Would you agree that the drainage system in Harappan cities indicates town planning? Give reasons for your answer.

Answer) Yes, the drainage system in Harappan cities indicates town planning. It was carefully planned and constructed. I can cite the following reasons in support of my answer.

  • It appears that human settlement was made by planning from the beginning. The city was restricted to a fixed area on the platforms.
  • Bricks, sundried or baked, were of standard ratio. The length and breadth of bricks were of four times and twice the height respectively These bricks were used at all the settlements of the Harappan Civilisation.
  • The drainage system needed a planning for its execution. It seems that first drainages were laid out and then houses were built along with the drains. Every house was supposed to have at least one wall along a street to allow the domestic waste water to flow out in the street drains. The plans of the lower town show that roads and streets were laid out along an approximate grid pattern, intersecting at right angles.

Q4) List the materials used to make beads in the Harappan Civilisation. Describe the process by which any one kind of bead was made.

Answer) The materials used to make beads in the Harappan civilisation were as given below:

  • Stones like carnelian of a beautiful red colour, jasper, crystal, quartz, and steatite;
  • Metals like copper, bronze, and gold;
  • Shell, faience, and terracotta or burnt clay.

There were many techniques for making beads. For example, steatite, a very soft stone, was easily worked. Some beads were moulded out of a paste made with steatite powder. This technique permitted making a variety of shapes, unlike the geometrical forms made out of harder stones. However, archaeologists are still not able to understand the technique used in the making of the steatite micro bead.

Q5) Look at figure 1.30 (See NCERT page-26) and describe what you see. How is the body placed? What are the objects placed near it? Are there any artefacts on the body? Do these indicate the sex of the skeleton?

Answer) Following observations can be obtained after looking at the figure:

  • Body has been kept in North-south direction in a pit,
  • Many graves contain pottery and ornaments which include jar.
  • Yes, jewellery like bangles are there on the body.
  • Yes, this indicates towards the sex of the skeleton, Le. it is the body of a woman.

It is concluded that there were great social or economic differences among the people living within the area of the Harappan Civilisation. But as a whole it appears that the Harappan did not believe in burying precious things with the dead.

Write A Short Essay (About 500 Words)

Q6) Describe some of the distinctive features of Mohenjodaro.

Answer) Some of the distinctive features of Mohenjodaro were as given below:

Planned City: Harappa as a planned urban centre. It had two parts. One part of the city was small. It was built on a higher place.
The second part was comparatively large. It was built on a lower place. The first part was designed as citadel and the second part was as lower town. The citadel owed its height to the fact that it was built on mud brick platforms. It had walls on all sides and these walls were separated from the lower town.

Lower Town: It was also a walled town. Most of the buildings were built on platforms. In fact, these platforms were considered as foundation stones. It required huge quantity of labour force to build these platforms. It is obvious that settlement was first planned and then implemented as per the building plan. Quality of sun-dried bricks or baked bricks also prove the concept of planning. All the bricks were of standard ratio. The length and width was four times and twice the height of the bricks respectively. These bricks were used in the settlements of the Harappan Civilisation.

Drainage System: The drainage system was well planned. All the roads and streets were laid out on a grid pattern. They intersected one another at the right angles. It seems that streets featuring drains were laid out first and houses were built thereafter along with them. To make the flow of domestic water, every house had at least one wall along the street.

The Citadel: There were many buildings in the citadel. These buildings were used for many special public purposes. The Warehouse and the Great Bath were the two most important constructions.

Q7) List the raw materials required for craft production in the Harappan Civilisation and discuss how these might have been obtained.

Answer) Following is the list of materials required for craft production in the Harappan Civilisation:

Stone, clay, copper, tin, bronze, gold, faience, shell, camelian, jasper, crystal, steatite, quartz, timber.

Some of the raw materials were locally available whereas some were purchased from the distant places. Soil and wood were locally available raw materials. Stones, fine quality wood, metals were procured from distant places.

Settlements of the Harappans were situated at such places where raw materials were easily available. Nageshwar and Balacot were famous for shell. Some places were famous for Lapis Lazuli like Shortughai in Afghanistan. Rajasthan and Gujarat were famous for copper. Lothal was famous for camelian.

Another way of obtaining raw material was sending expeditions to different places. Evidences show that expedition was sent to Khetri region of Rajasthan for copper and to South India for Gold. Through these expeditions local communities were contacted. Harappan evidences found at these places indicate contacts between each other. Evidences found at Khetri region were given the name of Ganeshwar Jodhpura Culture by archaeologists. Huge reserves of copper products were found here. It is assumed that inhabitants of these area sent copper to Harappan people.

Q8) Discuss, how archaeologists reconstruct the past.

Answer) Archaeologists excavate the sites of the ancient past related to culture or civilization. They find out the art and craft such as seal, material, remains of houses, buildings, pots, ornaments, tools, coins, weights, measurements and toys, etc.

Skulls, bones, jaws, teeth of the dead bodies and materials kept with these dead bodies are also helpful for archaeologists. With the help of the botanists, and zoologists, archaeologists study the plants and animal bones found at different places. Archaeologists try to find out the tools used in the process of cultivation and harvesting. They also try to find out traces of wells, canals, tanks, etc. as they served means of irrigation.

Different layers of sites are observed to find out different things. These things give the picture of socio-economic condition such as religious life and the cultural life of the people. Tools, unfinished products, waste materials, help in identifying the centres of craft production. Indirect evidences also help the archaeologists in reconstructing the past.

Archaeologists develop frames of references, It can be better understood by this fact that the first Harappan seal that was found could not be understood till archaeologists had a context in which to place it-both in terms of cultural sequence in which it was found and in terms of a comparison with finds in Mesopotamia.

Examination of seals help in constructing the concept of religious belief of the period. Seals depict religious scenes. Some animals such as the one-homed animal, often called the unicorn depicted on the seals appear mythical, composite creatures. In some seals, a figure has been shown sitting crossed legs in a yogic posture. All these represent the religious concept of the period.

Q9) Discuss the functions that may have been performed by rulers in Harappan society.

Answer) Discuss the functions that may have been performed by rulers in Harappan society. Similarity and uniformity of Harappan artefacts (pottery, seals, weights and bricks) from Jammu to Gujarat suggest a single centre of power. This evidence is further strengthened by the strategically built settlements in specific locations for various reasons.

Archaeologists argue that building settlements required huge labour for making bricks and for the construction of massive walls and platforms, and the labour could have been obtained only by a single authority or ruler. However, archaeological records proving such a centre of power or a group of powerful people is rare. Even a palace-like large building found at Mohenjodaro does not reveal any such single ruler in the Harappan city.

Archaeologists who discovered a stone statue labelled it as the “priest-king”, this is because they were familiar with Mesopotamian “priest-kings” and have found parallels in the Indus region. Harappan ritual practices have not been well understood yet, and it is not clear whether those who performed them also exercised political power.

Other hypotheses suggest that Harappan society had no rulers, and that everybody enjoyed equal status. There are also scholars who argue that there were many rulers ruling Mohenjodaro and Harappan cities separately.

Map Work


On the given map, use a pencil to circle the sites where evidence of agriculture has been recovered. Mark an X against sites where there is evidence of craft production and R against sites where raw materials were found.


  • Sites of agriculture: Harappa, Banawali, Kalibangan, Mohenjodaro, Dholavira (Gujarat).
  • Sites of craft production: Chanhudaro, Nageshwar, Balakot.
  • Sites of raw material: Nageshwar, Balakot, Khetri.

That’s it. These were the solutions of NCERT Class 12 History Chapter 1 – Bricks, Beads and Bones The Harappan Civilisation. Our team hopes that you have found these solutions helpful for you. If you have any doubt related to this chapter then feel free to comment your doubts below. Our team will try their best to help you with your doubts.

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