How advanced were the people of Indus valley civilization in engineering aspects compared with other civilizations during or before their time?

  • 1
    How do you measure "advanced"? How do you compare two civilizations to determine which is more advanced?
    – MCW
    Sep 23, 2016 at 16:51
  • 1
    @MarkC.Wallace Actually since the question focuses on specifically the level of advancement in engineering, this may actually be answerable on a case-by-case basis. For example, a comparison of the way two civilizations handled waste could provide an objective statement of which yielded the greatest efficiency relative to the size of the settlement. However, if such a level of detail is required to assess whether one civilization were more advanced than another in engineering on a grand scale, then that would certainly make this question too broad since it'd require a book for even a summary Sep 26, 2016 at 15:26

2 Answers 2


It would be hard to compare with other contemporary civilisation at the time viz Egyptian or Sumerian as not much written information available of that time. However, archealogical finding suggests many technological advancements 1) Sanitation - use of covered drainage system, (what now called) WC, reservoirs, public bath, dams and step wells to name few (source wiki)

2) Maths : circulation of coins and weights suggests use of decimal system, accurate measurements

3) metallurgy : Civilisation had extensive knowledge of bronze, tin, copper and lead

Since whole Indust valley civilisation was residing near Rivers they must have knowledge on channelling water and building high wall to protect from floods.

  • 4
    I think you are drastically underplaying #1. They appeared to be the proud owners of the world's first city sanitation system, complete with household flush toilets.
    – T.E.D.
    Sep 23, 2016 at 14:10

I agree wih @SiddhantKumar's answer here. I want to add some points he has overlooked.

The Indus valley civilization was one of the most advanced civilizations during the bronze age.

1) Sanitation - There were underground sewage systems, flush toilets and a proper sewage drainage system which collects sewage fro individual houses. They were all first of their kind.

2) Architecture - Their Architecture is one of the advanced at the time and was well planned. They had parallel streets with crossroads. Their bricks were all of uniform size. The city walls were built in such a way to prevent flood from entering the city. They have also built docks.

The majority of the cities were constructed in a highly uniform and well-planned grid pattern

- Wikipedia

The facilities such as flush toilets and private wells were present in almost every houses. It should provide a way at how things were implemented there.

3)Water management - They had many reservoirs, step-wells, dams and even a public bath. Most of the houses had a private well too.

4) Maths :

The people of the Indus Civilisation achieved great accuracy in measuring length, mass, and time. They were among the first to develop a system of uniform weights and measures

The Indus valley people have used (most likely the first)ruler for measuring lengths. The smallest division found on their ivory scale is approx equal to 1.704 mm. The smallest ever in Bronze age. These people have followed decimal system for almost all practical purposes while other civilizations of this time used non uniforms weights.

5) Metallurgy : Civilisation had extensive knowledge of bronze, tin, copper and lead.


  1. Sanitation of Indus Valley civilisation - Wikipedia
  2. Indian Mathematics Prehistory - Wikipedia
  3. Indus Valley Civilisation - Wikipedia
  4. List of inventions and discoveries of the Indus Valley Civilisation
  5. Read Indussian: The Archaic Tamil from c.7000 BCE ISBN : 938073302X, 9789380733029
  6. Prehistory and Harappan Civilization

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