The Indus Valley Civilization

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1. Indus Valley Civilization (2600-1900 BC)

The Indus valley civilization was the earliest society, which had developed an elaborate urban system depicted in terms of streets, public baths, temples and granaries etc. They also had the means of mass production of pottery, houses of backed bricks and a script of their own. So we can say that the story of early chemistry in India begins from here.

Pottery: It could be regarded as the earliest chemical process in which materials were mixed, moulded and fired to achieve desirable qualities. Thousands of pieces of pottery were found in the Rajasthan desert, varied in shape, size and colour. They show that prehistoric people knew the art of making pottery by using burnt clay. Coloured and wheel
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It is of various kinds - transparent, opaque, coloured and colourless. No glass objects were found at the sites of the Indus valley civilization, except for some glazed and faience articles. A number of such glass objects were found at Maski in south India (1000-900BC) , Hastinapur and Taxila (1000-200BC). In this period glass and glazes were coloured by the addition of colouring agents like metal oxides. Ramayana, Brhatsamhita, Kautilya 's Arthasatra and Sukranitisara mention the use of glass. There is ample evidence to suggest that ancient India glass making was quite widespread and a high degree of perfection was achieved in this craft. There was a traditional glass factory at Kopia in Basti district of Uttar Pradesh. Glass slag was found at Kolhapur, Nevasa, Paunar and Maheshwar. Glass furnaces of late medieval period were found at Mysore. The Mughal period (AD1526-1707) saw the flourishing of the art of glass making in India.

Paper: From the Chinese traveller I-tsing 's account it appears that paper was known to India in the seventh century AD. In the beginning the process of papermaking was simple and more or less similar in all parts of the country. The main centers of paper making in medieval India were Sialkot, Zafarbad, Murshidabad, Ahmedabad, Mysore
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In Vol. V (4) of Science and Civilisation (especially pages 85-6,97,104-7 and 131-2), Needham offers a fundamental reconstruction of the history of liquor distillation in India, and, by its reconstruction has forced a review of the theory prevalent until recently that the production of alcohol originated in the Mediterranean world in the thirteenth century. Habib informs us that Needham shows much respect for Mehdi Hassan, who had in many papers drawn attention to possible evidence of early liquor-distillation in India; and he had, of course, before him Ray 's History of Hindu Chemistry, with its citations of early medieval texts on distillation. None of this, even the linguistic curiosity inherent in the double meaning of sunda (elephant 's trunk, side tube), gave any certainty of India 's role in the early history of alcohol production. But Needham carefully analysed the archaeological evidence of stills from Taxila, first brought to light by Marshall and A. Ghosh and others with numerous remains of stills from the Shaikhan Dheri (Charsadda, NWFP, Pakistan) excavation. Needham gave these stills the name of "Gandhara stills", compared them with the western or Hellenistic type of his still-classification, and then propounded that they were essentially "retorts" and, because of their early date (150 BC-150 AD), they might well be "the origin of all such forms of still". The

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