Today historians believe that this stone and others like it were carried to Mesopotamia by traders from another great civilization. That civilization arose far to the east of Mesopotamia, in the Indus River valley of South Asia. Long ago, merchants may have used the stones as printing stamps for making clay labels to identify their bales of cotton or bags of grain.
In this chapter, you will read about the Indus River valley civilization. You will also read about a fourth civilization. It grew up far to the east, in the Huang He River valley of China. Like the people of Mesopotamia and Egypt, the people of these civilizations built cities, farmed the land, and developed systems of writing, government, and religion.
The Indus River rises, or has its source, in the snowy peaks of the Himalaya moun¬tains to the north of India. It was along the banks of the Indus River that ancient Indian civilization first developed. Like the people of Mesopotamia and Egypt, early settlers in the region found out that the annual flooding of the Indus River deposited rich soil that was good for farming.
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