Evidence in Outside Areas The evidence of Harappan external trade has
been found principally in north Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, north and south
Iran, the islands of Bahrain, Failaka and the Oman peninsula in the Gulf, and
north and south Mesopotamia. They can be put in different categories:
• The most explicit items are two types of Indus beads (etched carnelian
and long barrel-cylinder carnelian types) and square/rectangular Indus
seals with script or the presence of Indus script on pottery. They occur
in virtually all areas.
• Along with this are less direct items, such as pottery, Indus motif on
local seals, objects of ivory, miscellaneous terracottas, etc., all of
which suggest a familiarity with the Indus area. There are finds of
Indus or Indus-related objects in all these areas.
• On the other hand, several ‘round’ seals of Gulf origin bear Indus
motifs and script not merely in the Gulf itself, but also in
Mesopotamian sites like Ur and the Iranian Khujestan site of Susa. By
and large, the whole region seems to be tied by a network of both
overland and maritime trade.
Evidence in Indus Area Within the Indus area, there are some seals of
external affinity, steatite vessels with specific designs, some externally
derived motifs, etc. The details of the typology and context of all these
objects and motifs have drawn much discussion. Thus, there are non-Indus,
externally derived objects in the distribution area of the Indus civilisation.
Cylinder seals of the Mesopotamian, Iranian and central Asian world occur
notably at Mohenjodaro and Kalibangan, but show Indus motifs. A ‘Gulf’
seal was found on the surface at Lothal and a seal with a ‘Gulf’ motif they
has been found at Bet Dwaraka.
Major External Routes Everywhere outside the subcontinent, the relevant
finds are found along well-defined trade routes. To reach Shortughai in north
Afghanistan, the traders had to be familiar with the orientation of the
different passes across the Hindukush. In Iran, the Baluchistan–Khujestan
route of south Iran and the northern Iranian route through Kandahar, Herat
(Afghanistan), Hissar (north Iran) and beyond were both used. These routes