Among the ancient civilizations, the Harappan was much larger in size than the Sumerian and Egyptian civilizations; it was too large to be administered from just Mohenjo-daro and Harappa. While the sites along the Indus-Saraswati were urban, a new paper suggests that these towns were surrounded by various supply centers which were non-urban and even hunter-gather in some cases.

In addition, many of the outlying settlements were involved in processing and the production of manufactured goods. Dholavira thrived on its industrial exports of agate and shell artefacts. From Kumaun, a large number of copper mines and copper-working implements have been reported from the Pithoragarh region , where there were also huge deposits of sedimentary talc. The Jodhpura people lived close to copper mines and did the dirty work of smelting for the Harappans . In Kashmir, the hoard of carnelian beads of Harappan vintage at Burzahom shows that they had trade contacts. In the far north-west Bactrian region, Shortguai served as a processing centre for lapis lazuli. In Gujurat, sites like Kanmer yielded a large amount of bead-making material indicating their industrial importance. The agate quarries are located just about 20km from Kanmer. The coastal sites of Sutkagen Dor, Khera Kot, Balakot, Allahdino, Dholavira, Kuntasi, etc. probably helped procure and process shell material for beads and bangles.

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