The heartland of the early Indus civilization appears to have been situated to the northwest in Baluchistan, where Neolithic remains display evidence of domesticated crops, including wheat, the herding of animals, and basic tool making dating back to c. 7000 BCE. The subsequent early Harappan phase (c. 3300–2600 BCE) is marked by the formation of settled villages, crop diversification and evidence of long range trading networks. In the subsequent millennium, the civilization reached its culmination with the establishment of major urban centres. This urbanization may have been triggered by a decline in rainfall stimulating the development of sophisticated techniques of hydraulic engineering and irrigation. Over a thousand settlements have now been discovered, with cities such as Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro and Rangpur based over a broader area than contemporary civilizations in Mesopotamia and Egypt and featuring sophisticated sanitation systems, dockyards, granaries, exquisite pottery and metalwork as well as a written language.
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