KARACHI (PPI) - A Canadian mathematician has discovered that the Indus Valleys Bronze Age civilization may have developed the worlds first sophisticated financial exchange system.
A new study of clay pots and ceramic tablets discovered almost 70 years ago in Harappa, now in Pakistan, the people of Indus Valley had a detailed system of commodity value, weights and measures.
Dr Bryan Wells, a researcher based at Indias Institute of Mathematical Sciences, told UKs the Telegraph newspaper that he had begun work on his thesis ten years ago when he first saw photographs of clay pots with markings, which appeared to be in proportion to their relative size.
But, he was not able to test his thesis until he visited New Delhi early this month where original pots are stored in one of the citys Mughal era forts.
The three pots each had different markings, smallest with a 'V to indicate 'measure and three long strokes.
The medium vessel had six strokes and largest had seven.
When he measured them, he found they were in proportionate capacity: 3:6:7.
The inscriptions on pots matched those on bas-relief ceramic tablets, which he believes are tokens of exchange for fixed measures of grain or other commodities.
The size of pots - largest is 2.
7 metres in circumference, and contains 65 litres - indicates an organised system of exchange for large-scale transactions, according to Wells.
The bas-relief tablets are definitely some kind of exchange token.
These pots are more than one metre wide.
Youre not going to be carrying them around.
The chits or tablets have representative value and they are being used in an economic context, he said.
He suggests tablets may be equivalent of 'wage slips or credits for work representing fixed volumes of food.
It is possible that wages were paid with grains dispersed from a centralised storage facility or in case of incised tablets material for construction projects and other short-term projects.
Although older coins and ingots have been discovered from Mesopotamia, but Dr Wells findings amount to a more detailed decoding of an ancient value system.

This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 23-Nov-2009 here.