Humans are cultural beings. Culture is the sum total of the ways of living built up by a group and passed on from one generation to another. Culture includes behavior such as courtship or child-rearing practices; material things such as tools, clothing, and shelter; and ideas, institutions, and beliefs. First a few words about the historical context of the Indus script. The subcontinent’s earliest literate, urban civilization arose in the valley of the Indus River sometime after 2600 B.C.E. and by about 2300 B.C.E. was trading with Mesopotamia. Known as the Harappan or Indus civilization, it lasted only a few centuries. The region’s second identifiable civilization dates to about 1500 B.C.E. and is known as the Vedic Aryan civilization—after the nomadic Indo-European immigrant people, or Aryans, who founded it, and their holy texts, or Vedas.