The Bronze Age in the Indian subcontinent began around 3300 BCE with the early Indus Valley Civilisation. Along with Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, it was one of three early cradles of civilisation of the Old World. Of the three, the Indus Valley Civilisation was the most expansive. At its peak, the Indus Civilisation may have had a population of over five million inhabitants.
The civilisation was primarily located in modern-day India (Gujarat, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir states) and Pakistan (Sindh, Punjab, and Balochistan provinces), while some sites in Afghanistan are believed to be trading colonies. A total of 1,022 cities and settlements had been found by 2008, mainly in the general region of the Indus and Ghaggar-Hakra Rivers, and their tributaries; of which 616 sites are in India and 416 sites are in Pakistan; of these 96 have been excavated.
Inhabitants of the ancient Indus river valley, the Harappans, developed new techniques in metallurgy and handicraft (carneol products, seal carving), and produced copper, bronze, lead, and tin. The civilisation is noted for its cities built of brick, roadside drainage system, and multi-storeyed houses and is thought to have had some kind of municipal organisation.
During the late period of this civilisation, signs of a gradual decline began to emerge, and by around 1700 BCE, most of the cities were abandoned. However, the Indus Valley Civilisation did not disappear suddenly, and some elements of the Indus Civilisation may have survived, especially in the smaller villages and isolated farms. According to historian Upinder Singh "the general picture presented by the late Harappan phase is one of a breakdown of urban networks and an expansion of rural ones". The Indian Copper Hoard Culture is attributed to this time, associated in the Doab region with the Ochre Coloured Pottery.