New Delhi, March 5: Archaeologists have challenged the prevailing view that the Indus Valley civilisation was primarily an urban culture, nestled close to rivers, and vanished rapidly because of failing rains.

Relying on excavations over the past decade, a team of Indian and British researchers has suggested the Indus civilisation's rural settlements have been under-appreciated, and that its people used multiple water sources and were resilient enough to adapt to the increasing aridity.

They say their excavations indicate the Indus people harvested diverse crops, thrived in rural and urban settlements, and seemed prepared to respond to the rainfall decline that occurred between 2100BC and 1900BC and has long been linked to the civilisation's end.

"Some chapters about the Indus civilisation need to be rewritten," said Ravindra Nath Singh, professor of archaeology at Banaras Hindu University who is collaborating with archaeologists from the University of Cambridge to examine the civilisation's rural sites in northwestern India.