Rich merchants may have comprised an elite class above the artisans, trading with the other cities of the Indus Valley and, according to ancient texts from Mesopotamia, with places as far away as Sumer in modern Iraq. Indus merchants established trading communities in Sumerian towns, and Indus ivory, gold, carnelian, and agate beads, timber, and other goods had an important place in Sumerians’ import business; in return they may have exported fine textiles, perfumed oils, and other perishable of which no traces survives.
The Indus people also traded with neighbouring hunter gatherers and the fishing communities of Gujarat and the Aravalli hills, south of the river valleys- regions that supplied ivory, carnelian, agate, copper, tin, and many other raw materials. Goods were carried between settlements in ox carts with solid wheels; for longer journeys, the merchants used pack animals or river craft resembling today’s Indus house boat.
The towns of the Iranian plateau to the west and Tukmenia to the North West had long been trading partners of the Indus people and their ancestors. This trade took a new turn when the Indus authorities established au out post at Shortugai, far to the north, to control the supply of lapis lazuli- the most valued commodity in west Asia, which at that time came only from Badakshan in Turkmenia that is in present day Afghanistan.