Neolithic sites of Indian sub-continent
ruins of an old rashtrakuta temple

Neolithic sites of Indian sub-continent

The hunting gathering characteristic in early man started declining towards end of Mesolithic Age and he became more sedentary which saw the establishment of villages. He started domesticating animals and in due course, there was a beginning in agricultural production.While some took to agriculture, there was a part of the society that took to other tasks like making o bricks, masonry, production of pots etc. This transition from hunting-gathering to food production is referred to as the Neolithic Revolution.

The earliest evidence of wheat cultivation and barley has been found in present day Pakistan and Afghanistan. Excavations in Mehrgarh in Baluchistan have revealed a culture ranging from pre-pottery Neolithic to mature Harappan.

Mehrgarh

Mehrgarh is the oldest agricultural settlement in the Indian subcontinent Agriculture-based Neolithic settlements. It flourished in the seventh millennium BCE. It comprises of majorly two periods- Period I being aceramic and period II seeing the emergence of pottery.

Kashmir

Burzhahom and Gufkral in Kashmir are other important sites of which the C-14 dating ranges between 2500-1500 BCE. These sites of Neolithic culture of Kashmir are characterized by pit dwellings with floors smeared with red ochre and dwellings in the open as well.

Belan Valley

Other important excavated sites in Belan Valley include Chopni Mando, Kolidihawa and Mahagara. Kolidihawa is dated as early as 7000 BCE. These sites indicate transition from food gathering to food producing stage and have been assigned to the Vindhyan Neolithic. Evidences indicate a gradual development towards a sedentary life with defined family units living in circular huts made of timber posts and thatch. Other development like domestication, farming and use of various tools indicates the same.

North East

Neolithic culture is also seen in the hills of Assam that includes north Cacher, Garo and the Naga. These are characterized by shouldered Celts, ground axes and cord-impressed pottery.

South India

Neolithic sites of south India include Sanganakallu, Nagarjunakonda, Maski, Brahmagiri, Tekkalakota, Piklihal, Kupgal, Hallur, Palavoy among others. Dates of southern Neolithic broadly fall under 2900-1000 BCE. The earliest phase is seen at Sangankallu and Nagarjunakonda, a time when people had a very basic knowledge about cultivation and probably did not domesticate animals.

Ash Mounds

A distinctive feature of sites in the southern part of Deccan plateau is marked by ash mounds. These mounds are accumulations of ash and vitrified material formed due to the continuous burning of dung and marks the Neolithic cattle pens. Utnur excavations have shown cattle hoof prints in the ash. The Budhidal excavations showed the presence of a habitation that was directly associated with ash mounds. Habitation sites and ash mounds were closely related and some ash mounds are so huge that they probably served as centers for periodic cattle fairs that were attended by locals.

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