The Ochre Colored Pottery or OCP culture: Ancient History of Rajasthan

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The Ochre Colored Pottery or OCP culture

The Ochre Colored Pottery or OCP culture is defined by the type of similar Ochre Pottery found at different sites. In 1951, B.B. Lal carried out small digs at Bisauli and Rajpur Parsu villages in Bijnor district of Uttar Pradesh at spots where copper hoards had reportedly been discovered earlier. While B.B. Lal did not find any new copper objects, he came across weathered ochre-coloured pottery (OCP), and on that basis he suggested a probable correlation between the hoards and this pottery. Since then as many as 950 sites of OCP culture have been discovered from the different parts of western Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan.

  • Further, because of their discovery in groups, they have also been labelled as Copper Hoard Culture.

The highest Number of the OCP sites in Rajasthan is found in the district of Sikar followed by Jaipur, Jhunjhunu, Alwar and Bharatpur.

Features of OCP Culture:

 The hoards comprise a variety of objects like flat axes with Splayed sides and convex cutting edges, shouldered axes, bar Celts, double-edged axes and antenna-hilted swords.

  1. The pottery is ill-fired, ochrish red in colour, and heavily weathered, with the slip peeling off. The shapes comprise storage jars, vases, basins, bowls, dishes-on-stand and miniature pots; they are considerably similar to the Harappan pottery shapes.
  2. Occasionally the pottery is decorated with incised designs, graffiti and paintings in black pigment.
  3. OCP settlements are small in size and have thin habitation deposit. This indicates that habitation on them was of short duration. Because of the small size of excavations very little is known of the economy and material culture associated with this pottery.
  4.  Evidence was found regarding cultivation of rice and barley, domestication of cattle, rammed earth floors, post-holes, baked and unbaked bricks, terracotta human figurines and bangles, and beads of stone and bone.

Important Sites of OCP Culture: In Rajasthan, Ochre Colored Pottery sites have been discovered at Ganeshwar (Sikar)andJodhpura (Jaipur).

Ganeshwar (Sikar)

Ganeshwar is a village in Neem Ka Thana Tehsil in the Sikar District. Excavations have revealed ancient sites, with remains of a 4000 years old civilization. The site is located at source of river Kantali, which used to join river Drishadwati, near Soni-Bhadra on the north.

Historian R.L. Mishra wrote that, Red pottery with black portraiture was found which is estimated to be belonging to 2500–2000 BC was found when Ganeshwar was excavated in 1977.

Ganeshwar is located near the copper mines of the Sikar Jhunjhunu area of the Khetri copper belt in Rajasthan. It mainly supplied copper objects to Harappa.

  • Copper objects, Microlith & pottery were found throughout the deposits.
  •  Copper objects included arrowheads, spearheads, fish hooks, bangles and chisels.
  •  Microlith, discovered here, represent a highly evolved geometric industry, the principal tool types being blunted-back blades, obliquely-blunted blades, lunates, triangles and points. The raw materials employed for the industry include qarts, garnet, and occasionally jasper.
  • The Pottery found represents OCP culture and includes storage jars, vases, basins, bowls, lids and miniature pots.

Ahar – Banas Culture of Rajasthan

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Ahar – Banas Culture of Rajasthan

A number of Chalcolithic cultures have been discovered in northern, central and western India. The Ochre-Colored Pottery (OCP) culture in the Punjab, Haryana, north-east Rajasthan and upper Ganga-Yamuna doab

  •  The Narhan culture and its variants in the northern Vindhyas and the middle and lower Ganga valley.
  • The Ahar culture in the Mewar region of Rajasthan.
  • The Kayatha and Malwa cultures in the Malwa region of western Madhya Pradesh.
  • The Jorwe culture in western Maharashtra.

The Ahar culture, also known as the Banas culture, is a Chalcolithic Culture of southeastern, Rajasthan, lasting from 3000 to 1500 BCE, contemporary and adjacent to the Indus Valley Civilization. The Main distribution of this culture seems to be concentrated in the river valleys of Banas and its tributaries namely Berach and Ahar. More than 90 sites of the culture have been identified till date, out of which, Gilund, Ahar, Ojiyana and Balathal are prominent sites. These sites of Ahar culture provide important information about the transformation of life from hunting-gathering to agriculture in the Mewar region.

Features of Ahar-Banas Culture:

Houses: People lived in single, double & multi-roomed rectangular, square or circular houses and the houses were made of stones, mud bricks, the walls being plastered with mud.

Pottery: Typical Ahar pottery is a Black-and-Red ware (BRW) with linear and dotted designs painted on it in white pigment and has limited range of shapes, which include bowls, bowls-on-stands, elongated vases and globular vases.

Economy & Subsistence: The subsistence of Ahar-Banas people was based on cultivation, animal rearing and hunting. They sustained on a number of crops, including wheat and barley. The people of Ahar culture had trade links with the Harappans.

Technology: The technology of Ahar people was mostly based on copper. They exploited the copper ores of the Aravalli Range to make axes and other artefacts.However, the Neolithic trend of using polished stone tools continued in this period also and Microlithic tools of Silicious material were also very common.

Important Sites of Ahar-Banas Culture:

  1. Gilund
  2. Ahar
  3. Ojiyana
  4. Balathal
  5. Pachamta (Because, Excavation done in 2015)

Ahar-Banas is Culture and not Civilization. So what is the difference between Civilization & Culture?

  • Culture is by definition smaller than a civilization. Civilization includes (technology, forms of government etc, and even culture)
  •  Culture can grow and exist without residing in a formal civilization whereas a civilization will never grow and exist without the element of culture. Hence, Culture is earlier or a pre-condition for civilization to develop.
  • All Societies have culture but only a few have Civilization (example, Indus Valley Civilization).

1. Gilund (Rajsamand):

Gilund is an archaeological site in Rajsamand district. There are three major rivers in the area which include the Kothari, Banas, and Berach. Excavation carried out at the site during 1959-60 by

B.B.Lal revealed two mounds labeled as ‘eastern’ and ‘western’ mounds. The site is part of Ahar-Banas Chalcolithic culture. The archaeological site is also known as “Modiya Mangari“. Gilund is also famous for its celebration of “Khehkhara Utsav” (Next day of Diwali).

Features of Ahar-Banas Culture at Gilund: Gilund was occupied from approximately 3000-1700 BCE. These years of occupation can be divided into two Periods: Early Ahar-Banas 3000-2000 BCE and Late Ahar-Banas 2000-1700 BCE

Period I:

  • Period I is Chalcolithic in character on account of the presence of a few Microlith along with copper.
  •  All through the period the residential houses are made of mud brick, the walls being plastered with mud. Within the houses are noticed circular clay-lined ovens and open mouthed chulhas.
  • The characteristic Pottery of Period-I is Black-and-Red Ware, painted over with linear and curvilinear designs in a creamish-white pigment, other wares include plain and painted black, burnished grey and red wares.
  •  Among the Terracotta figurines particularly noteworthy are the bull figurines with a prominent hump and long horns.

Period II

  • Period II of Gilund seems to have begun about the middle of the 1st millennium B.C., as indicated by the presence of bowls and dishes of grey ware.
  •  In the successive strata have been found Sunga and Kushana bowls in red ware, sprinklers in the Red Polished Ware, and bowls in kaolin ware and knife-edged bowls in red ware, indicating that this occupation continued up to the end of the 1st millennium A.D.

2. Balathal (Udaipur)

Balathal is an archaeological site of Ahar-Banas Culture located in Vallabhnagar Tehsil of Udaipur district of Rajasthan. It is located on banks of Katar River. The site was discovered by V. N. Misra during a survey in 1962-63. There were various ethno botanical remains recovered at Balathal and these include wheat, barley, Indian jujube, okra and Job’s tears as well as several varieties of millet, lentils and peas. The excavated remains also included domesticated animals such as sheep, goat and cattle. Archaeologists also discovered several burial sites where the earliest evidence of leprosy in South Asia was found. Apart from manufacturing of

Iron objects, Balathal people cultivated rice, Kodo millet and Bengal gram. They also bred animals, but their reliance over on wild animal was less. The Early Historic pottery of Balathal is generally drab and poor quality in comparison to Chalcolithic pottery. It consists four wares, namely Red, Grey, Black and Red, and Black. A number of stone objects made of locally available quartz or granite, and comprising saddle querns, rotary querns, hammer stones, mullers, pounders and sling balls have been found. Ornaments of the Balathal people included glass, terracotta and copper bangles and beads of terracotta, glass, shell and steatite and semi precious stones, including etched ones. A tiny piece of cotton cloth with matting-type weaving pattern was found. A number of terracotta human and animal figurines, the latter comprising bull, dog, goat and tortoise have been found. Other terracotta objects included weights, lamps, wheels and discs.

This was identified in the remains of an adult male buried sometime between 2500 and 2000 B.C. Balathal was occupied during two cultural periods: the Chalcolithic and the Early Historic.

This ancient site was occupied during two cultural periods: the Chalcolithic and the early historic. Excavation at Balathal revealed a Chalcolithic period stretching from 3000 to 1500 BC and an early historic period dated to 5-3 century BC.

Chalcolithic Phase (3000 -1500 BC): Balathal was part of the Ahar-Banas Complex and can be connected to other Ahar-Banas culture sites through artifacts that have been discovered.

  •  The period is characterized by well-planned structures. The houses found at the site are square or rectangular made of mud brick and stones.
  •  Stone objects including saddle querns, mullers, rubber stone, hammer stone and copper objects including choppers, knives, razors, chisels and tanged arrowhead have been found.
  •  It has been determined that the people practiced agro-pastoralism, which is a mixture of both farming and herding animals. Pottery at the site has been thoroughly analyzed and tells much about life at this ancient site.

After the Chalcolithic period the site was abandoned for a long time till the early historic period.

Early Historic Phase (5 – 3 BC):

  • Excavation of early historic phase produced the evidence of large-scale use of iron implements, suggesting its important role in the economy of that period.
  • The people lived in wattle and daub houses and the floors were made of mud and stone rammed together.
  • Iron working in the form of furnaces with iron slags and abundant objects like nails, arrow head, lamps, needle, hoe, spatula, knife etc. are found on site.

Most peculiar item: A skeleton was found buried at Balathal believed to be 4,000 year old skeleton of a man believed to be 37 years when he died. The skeleton it provides the oldest evidence of leprosy in human beings.

3. Pachamta:

Recently in 2015, excavation was carried out at Pachamta, a village 100 km from Udaipur in Rajasthan, under a project called the Mewar Plains Archaeological Assessment.

Pachamta belongs to the Ahar-Banas culture in the Mewar region, which was contemporaneous with the early and mature Harappan culture. The Ahar culture, datable to 3,000-1,700 BCE, was Chalcolithic and its people had trade links with the Harappans.

Artefacts such as perforated jars, shell bangles, terracotta beads, shells and the semi-precious stone lapis lazuli, different types of pottery and two hearths have been found during excavation.

Ancient Civilizations of Rajasthan

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Different Ancient Civilizations of Rajasthan are:-

  1. Kalibangan Civilizations
  2. Bhinmal Civilizations
  3. Gilund Civilizations
  4. Ganeshwar Civilizations
  5. Ishwal Civilizations
  6. Bairath Civilizations
  7. Balathal Civilizations
  8. Aahar River Civilizations
  9. Bagore Civilizations
  10. Rangmahal Civilizations
  11. Ojiyana Civilizations
  12. Nagari Civilizations
  13. Tilwara Civilizations
  14. Barore Civilizations

1. Kalibangan Civilizations

Kalibangan lies along the left bank of the dried-up bed of River Ghaggar (ancient name Saraswati. It is older than 4000 B.C. approx.

It was first discovered by Amlanand Ghosh in 1952 AD It comprises of three mounds, the larger one in the middle, the smaller in the west and the smallest in the east .

  • The excavations brought to light grid layout of a Harappan metropolis, perhaps truly it is the first city of the Indian culture heritage.
  • The significant part of the evidence, however, relates to the discovery of an early-Harappan settlement, immediately underlying the occupational remains of the Harappan citadel.
  • The pre-Harappan settlement was a fortified parallelogram, the fortification wall being made of mud-bricks.
  • The houses within the walled area were also made of mud-bricks. The distinctive trait of this period was the pottery which was significantly different from that of the succeeding Harappans.
  • An outstanding discovery was a ploughed field, showing a cross-grid of furrows, the southeast of the settlement outside the town-wall.
  • This is perhaps the earliest ploughed field excavated so far.  During the Harappan period, the structural pattern of the settlement was changed.
  • There were now two distinct parts: the citadel on the west and the lower city on the east. The former was situated atop the remains of the preceding occupations to gain an eminence over the lower city which was laid out on the natural plain towards the east.  The citadel complex was a fortified parallelogram, consisting of two equal but separately patterned parts.
  • The fortification was built throughout of mud-bricks.
  • The southern half of the citadel contained some five to six massive platforms, some of which may have been used for religious or ritual purposes.  The northern half of the citadel contained residential buildings of the elite.
  • The lower city was also fortified. Within the walled city, was a gridiron plan of streets running north-south and east-west, dividing the area into blocks.  The houses were built of mud-bricks, baked bricks being confined to drains, wells, sills, etc.   Beside the above two principal parts of the metropolis, there was also a third one, situated 80 m east of the lower city.
  • It consisted of a modest structure, containing four to five fire-altars and as such could have been used for ritualistic purposes.  Of the finds obtained from this excavation, a cylindrical seal and an incised terracotta cake are quite significant.
  • The cemetery of the Harappans was located to the west-southwest of the citadel
  • Three types of burials were attested: extended inhumation in rectangular or oval grave-pits- pot-burials in a circular pit and rectangular or oval grave-pits containing only pottery and other funerary objects.
  •  The Later two methods were unassociated with skeletal remains.

 2. Bhinmal Civilizations

  • It was explored by the Ratna Chandra Agrawal in 1953 -54 A.D.
  • The original name of Bhinmal was bhillamala, the plateau of Bhils.
  • It was the early capital of the kingdom of Gurjaradesa, a name derived from the Gurjara people.
  • The kingdom is first attested in Bana’s Harshacharita (7th century AD).
  • Its king is said to have been subdued by Harsha’s father Prabhakaravardhana (died c. 605 AD). The surrounding kingdoms were mentioned as Sindha (Sindh), Lāta (southern Gujarat) and Malava (western Malwa), indicating that the region included northern Gujarat and southern Rajasthan.
  • Located in Jalore district and reflects about the trade relations with Unani civilization.
  • Huen Shang has visited the ancient city.

3. Gilund Civilizations

At the ancient site of Gilund, two mounds labelled as ‘eastern’ and ‘western’, measuring 45 ft and 25 ft respectively above the surrounding fields in height and covering an area of 500 X 250 yards were partially excavated by a team under the direction of B. B. Lal during 1959-60. Excavation was carried out at three different areas, designated as GLD-1 (with its extension GLD-1A), GLD-2 and GLD-3. The site was later revisited from 1999 to 2005 by a team from the University of Pennsylvania and the Deccan College in Pune, India.

Gilund was occupied from approximately 3000-1700 BCE. These years of occupation are divided into three phases: Late Ahar-Banas 2000-1700 BCE, Middle Ahar-Banas 2500-2000 BCE, and Early Ahar-Banas 3000-2500 BCE. Here various housing structures have been uncovered, as well as large buildings with long parallel walls, workshops; refuse heaps, and an exterior wall surrounding the site. The workshop area has revealed that the occupants practiced small-scale craft production. Further analysis of the areas also shows that the inhabitants were agro-pastoralists, meaning that they mixed agricultural practices with livestock herding practices.

Artefact analysis has linked objects found at Gilund to the other sites in the Ahar-Banas Complex, as well as the site of Bagor. In addition, lithics at Gilund and Bagor were produced using the same techniques.

4. Ganeshwar Civilizations: – Excavations in the area revealed the remains of a 4,000-year-old civilization. Historian Ratan Lal Mishra writes that Ganeshwar was excavated in 1977. Red pottery was found here with black portraiture. The period was estimated to be 2500–2000 BC. Nearly one thousand pieces of copper were found there. Ganeshwar is located near the copper mines of the Sikar-Jhunjhunu area of the Khetri copper belt in Rajasthan. Excavations revealed copper objects including arrowheads, spearheads, fish hooks, bangles and chisels. With its microliths and other stone tools, Ganeshwar culture can be ascribed to the pre-Harappan period. Ganeshwar mainly supplied copper objects to Harappa.

The copper was obtained in the nearby Aravalli Range

5. Ishwal Civilizations: – Udaipur, Five stage settlement, Iron was melted about 500 B.C.

6. Bairath Civilizations: – Jaipur District near Beejak hills, Explored by Dayaram Sahani in 1937.

7. Balathal Civilizations: – Udaipur, Explored by V.N. Mishra in 1993. Balathal is an archaeological site located in Vallabhnagar Tehsil of Udaipur district of Rajasthan state in western India.This site, located 6 km from Vallabhnagar town and 42 km from Udaipur. It’s famous for Ahar Culture.

8. Aahar River Civilizations: – Udaipur, Explored by Kirti Vyas in 1953.

9. Bagore Civilizations:-Bhilwara, Explored by V.N. Mishra in 1967. Three stages of Settlements, ie 4480-3285 BC, 2765 BC -500 BC and 500 BC to 400 AD. The archaeological site of Bagor is a Late Mesolithic (pre-Harappa) archaeological site located on the Kothari River in the Bhilwara District of the Rajasthan region of western India. Bagor was excavated by Deccan College scholars such as Virendra Nath Misra and Vasanta Shinde in the 1960s and 1970s, who found evidence for the domestication of sheep, cattle and goats by the nomadic pastoralists of Bagor dating as early as 5000 to 3000 BC.

10. Rangmahal Civilizations: – This early historical site was excavated by the Swedish Archaeological Expedition, during 1952-4. The first settlement was laid around A.D. 250 during Kushana period and flourished up to the sixth or seventh century A.D. During excavations, coins of Kanishka III, besides the Murundas and three earlier coins of Kanishka I, Huvishka and Vasu-deva and a seal paleographical datable to A.D. 300, have been found. Excavation has revealed eight structural phases. The structures were built of mud-bricks of varying sizes but the normal size was about 32 x 23 x 7 cm. The bricks were laid in the English bond system. The floors were paved with mud-bricks. The houses were rectangular with north-south orientation. The site is famous for the manufacture of typical ceramic industry termed as Rang Mahal Ware culture. This distinctive pottery is wheel-made, reddish or pinkish in colour. The types include globular or oval jars and handy with pronounced rims, externally rusticated showing wavy ribs. In some cases the shoulder and the neck are painted in black-on-red polished surface, other types are spouted vase, sprinkler, cooking vessels, storage jars, beaker with or without handle, bowls of different varieties, lamp, incense-burner, etc. A few carinated handis have textile marks on the body. Moulded pottery is represented by the bowl and miniature basin. The decorations on the pottery are applied and incised patterns and paintings. The cultural assemblage also includes figurines in faience, terracotta animal figurines, carts and wheels, weights, balls, flesh-rubbers, discs, dice, votive tanks, potters stamps, pendants, ear-orinaments, beads of coral, paste, lapis lazuli and shell; rotary querns, mullers, pestles and bone and iron objects.

11. Ojiyana Civilizations:-Bhilwara, Previously the site was excavated in the season 1999-2000 which had revealed remains of Chalcolithic cultures. The recent excavation conducted at the site in 2000-01 has yielded white painted black and red wares, white painted terracotta bulls, cow figurines, copper chopper and beads of faience, carnelian, agate, shell, steatite, stone and terracotta and bangles and pendant of copper belonging to Chalcolithic cultures ranging from 3rd millennium B.C. to 2nd millennium B.C.

12. Nagari Civilizations: – It was one of the most important townships of the Mauryan era in Rajasthan, situated on the banks of river Bairach. It was formerly known as Majhimika/Madhyamika, which flourished from the Maurya to Gupta era. The excavations over here have unearthed many interesting facts and have showed signs of strong Hindu and Buddhist influence.

13. Tilwara Civilizations: – Tilwara is an archeological site from where evidence for the Mesolithic culture has been excavated.Its in Barmer district at the bank of river Luni.

14. Barore Civilizations: – Baror is situated on the right bank of dried up river Sarasvasti (modern Ghaggar) in Anupgarh Tehsil of Ganganagar district of Rajasthan. It is located about 13 km. north-east of Anupgarh and about 100 km. south-west of Kalibangan.

L.P. Tessitore (1916-17), Aurel Stein (1940-41) and A. Gosh surveyed this area and identified the archaeological importance of this region.

The excavation work at Baror added new chapter in the study of Harappan Civilization.

The mound of Baror roughly measures 200× 150 mts. and rises to a height of 11 mts. from its surrounding plain. The western portion of the mound is higher and seems to be the citadel whereas the eastern portion is lower indicating lower town.

On the basis of ceramic industries, antiquities and other material culture, recovered from the field-season’s work, a three-fold cultural sequence was established.

Archaeological Sites in Rajasthan: Ancient History

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Indus Valley Civilization: The Indus Valley Civilization was an ancient civilization located in what is Pakistan and northwest India today, on the fertile flood plain of the Indus River and its vicinity. Evidence of religious practices in this area date back approximately to 5500 BCE. Farming settlements began around 4000 BCE and around 3000 BCE there appeared the first signs of urbanization. By 2600 BCE, dozens of towns and cities had been established and between 2500 and 2000 BCE the Indus Valley Civilization was at its peak. Two cities, in particular, have been excavated at the sites of Mohenjo-Daro on the lower Indus and at Harappa further upstream. The evidence suggests they had a highly developed city life; many houses had wells and bathrooms as well as an elaborate underground drainage system. The social conditions of the citizens were comparable to those in Sumeria and superior to the contemporary Babylonians and Egyptians. These cities display a well-planned urbanization system.

Kalibangan:

Located on the bank of river Ghaghhar in Hanumangarh District.

Discovered by Amlanand Ghosh in 1953.

Excavated by Brijvasilal in 1961.

Evidence of ploughed field is found.

Evidence of growing Barley and Mustard are found.

Cylindrical seal of Mesopotamia is found here.

Houses were made from Raw bricks (Kachhi Int).

The drainage system was not properly developed.

Evidence of Earthquake.

Sothi (Sothi Civilization):

It was a rural civilization.

Located in Ganganagar District.

Situated on the plain of Ghaghhar and Chautang River.

It is also called Kalibanga 1st.

Historian mentioned it as the origin place of Harappan civilization.

Other Archaeological Sites

1. Ganeshwar: It isLocated on the bank of river Kantali in Sikar District.

Ganeshwar is located near the copper mines of the Sikar-Jhunjhunu area of the Khetri copper belt in Rajasthan. The Ganeshwar-Jodhpura culture group has over 80 other sites currently identified. The period was estimated to be 2500–2000 BC. Historian Ratna Chandra Agrawal wrote that Ganeshwar was excavated in 1977. Excavations revealed copper objects including arrowheads, spearheads, fish hooks, bangles and chisels. With its microliths and other stone tools, Ganeshwar culture can be ascribed to the pre-Harappan period.

Ganeshwar saw three cultural phases: Period 1 (3800 BCE) which was characterized by hunting and gathering communities using chert tools; Period II (2800 BCE) shows the beginnings of metal work in copper and fired clay pottery; Period III (2000 BCE) featured a variety of pottery and copper goods being produced. Nearly one thousand pieces of copper were found here. Red pottery was found here with black portraiture.

2. Sunari: It islocated in Jhunjhunu district, as at other sites, the PGW culture (period I) issucceeded by Period II which is represented by unslipped ware though Black and Redand Black slipped wares of PGW period continue and a few NBP sherds are alsopresent. The important antiquities include a stone plaque bearing auspicious Buddhistsymbol, iron implements and copper objects. Period III is represented by typical potteryof the Sunga Kushana period and important finds include a seal with an inscription inBrahmi characters, terracotta animal figurines, and copper cast coins. It is situated on the bank of river Kantali in Jhunjhunu district and It is a Iron Age site.

3. Kurada

  • It is in Nagaur district and also Called Town of Tools.

4. Iswaal

  • Located in Udaipur district and Industrial Town (Because of Iron Mine in Ancient time)

5. Gardara

  • Located in Bundi district and Rock paintings of ancient India are found.

6. Jodhpura

The Department of Archaeology and Museums, Government of Rajasthan, undertook excavation at Jodhpura located on Jaipur-Delhi highway. At Jodhpura Period III, represented by the PGW culture, is succeeded by periods of IV and V both Early Historic age. Period IV is marked by occurrence of NBP ware and unslipped red ware. Important finds of this period include iron arrow heads and nails, shell bangle, terracotta humped bull and stone bead. Period V is represented by Sunga Kushana pottery. The common shapes are bowl, lid cum bowl, and lipped bowl with small spouted channel. Some sherds are stamped with Triratna and Swastika symbols. Other finds of the period comprise iron implements, a terracotta ghata shaped bead, a stone bead and a copper coin.

  • It is located on the bank of river Sabi in Jaipur district.
  • This site is known for incised ware, Reserved Slipware, Copper Arrow heads and Celts.

Gupta Period: Ancient History of Rajasthan

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Gupta Empire in Rajasthan                

The Gupta Empire was an ancient Indian empire existing from the mid-to-late 3rd century CE to 543 CE. At its zenith, from approximately 319 to 543 CE, it covered much of the Indian subcontinent. This period is called the Golden Age of India (there was peace, development and prosperity in the country) by some historians.

  • According to Prayag Prashashthi (Allahabad Inscription), Samundragupta defeated many republican kingdoms.
  • Samundra Gupta defeated Rudradaman II in 351 A.D. and captured southern Rajasthan.
  • Vikramaditya Defeated last Shaka ruler and whole Rajasthan came under Gupta dynasty.
  • Maximum Gupta period coins are found from Bayana (Bharatpur) belonging to Kumar Gupta.
  • Baran (Rajasthan) inscription mention about Gupta period.
  • Durga Temple (Kota) and Shiv Temple (Chachanura) are the best examples of Gupta Architecture.

Post Gupta Period (Huns, Vardhan and Gurjars)

  1. In 503 A.D, Toranmal of Hun Dynasty defeated Guptas and captured Rajasthan.
  2. Mihirkula built Shiva temple in Badauli.
  3. Later Mihikula was defeated by Narsingh Baladitya Gupta and Rajasthan was preoccupied by Guptas.
  4. The capital of Gurjar-Pratihar was Bhinmal.
  5. Chinese traveller Huang Tsang visited Bhinmal during his period.
  6. Brahmagupta belongs to Bhinmal.
  7. Gurjar Pratihar stopped Arab invasion from North West.

Mauryan Period: Ancient History of Rajasthan

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Mauryan Period – Rajasthan

The Mauryan Empire was founded by Chandragupta Maurya, 2,000 years back when he overthrew the Nanda King. His assistant was Chanakya, a shrewd advisor and strategic thinker. He has written a book called Arthashastra that comprises his thoughts on politics, economics, foreign affairs, administration, military arts, war and religion.

Chandragupta was succeeded by Bindusara, his son who extended the Mauryan Empire till Mysore. Bindusara was succeeded by his son Ashoka, who is regarded as the greatest ruler of the empire by many historians. He extended the Mauryan Empire till the modern-day Afghanistan, with Patliputra as capital.

The Mauryan Emperors appointed the family members to control the large empire. Only the capital Patliputra was controlled by the emperor while states like Ujjain and Taxila were governed by royal princes. The Emperors also appointed officials for collecting taxes, maintaining law and order and keeping a check on the activities of the subjects.

  1. Bairat (Viratnagar)

Rai Bahadur Daya Ram Sahni, Director of Archaeology and Historical Research of former Jaipur state, conducted excavations at Bairat sometime in the thirties of the last century. we know that the so called Bhabru Rock Edict found by Captain Burt in 1840 must have come from Bijak ki Pahari because this place alone has provided evidence of Mauryan period and also another Ashokan edict. This edict is the only known edict of Ashoka, which is inscribed on a stone slab (Shila phalaka) as distinguished from stone pillar (Shila Stambha) or rock. It also provides definite proofs of Ashoka’s faith in Buddhist religion and his consequent exhortation to monks and nuns and to laymen and laywomen to listen to and to study seven select passage from the Buddhist scriptures.

The principle monuments brought to light are numerous remnants of two Ashoka pillars, a temple of an entirely new type and a monastery both of which latter monuments must have been erected by Ashoka himself. It was capital of Matsya Mahajanapada.

  • It was a part of Mauryan Empire.
  • In 1837, Ashoka’s Rock Edict was discovered by Capt. Burj from Bijak-ki-Pahadi.
  • Evidence of the Buddhist stupa sites was found here.
  • In 634 A.D Huang Tsang visited Bairat.
  • Sculptures, coins, pottery, seals and metal objects were found from the excavation.
  • It was excavated by Daya Ram Sahni in 1936.
  • According to Maan Sarovar inscription of 713 A.D., Maan Maurya was the ruler of Bairat. This inscription also mentions the name of 4 rulers. Maheshwar, Bhoj, Bhim and Maan.

Post Mauryan Period

Post-Mauryan coinage refers to the period of coinage production in India, following the breakup of the Maurya Empire. The centralized Mauryan power ended during a Coup d’état in 185 BCE leading to the foundation of the Shunga Empire. King Ashoka ruled for 50 years and after the war of Kalinga, he led the path of peace and Buddhism. Since the successor of king Ashoka wasn’t capable of ruling the kingdom.

  • Greek ruler Menander attacked Rajasthan in 150 B.C.
  • 16 Greek coins were found from Bairat.
  • Coins were found from the Rang Mahal of Hanumangarh belonging to Kushan period.
  • The first Saka king in India was Maues who ruled in Gandhar and extended his power in northwest India.

Mahajanapadas of Rajasthan: Ancient History of Rajasthan

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Mahajanapadas of Rajasthan

  1. Matsya
  • Capital: – Viratnagar
  • Present: – Alwar, Bharatpur and Jaipur
  1. Saurasena (Brajmandala)
  • Capital: – Mathura
  • Present: – Alwar, Bharatpur, Dhaulpur and Karauli.
  1. Kuru
  • Capital: – Indraprastha (Delhi)
  • Present: – Delhi and northern Region of Rajasthan.
  1. Some Other Janapada Of Rajasthan

Shivi Janapada

  • Capital: – Madhyamika (Present name Nagari)
  • Present region: – Chittorgarh And Udaipur district
  • Rajasthan’s first excavated site.
  • Excavated by D.R. Bhandarkar.

Arjunayana Janapada

  • Present Alwar and Bharatpur District.
  • They emerged as political power During Sunga Period.

Malav Janapada

  • Present Jaipur and Tonk district.
  • Capital: – Nagar (Tonk)
  • They are mentioned in Mahabhashya of Patanjali

Yaudheyas

  • Present Hanumangarh and Ganganagar district.
  • Kushana power was stopped by them.
  • They are mentioned in Ashtadhyayi and Ganapatha of Panini.

Shalvya

  • Present Alwar district.

Rajanya

  • Present Jodhpur and Bikaner region.

Stone Age: Ancient History of Rajasthan

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Stone Age: a prehistoric period when weapons and tools were made of stone or of organic materials such as bone, wood or horn.

  1. Paleolithic age: Paleolithic, The cultural period of the Stone Age that began about 2.5 to 2 million years ago, marked by the earliest use of tools made of chipped stone. The Paleolithic Period ended at different times in different parts of the world, generally around 10,000 years ago in Europe and the Middle East.

Paleolithic site in Rajasthan: Nagaur and Didwana.

  1. Mesolithic Age: Mesolithic, also called Middle Stone Age, ancient cultural stage that existed between the Paleolithic (Old Stone Age), with its chipped stone tools, and the Neolithic (New Stone Age), with its polished stone tools. Most often used to describe archaeological assemblages from the Eastern Hemisphere, the Mesolithic is broadly analogous to the archaic culture of the Western Hemisphere. Mesolithic material culture is characterized by greater innovation and diversity than is found in the Paleolithic. Among the new forms of chipped stone tools were microliths, very small stone tools intended for mounting together on a shaft to produce a serrated edge.

Mesolithic sites in Rajasthan:

1. Bagor

  • On the bank of river Kothari in Bhilwara District.
  • Most ancient source of animal husbandry is found here.
  • Tools are excavated in large numbers.
  • Excavated by Virendranath Mishra.
  • Biggest Mesolithic Site in India.

2. Tilwara

  • On the bank of river Luni in Barmer district.
  • Evidence of animal husbandry is found here.
  • Excavated by Virendranath Mishra.

3. Chalcolithic Age: Chronology of Chalcolithic Settlement. The first metal age of India is called Chalcolithic Age which saw the use of copper along with stone. It was also called Stone-Copper Age.

 Paleolithic-Old Stone Age in Rajasthan (5, 00, 00 BC – 10,000 BC)

Man is said to have appeared in the early Pleistocene in Africa about 3 million (30 lakh) years ago. In India, based on recent evidence, man is said to have appeared 1.4 million (14 lakh) years back at Bori, Maharashtra.

  • This Man had no knowledge of cultivation and house building till 9000 years B.C. From there first appearance to beginning of 3000 BC man used tools & implements only made up of stone and so early phase of human existence has been Called as Stone-Age. Based on nature of stone tools and nature of change in climate the stone-age is divided into Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic age period to study history till 1000B.c.

The Paleolithic age has been divided into 3 sub-ages namely:

  • 5,00,000 BC – 1,00,000 BC: Lower Paleolithic or Early Old Stone Age
  • 1,00,000 BC – 40,000 BC: Middle Paleolithic or Middle Old Stone Age
  • 40,000 BC – 10,000 BC: Upper Paleolithic or Later Old Stone Age

1. Lower Paleolithic or Early Old Stone Age (5, 00,000 BC – 1, 00,000 BC)

Acheulian-Handaxes: These areSpecial characteristic stone tools – Hand axe and cleaver.Raw materials used for making stone tools included – quartzite, quartz and basalt. The sites of early Stone Age discovered in Rajasthan have been identified as belonging to Acheulian culture, named after French site of St. Acheul which was the first effective colonization of the Indian subcontinent.The Acheulian culture was a hunter-gatherer culture.Sites of lower-Paleolithic age are located in Nagaur and Didwana of Rajasthan, Barkhera, Bhimbetka and Putlikarar in Raisen district of Madhya Pradesh.

2. Middle Paleolithic or Middle Old Stone Age (1, 00,000 BC – 40,000 BC)

 The Acheulian culture of Old Stone Age was slowly transformed into the middle Paleolithic by giving some of the tool types and by developing new tools & technology. Special characteristic of stone tools – Flakes.

  • In comparison to the lower Paleolithic era, the tools in middle Paleolithic became smaller, thinner and lighter.
  • The New raw materials used for making stone tools included fine-grained siliceous rocks like chert and jasper.
  • In our Rajasthan, sites of Middle Paleolithic age are located at Luni valley, around Didwana, Budha Pushkar.

3.  Upper Paleolithic or Later Old Stone Age (40,000 BC – 10,000 BC)           

 The tools of Upper Paleolithic Era are further refined upon the lower and middle periods and show a marked regional diversity with respect to the refinement of techniques and standardization of finished tool forms.

1. Special characteristic of stone tools of Upper Paleolithic age – Flakes and blades.

2. One important discovery is of the Ostrich egg shells at over 40 sites in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, which shows that ostrich, a bird adapted to arid climate.

3. The upper Paleolithic settlements also show a distinct trend of being associated with permanent sources of waters.

4. Society was ‘Band Society‘- small communities, usually consisting of less than 100 people. They were nomadic to some extent moving from one place to another.

5. The earliest form of art by humans also belongs to upper Paleolithic period in the form of rock Paintings (Bhimbetka).

6. Sites of Upper Paleolithic age in Rajasthan included Chittorgarh, Kota and basins of rivers Wagoon, kadamli, Sabarmati & Mahi.

4. Mesolithic-Middle Stone Age in Rajasthan (10,000 BC – 5,000 BC)

The last stage of Old Stone Age or Paleolithic Age was followed by Mesolithic or Middle Stone Age in Rajasthan (in India). The transition from the Paleolithic period to Mesolithic period is marked by transition from Pleistocene period (2.58 million years ago – 10,000BC) to Holocene (10,000 BC – till now) and favorable changes in the climate. The climate became warmer and humid and there was expansion of flora and fauna contributed by increased rainfall. This led to availability of new resources to humans.

Tools of Mesolithic Age: The tools are Mesolithic age were smaller in size and better in finishing (more geometric) than the Paleolithic age and are called as Microlith.

  • The main tool types are backed blades, obliquely truncated blades, points, crescents, triangles and trapezes.
  • Some of the Microlith were used as components of spearheads, arrowheads, knives, sickles, harpoons and daggers.
  • Use of bow and arrows for hunting has been documented by Mesolithic man in rock art of the period.

Changes in Society of Mesolithic Age:

1. Domestication of Animals & Farming: The early period of Mesolithic age was based on the hunting, fishing and food gathering, slowly domestication of animals and cultivation of crops made their way into human life.

  •  The earliest evidence of domestication of animals has been provided by Adamagarh in Madhya Pradesh and Bagor in Rajasthan.
  • The first animals to be domesticated were dog, cattle, sheep and goat and the first crops to be cultivated were wheat and barley.

2. Nomadism to Sedentary settlements:

The favourable climate, better rainfalls, warm atmosphere and increased food security led to reduction in Nomadism to seasonally sedentary settlement and increased population.

They moved to new areas such as nearby rivers which provided water and First human colonization of the Ganga plains took place during this period.

 3. Beginning of customs

  • The Mesolithic age saw beginning of the tradition of various ways of intentional disposal of the dead.
  • Mesolithic human burials have been found at Bagor in Rajasthan, Langhnaj in Gujarat, and Bhimbetka in Madhya Pradesh etc.

 4. Emergence of Arts:

  • The rock painting of Mesolithic period is found in Adamagarh, Bhimbetka of Madhya Pradesh and Pratapgarh, Mirzapur of Rajasthan.
  • The paintings are made mostly in red and white pigments, made from the nodules found in rocks and earth. (Red made by minerals of iron oxide and white by limestone).
  • The subject matter of the paintings are mostly wild animals and hunting scenes, though there are some related to human social and religious life such as sex and child birth.

Mesolithic sites in Rajasthan:

  • The Pachpadra basin, Sojat Area & Tilwara of Rajasthan is rich Mesolithic sites and lot of Microlith has been discovered.
  • However, Bagor is the largest Mesolithic site in India.

Neolithic Age in Rajasthan (5,000 BC – 1,000 BC)

Neolithic or new Stone Age, which followed Mesolithic age, was the last phase of Stone Age. The Neolithic period began around 10700 to 9400 BC in Tell Qaramel in Northern Syria. In South Asia the date assigned to Neolithic period is 7000 BC and the earliest example is Mehrgarh Culture.

  Neolithic Revolution:

  • The human settlements in the Mesolithic era got more sedentary and people began settle down in agricultural communities which led to establishment of villages.
  • Man for first time domesticated cattle, sheep and goats.
  •  As efficiency of agriculture improved, man was able to produce surplus food. As a consequence, some people moved away from agriculture and new occupations like dancers, musicians, masonry came up.
  •  The people of this age used tools & implements of polished stone. Neolithic tool kit was composed of heavy ground tools – pestles, mortars, grinders and pounders – as also axes and sickles which have a characteristic sheen on them, the result of harvesting wild or domesticated plants and grasses.

The use of pottery and the wheel and the subsequent invention of crafts like spinning, weaving and bead making also serve to demonstrate the uniqueness of the Neolithic phase. This transition from hunting gathering to food production is called the Neolithic revolution.

Causes of Neolithic Revolution: Factors that pushed humans in vastly separated parts to adopt agriculture and animal domestication included:

i. Climatic change at the beginning of the Holocene period

ii. Increasing population density

iii. Evolving cultural and technological strategies of human groups.

Features of Mehrgarh Neolithic Culture:

Mehrgarh is located on bank of the Bolan River, a tributary of the Indus, at the eastern edge of the Baluchistan plateau overlooking the Indus plain. It is considered as the oldest agricultural settlement in the Indian subcontinent.

  • The main domesticated animals in Mehrgarh were cattle, sheep, goat and water buffalo while the main cultivated plants were wheat and barley.
  •  Houses made in mud and mud-bricks, created rooms to store grains, buried dead under floors of houses where they lived, used ornaments of steatite, turquoise, sea shells etc.
  • Domesticated cotton for the first time. Used pottery decorated with images of birds, animals.
  • Learnt use of making stone beads, copper smelting, timber, terracotta, commercial transactions.
  • The first evidence in human history for the drilling of teeth in a living person was found in Mehrgarh.

Neolithic Age in Rajasthan

There are no significant Neolithic sites that fall in modern Rajasthan.