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.

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