Pastoral and Farming Communities – Neolithic, Chalcolithic and Early Iron Phase

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The Indus valley civilization is one of the four civilizations that was developed in prehistoric times. We know that the Indus people depended on trading and agriculture.

Today, in this article we are going to see the pastoral and farming communities outside the Indus region. There are only a few societies that are more reliant on tamed creatures than on developed harvests.

In the period that we are talking about here – there are few archeological instances of social orders that are depicted as either pastoral or as selective cultivators. This doesn’t imply that there were no itinerant pastoral groups in Protohistoric India.

There are no depicted archeological destinations that are classified as the occupation or campgrounds of such social orders. The following is a list of sub-topics that are going to be discussed in this article.

  • Geographical Distribution
  • Characteristics
  • Early Agricultural-Pastoral Communities from Vindhyas to Ladakh
  • Pastoral and farming communities in the following phases
  1. Neolithic Phase
  2. Chalcolithic phase
  3. Early Iron Phase

Pastoral and Farming Communties outside the Indus region

Geographical Distribution

We are looking at social orders in different geological and sequential skylines. Since the Indus development has been talked about, the regions fall outside its geological ambit that is considered here.

These range from the NorthWest Frontier and Kashmir, over the Gangetic fields to the locales in upper east India. From the Vindhyas, such skylines stretch across Malwa and Maharastra into peninsular India.

The social orders here show up in the archeological record as unmistakable societies. They are set apart by different characteristics going from their technology to parts of what they ate. This incorporates the oats they developed and the creatures they kept.

They chased and tamed the creatures. The most recognized relic at locales is ceramics. This had enormous use during those times.

The locale falls into three significant zones. It is the stretch among Peshawar and Taxila containing the Peshawar valley and the Potwar level. Secondly, the territory among Swat and Chitral, the valley of Kashmir.

The Neolithic degrees of Saraikhola in the Potwar level offered an approach to Kot Diji related skyline. This locale in general was inside the exchanging system of the contemporary Indus fields.

The Swat Chitral district shows the use of various metals, stone, and different articles among which are shell, coral, and ivory which arrived at this locale from the Indus fields. The stone-safe house site of Ghaligai which returns to 3000 BC gives the standard in Swat – Chitral.


The proto-memorable burial grounds of the district are dated. It is between the second quarter of the second thousand years BC and the late hundreds of years BC. The proof of such cemeteries and related settlements has been ordered as the Gandhara Grave Culture.

These Copper Age graves are set apart by in-flexed interments and urn entombment after incineration. Grave locales and related settlements have been examined at countless destinations.

It includes Loebanr, Aligrama, Birkot Ghundai, Kherari, Lalbatai, Timargarha, Balambat, Kalako-Deray, and Zarif Karuna. This was situated in the valleys of Chitral, Swat, Dir and Buner, and so on.

In Kashmir, more than 30 Neolithic locales have been discovered. It dissipates that the vast majority of them are in the Baramulla, Anantnag, and Srinagar districts. This conveyance calls attention to this was not a culture disengaged from the fields.

Handcrafted dark earthenware with a tangle dazzled base is a distinctive element of the artistic period. This is considered to be from Kashmir Neolithic. It was unearthed at two destinations – Gufkral and Burzahom.

The Neolithic stage in Kashmir converged into a massive stage around the center of the second thousand years BC.

Early Agricultural-Pastoral Communities from Vindhyas to Ladakh

One of the earliest societies is situated in the Vindhyan scope of southern Uttar Pradesh. Some are also in nearby sections of Madhya Pradesh, at places like Koldihawa and Kunjhun. The paleontology of these locales shows a neolithic layer.

Their occupants utilized cleaned stone tomahawks and microliths. They additionally assembled earthenware and lived in wattle and smear houses. In particular, this is an early rice developing network which is clear from the husks of this grain installed in the dirt of the stoneware.

There is little uncertainty that we are looking at the earliest rice developing society of the Indian subcontinent.

The dates from Kunjhun II confirm that such a general public had been set up in the Vindhyas by the fourth thousand years BC. Later, unearthing at Lahuradewa (Sant Nagar region) in Uttar Pradesh recommended that such early rice development was kept to the Vindhyan slopes.

It as well as reached out into the Gangetic alluvium. There were also some coarse black and redware, with cord impressions on its exterior. The earliest social occupation there has yielded grains of developed rice.

The dates are adjusted and it is discovered that this belongs to the late 6th and early fifth thousand years BC.

Pastoral and farming communities in the following phases:

Neolithic Age

The Neolithic progress included less a mechanical revolution than one in land use. They have quite good achievements as trackers and food finders. Individuals settled down to town life as ranchers or stockbreeders.

This procedure of settling down and watching out for wheat, grain, cows, sheep, and goat species is civilized. This is first found in South Asia at a site in an outskirts locale, Mehrgarh. There is no specific period in South Asia when trackers and finders took to agriculture and pastoral farming.

The Neolithic stage showed remarkable stone and fired innovation and scope of tames.

There were Neolithic societies in the Jhelum valley, Garo, and North Cachar slopes. They show a wilderness character with artifactual connections. They also had these with societies outside the subcontinent.

Then again in Orissa, we may have a blending of conventions from the upper east and the Deccan level. Like the Kachhi plain, the district involves the Belan valley at the edge of the Vindhya level. Also, the bordering Ganga plain around Allahabad is a significant zone.

Chalcolithic Age

After the Harappan human progress, we have a grouping of Chalcolithic societies. They belong to the second thousand years BC. They extend from the Banas and Berach bowls upper east of Udaipur through Malwa and stretch as far as western Maharashtra up to the Bhima valley.

Stratigraphy at key destinations like Dangwada and Kayatha close Ujjain and Daimabad on the Pravara shows the Kayatha culture. It was prevailed by the Banas, Malwa, and Jorwe societies.

These societies display a few likenesses in subsistence economies and house structure. Even the use of chipped stone devices and constrained use of copper. In this way, it is conceivable to consider a procedure of social turn of events.

We can see this for about a thousand years along the significant marshland of west-focal India. They came also to the beneficial bowls of Krishna and Tungabhadra. Here is where settlements of the southern Neolithic thrived.

Early Iron Phase

As the development of settled town life took various structures in various pieces of the nation also happened. Like the presentation of iron that happened on various occasions in various settings.

Based on accessible radiocarbon dates it was proposed that ironworking may have started in Malwa around 1100 BC. This depended on the contention that there was congruence among Chalcolithic and Iron Age material. We can see the destinations in Malwa.

The dates for the terminal periods of the Chalcolithic time frame show us a lot of things. It dates around 1300 BC. Broad backwoods leeway and agrarian settlement would not have been conceivable in the Ganga fields.

They have to use iron. Archeologists are still investigating the association between the presentation of iron innovation. Also about the settlement designs and political improvements in northern India.


Finally, India saw the emergence of the first rice-producing cultures as early as the late sixth and early fifth millennium BC. From 3000 BC onwards, farming cultures can be encountered.

It can be seen in regions like the Northwestern highlands and lowlands of Pakistan, Kashmir, and Rajasthan. Many of the early farming cultures were marked by their own regional characteristics. They depended upon the area where they were located.

For example, in Kashmir, pit dwellings became an integral part of the residential pattern in response to the severe cold. In Rajasthan, we can see extensive use of Chalcolithic tools. This indicates plenty of availability of Copper.

Another peninsular phenomenon is the emergence of ash mounds in the Deccan. They were formed by the firing of accumulated cow-dung. Animal herding was an integral component of this farming culture.

Another element is the beginning of iron technology in chalcolithic contexts. This can be seen at Harappan sites as also in Kashmir, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh. Yet, it is only from the latter part of the second millennium BC that iron usage becomes more common.

This, though, did not trigger any dramatic social or economic transformation. Urban efflorescence is described as the ‘second urbanization’. This postdates the usage of iron by several centuries.

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1 Response

  1. Ajay Pratap says:

    Excellent review. Thank you

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