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ANCIENT INDIA

Stone Age
Further information: Mehrgarh, Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka, and Edakkal Caves

Bhimbetka rock
Pradesh, India.

painting,

Madhya

Alleged Stone age writings of Edakkal Caves in


Kerala, India.

Isolated remains of Homo erectus in Hathnora in the Narmada Valley in Central India
indicate that India might have been inhabited since at least the Middle Pleistocene era,
somewhere between 200,000 to 500,000 years ago.[3][4] Recent finds in Tamil Nadu (at c.
75,000 years ago, before and after the explosion of the Toba volcano) indicate the
presence of the first anatomically modern humans in the area.
The Mesolithic period in the Indian subcontinent was followed by the Neolithic period,
when more extensive settlement of the subcontinent occurred after the end of the last Ice
Age, or approximately 12,000 years ago. The first confirmed semi-permanent settlements
appeared 9,000 years ago in the Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka in modern Madhya Pradesh,
India.
Early Neolithic culture in South Asia is represented by the Mehrgarh findings (7000 BCE
onwards) in present day Balochistan, Pakistan. Traces of a Neolithic culture have been
alleged to be submerged in the Gulf of Khambat in India, radiocarbon dated to 7500
BCE.[5] However, the one dredged piece of wood in question was found in an area of
strong ocean currents. Neolithic agriculture cultures sprang up in the Indus Valley region
around 5000 BCE, in the Lower Gangetic valley around 3000 BCE, and in later South
India, spreading southwards and also northwards into Malwa around 1800 BCE.
Tools crafted by proto-humans have been discovered in the north-western part of the
subcontinent that have been dated back two million years. [6][7] The ancient history of the
region includes some of South Asia's oldest settlements[8] and some of its major
civilizations.[9][10]
The earliest archaeological site in the Subcontinent is the palaeolithic hominid site in the
Soan River valley.[11]
Village life is first attested at the Neolithic site of Mehrgarh,[12] while the first urban
civilization of the region began with the Indus Valley

Bronze Age
The Bronze Age of a culture is the period when the most advanced metalworking (at least
in systematic and widespread use) in that culture used bronze. This could either have
been based on the local smelting of copper and tin from ores, or trading for bronze from
production areas elsewhere. Many, though not all, Bronze Age cultures flourished in
prehistory.
The naturally occurring ores typically had arsenic as a common impurity. Copper/tin ores
are rare, as reflected in the fact that there were no tin bronzes in western Asia before 3000
BC. The Bronze Age is regarded as the second part of a three-age system for prehistoric
societies, though there are some cultures that have extensive written records during their
Bronze Ages. In this system, in some areas of the world the Bronze Age followed the
Neolithic age. However, in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa, the Neolithic age was
directly followed by the Iron Age. In some parts of the world, a Copper Age followed the
Neolithic Age and preceded the Bronze Age.

Vedic period

Map of North India in the late Vedic period.


The Vedic period is characterized by Indo-Aryan culture associated with the texts of
Vedas, sacred to Hindus, which were orally composed in Vedic Sanskrit. The Vedas are
some of the oldest extant texts, next to those of Egypt and Mesopotamia. The Vedic
period lasted from about 1500 BCE to 500 BCE, laid the foundations of Hinduism and
other cultural aspects of early Indian society. The Aryas established Vedic civilization all
over North India, and increasingly so in the Gangetic Plain. This period succeeded the
prehistoric Late Harappan during which immigrations of Indo-Aryan speaking tribes
overlaid the existing civilizations of local people whom they called
Dasyus.

The swastika is a major Hindu iconography.


Early Vedic society consisted of largely pastoral groups, with late
Harappan urbanization having been abandoned.[18] After the Rigveda,

Aryan society became increasingly agricultural, and was socially organized around the
four Varnas. In addition to the principal texts of Hinduism the Vedas, the core themes of
the Sanskrit epics Ramayana and Mahabharata are said to have their ultimate origins
during this period.[19] Early Indo-Aryan presence probably corresponds, in part, to the
presence of Ochre Coloured Pottery in archaeological findings.[20]
The kingdom of the Kurus[21] corresponds to the Black and Red Ware and Painted Gray
Ware culture and the beginning of the Iron Age in Northwestern India, around 1000 BCE
with the composition of the Atharvaveda, the first Indian text to mention iron, as yma
ayas, literally "black metal." The Painted Grey Ware culture spanning much of Northern
India was prevalent from about 1100 to 600 BCE.[20] The Vedic Period also established
republics (such as Vaishali) which existed as early as the sixth century BCE and persisted
in some areas until the fourth century CE. The later part of this period corresponds with
an increasing movement away from the prevalent tribal system towards establishment of
kingdoms, called Maha Janapadas.

Indus Valley Civilization


The Indus Valley Civilization (IVC) was a Bronze Age civilization (33001300 BCE;
mature period 26001900 BCE) which was centred mostly in the western part [1] of the
Indian Subcontinent[2][3] and which flourished around the Indus river basin.[n 1] Primarily
centered along the Indus and the Punjab region, the civilization extended into the
Ghaggar-Hakra River valley[7] and the Ganges-Yamuna Doab,[8][9] encompassing most of
what is now Pakistan, as well as extending into the westernmost states of modern-day
India, southeastern Afghanistan and the easternmost part of Balochistan, Iran.
The mature phase of this civilization is known as the Harappan Civilization, as the first
of its cities to be unearthed was the one at Harappa, excavated in the 1920s in what was
at the time the Punjab province of British India (now in Pakistan).[10] Excavation of IVC
sites have been ongoing since 1920, with important breakthroughs occurring as recently
as 1999.[11] Mohenjo-Daro, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is another well-known IVC
archeological site.
The Harappan language is not directly attested and its affiliation is unknown, though
Proto-Dravidian, Elamo-Dravidian, or (Para-)Munda relations have been posited by
scholars such as Iravatham Mahadevan, Asko Parpola, F.B.J. Kuiper and Michael Witzel.