Pre Historic period in context of Indian History: In South India, the Neolithic began by 3000 BC and lasted until around 1400 BC. South Indian Neolithic is characterized by Ashmounds since 2500 BC in Andhra-Karnataka region, expanded later to Tamil Nadu. Comparative excavations carried out in Adichanallur in Tirunelveli District and in Northern India have provided evidence of a southward migration of the Megalithic culture.
Prehistoric Time Periods
The earliest clear evidence of the presence of the megalithic urn burials are those dating from around 1000 BC, which have been discovered at various places in Tamil Nadu, notably at Adichanallur, 24 km from Tirunelveli, where archaeologists from the Archaeological Survey of India unearthed 12 urns with Tamil Brahmi script on them containing human skulls, skeletons, and bones, plus husks, grains of rice, charred rice and Neolithic celts, giving evidence confirming it of the Neolithic period 2800 years ago.
This proved that the Tirunelveli area has been the abode for human habituation since the Neolithic period about 3,000 years ago. Adhichanallur has been announced as an archaeological site for further excavation and studies.
The Indus Valley Civilization or IVC was a Bronze Age civilization between 3300 and1300 BCE with its mature period lasting from 2600 to 1900 BCE. This civilization developed in the northwestern region of the Indian Subcontinent, consisting of what is now mainly modern-day Pakistan and northwest India.
Flourishing around the Indus River basin, the civilization primarily centered along the Indus and the Punjab region, extending into the Ghaggar-Hakra River valley as well as the Ganges-Yamuna Doab. Geographically, the civilization was spread over an area of some 1,260,000 sq km, making it the largest ancient civilization in the world. There is an Indus Valley site on the Oxus river at Shortugai and extending towards Alamgirpur on the Hindon river located only 28 km from Delhi, India.
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. Till date, over 1,052 cities and settlements have been found, mainly in the general region of the Ghaggar-Hakra River and its tributaries.
Among the settlements were the major urban centers of Harappa, Lothal, Mohenjo-Daro which is the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Dholavira, Kalibanga, and Rakhigarhi.
The Bronze Age in the Indian subcontinent began around 3300 BCE with the early Indus Valley Civilization. It was centered on the Indus River and its tributaries which extended into the Ghaggar-Hakra River valley, the Ganges-Yamuna Doab, Gujarat, and southeastern Afghanistan.
Prehistoric Period Classification
The civilization is primarily located in modern-day India namely in the present-day states of Gujarat, Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan provinces along with Pakistan in the Sindh, Punjab, and Baluchistan provinces. Historically part of Ancient India, it is one of the world’s earliest urban civilizations, along with Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt.
Inhabitants of the ancient Indus river valley, the Harappans, developed new techniques in metallurgy and handicraft like Carneal products, seal carving and produced copper, bronze, lead, and tin. The civilization is noted for its cities built of brick, roadside drainage system, and multistoried houses.
The Early Harappan Ravi Phase, named after the nearby Ravi River, lasted from circa 3300 BCE until 2800 BCE. It is related to the Hakra Phase, identified in the Ghaggar-Hakra River Valley to the west, and predates the Kot Diji Phase, named after a site in northern Sindh, Pakistan, near Mohenjo Daro. The earliest examples of the Indus script date from around 3000 BCE.
Pre Historic period in context of Indian History
The mature phase of earlier village cultures is represented by Rehman Dheri and Amri in Pakistan. Kot Diji represents the phase leading up to Mature Harappan, with the citadel representing centralized authority and an increasingly urban quality of life. Another town of this stage was found at Kalibangan in India on the Hakra River.
Trade networks linked this culture with related regional cultures and distant sources of raw materials, including lapis lazuli and other materials for bead-making. Villagers had, by this time, domesticated numerous crops, including peas, sesame seeds, dates, and cotton, as well as various animals, including the water buffalo. Early Harappan communities turned to large urban centers by 2600 BCE, from where the mature Harappan phase started.
By 2600 BCE, the Early Harappan communities had been turned into large urban centers. Such urban centers include Harappa, Ganeriwala, Mohenjo-Daro in modern day Pakistan, and Dholavira, Kalibangan, Rakhigarhi, Rupar, and Lothal in modern day India. In total, over 1,052 cities and settlements have been found, mainly in the general region of the Indus Rivers and their tributaries.