Chalcolithic Culture in India: Explained in Depth

A new cultural phase (i.e. Chalcolithic Culture) emerged in the Indian subcontinent around 2800 BC. It was characterized by the use of copper as well as stone tools. The simultaneous use of copper and stone tools is the most essential feature of this phase ie why it is known as a phase of chalcolithic culture.

Around the middle of 4th Millenium BC man discovered first metal. This metal was copper.

  • Gradually copper tools began to be used but the use of stone tools was not given up. As a result of this chalcolithic cultural phase commenced.
  • The chalcolithic cultures flourished in parts of the Indian subcontinent during 2800-700 BC.

These cultures were concentrated in western India covering parts of Gujrat, Rajasthan, MP, and Maharashtra because copper was found only in western India.

Distribution Of Chalcolithic Culture

  1. Kayatha culture flourished in valley of R. Kalisind (MP) during 2200-2000BC.
    • Kayatha was its most prominent site.
  2. Ahar Culture (2000-1500 BC) – Valley of R. Banas (Rajasthan).
    • Ahar and Gilund – most prominent site.
  3. Malwa Culture (1600-1300 BC) – Parts of Gujarat, Rajasthan, MP (malwa region)
    • Navadatoli- most prominent site R.Narmada
  4. Jorve Culture (1400-700 BC)- Maharashtra parvara river tributary of Godavari.
    • Jorve, Inamgaon and Daimabad- most prominent sites.
  5. Savalda culture (2000-1800BC)- bordering areas of Gujrat-Maharashtra
    • Savalda- most prominent site
  6. Rangpur culture (1800-1400BC)- During
  7. Prabhas culture (1800-1400BC)- Near modern Somnath
    • Prabhas pattan was the ancient name of Somnath

Economic life during Chalcolithic Culture

Chalcolithic peopole practised agriculture, domesticated animals and were also involved in 2 degree activities.

Agriculture was quite advanced during chalcolithic period because the people were aware of vrigation and crop rotation. Dam was aslo built for storing the water.

  • Barly was the main crop of chalcolithic people.
  • The state of agriculture surplus was yet to be reached.

Various kinds of arts and crafts were also practised. copper and bronze objects were used. Pottery making was a prominent craft every where.

Chalcolithic people practised trade and commerce through barter system.

Social Life

For the 1st time social stratification was witnessed during chalcolithic period.

  • The difference in the six houses and the items found in graves indicate that some people were rich while some other poor during the chalcolithic period.
  • Some of the houses were big while other small. These big houses would have been occupied by rich people.
  • Some of the graves have yielded good and silver ornament and semi-precious stones. These graves definitely belonged to rich people. In some graves cheap pottery and other beads were founds. So these graves definitely belonged to poor people.

Chalcolithic people lived in village & life was will settled.

Politico-Administrative Life

The existence of public buildings like fort and dam in chalcolithic settlement indicate that some type of public authority was there during the chalcolithic period because without public authority the construction and maintenance of public buildings are not possible.

Nothing is known definetely about nature and character of public authority during this period.

Religious Life

The religious life was well developed in chalcolithic culture because muttiple and fates and beliefs were practised by people.

The discovery of female figurines in large no. indicate thaat mother goddess was the chief diety.

Male figures are rare in the discoveries of chalcolithic culture. This indicates that status of male dieties were inferiour. To female dieties.

The discovery of items of common use from graves indicates that chalcolithic people believed in the idea of life death. The items of common use were placed with dead bodies so that person could use them in another world. This reveals that philosophical dimensions of religion have emerged in the chalcolithic period.

Some of the graves in Maharashtra & kelitons whose lowers parts of the feat were chopped off have been found. It is believed that feet below the ankle were cut for preventing the turning of the dead body into a ghost.

Significance of Chalcolithic Pottery

Potteries were well advanced during the chalcolithic period and these potteries are the most valuable source of info of chalcolithic culture because no written records of this phase have been found. Chalcolithic people were not aware of the script because they did not leave written records behind.

From kayatha- 3 varieties of red ware have been found. The pots were painted in dark brown & buff (yellowish) colour.

  • From ahar – 7 varieties of pottery have been found. Black and red ware having paintings in white color was the most important pottery at this place.
  • Malwa pottery- buff-colored having painted in black.
  • Jowe – black & red type having various forms like bouls and jars.
  • Rangpur- lustrous redware
  • Prabhas culture- Red-colored pots having painted in a block. Similar pots were used as savalda.

The Discovery of pottery of various types indicates that it was a highly developed profession during the chalcolithic period. Since pots are highly refined indicates that technology knew how and craftsmanship were in an advanced stage.

The colores used on the pots indicate that the chalcolathic people had some knowledge of chemical science.

Geometriacal designe found on pots in form of parallel lines and curved line indicate that some kind of know ledge of mathematics have emerged during this age.

Pots were burnt in the kiln. This indicates that the chalcolithic people were moving towards an age where burnt bricks were used on large scale in constructing houses.

Foodgrains produced by chalcolithic people have been found in pots that throw light on Agri knowledge of this age.

Pots of this age are wheel turned. Indicating chalcolithic people had knowledge of the wheel.

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