HISTORY ANCIENT & MEDIEVEL - 09
There were other chalcolithic villages distinguished from each other mainly on the basis of pottery, and sometimes also supported by other artifacts like Terracottas And Tools. Encompassing the Baluchi hills were four principal culture-groups : Zhob, Quetta, Nal and Kulli.
Southwards into the Loralai district as well, the Zhob Culture is characterized by a red ware painted over in black pigment, now and then supplemented by red, and terracotta female figurines with a grim goblinlike face. Also in use were blades, points and leaf shaped arrow-heads of flint, and needles of bone; the use of copper is proved by the occurrence of a rod and a ring at one of the sites (Periano Ghundai). Houses were made of mud-bricks set on boulder-foundations. There is also evidence of fortification at one of these sites (Moghul Ghundai). Cremation of the dead is indicated at some of the Zhob sites.
The Nal is characterized by a buff ware, usually white-slipped, with attractive polychrome paintings, the basic black or sepia being supplemented by Red, Green, Yellow And Blue. Houses were built of stone rubble or mud-brick or both. Flat axes, elongated bar-celts, saws and spearheads of copper were used and fractional burial practiced. Associated with the culture were also beads of semi-precious stones, a copper stamp-seal and a perforated stone weight.
Typical of the Kulli Culture is a pinkish-buff ware painted over in black pigment, occasionally augmented by red, with designs of an elongated humped bull, its rounded eyes set within a horizontal panel of landscape. The terracotta female figurines depicted only down to the waist have a pinched face (profile), hold their arms akimbo and are heavily decorated. The animal figurines, mainly the bull, have black stripes. Houses were built usually of stone, though mud-brick was also occasionally used. Other objects associated with the Kulli Culture were chert blades, saddle querns and mullers of stone, and compartmented pots of chlorite schist, the exterior decorated with incised designs. The Kullians cremated their dead – a practice in marked contrast to that followed by the Nal people or the Harappans.
These cultures which we may call ‘Proto-Harappan’, because in some respects they are really ancestral to the Harappan. The earliest of these seems to be the Amri Culture. It was first discovered by the late N. G. Majumdar in 1929 in Sind. Amri is situated one mile west of the Indus, in Dadu district, 300 miles north of Karachi. Later excavated by Jean Casal (1959-62) these excavations have revealed four Phases in the Amri Culture numbered IA, IB, IC and ID. Except burial jars at two levels, very dew traces of houses remained in Phase IA *. The pottery is largely handmade, with seven kinds of designs and grafftis on a few of them.
But the few wheel made bowl and rimless pots have thin walls and a pale cream colored fabric. There is a scrap of copper, many chert blades, stone balls and few terracotta beads and bangles of shell and terracotta. In Phase IB appear mud-brick houses, and the pothery shows a few changes, the most important being a dish-on-stand and a few bone-points. During Phase IC, the entire mound was occupied and four structural levels are visible on Mound A** and three on Mound B. The houses are rectangular, though of various sizes with doors and mud-floors. The pottery improves in technique and decoration, 55% being wheel-made. In Phase ID occurs a large house with partition, and pottery shows further improvement with bichrome element. Animals are represented for the first time and these as well as other features indicate contact with Baluchistan and Afghanistan. The Harappans arrived at Amri in Period II.
Kot Diji, situated 15 miles south of the Khaipur Division has given a slightly different picture.
It has revealed traces of a defensive wall and well-aligned streets and houses with large communal fire-places and highly sophisticated, wheelmade pottery along with tools and weapons of stone, some of copper and bronze, artistic toys, some very artistic, and cakes and balls. Thus with the exception of writing and long stone blades, the Kot Dijians and everything that Harappans are known for planning and organization as well as skill of the artist and craftsman.
There is plenty of evidence to show that this proto-Harappan civilization at Kot Diji, which existed according to one Carbon-14*** determination in 2471 ± 141 B.C. was destroyed by fire, possibly caused by the Harappans who were there by 1970 ± 134 B.C.
One more important thing at Kot Diji is that the foundations of the fortification wall and houses are of stone, probably because stone is very easily available, the medieval fort standing on a rock.
Food note :
* – Usually, when habitational Phases/Periods are assigned lables like A, B, C etc., A is the earliest. Periods are bigger cultural divisions numbered I, II, III etc.
** – Mounds A and B are parts of the same side. These have been named differently because of the present configuration of the area, which shows these of separately.
*** – This is a method of dating the past, and is based on the fact that Carbon-14, a radioactive form of carbon, is being continuously produced in the atmosphere and absorbed by all living organisms.
Proto-Harappan Settlements were not contined to Sind and the Punjab only. They are found in Northern Rajasthan (former Bikaner state) also and possibly extended further west wards into the Ganga plain.
The pottery from Sothi in the ancient Drsadvati valley discovered by Shri A. Ghosh was so distinctive that he designated it as representative of Sothi Culture.
Since the Harappan city overlies the earlier Proto-Harappan, clear house plans of the earlier city are not available. But in some houses we have evidence of ovens and the well-aligned land between a row of houses. There is also evidence of mud-brick fortification exposed on the southern, western, and northern sides of Kali Banga.
It is interesting that like Amri and Kot Diji Kali Banga should also yield stone blades which are not only small but made on agate and chalcedony; some are serrated and baked.
Copper was known, as it is attested by copper-bead as well as a celt and few other objects. The existence of wheel conveyance is proved by a cart-wheel having a single hub. The pottery has six fabrics, all wheelmade, as at Kot Diji, but unlike Amri, where in the lowest levels, the majority was hand-made.
Though not Carbon-dated, on comparative rounds, the Amri Culture is placed before 2,500 B.C.
In marked contrast to the localized village-cultures is the Indus Civilization, also known as the Harappa Civilization or Harappa Culture after the site in the Punjab where it was first identified.