Chalcolithic Maharashtra



  • Savalda Culture
  • Malwa and Jorwe Cultures : The First Farmers of Maharashtra


Chalcolithic Maharashtra:

The evidence for the Late Harappans in Maharashtra is found at Daimabad. The chalocolithic culture before the arrival of the Late Harappans at Daimabad is known as ‘Savalda’ culture. The cultures in the succeeding period of the Late Harappan were respectively known as ‘Malwa’ and ‘Jorwe’ cultures. Daimabad is a deserted village and an archaeological site on the left bank of the Pravar river, a tributary of the Godavari River in Shrirampur Taluka in Ahmednagar district in the Maharashtra state of India. This site was discovered by B. P. Bopardikar in 1958. It has been excavated three times so far by the Archaeological Survey Of India.

The houses of this phase in Daimabad were of mud walls with a rounded end, trilateral, of a single room, two rooms, and three rooms, with hearths, storage pits, and jars. Sometimes there were courtyards in front and in one place, a lane has been traced. The plant remains included barley, lentil, common pea, grass pea, and black gram/green gram. The excavation yielded copper-bronze rings, beads of shell, terracotta, carnelian and agate, microliths, tanged arrowheads of bone and stone mullers, and querns. A phallus-shaped object made of agate was found inside a house.

 1) Savalda Culture:

Savalda is in the Dhule district. It is situated on the banks of the river Tapi. Savalda culture is dated to 2000-1800 B.C.E. This culture seems to have arisen by the cultural contact between the Mesolithic people in northern Maharashtra and the Harappan people in Saurashtra. People of Savalda culture at Daimabad used wheel-made pottery. The designs on their earthen pots included arrowheads, harpoons, and figures of various animals. People of this culture also used copper objects, beads of siliceous stones, arrowheads made of bones, mortar and pestle stones, etc. Their village at Daimabad was protected by a surrounding wall. They built mud houses and they made the floors by ramming mud and alluvium together.

2) Malwa and Jorwe Cultures: The First Farmers of Maharashtra

The people of Malwa culture reached Maharashtra around 1600 B.C.E. Permanent villages of farmers were first established in Maharashtra by the Malwa people. They were the first farmers of Maharashtra. After arriving in Maharashtra they came into contact with the neolithic people in Karnataka. It resulted in a few changes in the pot-making technology of Malwa people as far as shapes of the pots and designs are concerned. This was the beginning of a new culture known as ‘Jorwe’ culture. Traces of Jorwe culture were first found at Jorwe in Ahmednagar district.

The chalocolithic cultures in Maharashtra had spread in Tapi, Godavari, and Bhima basins. Daimabad, Prakashe, (District Nandurbar), and Inamgaon were the large villages and the main centres in the respective river basins. Other smaller settlements and farmsteads were linked to the large centre in their vicinity. For example Nevase, Nasik were the large centres. Songaon and Chandoli in the Pune district, Pimpaldar in the Nasik district were smaller settlements. Walki near Inamgaon was a farmstead. Pimpaldar in the Bagalan ghats was situated at a vantage point between Tapi and Godavari basins. Hence, it held an important position in the trade, though it was smaller in extent. Walki was situated at the confluence of river Ghod and Mula. It was a very small site. It was a farmstead. Inamgaon (Taluka Shirur, District Pune) was subjected to extensive, horizontal excavations. Therefore, in-depth cultural information on the site is available. The cultural chronology at Inamgaon :

  1. Malwa Culture-1600-1400 B.C.E.
  2. Early Jorwe Culture-1400-1000 B.C.E.
  3. Late Jorwe Culture-1000-700 B.C.E.

‘Early Jorwe’ was the flourishing phase of the Jorwe culture that succeeded in the Malwa culture. ‘Late Jorwe’ is the phase when the Jorwe culture declined. The excavations at Inamgaon has unfolded the material culture and the day-to-day life of the Jorwe people in great detail. During the Malwa phase, people at Inamgaon lived in spacious, rectangular houses. The house walls were a wattle-and-daub type. Houses were partitioned into two rooms by a half wall. The evidence of storage facilities in the houses came in the form of round platforms made for storage bins, four flat stones used for resting four-legged storage jars, and underground silos plastered with lime. People sometimes stayed in pit dwellings, though its use was rare. Malwa pottery is mostly of buff (yellowish) colour. Designs on these pots are painted in brown. Jorwe pots are well baked giving a metallic sound. They are red in colour with designs painted in black. Jorwe pottery includes shapes like spouted pots, carinated bowls, and troughs (carination is the central ridge on the pot), lota, globular jars, etc. The Late Jorwe people made pots of the same shapes, but without any decoration. Potter’s kilns were found in both Malwa and Early Jorwe periods. They were round in shape. The kiln of the Early Jorwe period was larger and of greater capacity. In the Late Jorwe period potters did not have a specially built kiln.

They baked their pots by directly arranging them on the ground. Inamgaon was the centre of pottery production, which supplied pottery to surrounding villages.

A house, quadrangular in shape, spacious, having multiple rooms, or just a round shaped pit dwelling is the indicator of the economic condition of the family staying in it. The number of round pit dwellings was negligible. However, the number of quadrangular spacious houses diminished in the Late Jorwe period and the number of round huts increased considerably. These round huts were different than the round pit dwellings. These were erected by tying a number of sticks at the upper end and then pegging the lower ends on the ground by fanning them out. Such huts are usually erected by nomadic people. The climate in the Late Jorwe period increasingly became arid. The round huts is the evidence of climatic change that forced the Jorwe people to take up a nomadic life. The Early Jorwe people at Inamgaon dug a canal for storing flood water of the river. It is obvious that this was done for irrigation purposes. The distribution of this water was controlled by the chief of the village.

The chief stayed in a five roomed house built at the central part of the chalocolithic Inamgaon. There were many underground silos, inside the house and in the courtyard, built for storing food-grains. Inamgaon farmers cultivated wheat, barley, Sorghum, lentil, horse gram (Macrotyloma uniflorum), etc. meat and fish were also part of their diet. Like other chalcolithic sites, Inamgaon also yielded coloureful stone beads, microliths, and copper objects. The rank of the ‘Chief’ of Inamgaon was an inherited one. The burials found near the chief’s house confirm this fact. These burials were completely different from other burials found at Inamgaon. Generally, a dead person was buried in a pit in an extended position. However, in one of the burials found near the chief’s house, the dead body was seated in a four legged, bulging jar. There was an earlier burial of the same type without the skeletal remains. It was a symbolic burial. The Early Jorwe people used globular jars for burying a dead child. In this type of burial, the dead child was placed in two jars, joined mouth to mouth.

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