Indus Valley Civilization may even be older than originally thought.
A group of researchers in India have used carbon dating techniques on the remains of animals and fragments of pottery conclude that the settlements of the Indus Valley may be 8000 years, 2500 years older than previously thought.
This would make the settlement of the Indus valley, which spread all over Pakistan and northern India, even older than the Mesopotamian and Egyptian civilizations.
“Our research moves to antiquity as old as the 8th millennium BC, and this will have serious consequences for human settlements development in the Indian sub-continent,” Anindya Sarkar, professor of geology and geophysics at IIT-Kharagpur, said in a statement.
Sarkar, who has worked with researchers from the Archaeological Survey of India, Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad and Pune Deccan College, used a technique known as optically stimulated luminescence, which measures the amount of light emitted from the mineral grains to date events of the past.
The study, published in Nature on 25 May focused on the ancient settlements in Bhirrana in the northern Indian state of Haryana:
Based on radiocarbon ages of the different tranches and levels settlement on Bhirrana, it was concluded to be the oldest (> 9 ka BP) in the Indian subcontinent. To check its validity we are of archaeological ceramics of two cultural levels using the method of optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) and, therefore, investigated the relationship between cultural levels and climate changes that have occurred in the village, a critical gap in the information that exists in our the modern sense of the Harappan civilization.
Archaeological studies previously suggested that civilization was centered around Harappa and Mohenjo-daro in Pakistan, and Lothal, Dholavira and Kalibangan in India, explained Sarkar. Researchers in India are now saying that it actually covers a much larger part of India, which is believed to have disappeared about 4,000 years ago along the river Saraswati.
Researchers have also proposed a new theory of the decline of civilization, which was earlier believed to have been caused by climate change.
A new study argues that, although the changing monsoon patterns played a role in the ultimate demise of civilization, it was more to do with changes in the structure and storage of grain crops.
“Our research shows that the climate was probably not the cause of the decline of Harappan,” the researchers said in a statement. “Growing evidence suggests that these people moved their crop patterns of coarse grains, such as wheat and barley in the early part of the enhanced monsoon to drought-resistant species of small millet and rice in the later part of the reduction of the monsoon and thus changed their existence strategy.”
But in agriculture, this shift proved fatal, the researchers explained:
Because these late crops generally have a much lower yield, organized a large storage system of the mature Harappan period was abandoned creating smaller more individual basis household grain handling and storage systems and can act as a catalyst for de-urbanization of Harappan civilization, not a sharp collapse.