Historical and Archaeological Findings in News

Excavations at Karim Shahi region, Kutch


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Various facts associated with IVC, Dark Age

Mains level : Read the attached story

A recent study has revealed that a large river once flew across the Great Rann of Kachchh and the sand hills of Thar Desert.

Karim Shahi region

  • The items collected from the Karim Shahi region revealed that humans occupied that region from Early Iron Age to the Early Historic (3,100 – 2,300 years) period.
  • This period was considered to be archaeologically silent and was often marked as ‘Dark Age’ as there was no evidence of settlements.

Possible migrants from IVC

  • The Bronze age Indus Valley civilization started declining around 4,000 years and finally collapsed at 3,300 years before present.
  • After that they might have learned iron smelting which needed better skills yet no large scale organised cities have been found during the Iron Age.
  • At another site called Vigakot, the team also found evidence of Historic to Medieval (about 1,500 – 900 years old) settlement.
  • The geological explorations has found artefacts like pitchers, jewellery, jars, figurines.
  • Using modern luminescence and radiocarbon methods, the team tried to date them, which revealed that these items were the earliest to be found in the presently arid Rann of Kutch and the Thar Desert.

Who were these people?

  • The Karim Shahi region was found to be very close to sea-level and based on the artefacts collected it has been pointed out that this region could have been a local trade center.
  • The people are believed to have traded jewellery and pottery.
  • Also, Chinese and Persian pottery were found at the Vigakot site indicating that it was a hub for a long-distance trade both through sea and land from China through India to West Asia.

But how did settlements continue in presently arid landscape?

  • Monsoon was declining from about 7,000 years ago and this climate change was already causing an exodus.
  • Harappan people already adopted water conservation techniques in their own ways. But the migration perhaps continued beyond, from Early Iron Age till medieval time.
  • Sedimentological observation revealed that below these settlements, there was evidence of riverine system.
  • Carbon isotopes and pollens in these sediments revealed that there was gradual increase in grasslands and plant communities that thrive in arid environments.
  • Data suggested that aridification continued and people inhabited wherever some rainfall or river system existed. And all these happened probably due to natural monsoon decrease.
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