Neolithic to Iron Age, Indian Subcontinent

1Department of History and Archaeology, Central University of Karnataka

2Department of Maritime History and Marine Archaeology, Tamil University

The size of the Indian subcontinent means, eight prominent geographic zones are recognised when a comprehensive picture on the early pastoral and agricultural societies is considered: Baluchistan and the Indus‐Sarasvati Basin, Himalayan Region, North-eastern Region: Brahmaputra Tradition, Middle Ganga Basin, Vindhya Region, Gujarat and Rajasthan in Deccan Chalcolithic, Western Deccan and Vidarbha, and Southern Neolithic and Southern Iron Age. The Neolithic and Iron Age cultures within these eight geographic zones demonstrate considerable ecological variability and regional independence in socio-economic characteristics during the early to mid-Holocene. Though much of the research in these regions has focused on the nature of Neolithic and Iron Age societies including their diet (botanical and zoological remains), mortuary practices, rock art, settlements and cultural materials, there has been much less emphasis on the cultural, social and technological mechanisms that resulted in the transition and transformation from the Neolithic to Iron Age (also Neolithic to Chalcolithic/ Chalcolithic-Iron Age in some regions). This includes, but is not limited to, the impacts of ecological management strategies such as water catchment, early irrigation systems, extent of social practices in southern Neolithic Ashmounds sites (in the settlement and non-settlement landscapes), local copper and iron resources, use and reuse of tools, local landscapes supporting cultivation and pastoralism, social developments and the multi-cultural nature of the sites (including art and language/communication), and the development of early trading networks. This session invites contributions that address outstanding issues relating to the Neolithic-Iron Age/ Neolithic– Chalcolithic transition on the Indian subcontinent. Geo-spatial surveys, inter-regional research and multidisciplinary projects with novel methodologies and conceptual frameworks are especially welcome.