While Southern Neolithic in Transition with Iron Age: Land Use and Settlement Changes

Department of History and Archaeology, Central University of Karnataka, India

Multi-period sites of Neolithic (3000-1200 BCE) and Iron Age (1200-300 BCE) cultures in the core regions of south India have exhibited transitional changes in land use and settlement patterns. At the regional scale in Raichur and Ballari (Krishna and Tungabhadra rivers), we can identify a shift from Mesolithic sites, generally located in riverine valleys and hilly terrain, to the low elevated hills that became the central focus for the more sedentary Neolithic cultures. In the Iron Age populations continued to develop and increase the size and density of these settlements. Field reconnaissance utilising geospatial technologies focused on multi-period sites in the Raichur and Ballari region has indicated gradual transitions in the function of sedentary villages between c. 1400- 800 BCE. In this presentation I discuss the mapping of multi-period sites with emphasis on demographic changes and population increases, developments in land use patterns centred on burial space (megaliths) and the significance of watercourses and bodies in the spatial distribution of settlements and other functional sites that can be observed during this period in prehistory. The reuse of lithic materials, continuation in rock art practices with new forms of content, and increasing use of rock shelters and resource locations leading to the development of geo-political centres will also be a principal part of the discussion.