The Cultural Transition of Mehrgarh, Balochistan, the Indus Valley Civilization in the Indo-Iranian Borderlands

Department of Archaeology, University of Balochistan, Pakistan

The strategic geographic location of Balochistan in the southwest of Pakistan meant that it remained a centre of cultural interactions throughout (pre)history. Those communities inhabiting the Indus Valley settlements like Nuasharo, Sohr Damb/Nal, Miri Qalat, and Sutkagen Dor influenced many neighbouring cultures such as those of Ancient Persia, Afghanistan, and the Gulf regions. The earliest evidence of farming and herding have been identified at Mehrgarh Balochistan (7000 BCE) for example, before it spread more broadly across the South Asian region. Polychrome painted pottery common in the Indus Valley civilisation has been recovered from Shahri Suktha and Jiroft in eastern Iran, in Afghanistan at the site of Mundigak, and in the Kopet Dag region between Turkmenistan and Iran. These discoveries highlight the well-developed trading networks that developed across the region. This paper focuses on new research from the Mehrgarh and the Indo-Iranian borderlands, and evaluates the cultural developments that resulted in the emergence of the Indus Valley civilisation.