Socio-Economic and Political Development in Mewar in the Post-Chalcolithic Period

Department of Archaeology and History, Janardan Rai Nagar Rajasthan Vidyapeeth University

Jayoti Vidyapeeth Women University, India

The Ahar-Berach or Banas is one of the most significant cultures of Mewar, dominating the geographical area of Southeast Rajasthan in the second millennium BCE. It is an independent culture outside the Harappan domain. Earlier, it was believed that around 1500 BCE the Ahar-Berach or Banas reached its end and collapsed, and until the 6th century CE the Mewar zone remained almost deserted. Later, ACL Carlleyle discovered the site Nagri (Chittorgarh District) and identified it as a pre-Mauryan settlement (i.e., approximately 5th century BCE). After this, the Archaeological Survey of India again excavated Nagari in 1915 and confirmed that it is a settlement dating to 400 BCE. After four decades, several scholars, including the author, excavated the nearby sites of Gilund, Ahar, Bagor, Balathal, Ojhiyana, Lachura, Iswal, Nathara – ki-Pa, Javasia and Pachmata. With additional excavations at the sites of Zawar, Rajpura-Dariba, and Agucha, the research provided evidence of metallurgical and mining activities for copper, zinc, silver, and iron, potentially between 1650 BCE to 970 CE. However, the early date of 1650 BCE is something of an outlier. More consistent radiocarbon dates confirm that from 1300 to 1000 BCE the Mewar Zone was very prosperous. After four centuries, the natives of the region again accelerated the process of mining and metallurgy, which flourished till the beginning of industrial development. From 322 BCE to 319 CE Mewar became a major industrial center for minting of silver coins at Agucha for the Mauryas. Clearly, Mewaris had developed a certain kind of complex political system at a huge scale which made possible the operation of metallurgical and mining activities. The combined testimony of available archaeological, literary, and existing secular and religious structures forces us to acknowledge that after the decline of Ahar-Berach Chalcolithic Culture, Mewar was never deserted, and it was continuously growing through sustainable development.