In South Asia the period is one of renascent civilization, taking different but related forms in the northern plains and in pen- insular India.
In the north of the subcontinent the most widely discussed culture that follows upon the long hiatus of the mid-2d mil- lennium carries the name of its typical pottery, Painted Grey Ware. Shards of this pottery occur at numerous sites in the Punjab and central Gangetic region, with an evident concen- tration in the ancient Kurukshetra area (plate II.6, map (a)). A prima facie case can therefore be made for identifying this culture in some way with the advent of the Vedic Aryan tribes. In a small excavation at Hastinapur, the Painted Grey Ware occurred with rice grains and the bones of cattle, pigs, and horses among the traces of wattle-and-daub houses. Iron, though still scarce in these early strata (c. 1050 B.C.), is pres- ent in the form of arrowheads; but bone also continued in use for projectile points, as well as being used for dice. The con- tinuity of settlement at Hastinapur was uninterrupted for some six centuries, grading then into the period of early urbanization in the Gangetic region (evident at Rajghat, Varanasi, Sonepur, Chirand, Prahladpur, and Kosam [Kausambi]). The fuller ex- ploration of the processes that brought about urbanization here is an important task of future research. Another quite differ- ent set of evidence, for which an Aryan connection has been claimed, comes from cemeteries in the valleys north of Pesha- war (map (i)). No settlements have yet been associated with this Gandhara Grave Complex, which in itself seems to be cul- turally heterogeneous, as evidenced by cremation and both fractional and complete inhumations. The sequence of the dif- ferent burial modes and the proposed dates of the complex, which range from 1300 to 600 B.C., still require clarification. These human remains were protected by dry stone masonry cists and were frequently accompanied by crude terra-cotta anthropomorphic figurines and several pots (see plate II.5, panels (f) and (g)). A pedestaled gray ware jar was the most popular type, but some distinctive face urns also occurred. Copper pins and fragmentary bridle equipment in iron com- plete the inventory of grave objects, which at least indirectly recall finds from Hissar III in northern Iran.
If this complex, then, has a Vedic Aryan connection, as has been contended, these tribes may have penetrated into the sub- continent through the Khyber Pass. Most historians, however, assume that they used the more easily traversed routes farther south and mention specifically the Kurram and Gumal passes between Kandahar and Quetta. Two stray, and clearly foreign, finds in this region—a trunnion celt from the Kurram Valley and a dagger from Fort Munro, in Dera Ghazi Khan District (see plate II.5, panel (i))—should be considered in this light. The dagger's resemblance to a type common in the graves of Luristan and Sialk Cemetery B on the Iranian Plateau gives it greater importance than an object without context usually merits. The age of Sialk B, which has always been a major ref- erence for the archaeology of the subcontinent, is now placed between 750 and 550 B.C. It is thus contemporary with inter- mediate sites on the way to India, such as Nad-i-Ali in Seistan, Mundigak VII, and the late levels at Pirak in the Quetta Val-
Similar problems of dating and cultural context arise when we consider several dozen small settlements in south and cen- tral Baluchistan (see plate II.3, map (d)), Unlike the earlier settlements of the area, these are found in the high valleys and evince a concern for strategic location. They may possibly have been fortified; but none have yet been excavated. "Londo" pottery (plate II.6, map (i)) collected from the surface links all these sites and distantly resembles Sialk B wares in the use of painted horse motifs. But a closer similarity is given at Tepe Yahya in Iran, where the dating falls within the first five cen- turies of the Christian era. These Londo settlements have cir- cumstantially been associated with the cairn burials, but direct links have not been shown, and they do not in any case appear to extend into Sind.
The Quetta region is also the eastern end of a series of cairn burials that pass continuously through north Baluchistan and Makran to the head of the Persian Gulf. The cultural and chronological position of these burials remains puzzling. Sev- eral objects retrieved from the cairns at Moghul Ghundai, near Quetta, can be related with equal plausibility either to Sialk B or to post-Hellenistic levels at Taxila, and one bezel ring may belong to a time as late as the Gupta Period (5th century A.D.). The human remains at Moghul Ghundai were all cremations, but at Jiwanri in the Kej Valley the custom was fractional bur- ial. Since Moghul Ghundai and Jiwanri share a related pottery, the two interment modes may have been contemporary rather than consecutive, a possibility that helps account for the inter- pretation difficulties of the Gandhara Grave Complex. More- over, two calcined horse skulls from cairns at Zangian recall the bridle equipment occasionally found in the Gandhara graves. The largest of the cairn cemeteries is at Dambah-koh near Gwadur Bay, and here for once there are habitational ruins nearby. The rather superficial dating evidence places both habitations and cemeteries in the 1st century B.C., but this is not to say that some of the cairns may not be older.
In South India the passage from a stone technology to a largely iron technology was unhurried, taking up much of the 1st millennium B.C. Archaeologically, it was marked chiefly by the appearance of a new potting technique that produced Black and Red Ware. But otherwise, the presence or absence of some bits of iron made little difference in the way of life. In some way that is still unexplained, the historical Co&lline;a, Cera, and Pā&ntod;&dtod;ya kingdoms arose from such roots.
A related problem has to do with a widely distributed group of burials in South India, often labeled "megalithic" (plate II.6, maps (c)–(h) and diagrams). When these first attracted serious attention in the middle of the last century, their initia- tors were commonly identified as pastoral nomads; but more recent investigators see in them the burials of the early Tamil peasantry. The newer theory has not, however, negated the arguments upon which the former one rests. Rather, it repre- sents an alternative, equally in need of definitive confirmation. Some of these burials are made in urns or sarcophagi some in plain pits, others in slab cists or excavated caves. Diverse as
The appearance of a cairn and circle is so common a sur- face feature within this complex that its occasional absence may confidently be ascribed to later disturbances. Indeed, it seems possible to interpret the hood stones of the Cochin area as a variant form of the more usual earthen mound and the "topikals" as a raised version of the same.
Pottery and iron weapons are common in the graves and several also contain bridle equipment. Moreover, the remains of equids figure prominently among the deposits of animal bones. The only personal ornaments that appear regularly are etched carnelian beads.
The arguments favoring the view that the Pandukal Com- plex (as this group has been called) relates to settled agricul- ture have never been set out in detail; but a starting point for them all is that Black and Red Ware, one of the Pandukal ce- ramic types, occurs at many obviously permanent settlements. At some places habitation remains have been observed in the vicinity of Pandukal cemeteries, and at a few (preeminently Brahmagiri in Karnataka) the excavator believed he had iden- tified the settlement of the grave builders. In each case the identifications depend upon pottery cross-references, structural remains in the relevant strata being conspicuously missing. Per- haps more revealing in this circumstance are those cemeteries, probably a majority, that occur in forested hill ranges, remote valleys, or isolated, unarable tracts. There is much about the grave goods and the locations of the Pandukal burials, there- fore, that makes a primary association with agriculturalists less likely than the contending theory of pastoral nomads, and this circumstance is also recognized in many of the local tra- ditions about them. The main period of the Pandukal Com- plex covers some five centuries (3d century B.C. to 2d century A.D.), with a somewhat larger continuation for the later coastal sites.
There is general agreement that the Pandukal Complex is not indigenous. Again, Iran provides important analogues, es- pecially for the fractional burials and the structure of the graves themselves. Slab cists found near Karachi and Bombay serve to bridge the distance from South India to Iran. At the former place the cists are provided with portholes, and in this feature they specifically evoke those of the South. By contrast, there is little reason to suppose that a group of graves topped by stone rubble in the Ganga-Yamuna Doab relates to either series. Some of these, near Kotia in Allahabad District, were shown to contain calcined human bones, iron pieces, and pot- tery as well as animal remains.
Sources (in addition to those in the General Bibliography)
N. R. Banerjee (1965); J.-M. Casal (1964a), (1964b); A. H. Dani (1964); A. H. Dani, ed. (1967); H. B. E. Frere (1857); R. Ghirshmann (1939); S. P. Gupta (1972); V. D. Krishna- swamy (1949); L. S. Leshnik (1974); L. S. Leshnik and G. D. Sontheimer (1975); P. Singh (1970); G. Stacul (1969), (1974); R. E. M. Wheeler (1947–48); T. C. Young (1967).