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Excavations – Important – Maharashtra


Daimabad (190 31’;740 42′), Dt Ahmadnagar, Maharashtra
Daimabad on the left bank of the river Pravara, a tributary of the Godavari. The site was discovered by B.P. Bopardikar and has been excavated on three different occasions-first in 1958-9 by M.N. Deshpande, then in 1974-5 by S.R. Rao and finally between 1975-6 and 1978-9 by S.A. Sali -all of the ASI.

The excavation carried out in 5 m thick occupational deposit revealed evidence of five phases, each characterized by the occurrence of a distinct class of painted ceramic of its own: Phase I, Savalda; Phase II, late Harappa; Phase III, buff-and-cream ware; Phase IV, Malwa; and Phase V, Jorwe.

The Savalda Ware of Phase I was of medium-to-coarse fabric, made on slow wheel and treated with a thick slip showing crackles and turned light-brown, chocolate, red and pink in colour. It was chiefly painted in ochre-red colour and only occasionally in black and white pigments. The burnished grey ware, the black burnished corrugated ware and the handmade thick coarse red ware with incised and applied decorations were the other associated ceramics.

The houses of this phase were of mud walls with rounded end, trilateral, of single room, two rooms and three rooms. The people cultivated barley, lentil, common pea, grass pea, black gram/green gram, horse gram and hyacinth bean. Their other material equipment included copper-bronze rings, beads of carnelian and agate, microliths, tanged arrowheads of bone and stone mullers and querns.

Phase II was characterized by a thick, sturdy red ware of fine fabric. The pottery is made of fine clay mixed with fine sand and powder of lime and/or shells as a tempering material. On the outside the ware was treated with a thin slip which turned red and chocolate or light brown,with occasional paintings in black. The structural remains of this phase were of mud brick and mud walls. Mud bricks were used for walls and a grave. A mud brick wall was fragmentarily represented, the size of one of the bricks being 30 cm in length and 8 cm in thickness. A mud-brick-lined grave with an extended human skeleton was found within the occupational deposit. The body was covered with a fibrous material like hemp, the fibres of which were found sticking to the skeleton.

The available evidence of mud-wall houses was fragmentary: most of the walls were destroyed by later disturbances. The walls were made of black earth with their foundations in the black soil. Large patches of finely plastered floors were found in some of the houses. In one of the houses was found a terracotta button-shaped seal with two Indus signs.

The most important finds which have established the Harappa character of Phase II were the two terracotta button-shaped seals and three potsherds, all bearing Harappan symbols. Among the other finds special mention should be made of a crescent-shaped potsherd, the shape being artificially given by grinding the edges, bearing on one side an engraved scene of a tiger attacking a buffalo from behind. On the other side is engraved a horizontal row of six lozenges with oblique lines inside the upper half of each lozenge and in the open space between the two lozenges below.

The buff-and-cream ware which characterized Phase III was mainly a slow-wheel-made ceramic, fast-wheel-turned examples. It was treated on the outside with thin slip, flaked off at places, and was painted in black with chiefly geometric designs. A couple of fragments of graduated terracotta rings used perhaps measuring devices represented the important finds from this phase.

Phase IV was represented by the Malwa Ware. The evidence from Daimabad show that the Jorwe was mainly derived from the Malwa. Types such as the carinated bowl, the handi-type vase with tubular spout, incurved bowl and the lota, which occur in the Malwa Ware, continue in the Jorwe and become the fossil types of the latter. So also as the so-called black-painted potter’s marks and graffiti marks. Among the structures exposed in the Malwa levels the most interesting was the ‘religious complex’. It comprised, besides the residential houses or rooms closely connected with the complex, a large mud platform with a channel cut into it and ending in a soak-pit meant to be used for ablution purposes, and six or seven types of sacrificial altars including an apsidal mud-wall structure, perhaps a sacrificial temple, an altar comprising a series, of mud rings, a heart-shaped altar, an oval-shaped altar with a sunken floor, an oval-shaped altar with rounded sides a rectangular altar and a V-shaped fire-pit.

The Jorwe Ware of the lower levels of Phase V, with all its characteristic types and painted designs, was deep-red in colour and had a shining surface showing resemblance with the Lustrous Red Ware. The associated wares are the burnished grey ware and the thick coarse handmade ware. Five structural phases, 1 to 5, were exposed in the Jorwe levels a cylinder seal of terracotta showing a scene of procession through jungle, a horse drawing a cart, followed by a deer looking majestically at the back and in front an animal with a long neck, perhaps a camel.

Prakash (21030′; 740 21’), Dt.Dhule, Maharastra
On the confluence of the rivers Tapti and Gomai in Shahada Taluka, the site located to the s.-e. of the present village, with its longer axis running along the Gomai. An excavation was undertaken at this site by B.K. Thapar on behalf of the ASI in 1955. (AI, 20 and 21, 1964 and 1965,pp. 5-167). The excavation exposed an over 17 m deep occupational deposit, belonging to four Periods with a break between the earlier two and a continuous sequence thereafter.

Period I (c. 1700-1300 B.C.) is Chalcolithic in its cultural content and is further divided into Sub-Periods IA and IB, the former being characterized by the occurrence of blades and microliths, hammer-stones, a restricted use of copper or low-grade bronze and four ceramic industries.

Sub-Period I B is distinguished by the intrusion of two more ceramic industries, viz. the black-painted red pottery of the Jorwe fabric and the Lustrous Red Ware. The other industries and crafts of the previous Sub-Period continue throughout the occupation. Period II (c. 700-100 B.C. with a margin on the earlier side), following after a time-gap, heralds the Iron Age, Stone implements like blades and microliths are replaced by tools of iron. The use of copper also becomes more common, though remaining subordinate to that of iron.

Period III (Middle of the 2nd century B.C. to the end of the 6th century A.D.), which in its earlier levels overlaps with Period II and in the later levels with Period IV, does not introduce any revolutionary change. The characteristic ceramic industries of the preceding Period go into disuse and are replaced by a non-descript poorly made red ware.

From a comparative study of the past flora and the present vegetation it may be concluded that the forestcover, if the region on the whole has remained more or less of the same type. Taking these factors into consideration, it would be reasonable to infer that the climate and rainfall in the Khandesh region have not changed to any appreciable extent during the past 3500 years or so.

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