IIT Kharagpur researchers find 3,000-year-old Iron Age evidence in Gujarat
Researchers from IIT Kharagpur have found archaeological evidence of a 3,000-year-old Iron Age settlement at Karim Shahi and a Historic to Medieval settlement at Vigakot near Thar desert. The findings signify the existence of human habitation from the Early Iron Age to Early Historic Age in the region.
"The findings have been published online in the Elsevier journal 'Archaeological Research in Asia'. Soon after the fall of the 5200-3300-year-old Indus Valley civilization, which is mainly attributed to declining monsoon and major droughts, the Iron Age civilization came into being sometime around 3000-2500 years ago", an IIT Kharagpur statement said on Thursday.
The researchers also found traces of climate-induced migration from the west to the east. "Analysis of sediments and oxygen isotopes in fossil shells found in the areas indicated the presence of active river system and some rainfall that probably sustained human habitation from the Early Iron Age to medieval times though major Harappan cities were abandoned by that time due to water deprivation", Professor Anindya Sarkar from IIT Kharagpur said.
Prof Sarkar led the research, funded by Infosys Foundation and IIT Kharagpur. "It is long known that from Mature to Late Harappan period, the number of human settlements continuously increased from the west Indus River valley to the Ghaggar-Hakra in the east", he said.
"Our findings suggest that such human migration was far more expansive than ever thought before. We believe that the gradual southward shift, forced people to migrate for greener pastures," he added.
The researchers meanwhile referred to the historical travelogue of Al Beruni of 1030 AD which mentioned about the presence of rivers in Kutch. Apart from artefacts like pitcher, jars and bull figurines, numerous animal remains such as bones and teeth have also been recovered, the statement said quoting co- researcher Arati Despande Mukherjee from Deccan College PGRI Pune.
At Motichher, iron objects, nuggets and slags have been found. A pertinent observation made in this research is that climate refugees took refuge where some rainfall was still available.
"United Nations framework convention on climate change warned about such 'climate refugees' due to impending climate change. If it could have happened in the past it will happen in future too," remarked Prof Sarkar, signing off the statement.
(With inputs from News Bharati)