February 27, 2012

Copper findings in Kerala reinforce the concept of Chalcolithic India

Pottery found at Ramakkalmedu
The finding of copper beads, used for ornament, in Megalithic burials of Ramakkalmedu (Kerala) reinforces the idea of India also having a Chalcolithic period, intermediate between Neolithic and Iron Age. Until recently however the paradigm was one of Neolithic being directly followed by Iron Age.

Anyhow, in Europe often the notion of Chalcolithic, rather than just usage of copper and other soft metals (gold, silver), implies more the growth of social complexity and the first stages of civilization (much like Neolithic doesn't anymore mean the use of polished stones but farming instead). 

Whatever the criteria used (not all authors agree), the beads excavated in Kerala are fine quality jewelry, and seem to imply a gradual advance of the Chalcolithic from the Deccan Plateau and ultimately from the Harappan civilization of the Northwest. 

Source: The Hindu.


  1. Given their rarity and small physical size and the absence of a metal mining industry locally, I'd suspect that these were trade goods arising from trade between separate Harappan and South Indian cultural areas probably via the Harappan trading posts on the western coast of India rather than locally produced goods reflective of what the South Indian culture or a culture from which it was derived was producing on its own.

  2. How can you know that there was or was not a metal industry? It's not like we find forges often, yet metallurgy is there for all to see in the results.

    The similitudes are made with Deccan and not directly Harappa. It is after all an inland site (at the Tamil Nadu border).

    In any case I do not see where you can get enough evidence to issue the judgments you throw here so happily.


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