Collection Description

Tradition Name

South Indian Chalcolithic

Tradition Description

The South Indian Chalcolithic Tradition includes the Neolithic/Chalcolithic cultures of the Deccan Plateau, or the middle and upper Tapti (Tapi), the Godavari, the Krishna, and the Cauvery (Kaveri) river drainages. A mixed subsistence strategy based on agriculture and pastoralism yet still quite reliant on wild resources varied both regionally and over time. There was a basic two-tiered settlement system—with evidence for planning and elite housing in larger, often strategically located sites—supplemented by a variety of special-purpose sites, indicating a chiefdom-level society with some degree of occupational specialization and control of trade.


Select the Tradition Summary link above for a longer description of the culture.


Asia --South Asia



OWC Code


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Collection Overview

Documents referred to in this section are included in eHRAF Archaeology and are referenced by author, date of publication, and title where necessary.

Several documents provide overviews. Dhavalikar (1988) and Shinde (1994) discuss the Deccan Chalcolithic. Various phases of the Deccan Chalcolithic are described: the Savalda phase is covered by Shinde (1990) “Settlement Pattern of the Savalda Culture”; the Malwa phase by Shinde (1990) “The Malwa culture in Maharashtra”; and the Jorwe phase by Shinde (1989).

Several documents present site reports, specialized analyses of findings from the excavations, or field surveys. The site of Kaothe is described in Dhavalikar et al. (1990) “Excavations at Kaothe” and by Shinde (1991-1992). Floral and faunal remains from Kaothe are detailed, respectively, in Kajale (1990) and in Thomas and Joglekar (1990). The modern and ancient setting around Kaothe is described in Pappu and Shinde (1990). The site of Walki is covered in Dhavalikar et al. (1990) “Small site archaeology: excavations at Walki.” The site of Prakash was written up by Thapar (1967). The site of Budihal was excavated by Paddayya (2000-2001). A field survey of the Tapi Basin is covered by Shinde (1998). A field survey of the Shorapur Doab near Budihal, with description of the stone tools found in the area, can be found in Paddayya (2012-2013). Fuller et al. (2007) present dates for ashmound sites found in South India.

Shinde (1987) discusses early farming techniques in Maharashtra. Shinde (1991) concentrates on two sites, Daimabad and Inamgaon, to explore social organization. Fuller (2011) discusses what wild species of plants may have been domesticated within India, and their distributions.

Skeletal materials at Kaothe are discussed in Walimbe (1990).

For further information on individual works in this collection, see the abstracts in the citations preceding each document.

Overview by

Sarah Berry

Bajra – pearl millet, Pennisetum glaucum (Pennisetum typhoideum Rich., Pennisetum typhoides Burm.) – use "CEREAL AGRICULTURE (243)"

Bajri – see “Bajra

Chulah – Indian cooking hearth for preparing food – use "HEATING AND LIGHTING EQUIPMENT (354)"

Fertility – of the land use "ETHNOBOTANY (824)"; – of animals use "ETHNOZOOLOGY (825)"; – of humans use "CONCEPTION (842)"; – for birth rate use "BIRTH STATISTICS (163)" – in art use "VISUAL ARTS (5311)";

Jowar – sorghum or great millet, Sorghum bicolor (Sorghum vulgare Pers.) – use "CEREAL AGRICULTURE (243)"

Jowari – see Jowar

Kharif crops – crops that rely on summer monsoon rains – use "TILLAGE (241)"

Kharip crops – see “Kharif crops”

Lota – South Asian jar form, usually with a wide mouth and bulging body – use "UTENSILS (415)"

Rabi crops – crops that rely on retained soil moisture and lighter winter rains – use "TILLAGE (241)"

Seals, sealings – in general, use "MNEMONIC DEVICES (211)"; – in marking property, use "PROPERTY IN MOVABLES (422)"

Vahana – mythical being, usually an animal, that carries a Hindu deity or pulls its vehicle – as a deity, use "SPIRITS AND GODS (776)"; – as signifying an animal, use "ETHNOZOOLOGY (825)"

Indexing Notes by

Sarah Berry

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