In News: The recent excavation carried out by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) at Maharashtra’s Phupgaon has revealed evidence of an Iron Age settlement in the Vidarbha region. 

  • The site is situated in the vast meander of the river Purna, a major tributary of Tapi, which used to be a perennial river, but at present is completely dried-up due to the dam construction in the upper stream. 

About Excavation

  • The excavation exposed antiquities like beads of agate-carnelian, jasper, quartz and agate were collected in large quantities. 
  • Iron and Copper objects have also been collected from the site. 
  • The excavation is significant as it indicates the presence of sedentary (permanent) settlement, belonging to the Iron Age of Vidarbha.  
  • The settlement comes under the category of a small village with evidence of a small agro-pastoral community. 
  • The finding from Phupgaon indicates its contemporaneity with other Iron Age settlements of Vidarbha like Naikund, Mahurjhari, Bhagimori and Thakalkat.

About Iron Age

  • In the prehistory of the Indian subcontinent, an "Iron Age" is recognized as succeeding the Late Harappan culture. 
  • The main Iron Age archaeological cultures of present-day northern India are the Painted Grey Ware culture (1200 to 600 BC) and the Northern Black Polished Ware (700 to 200 BC). 
  • This corresponds to the transition of the Janapadas or principalities of the Vedic period to the sixteen Mahajanapadas or region-states of the early historic period, culminating in the emergence of the Maurya Empire towards the end of the period.
  • The beginning of the use of iron has been traditionally associated with the eastward migration of the later Vedic people, who are also considered as an agency which revolutionised material culture particularly in eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
  • Iron using and iron working was prevalent in the Central Ganga Plain and the Eastern Vindhyas from the early second millennium BCE.
  • The earliest Iron Age sites in South India are Hallur, Karnataka and Adichanallur, Tamil Nadu.

Excavation at Phupgaon has provided important insights into Iron Age people of Purna river basin.

Chronologically, the site could be placed between 7thC BCE and 4thC BCE. 

Ancient history Division:

It can be divided into different periods according to the tools used by people then -

  • Paleolithic Period: 2 million BC – 10,000 BC (Old Stone)
  • Mesolithic Period: 10,000 BC – 8000 BC ( Middle Stone)
  • Neolithic Period: 8000 BC – 4000 BC (New stone)
  • Chalcolithic Period: 4000 BC – 1500 BC ( Copper / Bronze)
  • Iron Age: 1500 BC – 200 BC ( Iron)