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Iron Age in India: Malhar and Mayiladumparai Discoveries



  Apr 19, 2024

Iron Age in India: Malhar and Mayiladumparai Discoveries



Q1: What's the significance of the Mayiladumparai discovery?

A: The excavation revealed the Iron Age in southern India began as early as 2172 BCE, much earlier than previously believed. This pushes the timeline further back than the Malhar sites in Uttar Pradesh.

Q2: How does Mayiladumparai challenge established ideas about the Iron Age?

A: It challenges these ideas in multiple ways:

● Linearity: It suggests iron might be contemporary with copper/bronze settlements, not strictly succeeding them.

● Relationship to Chalcolithic: It blurs the line between the Iron Age and neighboring Chalcolithic (Copper Age) settlements.

● Diffusion: It supports India as an independent center for iron development, not solely influenced by the West.

Q3: Why did the accepted timeline of the Iron Age change over time?

A: Discoveries and new dating methods led to revisions:

● Early scholars (Childe, Wheeler) placed it around 600-500 BCE.

● Excavations (Hastinapur, Atranji Khera, etc.) pushed it to 1000 BCE.

● Malhar excavations further moved it back to 1800 BCE.

Q4: What was the significance of the Malhar excavations?

A: Malhar presented strong evidence for iron use and production in the Ganga Plains from the early 2nd millennium BCE:

● Tools, weapons, and waste like slag and furnaces were found.
● It suggests Malhar might have been a center of iron production.

Q5: How does Mayiladumparai compare to Malhar?

A: Both sites pushed back the Iron Age timeline. While Malhar primarily focused on the Ganga Plains, Mayiladumparai provides a new perspective in southern India.

Q6: What are the uncertainties regarding Mayiladumparai?

A: It's stated that iron objects were found in the 2172 BCE layers, but the excavation report doesn't detail them. More data could clarify these findings and their connection to the early date.




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