The term "Dark Age" in the context of ancient Indian history is often used to describe a period of relative obscurity that follows the decline of a major civilization and precedes the rise of another significant phase. In the case of Indian history, this refers to the period between the collapse of the Indus Valley Civilization and the emergence of the Iron Age, marked by the rise of urban centers like Gandhar, Koshal, and Avanti.
Collapse of the Indus Valley Civilization:
The Indus Valley Civilization, one of the world's earliest urban cultures, thrived in the northwestern regions of the Indian subcontinent from about 2600 to 1900 BCE. Its decline is marked by the abandonment of the cities and a significant reduction in urbanism.
Interregnum - The "Dark Age":
The period following the decline of the Indus Valley Civilization, roughly from 1900 BCE to around 600 BCE, is less understood due to the scarcity of archaeological and literary evidence. It is characterized by the absence of large urban centers and a shift in population and lifestyle.
Emergence of Iron Age Cities:
The later part of this period saw the beginning of the Iron Age in India, around 1200 BCE, with the use of iron tools and weapons becoming prevalent. This era witnessed the rise of cities like Gandhar, Koshal, and Avanti, and it laid the groundwork for the Vedic period and subsequent urbanization.
The use of the term "Dark Age" is somewhat debated among historians, as it implies a lack of cultural and social development, which may not be entirely accurate. While there was a decline in urbanism and the scale of architectural achievements seen during the Indus Valley Civilization, this period also saw important developments, particularly in the realms of culture, language, and rural life.
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