Mehrgarh

Mehrgarh is a Neolithic site (dated c. 7000 BCE to c. 2500/2000 BCE), which lies on the Kacchi Plain of Balochistan, Pakistan.Mehrgarh is located near the Bolan Pass, to the west of the Indus River valley and between the present-day Pakistani cities of Quetta, Kalat and Sibi. The site was discovered in 1974 by an archaeological team directed by French archaeologists Jean-François Jarrige and Catherine Jarrige, and was excavated continuously between 1974 and 1986, and again from 1997 to 2000.

Archaeological material has been found in six mounds, and about 32,000 artifacts have been collected. The earliest settlement at Mehrgarh—in the northeast corner of the 495-acre (2.00 km2) site—was a small farming village dated between 7000 BCE and 5500 BCE. Mehrgarh is one of the earliest known sites which show evidence of farming and herding in South Asia.Mehrgarh was influenced by the Near Eastern Neolithic,[13] with similarities between “domesticated wheat varieties, early phases of farming, pottery, other archaeological artefacts, some domesticated plants and herd animals.”According to Parpola, the culture migrated into the Indus Valley and became the Indus Valley Civilisation. Jean-Francois Jarrige argues for an independent origin of Mehrgarh. Jarrige notes “the assumption that farming economy was introduced full-fledged from Near-East to South Asia,” and the similarities between Neolithic sites from eastern Mesopotamia and the western Indus valley, which are evidence of a “cultural continuum” between those sites. But given the originality of Mehrgarh, Jarrige concludes that Mehrgarh has an earlier local background,” and is not a “‘backwater’ of the Neolithic culture of the Near East.” Lukacs and Hemphill suggest an initial local development of Mehrgarh, with continuity in cultural development but a population change. According to Lukacs and Hemphill, while there is a strong continuity between the neolithic and chalcolithic (Copper Age) cultures of Mehrgarh, dental evidence shows that the chalcolithic population did not descend from the neolithic population of Mehrgarh,which “suggests moderate levels of gene flow.”They wrote that “the direct lineal descendants of the Neolithic inhabitants of Mehrgarh are to be found to the south and the east of Mehrgarh, in northwestern India and the western edge of the Deccan plateau,” with neolithic Mehrgarh showing greater affinity with chalcolithic Inamgaon, south of Mehrgarh, than with chalcolithic Mehrgarh