Mehrgarh ruins in Baluchistan-The oldest in the lot
Up till the 1970s, Moen Jo Daro and Harappa were considered to be the oldest civilization of Pakistan but the discovery of the 9000 year old Mehrgarh ruins in Balochistan showed that the two places were comparatively young. The site was excavated from 1974 till 1986 with the help of a team of French archeologists.
Mehrgarh is located at the foothills of Balochistan near the Bolan Pass. The Bolan River must have been the lifeline of the settlement. The settlement consisted of four mounds and was spread over an area of 495 acres. It can be divided into seven periods. The earliest period belonged to the Neolithic (later stone age) era. The settlers were farmers as many bone and stone faming implements were discovered Evidence of livestock rearing was also found. The people lived in simple mud houses and had also built a granary to store grains. The dead were buried along with the articles of use. The archeologists also found ornaments made of sandstone, sea shells, turquoise and lapis lazuli. Rough figurines of women and animals were discovered too. Excavations show that the world’s first dental drilling was said to be done in this era.
The residents of the later period were more into skills and crafts. These skills became refined with time and kilns, copper melting crucibles and stone and copper drills were unearthed. The figurines of this era were better and adorned with paints and ornaments. Glazed beads were also found. The dead were smeared with red ocher (pigment) and the number of articles buried with the dead was less and mostly restricted to ornaments.
It is believed that the settlers of Mehrgarh left for the much fertile lands of the Indus Valley between 2600 BCE to 2000 BCE when the climate of Balochistan became unfavorable.
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