Chalcolithic Culture in India

A new cultural phase (i.e. Chalcolithic Culture) emerged in the Indian subcontinent in around 2000-800 BC. It was characterized by the use of copper as well as stone tools. The simultaneous use of copper and stone tools is the most essential feature of this phase i.e. why it is known as a phase of Chalcolithic culture.

Around the middle of 4th Millenium BC man discovered first metal. This metal was copper.

  • Gradually copper tools began to be used but the use of stone tools was not given up. As a result of this chalcolithic cultural phase commenced.
  • The chalcolithic cultures flourished in parts of the Indian subcontinent during 2800-700 BC.

These cultures were concentrated in western India covering parts of Gujrat, Rajasthan, MP and Maharashtra because copper was found only in western India.


  1. Distribution Of Chalcolithic Culture
  2. Economic life during Chalcolithic Age
  3. Social Life during Chalcolithic Age
  4. Politico-Admin Life during Chalcolithic Age
  5. Religious Life during Chalcolithic Age
  6. Significance of Chalcolithic Pottery

Distribution Of Chalcolithic Culture

  1. Kaytha culture flourished in the valley of R. Kalisind (MP) during 2200-2000BC.
    • Kaytha was its most prominent site.
  2. Ahar Culture (2000-1500 BC) – Valley of R. Banas (Rajasthan).
    • Ahar and Gilund – most prominent site.
  3. Malwa Culture (1600-1300 BC) – Parts of Gujarat, Rajasthan, MP (malwa region)
    • Navadatoli- most prominent site R.Narmada
  4. Jorve Culture (1400-700 BC)- Maharashtra parvara river tributary of Godavari.
    • Jorve, Inamgaon and Daimabad- most prominent sites.
  5. Savalda culture (2000-1800BC)- bordering areas of Gujrat-Maharashtra
    • Savalda- most prominent site
  6. Rangpur culture flourished during 1800-1400 BC.
  7. Prabhas culture (1800-1400BC)- Near modern Somnath
    • Prabhas pattan was the ancient name of Somnath

Economic life during Chalcolithic Age

Chalcolithic people practised agriculture, domesticated animals and were also involved in 2 degree activities.

Agriculture was quite advanced during chalcolithic period because the people were aware of vrigation and crop rotation. Dam was aslo built for storing the water.

  • Barly was the main crop of chalcolithic people.
  • The state of agriculture surplus was yet to be reached.

Various kinds of arts and crafts were also practiced. copper and bronze objects were used. Pottery making was a prominent craft everywhere.

Chalcolithic people practised trade and commerce through barter system.

Social Life during Chalcolithic Age

For the 1st time social stratification was witnessed during chalcolithic period.

  1. The difference in the six houses and the items found in graves indicate that some people were rich while some others were poor during the chalcolithic period.
  2. Some of the houses were big while other small. These big houses would have been occupied by rich people.
  3. Some of the graves have yielded good and silver ornament and semi-precious stones. These graves definitely belonged to rich people. In some graves cheap pottery and other beads were founds. So these graves definitely belonged to poor people.

Chalcolithic people lived in village & life was will settled.

Politico-Admin Life during Chalcolithic Age

The existence of public buildings like fort and dam in chalcolithic settlement indicate that some type of public authority was there during the chalcolithic period because without public authority the construction and maintenance of public buildings are not possible.

Nothing is known definetely about nature and character of public authority during this period.

Religious Life during Chalcolithic Age

The religious life was well developed in chalcolithic culture because muttiple and fates and beliefs were practised by people.

The discovery of female figurines in large no. indicate thaat mother goddess was the chief diety.

Male figures are rare in the discoveries of chalcolithic culture. This indicates that the status of male deities was inferior to female deities.

The discovery of items of common use from graves indicates that chalcolithic people believed in the idea of life death. The items of common use were placed with dead bodies so that people could use them in another world.

  • This reveals that philosophical dimenssons of religion have emerged in chalcolathic period.

Some of the graves in Maharashtra & skeletons whose lowers parts of the feat were chopped off have been found.

  • It is believed thaat feet below ankle was cut for preventing turing of dead body into ghost.

Significance of Chalcolithic Pottery

Potteries were well advanced during the chalcolithic period and these potteries are the most valuable source of info of chalcolithic culture because no written records of this phase have been found.

  • Chalcolithic people were not aware of the script because they did not leave written records behind.

From kayatha- 3 varieties of red ware have been found. The pots were painted in dark brown & buff (yellowish) color.

  • From ahar – 7 varieties of pottery have been found. Black and red ware having paintings in white color was the most important pottery at this place.
  • Malwa pottery- buff-colored having painted in black.
  • Jowe – black & red type having various forms like bouls and jars.
  • Rangpur- lustrous redware
  • Prabhas culture- Red-colored pots having painted in a block. Similar pots were used as savalda.

The Discovery of pottery of various types indicates that it was a highly developed profession during the chalcolithic period.

  • Since pots are highly refined indicates that technology knew how and craftsmanship were in an advanced stage.

The colors used on the pots indicate that the chalcolithic people had some knowledge of chemical science.

The geometrical designs found on pots in form of parallel lines and curved lines indicate that some kind of knowledge of mathematics has emerged during this age.

Pots were burnt in the kiln. This indicates that the chalcolithic people were moving towards an age where burnt bricks were used on large scale in constructing houses.

Foodgrains produced by chalcolithic people have been found in pots that throw light on agricultural knowledge of this age.

Pots of this age are wheel turned. Indicating chalcolithic people had knowledge of the wheel.

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