Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Pakistan, Mehrgarh Civilisation (contd-1)

Baluchistan is Pakistan's largest province. It is marked by a rugged , highly differential environment with different habitats . The Makram range in the south divides the interior from the coastal plain.A number of successive mounain chains run from the Arabian sea to the Hindukush, and from a barrier towards the fertile Indus plain inthe east.
These mountains enclose interior highland basins and deserts and are interested by many river valleys.
Southeastern baluchistan is characterised by narrow river valleys which only occasionally provide space for alluviation, and thus agriculture. The catchment areas are smaller and , due to the high gradient of the tributaries, the seasonal floods are often destructive and wash away the soil.

In such a harsh and barren environment , irrigation through channels, qanats, or seasonal flooding is an essential prerequisite for settlement. It thus developed early as an essential measure for the production of crops required by agrowing population. The rising number of settlements from the begining of settled life in the sixth millennium through the midthird millenium BC witnesses the success of food production through farming and pastoralism.
Pioneering archaeological field work in this region was carried out by the great explorer Sir Aurel Stein, Hargreaves , etc of the dept of Archaeology and Museums, Karachi, and a couple of other explorers.

The French excavations at Mehrgarh, Nausharo and Pirak in the Kachhi plain revealed a long cultural sequence from the Neolithic period through the iron age. While another French Mission resumed work in Makram after a 30 year long gap in the late 80s, southeastern Baluchistan had remained a "white spot" on the archaeological landscape.