In news– Recently, the Tamil Nadu government announced that carbon dating of excavated finds in Tamil Nadu pushes evidence of iron being used in India back to 4,200 years ago.
About the excavation-
- The excavations are from Mayiladumparai near Krishnagiri in Tamil Nadu, about 100 km south of Bengaluru.
- Mayiladumparai is an important site with cultural material dating back between the Microlithic (30,000 BCE) and Early Historic (600 BCE) ages.
- The site is situated in the midst of several archaeological sites such as Togarapalli, Gangavaram, Sandur, Vedarthattakkal, Guttur, Gidlur, Sappamutlu and Kappalavadi.
- Before this, the earliest evidence of iron use was from 1900-2000 BCE for the country, and from 1500 BCE for Tamil Nadu.
- The latest evidence dates the findings from Tamil Nadu to 2172 BCE.
- Mayiladumparai was discovered in the 1990s, and the first excavations from there were made in the 1990s.
- The results of dating, which used accelerator mass spectroscopy, came recently.
Timeline of Iron age in India-
- The dates when humans entered the Iron Age vary from one region of the world to another.
- During the Iron Age, people across much of Europe, Asia and parts of Africa began making tools and weapons from iron and steel.
- In 1979, use of iron was traced to 1300 BCE at Ahar in Rajasthan.
- Later, samples at Bukkasagara in Karnataka, indicating iron production, were dated back to 1530 BCE.
- The date was subsequently pushed back to 1700-1800 BCE with excavations finding evidence of iron smelting at Raipura in the Mid-Ganga valley, and then to 1900-2000 BCE based on investigations in sites at Malhar near Varanasi and Brahmagiri in North Karnataka.
- A series of dating results on finds from various parts in India have shown evidence of iron-ore technology before 1800 BCE.
- Before the latest discovery, the earliest evidence of iron use for Tamil Nadu was from Thelunganur and Mangadu near Mettur, dating back to 1500 BCE.
Classification of Prehistoric era-
The Prehistoric era can be divided into three shorter eras based on the advancements that occurred in those time periods. They include:
- The Stone Age(Paleolithic) (2.5 million B.C. to 3000 B.C.) – documents the human migration from Africa and first use of tools by Neanderthals, Denisovans and early humans.
- The Bronze Age (3000 B.C. to 1300 B.C.) – humans settled in Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley and ancient Egypt; invention of the wheel and metalworking.
The Iron Age (1300 B.C. to 600 B.C.) – formation of planned cities, introduction of ironworks, steel, and writing systems