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Palaeoecology and the Harappan Civilisation of South Asia: a reconsideration

AuthorsMadella, Marco ; Fuller, Dorian Q.
KeywordsHarappan Civilisation
Cultural changes
Climatic change
South Asia
Issue Date18-Jan-2006
CitationQuaternary Science Reviews 25(11-12): 1283-1301 (2006)
AbstractClimatic change has often been cited as a determining factor in cultural changes in the context of the Harappan Civilisation of northwestern South Asia, 2500–1900 BC. While these claims have been criticized by archaeologists they continue to be accepted by non-archaeologists, including Quaternary scientists. The purpose of this paper is to assess the available evidence and published arguments and to provide a constructive working synthesis of evidence for the palaeoenvironmental setting of northwestern South Asia for the mid- to late Holocene, especially ca 4000–1000 cal BC, and its possible connection to important cultural changes. We conclude that Harappan urbanism emerged on the face of a prolonged trend towards declining rainfall. No climatic event can be blamed for a precipitous end of this civilisation, although strategic local shifts in agriculture that may have begun in response to prolonged droughts at ca 2200 BC may have contributed to the de-urbanisation process and the restructuring of human communities over the following 200–300 yr.
Description19 pages, 9 figures.-- Printed version published Jun 2006.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2005.10.012
Appears in Collections:(IMF) Artículos
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