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Protohistoric Cultures of the Tungabhadra Valley

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Item Code: UAM226
Publisher: Agam Kala Prakashan, Delhi
Author: M.S. Nagaraja Rao
Language: Enlish
Edition: 2020
ISBN: 9789381843291
Pages: 174 (Throughout B/W Illustrations)
Other Details 10.00 X 7.50 inch
Weight 510 gm
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Book Description
About The book

Protohistoric Cultures of Tungabhadra Valley, Dr. Nagaraja Rao reports the revealing results of his excavations at the ancient site of Hallur, on the bank of the Tungabhadra in Mysore state. The excavations have provided a clear picture of life from the Neolithic times to the time of early introduction of iron in the Mysore region in South India. The radio-carbon dates for the site show that this time span extended from about 1800 B.C. to 1000 B.C. In the words of Dr. F.R. Allchin, an authority on Indian Archaeology, of Cambridge University, "among the many striking discoveries, we need only mention three: the radio-carbon dating for the introduction of iron at Hallur to the very beginning of the first millennium B.C., if not before, the discovery of equine remains during the final phase of the preceding period (suggestively pointing towards the arrival of new elements of population from far to the north); and the discovery of Ragi (Eleusine coracana), proving that this grain was already used as a foodstuff during the second millennium B.C. The report also has contributions by two experts on animal and plant remains, which has enhanced the value of the report. Dr. K.R. Alur, an expert in veterinary science, has studied the animal remains while Dr. Vishnu Mittre of the famous Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeobatany, has reported on plant remains.

About The Author

Dr. M.S. Nagaraja Rao (b. 1932), obtained M.A. degree in Indology, with first class from the University of Mysore, in 1955 under Prof. K.A. Nilakanta Sastri. With a U.G.C. Scholarship (1962) he worked in the Deccan College on the Chalcolithic cultures of the Deccan with Special reference to North Karnataka under the guidance of Dr. Sankalia and was awarded Ph.D. Degree of the Poona University (1967). In 1966 he went to U.K. on a Commonwealth Scholarship & worked under Dr. Allchin. He was also awarded the john D. Rockefeller 3rd Fund fellowship to undergo training in Museology at the Institute of Five Arts & Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Dr. Rao has several excavations to his credit. He is a member of several professional organizations. He was one of three Indian delegates to the UNESCO seminar on the development of Museum in South-East Asia (Delhi-Bombay in 1966). He has also participated in several conference on Museums held in Poland, West Germany, United Kingdom, and U.S.S.R. He has visited many important Museums in Western Europe, U.S.A. Mexico and U.S.S.R. He is member of the International Council of Museums and Executive Member of the Commonwealth Association of Museums. Dr. Rao stated as on Epigraphist of the State Archaeological Deptt. Mysore, and also served in the Survey Archaeological for some years before becoming the curator of the Museum of Art and Archaeology, Karnataka University 1964-1972), from which position he took over the reins as Director of Archaeology and Museums in Karnataka. He was former Director General, Archaeological Survey of India, New Delhi. He has several publications to his credit.


Karnataka is an ancient land where great empires such as those of the Chalukyas, the Rashtrakutas, the Hoysalas and Vijayanagar rose and prospered. Many great religions flourished here from very early times. Man's ingenuity and ability to make human beings rich and comfortable both materially and spiritually are amply evidenced in this land by great souls.

Karnataka is an archaeologist's paradise. Particularly so is the north Karnataka region, which incidentally is the Karnataka University area. "No other area in India bolds a similar promise of a better harvest to the investigator of prehistoric cultures'. Archaeological studies in this region, however, are still in their infancy. A few sites have been excavated and attempts are being made to reconstruct the various stages through which man has traversed in his journey from savagery to civilization. More research in this direction is a necessary desideratum. From this point of view, laudable effort has been made by Dr. Nagaraja Rao. Karnataka University has associated itself with a few excavations and will in future take up independent projects.

Excavations are easily conducted, but it is necessary to publish the results for the benefit of scholars and students. It is gratifying to note that not only Hallur was excavated, but the interesting findings are being placed at the disposal of everyone interested. I hope the work published by Dr. Rao will be studied by scholars and research students. My blessings are with the excavator-author Dr. Nagaraja Rao in bis venture.


When Robert Bruce Foote first described the Neolithic remains be bad discovered in profusion in Bellary and neighbouring districts he can little have foreseen the extra ordinary interest which excavation at such places might reveal. In the past twenty years a series of exciting excavations have taken place, at Brahmagiri, Sangankal, Piklihal, Maski, etc., and each one has added new data to build up the emerging picture. Dr. Naga raja Ran's work at Hallur is a worthy addition to all these. Not only did it extend the known distribution of the Neolithic culture into the southernmost parts of Dharwar district, but it also revealed a new kind of riverside settlement, in contrast to the hill settlements upon which attention bad so far been focussed in this region. Another most important aspect of the excavation is that it revealed a continuous occupation in a single section, passing through several phases of Neolithic-Chalcolithic culture into the opening centuries of the early Iron Age. Among the many striking discoveries we need only mention three: the radio-carbon dating of the introduction of iron at Hallur to the very beginning of the first millennium B.C., if not before; the discovery of equine remains during the final phase of the preceding period (suggestively pointing towards the arrival of new of population from far to the north; and the discovery of Ragi (Eleusine coratana), proving that this grain was already used as a foodstuff during the second millennium B.C. The value of the report is enhanced by the excellent studies of animal and plant remains.

It is one of the paradoxes of archaeological research that each new discovery opens up new prospects for fresh work. There is a clear need for the discovery of new sites, the further excavation of sites already broached, and for the continuing application of new research techniques. The Karnataka offers a wonderful scope for the archaeologist, and we look forward to Dr. Nagaraja Rao's continuing bis researches there.


The study of the neolithic-chalcolithic cultures of the Deccan involved a reassessment of the results of the previous excavations in the light of fresh explorations and excavations. With this end in view, the author surveyed the river Tungabhadra from the southern tip of Dharwar district to the confluence of the river with the Krishna (between 1957 and 1964). From among the various sites explored, two new sites were selected for excavation. They were Tekkalakota in Bellary district and Hallur in Dharwar district. The purpose behind this selection was that it was long believed that the neolithic inhabitants of the Karnataka region always preferred to stay on the 'made grounds' upon the castella ted granite hills, in the Chitradurga-Bellary-Raichur region and in the neigh bouring districts of Andhra Pradesh. But explorations brought to light a number of mounds situated on the river banks yielding antiquities of this period. Hallur in the southern tip of Dharwar district is one such site and appeared to be an undisturbed mound. It was, therefore, thought that a comparison of the results of trial excavations of the sites on the granite hills of Tekkalakota and on the mound on the left bank of the Tungabhadra at Hallur, would throw fresh light on the ways of life of the neolithic folk of the region.

Tekkalakota presented very little difficulty, as the thickness of the deposit was found to be only about a metre and a half. Further, the excavated site was found to be inhabited only during the neolithic period. But Hallur presented a couple of problems and therefore, was a more interesting site.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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