Mehrgarh


Neolithic Mehrgarh is a 9,000 years old site of settlement of Kachi district at the foot of Bolan Pass near Sibi. It is one of the earliest sites with evidence of farming (wheat and barley) and herding (cattle, sheep and goats) in south Asia. The site is located on the principal route between Afghanistan and the Indus Valley.

Supported by Pakistan's Department of Archaeology, Mehrgarh was discovered and excavations begun by a French team led by Jean-François Jarrige; the site was excavated continuously between 1974 and 1986. The earliest settled portion of Mehrgarh was in an area called MR.3, in the northeast corner of the 495-acre occupation. It is a small farming and pastoral village dated between 7000-5500 BC, with mud brick houses and granaries. The early Mehrgarh residents used local copper ore, basket containers lined with bitumen, and an array of bone tools. They grew six-row barley, einkorn and emmer wheat, jujubes and dates. Sheep, goats and cattle were herded at Mehrgarh beginning during this early period.

Mehrgarh people lived in houses and were involved in hunting, domestication of animals and farming cereals like barley and wheat and later cotton too. This hunting-farming society developed gradually and their pursuits were creative. During the early period these people used stone and bone tools i.e. polished stone-axes, flint blades and bone-pointers. By the 6,000 B.C. the hand-made pottery appeared and in 5th millennium B.C. Metallurgy and potter-wheel were introduced and they produced some fine terra-cotta figurine and pottery with geometric designs. Subsequently they produced and wore ornaments of beads, seashells and semi-precious stones like Lapis Lazuli. A museum has been set up at Sibi where a wide range of rare finds from the site of Mehrgarh is on display.

Later periods included craft activities such as flint knapping, tanning, and bead production; also, a significant level of metal working. The site was occupied continuously until about 2600 BC, when it was abandoned. The excavations, studied and research have led to pushing back the chronology of civilizations in Pakistan established through the study of Meonjodaro and Harappa by over 4,000 years.