Cli­mate change dried up So­la­pur’s river­ine cul­ture

DNA (Daily News & Analysis) Mumbai Edition - - FRONT PAGE - Dhaval Kulka­rni dhaval.kulka­[email protected]­

Mum­bai: US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump may be skep­ti­cal about global warm­ing, but ex­ca­va­tions by ar­chae­ol­o­gists in Ma­ha­rash­tra re­veal how a river­ine cul­ture saw a steady de­cline of for­tunes due to the va­garies of cli­mate.

Ar­chae­ol­o­gists dig­ging in the So­la­pur dis­trict have dis­cov­ered ev­i­dence that sug­gests the re­gion, which now falls in a rain-shadow area, may have been a flour­ish­ing agrar­ian and trad­ing cul­ture for 400 years be­tween 200 BC and 200 AD. How­ever, it went into ter­mi­nal de­cline due to cli­mate change.

Maya Patil (Sha­ha­purkar), head, depart­ment of ar­chae­ol­ogy at So­la­pur Univer­sity, said they had found un­der­ground stor­age bins — called ‘pev’ in Marathi — while ex­ca­vat­ing a Satava­hana-era site at Narkhed vil­lage in So­la­pur’s Mo­hol taluka. Sim­i­lar struc­tures have been found in Harap­pan-era sites. The ar­chae­ol­o­gists found burnt grains of moong and jowar at So­la­pur too. The ex­ca­va­tions also re­vealed shell ban­gles and ivory ob­jects, which could mean that it even traded with other re­gions. This early his­toric site is lo­cated near the Bhogawati river, a trib­u­tary of Sina that merges into the Go­davari. “These un­der­ground bins were used to store grain, which means this re­gion was fer­tile in that era be­fore pre­cip­i­ta­tion de­clined grad­u­ally. The set­tle­ment was aban­doned due to lack of wa­ter,” added Patil.

“Cli­mate change is re­spon­si­ble for the de­cline of most cul­tures. The Harap­pan cul­ture de­clined due to these pres­sures rather than the in­va­sions of Aryans as was be­lieved ear­lier,” she said.

The ex­ca­va­tion site in So­la­pur that re­vealed stor­age bins called ‘pev’

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