A simulation of the Neolithic transition in the Indus valley


The Indus Valley Civilization (IVC) was one of the first great civilizations in prehistory. This bronze age civilization flourished from the end of the the fourth millennium BC. It disintegrated during the second millennium BC, this decline is despite much research effort not yet well understood. Less research has been devoted on the becoming of this great civilization which shows continuous cultural precursors at least since the seventh millennium BC. To understand the decline, we believe it is necessary to investigate better the precursors and the rise of the IVC, i.e. the establishment of agriculture, dense populations and technological developments between 8000 and 3000 years BC. We employ a huge dataset of $>10000$ archaeologically typed artifacts, still our capability to investigate the system is hindered by poorly resolved chronology, and by a lack of field work in the intermediate areas between the Indus valley and Mesopotamia. We thus employ a complementary, numerical simulation based approach to developing a consistent picture of technology, agriculture and population developments in the IVC domain. Results from this Global Land Use and technological Evolution Simulator (GLUES) show that (1) the simulated timing of the agricultural transition fits the archaeological chronology of Neolithic sites reasonably well in Pakistan, (2) it hints to earlier than observed Neolithization of India; (3) the archaeologically suggested independent South Asian agricultural complex is corroborated by the model; and (3) there is a relationship between archeological artifact richness and simulated population density which remains to be quantified.
QR Code: Link to publication