pastoral economy, the later Neolithic settlers gradually became agriculturists,
cultivating different crops and living in circular or rectangular houses made
of mud and reed.
    However, the earliest known agrarian settlements in the Indian
subcontinent come from the west of the Indus system, Mehrgarh in
northeastern Baluchistan being the first village (6000 BC).
    Neolithic settlers, suffering from one great limitation in the form of
complete dependence on stone, could not, however, found villages, far away
from hilly areas. But with the beginning of the use of metals and the
consequent transition from the Neolithic stage to the Chalcolithic phase,
people were now on the threshold of civilisation.
    All these developments took place first in northwestern India and
culminated in the rise and growth of the great Indus civilisation, while the
rest of the Indian subcontinent or inner India was late in undergoing the
transition from the Mesolithic to the Neolithic and then to the Chalcolithic
    The village of Mehrgarh was the first to witness the transition from the
Neolithic to the Chalcolithic phase by the fifth millennium BC. During the
next two millennia (5000–3000 BC) northwestern India witnessed not only the
transition from Neolithic to the Chalcolithic stage but also a great expansion
of agrarian settlements. From Mehrgarh settlements radiated to all the
neighboring areas, including the Indus valley.
    Associated with permanent settlements were a series of new crafts
involving important technological discoveries. Among these were the making
of pottery, smelting of copper and its alloys, and their use in the making of
tools and weapons. All these developments, thus, involved the whole Indus
system, but largely left the subcontinent east of the Indus system untouched.
    It is to be noted that during all this time (5000–3000 BC) there were no
settled agricultural communities elsewhere in the subcontinent, and that either
Mesolithic hunter-gatherers or early Neolithic cattle-herders peopled those
    During the period of the Indus civilisation, however, these people of inner
India might have been influenced by the interaction with the advanced
Harappans and gone for adaptations. As a result, a number of Chalco lithic
cultures appeared in various parts    of inner India, none of which were older