came to be spoken by people who were culturally and ethnically varied. It is,
therefore, pertinent to try and locate the different settlements of peoples and
their ways of life at this time. The archaeological picture at the start of the
first millennium BC in northern India, indicates a variety of cultures in various
areas. In some parts of the Ganga plain, it has been possible to do some
detailed analyses of the nature of settlement. The very broad picture that
emerges is one of distinctive cultures.
Simple Nature of Settlements The reconstruction of society from the
archaeological evidence suggests simple, small settlements of cultivators and
cattle-raisers to begin with. There is little evidence of any grandiose life-
style. Homes are generally wattle and daub huts, with rammed earth floors,
giving way towards the mid-first millennium BC, to mud brick structures.
Artefacts from inhabited areas indicate that most needs were taken care of in
the settlement, and specialised craft production developed slowly. The
archaeological evidence, therefore, is a corrective to the more imaginative
reconstructions by some modern scholars, of life as depicted in the Vedic
corpus. Descriptions in the epics of luxury and wealth associated with palaces
and flourishing cities could be poetic fantasies or interpolations of a later
Problem of Identifying any Archaeological Culture as Aryan Attempts
have been made to identify one of these many archaeological cultures with
the ‘Aryans’, but such attempts remain hypothetical. It has also been
suggested that instead of identifying archaeological cultures with the Aryans
or the Dravidians and so on, it might be more useful to try and correlate them
with the major lineages such as the Purus with the PGW and the Yadus with
the Black and Red Ware (BRW), as listed in the epics and the Puranas. But
even such identification remains very provisional.
    Aspect       Rig Vedic Period (1500-         Later Vedic Period (1000-600
                         1000 BC