to flourish in the post-Maurya times (evident from the remains of urban
centres at Mahasthan, Bangarh, Mangalkot, Chandraketugarh and
Tamralipta). Sisupalgarh with its impressive gateway, shows the spread of
urbanism in early historical Orissa during Maurya and post-Maurya times.
What is significant is the spurt of urban centres in the coastal areas of eastern
Deccan during the post-Maurya times, best recorded in their excavated and
explored remains.
    The Sangam texts speak of a number of urban centres, though the literary
data do not match the less conspicuous archaeological evidence. In recent
times, however, a number of coastal sites in Tamil Nadu have attracted the
notice of archaeologists and indicate a spurt of coastal towns in Tamil Nadu.
The interior of the Deccan excavations at Pauni, Nasik, Paithan, Nevasa, Ter,
Kolhapur, Satanikota and Sannathi, to name only a number of prominent
sites, bear unmistakable traces of the rise of urban centres and state society,
replacing the previous Megalithic cultures. Urban centres, in short, may be
justly viewed as a factor of unity in the material culture of the post-Maurya
times.
Impact of Trade on Social and Cultural Life Inspired by anthropological
models, some historians have argued for a correspondence between trade in
luxuries and the formation of secondary urban centres and states in early
historical India. This was held to have been the case particularly in South
India, where long-distance trade and demand for Indian luxury items in the
West are perceived to have ushered in urban society and powerful
chieftaincies, both viewed as representations of major change in South Indian
social and cultural history. The above perspective has been doubted by
others. As external stimuli appear to have been primarily responsible for the
spurt of coastal stations of trade, their effects were actually short-lived and
did not probably result in major changes of far reaching consequences.
    Excavations at Mathura and also at Sonkh, close to Mathura, however
would suggest that Mathura’s flourishing urban society largely derived its
importance from its vantage occupation of a nodal point in the network of
north Indian trade. Mathura did not possess a rich agricultural hinterland and
produced only one item of trade, viz., textiles. Its communication linkages
with the north-west, the Ganga valley in the east and the Malwa plateau and
the Gujarat coast in the south     and south-west, actually held clues to its