Historical Events in Maharashtra

By Saroj Singh|Updated : May 15th, 2022

The landscape of Maharashtra is characterised by a plateau-like morphology, shallow stream of valleys and semi-arid monsoon climate. The Basaltic rocks of Cretaceous-Eocene age occupy a significant part of the State. These geological, topographical and climatic features have given rise to the alkaline black soil, popularly known as Black Cotton Soil with which most of the Chalcolithic sites are associated.

History of Maharashtra (Part I)

Events of the Stone Age

The Stone age is often referred to as the pre-historic time as there was no paper or language or the written word. Hence, no literary documentation is available regarding this time. Excavations at some sites reveal about the old tools, pottery, habitats, bones of ancient human beings and animals and drawings on cave walls. The archaeological analysis, botanical analysis and patterns of the old tool usage reveal about the pre-historic people. Pre-historic paintings have been found across the world.

As we are studying about historical events that occurred in Maharashtra, let us restrict exploring about this phase to the region of Deccan trap (mainly covering the State of Maharashtra).

The Stone Age is divided into three broad divisions:

  • Palaeolithic Age or the old Stone Age (From unknown time till 9000 BC)
  • Mesolithic Age or the Middle Stone Age (9000 4000 BC) and
  • Neolithic Age or the New Stone Age (4000-2500 BC

Important Sites of the Stone Ages:

Upper Palaeolithic Age

  • Narmada Valley (M.P. Maharashtra and Gujarat)
  • Nevasa (Maharashtra)

Middle Palaeolithic Age

  • Nevasa (Maharashtra)
  • Narmada Valley (M.P. Maharashtra and Gujarat)

Lower Palaeolithic Age

  • Patne (Maharashtra)
  • Nandipalle (Maharashtra)

Mesolithic Period

  • Patne (Maharashtra)
  • Hatkhamba (Maharashtra)

Chalcolithic Culture in western India

The Deccan Traps of the Cretaceous-Eocene age extends almost from the southern flanks of the Narmada Valley to the banks of Krishna. The soil of this region is black due to the presence of predominantly humus and colloidal complexes that are formed by bio-inorganic processes.

The occurrence of very fertile black cotton soil in this region may have attracted the early farmers to settle down in this tract. And hence, the concentration of Chalcolithic sites are formed mainly in western Maharashtra. The beginning of settled life in Maharashtra can chronologically be placed into four cultural phases:

  • The Savalda (2200-1800BC)
  • The Harappan (1800-1600BC)
  • The Malwa (1600-1400BC)
  • The Jorwe (1400-700BC)

These cultural phases are categorised based on the diagnostic terracotta waves. Many chalcolithic sites are reported from Maharashtra, and these are enlisted here.

 Chalcolithic Sites

Sites in the Tapi Valley are Prakash, Bahal, Kaothe, Tekwada

Sites in the Godavari Valley are Nasik, Jorwe, Daimabad, Nevasa and Apegaon

Sites in the Bhima Valley are Chandoli, Walki, Inamgaon, Songaon

Among other sites, Inamgaon is the most extensively excavated site. The excavation was carried out extensively from 1968 to 1984. The site is located 3 km away from the present village of Inamgaon. The actual site is situated on the right bank of the river Ghod, a tributary of Bhima.   

Note: The Chalcolithic culture in this region is characterised by the presence of stone blades, wheel-made pottery, copper-bronze tools and huts with wooden pots.

Let us have a glance at some of the important points:

  • Over 200 Chalcolithic sites have been reported from Maharashtra, a majority of which belonged to the early Jorwe period, followed by the Malwa and very few of the late Jorwe period.
  • The first site Jorwe in Ahmednagar District was discovered in 1950 when pottery was found on the mounds by villagers who had shifted to this area on account of floods.
  • The Malwa phase is characterised by the presence of Central India and people using these wares were the first settlers at Inamgaon around 1600 BC and flourished for a couple of centuries.
  • The Malwa people were originally from Central India, might have brought their cattle with them to start their life in this region.
  • Since the Malwa people were an agro-pastoral community, the use of cattle was predominant.
  • Botanical evidence predicted that the early Jorwe people consumed relatively more agricultural products than their counterparts in the late Jorwe Culture.
  • Archaeological evidence suggests that economically the early Jorwe phase was the most prosperous phase and an immense increase in the cattle population has been noticed along with large scale agricultural activities.
  • The horse was introduced towards the end of this phase.
  • Amidst the cereals, the most common was barley.
  • Cattle pastoralism was one of the main occupations of the people as evidenced from all excavated sites, followed by animal husbandry of common domestic animals for food purposes.
  • At almost all the other places in Central India, Western India and the Deccan the activities of the early farming communities came to a standstill around 1000 be, and the settlements remained unoccupied for almost four or five centuries until the beginning of the historical period in the 6th -5th centuries BC.
  • At Daimabad, Inamgaon and Walki, a few bones of the horse have been found.



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