Rare discovery pushes back Iron Age in India
HYDERABAD: Iron Age may have come into existence in Telangana much before the rest of the world. At least that's the conclusion reached by archaeologists excavating the University of Hyderabad campus who found iron artefacts dating back to roughly 2,200 BCE.
The team of archaeologists, led by professor KP Rao, has found several artefacts, including small knives and blades besides earthen pots. "The implements that were found were tested at the National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) using a method called Optically Simulated Luminescence (OSL). The metal objects were dated to anywhere between 1800 BC and 2,400 BCE. So we are assuming they were made during 2200 BC," Prof KP Rao told TOI.
This, he said, predates the existing understanding about the advent of the Iron Age in the country. Worldwide, experts have put the dawn of the age around 1200 BC, marking the time when humans started exploiting metals to make basic tools.
"In India, it was understood that the Iron Age came into being around 1,800 BC in the Lahuradeva site in Uttar Pradesh. But this latest development shows that the Iron Age started much before that, at least in our country," Rao said.
"It only goes to show that our ancestors had a rudimentary yet good knowledge about wielding weapons made of metals. We had estimated that the only metal that was moulded was copper, but due to its scarce nature it was not a feasible option. The idea of using abundant iron ore for tools and weapons is a landmark achievement," he added.
The idea of using iron has only come to lead to more and more developments. "It is because of their advancements did we reach the space-age," he said.
Currently, archaeologists have excavated 25 burial sites in the UOH area and the samples have been subjected to DNA analysis.