The book is about the rise of civilization in the Ganga Plains. Though there are traces of occupation starting as early as 8th millennium bce, as indicated by radiometric characterizations, but those early footprints of humankind in the region were not only unsteady and vacillating but also very sparse. An uninterrupted cultural occupation of the Plains starts much later. The foundations of a civilization that has an unbroken history for the millennia to come
were laid down by a culture known in
the archaeological parlance as the
Painted Grey Ware (PGW) culture. Our knowledge of this phase of protohistoric culture has grown manifolds over the last few decades. The present book attempts to review the recently retrieved data to reconstruct the life of a society that coincides well with the Later Vedic period of Indian history. As a result of river course changes discernable in satellite imageries indicating drying up of the mighty River Saraswati of the Rigvedic period, the cultural foci shifted towards the Gangetic Doab. This region became the cradle of Indian civilization in the centuries to come. Thousands of PGW sites have now been located along the rivers in the Indo-Gangetic Divide. The field investigations carried out in recent past have added new dimensions to the PGW culture. We can now discern more clearly the traces of evolving socio-cultural, techno-economic and political system that took place in this region
over the centuries. We may now talk
with greater clarity about the spatial distribution of sites, settlement pattern, social hierarchy, and technological attainments as reflected in advancements in the field of metallurgy, glass making, ceramics and other areas of craft specialization. All this is manifest in the material remains examined in the book. But the book tries to look beyond and focuses its prism on the man behind material culture. It finds culture that reverberates with life paving the way for the rise of a vibrant civilization in the Ganga Plain that lasts till today.