Lahurdewa, Ganga basin

Early farming at Lahurdewa, Ganga basin, ca. 9000 BP by Rakesh Tewari et al



Early farming at Lahurdewa by Rakesh Tewari, RK Srivastava, KS Saraswat, IB Singh, KK Singh, Paper presented in the International Seminar on the First Farmers in Global Perspective, 18 to 20 January, 2006; Pragdhara 18, Lucknow, Dept. of Archaeology, pp. 346-373


This paper embodies an outcome of investigations emanated from the excavations carried out at the lakeside settlement of Lahuradewa, from 2001 to 2006, in district Sant Kabirnagar, Uttar Pradesh, India. The continuous occurrence of microcharcoal in the lakebeds justifiably mitigate the human activities that persistently set fire to the vegetation in the area during past ca. 10,000 years. Palynological studies from lakebeds helped in reconstruction of vegetational history, sequential changes in the climate and early agricultural activities from early Holocene and onwards in Middle Ganga Plain. The human groups at that early date, who subjected the vegetation to fire for environmental management, were those who brought into being a settled early farming culture at Lahuradewa – characterised by cord-impressed pottery. Primordially, the record of domesticated rice in the opening phase of Lahuradewa settlement, prima facie constitutes the evidence of early Holocene agriculture in Middle Ganga Plain.


…1.3 It seems reasonable to assume that, about the 7th millennium BC the village farming had become established and agriculture started to spread in the Middle Ganga Plain. We are mainly confined here to consider the status of rice domestication at Lahuradewa where the intact rice grains and occasional finds of rachis and the husk pieces conform morphologically to those of existing domesticated forms of Oryza sativa, right from the opening phase of occupation in the Period IA during 7th millennium BC. Subsequent to the presentation of our results during the Seminar in January 2006, investigations on additional samples continued. The new additional data on the rice from Period IA at Lahuradewa supports our earlier conclusions presented already in the Seminar.

Lahuradewa site dates from 9000 BP 

A recent paper, Tewari, Rakesh et al. 2009."Early Farming at Lahuradewa" in Pragdhara No. 18, pp. 347-373, regarding excavations at the Neolithic site of Lahuradewa in Middle Ganga Valley reports a new series of radiocarbon dates from the earliest layers yielding 8436 BC, 8518 BC, and 8992 BC (Tewari et al. 2009: 358). Until now, it was thought that the settlement was from 7th millennium BC, so we now could have the earliest Neolithic site, not only in Middle Ganges region but in whole South Asia, even earlier than Mehrgarh by about 2000 years.

But this paper basically deals with early domestication of rice and definitely establishes that domesticated rice (Oryza sativa) was present in Lahuradewa's fields by 7000 BC at least. As Tewari et al found entirely domestic rice around 7th millennium BC, they claim an even earlier period for the process that led to domestication in Middle Ganga Valley.

Best regards,  Carlos 


Second Preliminary Report of the excavations at Lahuradewa District Sant Kabir Nagar, U.P. : 2002-2003-2004 & 2005-06 Rakesh Tewari, R.K. Srivastava, K.K. Singh, K.S. Saraswat, I.B. Singh, M.S. Chauhan, A.K. Pokharia, A. Saxena, V. Prasad, M. Sharma (Pragdhara No. 16)

“ Rice based agriculture was prevailing at least in an area extended from the Himalayan terai to north Vindhyas during, circa 6th to 3rd millennium BCE onwards. A diffusion of rice cultivation from the Ganga Plain to Harappan Zone was also suggested during the 3rd millennium BCE, where the rice is documented on a number of sites in Haryana and Punjab datable from 2850 BCE to the Early Historic times…On the basis of the presence of domesticated rice grains from Lahurdewa datable to mid 9th millennium BP, it may be surmised that this process was probably initiated during latest Pleistocene/Early Holocene. Mostly coarse variety of hand made red and black-and-red wares appear along with such rice grains from the very beginning. The settlers, related with these finds, were making wattle-and-daub dwellings having mud plastered screens made of reed like material. Aquatic fauna formed a considerable proportion of their subsistence economy. These people were interacting directly or indirectly with distant regions to procure steatite/steatite beads and beads made of semiprecious stones. These interactions, particularly with the western part of the Indian subcontinent, enhanced considerably since the early half of the 5th millennium BP onwards, which are evidenced by the appearance of copper arrowhead and fishing hook, dish-on-stand, barley, increased numbers of steatite and other beads, wheat and pulses, spouted and pedestal vessels, a few painted potsherds, improvement in pottery making, etc…”