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Mehrgarh (Pakistan)


Statuette from Mahrgarh, National Museum of Pakistan, Karachi

Statuette from Mahrgarh, National Museum of Pakistan, Karachi


Mehrgarh is a Neolithic (7000-3200 BC) site on the Kachi plain of Baluchistan, Pakistan, and one of the earliest sites with evidence of farming (wheat and barley) and herding (cattle, sheep and goats) in south Asia. The site is located on the principal route between what is now Afghanistan and the Indus Valley.

The earliest settled portion of Mehrgarh was in an area called MR.3, in the northeast corner of the 495-acre occupation. It is a small farming and pastoralist village dated between 7000-5500 BC, with mud brick houses and granaries. The early Mehrgarh residents used local copper ore, basket containers lined with bitumen, and an array of bone tools. They grew six-row barley, einkorn and emmer wheat, jujubes and dates. Sheep, goats and cattle were herded at Mehrgarh beginning during this early period. The most recent studies at Mehrgarh showed they even had a pretty good grasp of evidence of dentistry, and a good thing, too: caries are a direct outgrowth of a reliance on agriculture.

Later periods included craft activities such as flint knapping, tanning, and bead production; also, a significant level of metal working. The site was occupied continuously until about 2600 BC, when it was abandoned.

Mehrgarh was discovered and excavations begun by a French team led by Jean-François Jarrige; the site was excavated continuously between 1974 and 1986.


Gregory L. Possehl. 1996. Mehrgarh. Oxford Companion to Archaeology, edited by Brian Fagan. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

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