Research Paper

Iron Age Material Culture in South Asia – Analysis and Context of Recently Discovered Slag Sites in Northwest Kashmir (Baramulla District) in India

Authors: Mumtaz A. Yatoo

Year: 2015, Volume: 6, Page/Article: 1, DOI:

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This paper deals with presence or absence of Iron Age material culture and explores the development of Iron Age in northwest Kashmir (Baramulla District). It has been noted from the previous surveys that a chronological gap existed (c. 1000 BCE – 100 CE), which roughly equates to the Iron Age in Kashmir (Yatoo 2005; Yatoo 2012). Furthermore, considering that there is very little evidence of Iron Age material culture from the few excavated (or explored) sites in Kashmir, there is a debate about the very presence of Iron Age in Kashmir. The little information we have about Iron Age material culture from key sites in Kashmir (such as a few sherds of NBPW, some iron artefacts and slag at one site), has been largely dismissed as imports and lacked serious attention by scholars. It was therefore difficult to build any comparisons in the material culture for the present study. Instead the Iron Age material culture in other parts of South Asia, such as the Indian plains and northern regions of Pakistan, are discussed, as these regions have documented evidence of iron and its associated material culture but very few have archaeometallurgical evidence. Furthermore,
Kashmir historically had communication links with these regions in South Asia since the early third millennium BCE until the 10th century CE, so we might expect some contact during the period of early iron production and use.
Therefore, one key issue for archaeology in northwest Kashmir in this paper is to understand the link between the newly discovered slag and tuyeres with the key sites in Kashmir and in South Asia; and a further
key issue is to determine whether or not there was a distinct Iron Age in north west Kashmir (or whole of Kashmir), or whether the few recovered iron artefacts from key sites of Kashmir are indeed all imports.