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The Cemetery H culture
developed out of the northern part of the Indus Valley Civilization
The Indus Valley Civilization was a Bronze Age civilization that was located in the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent, consisting of what is now mainly modern-day Pakistan and northwest India...
around 1900 BCE, in and around western Punjab region
The Punjab , also spelled Panjab |water]]s"), is a geographical region straddling the border between Pakistan and India which includes Punjab province in Pakistan and the states of the Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and some northern parts of the National Capital Territory of Delhi...
located in present-day India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...
. It was named after a cemetery found in "area H" at Harappa
Harappa is an archaeological site in Punjab, northeast Pakistan, about west of Sahiwal. The site takes its name from a modern village located near the former course of the Ravi River. The current village of Harappa is from the ancient site. Although modern Harappa has a train station left from...
The Cemetery H culture is part of the Punjab Phase, one of three cultural phases that developed in the Localization Era of the Indus Valley Tradition. It is considered to be part of the Late Harappan
The distinguishing features of this culture include:
- The use of cremation
Cremation is the process of reducing bodies to basic chemical compounds such as gasses and bone fragments. This is accomplished through high-temperature burning, vaporization and oxidation....
of human remains. The bones were stored in painted pottery burial urns. This is completely different from the Indus civilization where bodies were buried in wooden coffins. The urn burials and the "grave skeletons" were nearly contemporaneous.
- Reddish pottery, painted in black with antelope
Antelope is a term referring to many even-toed ungulate species indigenous to various regions in Africa and Eurasia. Antelopes comprise a miscellaneous group within the family Bovidae, encompassing those old-world species that are neither cattle, sheep, buffalo, bison, nor goats...
s, peacocks etc., sun
The Sun is the star at the center of the Solar System. It is almost perfectly spherical and consists of hot plasma interwoven with magnetic fields...
A star is a massive, luminous sphere of plasma held together by gravity. At the end of its lifetime, a star can also contain a proportion of degenerate matter. The nearest star to Earth is the Sun, which is the source of most of the energy on Earth...
motifs, with different surface treatments to the earlier period.
- Expansion of settlements into the east.
Rice is the seed of the monocot plants Oryza sativa or Oryza glaberrima . As a cereal grain, it is the most important staple food for a large part of the world's human population, especially in East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and the West Indies...
became a main crop.
- Apparent breakdown of the widespread trade of the Indus civilization, with materials such as marine shells no longer used.
- Continued use of mud brick for building.
The Cemetery H culture also "shows clear biological affinities" with the earlier population of Harappa.
The archaeologist Kenoyer noted that this culture "may only reflect a change in the focus of settlement organization from that which was the pattern of the earlier Harappan phase and not cultural discontinuity, urban decay, invading aliens, or site abandonment, all of which have been suggested in the past."
Remains of the culture have been dated from about 1900 BCE until about 1300 BCE. Together with the Gandhara grave culture
The Gandhara grave culture emerged ca. 1600 BC, and flourished in Gandhara, Pakistan ca. 1500 BC to 500 BC ....
and the Ochre Coloured Pottery culture
The Ochre Coloured Pottery culture , is a 2nd millennium BC Bronze Age culture of the Indo-Gangetic Plain . It is a contemporary to, and a successor of the Indus Valley Civilization. The OCP marks the last stage of the North Indian Bronze Age and is succeeded by the Iron Age black-and-red ware and...
, it is considered by some scholars a nucleus of Vedic civilization.