Chalcolithic Culture In India

Religious Beliefs

  • Religion was an important aspect that interlinked all centers of Chalcolithic cultures.

  • The people Chalcolithic cultures worshiped the mother goddess and the bull.

  • In Malwa, the bull cult seems to have been predominant during the Ahar period.

  • A large number of both the naturalistic as well as stylized lingas have been found from most of the sites.

  • The realistic or naturalistic ones may have served as ritual offerings.

  • The Mother Goddess is depicted on a huge storage jar of Malwa culture in an applique design. She is surrounded by a woman on the right and a crocodile on the left, by the side of which is represented the shrine.

  • In a painted design on a pot, a deity is shown with disheveled hair, recalling the Rudra of later period.

  • A painting on a jar found from Daimabad portrayed a deity surrounded by animals and birds such as tigers and peacocks.

  • It similar with the Siva Pashupati that was found depicted on a seal from Mohanjodaro.

  • Two figurines belonging to late Jorwe culture found from Inamgaon have been identified as proto-Ganesh, which was worshipped for success before embarking on an undertaking.

  • Headless figurines were found at Inamgaon, which have been likened with the Goddess Visira of the Mahabharata.

  • A large number of Fire-altars have been found from the Chalcolithic sites during the course of excavations shows that Fire worship was a very widespread phenomenon among the people.

  • The people of Chalcolithic had a belief in life after the death, which is indicated by the existence of pots and other funerary objects found with the burials of the Malwa and Jorwe people.

  • The Chalcolithic cultures grown during the 3,000 to 2,000 B.C.

  • Excavation shows that large number of settlements like Kayatha, Prabhas, Ahar, Balathal, Prakash, and Nevasa were deserted due to decline in rainfall, which made it hard for the agricultural communities to sustain. They were reoccupied after four to six centuries.


  • The Chalcolithic people were farmers. They had made considerable progress in ceramic as well as metal technology. They used painted pottery, which was well made and well fired in a kiln. It was fired at a temperature between 500 and 700° C.

  • Metal tools were mostly made up of copper obtained from the Khetri mines of Rajasthan. Some of the commonly used tools were axes, chisels, bangles, beads, hooks, etc.

  • A gold ornament was found only in the Jorwe culture, which was extremely rare. An ear ornament has been found from Prabhas culture.

  • Crucibles and pairs of tongs of copper found at Inamgaon illustrate the working of goldsmiths. Chalcedony drills were used for perforating beads of semiprecious stones.

  • Lime was prepared out of Kankar that was used for painting houses and lining the storage bins and various other purposes.

Copper Hoard Culture

  • A copper harpoon was discovered from Bithur in Kanpur district in 1822; since then, nearly one thousand copper objects have been found from almost 90 localities in various parts of India.

  • Mostly the copper objects have been found in hoards (piles) therefore they are known as Copper Hoards.

  • The largest reserve was found from Gungeria in Madhya Pradesh. It comprises 424 pieces of copper objects and 102 thin sheets of silver. The main objects were various kinds of celts, harpoons, antennae swords, rings, and anthropomorphs.

  • The harpoons, antennae swords and anthropomorphs were confined to Uttar Pradesh

  • Whereas various kinds of celts, rings and other objects are found from diverse geographical areas of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, West Bengal, and Maharashtra.

  • The Scientific analysis of these copper objects show that these are generally made of pure copper although very insignificant quantities of alloys have been noticed in some. And they were made in open or closed molds.

  • The Khetri copper mines and the hilly regions of Almora District in Uttaranchal were considered to be the source of metal for these copper hoards.

  • The Copper Hoards consists of weapons, tools, and the objects of worship.

  • The harpoons and antennae swords were used as weapons while various kinds of Celts and axes may have been used as tools. Bar Celts seem to have been used for mining ores.

  • The anthropomorphs were possibly the objects of worship. They were weighing quite a few kilos and measuring up to 45 cm in length and 43 cm in width.

  • Tiny anthropomorphs of the size of 4-10 cm were worshiped as Shani devata (the God Shani) all over northern India.

OCP Culture

  • A culture flourished in the upper Gangetic plains which is uniquely identified by the use of pottery with bright red slip and painted in black. This is known as Ochre-Colored Pottery Culture or simply OCP Culture.

Upper Gangetic Plains OCP Sites
  • This OCP culture was almost contemporary to the latter half of the Mature Harappan civilization. The pottery of this culture has been found all over the upper Gangetic plains.

  • It has been found during the course of excavation in the region that the sites yielding this pottery have suffered from extensive floods. And, it is suggested by many scholars that the entire upper Gangetic plains was for some length of time submerged under water.

  • The people of OCP culture used copper tools and cultivated rice, barley, gram, and khaseri.

  • The OCP cultures have many shapes identical with the Harappan ware.

  • In the excavations at Saipai (in the District of Etah), Copper Hoard objects were found along with the OCP deposit.

  • In the region of Ganga-Yamuna doab, almost all the Copper Hoards have been found along with deposits of the OCP, which reflects that the Copper Hoards are associated with OCP people in doab. But their cultural association in Bihar, Bengal, and Orissa is not clear.

  • Some of the copper hoard types, mainly Celts, have been found associated with Chalcolithic people also.