Post Indus-Valley Cultures

2200-1700 BC

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Indus Post Indus-Valley Culture

Bactria–Margiana Archaeological Complex
2200-1700 BC

Photo Wikipedia
Archeological map of the Post-Indus-Valley Cultures, BMAC, and the “Skythian” Andronovo

The Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex (or BMAC, also known as the Oxus civilization) is the archaeological designation for a Bronze Age culture of Central Asia, dated to ca. 2200–1700 BC, located in present day Turkmenistan, northern Afghanistan, southern Uzbekistan and western Tajikistan, centered on the upper Amu Darya (Oxus). Its sites were discovered and named by the Soviet archaeologist Viktor Sarianidi (1976).

The BMAC and its successors in the Gangetic plains did not derive from the Indus Valley Civilizations. The latter cultures have different burial cultures (cremation vs. shaft purials) and different city structures.
Sarianidi's excavations from the late 1970s onward revealed numerous monumental structures in many different sites, including Balkh, Namazga-Depe ("governmental centre"), Altyn-Depe ("secondary capital"), Delbarjin, the Dashly Oasis, Toholok 21, Gonur, Kelleli, Sapelli, and Djarkutan. The sites were fortified by impressive walls and gates. Reports on the BMAC were mostly confined to Soviet journals until the last years of the Soviet Union, so the findings were largely unknown to the West until Sarianidi's work began to be translated in the 1990s.
Scholars do not agree on either the origins of the Bactria-Margiana complex, or the reasons for its decline. Its distinctive material culture disappears from the archaeological record a few centuries after it appears. Radiocarbon dating attributes the complex to the last century of the 3rd millennium and the first quarter of the 2nd millennium BC.
It is not known whether BMAC was an ethnically or linguistically coherent culture. Some people suggest that it was related to the Vedics which began to move south around that time.
For Reference: Wikipedia

Tepe Fullol, BMAC
2500 - 2000 BC

In 1978 the Greek-Russian archaeologist Viktor Sarianidi unearthed an archeological surprise at Tepe Fullol: a gold bowl from 2500-2000 BC. The finds were deposited in the Nat. Museum of Kabul and were believed lost, but they were rediscovered in a safe in Kabul in 2005. Sarianidi considers the site to be part of the large Baktria-Margiana-Archeological-Complex. At this time we don't know who the people were or where they came from.

Gold bowl 2500-2000 BC from Tepe Fullol, National Museum, Kabul
Photo National Geographic Magazine

Female head 2000 BC.
Photo Wikipedia

2000 BC - 400 AD

The Ruins of Balkh, clearly visible on GE

Balkh was one of the major cities of Khorasan. It was located in a Persian-speaking area of eastern Persia. The ancient city of Balkh, the oldest in today's Afghanistan, is in Indian archeology associated with the Vedic name Bhakri, which later became Bactra for the Greeks, giving its name to Bactria. It was mostly known as the centre and capital of Bactria or Takharistan. Balkh is now for the most part a mass of ruins It is considered to be the first city to which the Indo-Iranian tribes moved from the North of Amu Darya, approximately between 2000 BC - 1400 AD.
From the Memoirs of Xuanzang, we learn that, at the time of his visit in the 7th cent AD, there were in the city, or its vicinity, about a hundred Buddhist convents, with 3,000 devotees, and that there was a large number of stupas, and other religious monuments. In 1220 Genghis Khan sacked Balkh, butchered its inhabitants and levelled all buildings capable of defense — a treatment to which it was again subjected in 1370 AD by Timur. Notwithstanding, Marco Polo (end 13th cent) could still describe it as "a noble and great city." Ibn Battuta (1336) found it in ruins. It has never recovered.

Painted Grey Ware Culture

GE Map: Painted Gray Ware Culture

1900 - 600 BC

Reconstruction of typical gray-ware pottery

Hastinapur is one of the chief sites of the Painted Grey Ware culture (PGW) an Iron Age culture in the Gangetic plain, lasting from roughly 1200 BC to 600 BC. It is contemporary to, and a successor of the Black and Red ware culture. It is succeeded by Northern Black Polished Ware from ca. 500 BC.
Excavations at Hastinapur were carried out in early 1950s by B.B. Lal of the Archaeological Survey of India. Although the object of this excavation, in Lal's own words "was to find out the stratigraphic position of the
Painted Grey Ware with reference to other known ceramic industries of the early historical period", Lal could not resist attempting a correlation between the Mahabharata and the material remains that he uncovered at Hastinapur. This exercise led him to historicize some of the traditions mentioned in the text, as well as link the appearance of the Painted Grey Ware with the arrival of the "Aryans" in upper Ganga basin areas. - This fantasy gave rise to a fiercely fought Indian national archeological controversy, which has not subsided, despite Lal's retraction of his statement.

Prehistoric Graves Cultures

GE Map: Cemetery H-culture
GE Map: Gandhara-Swat Graves

Aligrama, Swat
1600 - 500 BC

The Gandhara (or Swat) grave culture emerged ca. 1600 BC, and flourished in Gandhara, Pakistan from 1500 BC to 500 BC. Simply made terracotta figurines were buried with the pottery, and other items are decorated with simple dot designs. Horse remains were found in at least one burial.

Anthropomorphic burial urn.

The Gandhara grave people have been conjecturally associated by certain Indian archeologists with early Indo-Aryan speakers, and the Indo-Aryan migration into South Asia, which cross-bred with indigenous elements of the remnants of the Indus Valley Civilization (Cemetery H). There is no evidence that they spoke an Indo-Aryan language.