Furthermore, the hypothesis suggests that major episodes of population expansion occurred as dependence upon farming grew, and such expansions tend to imply fairly strong correlations between populations, languages, and cultures, just as they have in the recent colonial past.
However, it is an easy matter to point to situations where cultural complexes, language families, and complexes of related genes do not correlate in their distributions at all well, particularly in the record of ethnography and amongst living peoples. For instance, people of quite different biological appearance often speak related languages, even the same language.
But such situations need not imply that the hypothesis is automatically wrong, or that language, culture, and biology never correlate at the population level. It is also important to emphasise right from the, start that the early farming dispersal hypothesis is no claiming that only farmers ever dispersed into new lands or established language families in prehistory.
The environmental conditions of the Indus system have been graphically described by Bridget and Allchin. They write: “The Indus plains offer a very different environment from the upland villages of Baluchistan.
The picture that we see today, even despite modern flood control measures, of a highly unstable river, constantly changing its course within a wide flood plain, and laying down quantities of silt in the course of its annual inundation over large areas of the plain, was probably the same in many respects at the time of the earliest settlements on the edge of the plain.
The rate of accumulation of silt throughout the period has been such that not only must many features of the valley have become submerged, along with any early sites associated with them, but the plain itself must have expanded in area, increasing the extent of highly fertile alluvial soil.
The main channel of the Indus flows through a wide alluvial flood plain which, with the recession of the annual inundation of June to September, is of great fertility. Wheat and barley sown at that time ripen by the following spring, without either ploughing or manuring of the ground. The banks of the river and of its subsidiary channels are not cultivated and must then, as now, have supported a dense gallery forest.
These forests were until recent times rich in game, and must have provided attractive hunting grounds. So too must the plains beyond the active flood plain, for they would have produced a rich and varied grassland vegetation and have provided grazing for wild no less than for domestic animals.
Once the agricultural potentials of the new alluvium were realised, and means were discovered of overcoming the problems of protecting settlements on the flood plain from inundation, an entirely new type of life became possible. On present showing this development took place in several stages, reaching its culmination around the opening of the third millennium B.C.”
Mehrgarh is located on the banks of Bolan River at a distance of approximately 150 kms from the Quetta valley. The excavated site shows three different stages of settlement all of which may be termed as Neolithic settlements.
From the beginning it the habitation comprised of houses made of sun-dried mud-bricks having several smaller rooms and a hearth. “The presence of agriculture”, as stated by Irfan Habib, “is attested by finds of seeds: the bulk are of naked six- row barley; the other sub-species of barley like hulled six-row and two-row, and of wheat like einkorn, emmer and hard species of wheat are present in small amounts”. He suggests “Such cereal cultivation had probably spread from West Asia.
Agriculture seems to have given an impetus to animal domestication. Goats were already domesticated and the humped ox (the characteristic Indian or zebubull and cow) and sheep began to be tamed and bred from captured wild stock”.
The other evidence pertaining to agriculture and therefore of significance to us is the appearance of mud-brick structures of growing sizes, as we move from the earlier stage, to a later stage supposedly used as granaries. Moreover another specific find of great relevance is sickle blades of stone set in bitumen.
This is perhaps the earliest indication of the use of tools specifically for agricultural purposes. Clearly otherwise arid zone harboured agriculture due to environmental conditions made available by alluvial carrying rivers.