Hallur Archeological site

Hallur is an archaeological site located in the Haveri district (which was carved out of Dharwad district), in the Indian state of Karnataka. Hallur, South India's earliest Iron Age site, lies in a semi-arid region with scrub vegetation, located on the banks of the river Tungabhadra. The site is a low mound about 6.4 m high.The site was first discovered by Nagaraja Rao in 1962, and excavated in 1965.

The excavations at Hallur by Nagaraja Rao revealed two periods of occupation,
Period I: Neolithic-Chalcolithic
Period II: An overlapping period between Neolithic-Chalcolithic and early Iron Age.

Period I consisted of two phases of human occupation dating to 2135-1755 B.C. and 1435-1230 B.C. In Period II, it was found that a new set of humans had arrived at this site with iron arrowheads, daggers and knives. Their pottery was generally black-and-red ware with lines and patterns in white drawn over them. The iron found in this site was subjected to radiocarbon dating by Tata Institute of Fundamental Research and it was found that these iron objects belonged to about 1000 B.C. This was contrary to the British archaeologist D. H. Gordon's theory that iron was not used in India prior to 250 B.C.Further excavations by archaeozoologist K. R. Alur in 1971 led to the discovery of horse bones (Equus caballus Linn), which were dated to a period before the presumed Aryan invasion. This discovery created a controversy since it countervened the common belief that horses were introduced into the southern parts of India only by the Aryans.

Archaeobotanical findings at Hallur indicated that finger millet, kodo millet, rice, black gram, green gram and hyacinth beans were cultivated here. Ornaments made of carnelian, ceramic, gold and antler were also found. Apart from the bones of the horse; bones of cattle, sheep, goat and dog were found.

The housing structures found here consisted of circular floors, composed of schist chips and mud pounded hard to make a hard surface. The walls made of bamboo and mud, provided support to a conical thatched roof.One of the houses was found to have a circular fireplace containing ash and charcoal. The region below the floors was a burial chamber consisting of urns used for child burials. Chalcolithic blade tools of black quartzite, small copper axes and fish hooks are also found. The transition to the Iron Age period is marked by the presence of megaliths and iron implements.

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