I. Prehistoric Times > M. Later Old World Prehistory (3000 B.C.E. and Afterward) > 6. Asia
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  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
 
 
6. Asia
 
The later prehistory of Asia is still little known, especially that of humbler village societies rather than spectacular civilizations.  1
 
a. South Asia
 
By about 3500 B.C.E., hundreds of small farming villages dotted the Indus floodplain in northwest Pakistan. Many of these settlements boasted of fortifications and planned streets. Many villages and small towns practiced intensive agriculture and were built just above river flood level. The stone and mud-brick houses of Kot Diji were clustered behind massive stone flood dikes and defense walls, for neighboring communities quarreled constantly about the control of prime agricultural land. As the valley population rose, so did pressure on the land. Forests were denuded for firewood used in brick making, sheep and goats stripped the natural vegetation. The need for communal irrigation and flood control works led to the emergence of the Harappan Civilization in the Indus Valley by 3000 B.C.E. The Harappans traded with Sumerian city-states and highland Iran over many centuries.  2
The Harappan Civilization declined after 2000 B.C.E., a development that led to a massive expansion of village settlement in Gujerat to the south. In about 1500 B.C.E., Aryan nomads swept south over India. A few centuries later, iron technology arrived in the subcontinent, enabling farmers to break up the hard soils of the Ganges plain in the east. This region was to become the heartland of later Indian empires. India was invaded by King Darius in 516 B.C.E. and by Alexander the Great two centuries later.  3
The period between 200 B.C.E. and 300 C.E. saw India linked by regular trading routes, not only to Arabia and the Red Sea, but also to Southeast Asia, as Buddhism and Hinduism spread over enormous areas of the eastern world.  4
 
 
 
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

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