Ochre Coloured Pottery culture

The Ochre Coloured Pottery culture (OCP) is a 4th millennium BC to 2nd millennium BC Bronze Age culture of the Indo-Gangetic Plain, extending from eastern Punjab to northeastern Rajasthan and western Uttar Pradesh.[1][2] It is considered a candidate for association with the early Indo-Aryan or Vedic culture.

The pottery had a red slip but gave off an ochre color on the fingers of archaeologists who excavated it, hence the name. It was sometimes decorated with black painted bands and incised patterns. It is often found in association with copper hoards, which are assemblages of copper weapons and other artifacts such as anthropomorphic figures. OCP culture was rural and agricultural, characterized by cultivation of rice, barley, and legumes, and domestication of cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, horses, and dogs. Most sites were small villages in size, but densely distributed. Houses were typically made of wattle-and-daub. Other artifacts include animal and human figurines, and ornaments made of copper and terracotta.[3]

OCP culture was a contemporary neighbor to Harappan civilization, and between 2500 BC and 2000 BC, the people of Upper Ganga valley were using Indus script. While the eastern OCP did not use Indus script, the whole of OCP had nearly the same material culture and likely spoke the same language throughout its expanse.[4][5] The OCP marked the last stage of the North Indian Bronze Age and was succeeded by the Iron Age black and red ware culture and the Painted Grey Ware culture.


Early specimens of the characteristic ceramics found near Jodhpura, Rajasthan, date from the 3rd millennium (this Jodhpura is located in the district of Jaipur and should not be confused with the city of Jodhpur). Several sites of culture flourish along the banks of Sahibi River and its tributaries such as Krishnavati river and Soti river, all originating from the Aravalli range and flowing from south to north-east direction towards Yamuna before disappearing in Mahendragarh district of Haryana.[6]

The culture reached the Gangetic plain in the early 2nd millennium. Recently, the Archaeological Survey of India discovered copper axes and some pieces of pottery in its excavation at the Saharanpur district of Uttar Pradesh. The Ochre Coloured Pottery culture has the potential to be called a proper civilisation (e.g., the North Indian Ochre civilisation) like the Harappan civilisation, but is termed only as a culture pending further discoveries.[7]

Copper hoards

The term copper hoards refers to different assemblages of copper-based artefacts in the northern areas of the Indian Subcontinent that are believed to date from the 2nd millennium BC. Few derive from controlled excavations and several different regional groups are identifiable: southern Haryana/northern Rajasthan, the Ganges-Yamuna plain, Chota Nagpur, and Madhya Pradesh, each with their characteristic artefact types. Initially, the copper hoards were known mostly from the Ganges-Yamuna doab and most characterizations dwell on this material.

Characteristic hoard artefacts from southern Haryana/northern Rajasthan include flat axes (celts), harpoons, double axes, and antenna-hilted swords. The doab has a related repertory. Artefacts from the Chota Nagpur area are very different; they seem to resemble ingots and are votive in character.

The raw material may have been derived from a variety of sources in Rajasthan (Khetri), Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha (especially Singhbhum), and Madhya Pradesh (Malanjkhand).

See also


  • Yule, P. (1985), Metalwork of the Bronze Age in India, Munich: C.H. Beck, ISBN 3-406-30440-0
  • Yule, P.; Hauptmann, A.; Hughes, M. (1992) [1989], The Copper Hoards of the Indian Subcontinent: Preliminaries for an Interpretation, Jahrbuch des Römisch-Germanischen Zentralmuseums Mainz, pp. 36, 193–275, ISSN 0076-2741
  • Gupta, S.P. (ed.) (1995), The lost Sarasvati and the Indus Civilization, Jodhpur: Kusumanjali PrakashanCS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  • Sharma, Deo Prakash (2002), Newly Discovered Copper Hoard, Weapons of South Asia (C. 2800-1500 B.C.), Delhi: Bharatiya Kala Prakashan
  • Yule, Paul (2014), A New Prehistoric Anthropomorphic Figure from the Sharqiyah, Oman, in: ‘My Life is like the Summer Rose’ Maurizio Tosi e l’Archeologia come modo de vivere, Papers in Honour of Maurizio Tosi on his 70th Birthday, Oxford: BAR Intern. Series 2690
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