Burzahoma is located in the northwest of Srinagar. It is about 20 kilometers away from Srinagar. It is a hilly area and the famous Dal lake is fully visible from this. This place has historical significance.R.S. Sharma, the noted-historian of Ancient India says that the history of Burzahom goes back to 2,750 BC. He further says that the main characteristic of Burzahom is that dogs were buried with their masters in pits. This feature is not seen in any other Neolithic site. Apart from these, he placed Burzahom in the North-Western part of the Indian Subcontinent. Krishna Reddy in his IAS book says that 39 Neolithic sites have been found in Jammu and Kashmir. Among all the sites, Burzahom and Gufkral are of much importance. The most fascinating thing at Burzahom in pottery was polished black ware pot with mat impression. H De Terre and TT Peterson, the two English archeologists , after studying the stones in 1935, had predicted that there might have been a settlement here. After this, Archeological Survey of India began digging here in 1960 under the supervision of T.N. Khazanchi. And there was a lot to store for the World in general and for Jammu and Kashmir in particular, when after a careful study, the experts came to conclude that there was an ancient civilization here. Evidences depicted that this was a pre-historical civilization that is still counted as the oldest civilization of Jammu and Kashmir.
The things that had been found here tell us, how they lived in the long past,in which houses they live and what kind of things they used. It is believed that Burzahoma belongs to the Neolithic Age or the New Stone Age( 3000-1000 BC). Experts have divided this civilization into four periods or ages.The four periods are: Period 1and 2 belong to Neolithic age, period 3 belonged to Megalithic and the period 4 belonged to early historical period. But I will talk about three periods.
In the first period, the inhabitants of Burzahoma used to live in pit dwellings. They were three to four metres in depth and four to five metres in width. The mouths of the pits were narrow than the bases. They were dug by sharp pointed stone tools. In the pits, there were steps and ladder access togo deeper down into the pits. Holes havebeen found around the pits to fix the wooden poles in land to support roofs made out of birch trees in order to protect themselves against rain and snow. Half burnt or burnt birch found at the mouths of the pits suggest that they used birch. In the pits, ash and charcoals were found that told about the usage of fire for different purposes. Apart from these, there were other evidences that showed that they used fire places outside the pits in Summers. There are many opinions regarding the purpose of pits. Some are of the opinion that they lived in pits to protect themselves from extreme cold and snowfall while some are of the opinion that the pits were used for storing things. People used earthen pots. The pots were irregular in shape. Black ware potswere made with the mat-impressions at the bottom. It is believed that they left their pots on the mats for drying. These pots have been discovered in North China and Baluchistan. According to some historians, it shows the flourishing trade that was prevalent at that time. Moreover, the inhabitants of Burzahom used to catch fish. The bones and stone tools were: harpoons, needles with or without eyes, saws, knife, awls, daggers, etc. Copper found here is believed to have come from China or they were the imitation of Chinese products.
After this, the second period of Burzahoma starts. In this age, people lived in mud huts or houses. People left living in under ground pits. Earth was filled in the pits to make it plain. This period also witnessed the evolution of timber for constructional purposes. Inthe latter part of this period, people used wheel for making pots. A wheel made red ware pot had been discovered. It contains 950 beads that talks about the engineering of the natives of Burzahoma. Many pots were coloured or polished. It is believed that these kinds of pots came from outside. In the second period, changes came only in poetry and in burial system. Human skeletons and animal skeletons were found in many pits. The pits were filled with birch ash, stones and other things. In many pits, the skeletons of dogs, Kashmiri Stag( the Hangul) and the skeletons of humans were found. The presence of agriculture was observed in both period 1 and period 2 of Burzahom. People used barley, wheat and lentils. About lentils, it is said that it provided a link with the Central Asia. Burzahom is also taken as a part of the Northern Neolithic culture of Asia ( Krishna Reddy’s IAS book).
To be continued