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|Vital Villages, Thriving Towns
|Vital Villages, Thriving Towns CBSE Class 6 History Chapter 8 Notes
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Vital Villages, Thriving Towns
Iron Tools and Agriculture
- Iron materials are a part of our daily lives.
- The use of iron’ started in the sub-continent around 3000 years ago.
- A number of iron tools and weapons were found in the megalithic burials.
- There is evidence for the growing use of iron tools around 2500 years ago.
- These included axes for clearing forests and the iron ploughshare.
Steps to Increase Production
- The kings and their kingdoms could not have existed without the support of flourishing villages.
- While new tools and the system of transplantation increased production, irrigation was also used.
- During this time, canals, wells, tanks and artificial lakes were built for irrigation works.
Who Lived in the Villages?
There were at least three different kinds of people living in most of the villages in the Southern and Northern parts of the sub-continent. They are described as below:
- In the Tamil region, large landowners were known as vellalar, and ordinary ploughmen were known as uzhavar.
- Landless labourers, including slaves, were known as kadaisiyar and adimai.
- In the Northern part of the country, the village headman was known as the grama bhojaka.
- This system was hereditary.
- The grama bhojaka was the largest landowner.
- He had slaves and also hired workers to cultivate the land.
- The king often used him to collect taxes from the village.
- He functioned as a judge and sometimes as a policeman.
- There were other independent farmers, known as grihapatis, who also had number of lands.
- There were other men and women, such as the dasa karmakara, who had no land.
- They had to work in the fields of others for their livelihoods.
In most of the villages, there were also some crafts persons like blacksmith, potter, carpenter and weaver.
Finding Out about Cities:
Stories, Travellers, Sculpture and Archaeology
- Jatakas were the stories that were probably composed by ordinary people, and then written down and preserved by Buddhist monks.
- Another way of finding out about early cities is from the accounts of sailors and travellers who visited them.
- One of the most detailed accounts that has been found was by an unknown Greek sailor.
- He described all the ports that he visited in great details.
- Now, we can use other kinds of evidence to find out about life in some of these early cities.
- Sculptors carved scenes depicting people’s lives in towns and villages, as well as in the forest.
- Many of these sculptures were used to decorate pillars, railings and gateways of buildings.
- Many of the cities that developed from about 2500 years ago were capitals of the mahajanapadas.
- These cities were surrounded by massive fortification walls.
- In many cities, archaeologists have found rows of pots or ceramic rings, arranged one on top of the other.
- These are known as ring wells.
- These ring wells seem to have been used as toilets in some cases and as drains and garbage dumps.
- These ring wells are usually found in individual houses.
- Hardly some remains of palaces, markets or of homes of ordinary people have been safe.
- Perhaps some are yet to be discovered by archaeologists.
- Others, made of wood, mud brick and thatch, may not have survived.
- Archaeologists have found several thousands of coins belonging to around 500 years ago.
- These earliest coins were punch marked coins.
- These coins have been given this name because the designs were punched on to the metal – silver or copper.
Cities with Many Functions
- Mathura was important town for settlement, for more than 2500 years.
- It was important because it was situated at the cross roads of two major routes of trade and travel – from the North-West to the East and from North to South.
- In Mathura, there were fortifications around the city, and several shrines.
- Farmers and herders from adjoining areas provided food for the people in the city.
- Mathura was famous for its extremely fine sculptures.
- Mathura became the second capital city of the Kushanas around 2000 years ago.
- It was also a religious centre-there were Buddhist monasteries, Jaina shrines, and it was also an important centre for the worship of Krishna.
- In Mathura, many inscriptions on surfaces such as stone slabs and statues have been found.
- These are short inscriptions, recording gifts which were made by men and sometimes by women, to monasteries and shrines.
- These inscriptions were made by kings and queens, officers, merchants and crafts persons.
- Inscriptions of Mathura told us about the different professionals of this city such as goldsmiths, blacksmiths, weavers, basket makers, garland makers, perfumers etc.
Crafts and Crafts Persons
- We find many archaeological evidences of crafts.
- These include extremely fine pottery, known as the Northern Black Polished Ware.
- It gets its name from the fact that it is generally found in the Northern part of the sub-continent. It is usually black in colour and has a fine sheen.
- The archaeological evidence for many crafts may not have survived.
- The manufacture of cloth was important at that time.
- There were famous centres for cloth, such as Varanasi in the North, and Madurai in the South.
- Men as well as women worked in these centres.
- Many crafts persons and merchants formed associations known as shrenis.
- These shrenis provided training, procured raw material and distributed the finished product.
- Then shrenis of merchants organised the trade.
- Shrenis also served as banks, where rich men and women deposited money.
- Some part of the interest came from their investments, was returned or used to support religious institutions like monasteries.
A Closer Look-Arikamedu
- Between 2200 and 1900 years ago, Arikamedu was a coastal settlement where ships unloaded goods from distant lands.
- A huge brick structure, which may have been a warehouse, was found at the site.
- Pottery from the Mediterranean region, like amphorae (tall double-handled jars that contained liquids such as wine or oil) and stamped red-glazed pottery, called Arretine Ware, which was named after a city in Italy were found.
- The Arretine Ware was made by pressing wet clay into a stamped mould.
- There was also another kind of pottery, which was made locally, though Roman designs were used.
- Roman lamps, glassware and gems have also been found at Arikamedu.
- Small tanks were probably used to dye cloth.
- Beads were made from semi-precious stones and glass.
1. Iron: It is a principal metal used for making tools and machines.
2. Village: A settlement usually larger than a hamlet and smaller than a town.
3. Irrigation: To water the crops by means or canals, wells or tanks.
4. Grama bhojaka: It is denoted as headman of a village. He had a large number of land. He had slaves and hired workers to cultivate the land.
5. Port: A town or city with a harbour, especially one where ships load and unload goods.
6. Ring wells: Rows of pots or ceramic rings arranged one on the top of the others, are known as ring wells.
7. City: A place where people live that is larger or more important than a town, an area where many people live and work.
8. Shrenis: It was a group of merchants who provided training, procured raw material and distributed the finished products. Sometimes shrenis also served as banks.