This chapter presents conclusions about the physical, social, demographic and health circumstances surrounding the end of a period of Indian prehsitory known as the Deccan Chalcolithic (2200–700 B.C.). Paleoclimate research demonstrates that there was no large-scale climate shift at the end of this period in Indian prehistory and that, in fact, civilization has flourished in India within the context of a semiarid environment for at least 5,000 years. Local environmental degredation is supported by the archaeological record. Soil salinization due to unsustainable agricultural practices to feed growing settlements provides an adequate explanation for the abandonment of the majority of Chalcolithic settlements around 1000 B.C. The biodemographic profiles of the human population at Inamgaon suggest that socio-sanitation problems and starvation were an increasing problem. The chapter challenges previously accepted models for understanding the Deccan Chalcolithic period and presents a new synthetic model for understanding human–environment interactions in Indian prehistory.
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