In recent decades, archaeological research has essentially focused on the Indus civilization, other Chalcolithic cultures and the early historical period. Instead, prehistory on the one hand and the Hindu period on the other appear rather neglected. Finally, the Muslim period is almost completely neglected. Alongside numerous, though often limited excavations, Indian scholars have come to largely new discoveries thanks to the widely used C-14 method. Among the excavated sites that fall into the “Indus civilization” and which now cover an area that reaches the Gangetic plain to the east and to the Tāptī in the south, the most relevant are Lothal and Kālibangan, both in Saurāshtra. In Kālibangan, a city with a typical structure of this civilization, there are also masonry buildings that belong to a epoch preceding the actual Harappā culture. It is the opinion of Indian archaeologists that while the “metropolitan” cities of Harappā and Mohenjo-dāro flourished in a rather short period of time, between 2350 and 2000 BC. C., the “provincial” cities of Saurāshtra arose late, but remained alive until around 1750. This new dating naturally aggravates the problem relating to the long period between the end of the Indus cities and the beginning of historical period. Around 2000 a. C., at the same time as the end of Harappā and Mohenjo-dāro, there is, again in Saurāshtra, the rise of the culture of Banas, characterized by the absence of microliths, by the abundant Black and Red Ware and buildings still built in baked brick. Around 1700 BC, another Chalcolithic culture overlaps it, that of Mālwā, in which there are instead microliths and simple clay huts. The pottery is light brown or red with black designs. Third comes the already known culture of Jorwe, datable to 1400-1100 BC. Christ. The Black and Red Ware it spreads together with the rice culture in several locations of the India central-western and gangetic, according to a trend in which chronology and geography do not agree. It is already found in 2200 BC in Lothal, in 2000 in Ahar, in 1700 in Navdatoli, in 1500 in Eran, in 1200 in Atranjikhera and only in 800 BC in Chirand (in this locality of Bihār the first Neolithic settlement was identified consisting of the Ganges valley: since the lowest levels of the Chalcolithic culture are dated to 1650 BC, the beginning of the previous Neolithic culture should date back to around 2000 BC). The use of iron puts an end to the Chalcolithic culture. Also in this case some recent discoveries have revolutionized the already accepted dating. In fact, the iron finds found in Atranjikhera (Uttar Pradesh) in the north and Hallūr (Mysore) in the south date back to around 1000 BC, if not earlier. Once the dating of iron has been lowered, the problem of the megalithic culture of the Deccan also changes perspective. Imaginatively dated before the Wheeler excavations at Brahmagiri, and then assigned by this to the first centuries BC, the megaliths become ancient again. In the excavation of the megalithic sites, the University of Nāgpur was particularly active: the excavations of Takalghāṭ, Khapa, Kauṇḍinyapura I, Mahurjari and Junapani, all in the Vidarbha region (Mahārāshṭra), are to be mentioned. For India 2019, please check philosophynearby.com.
Closer to the historical era, an important excavation was conducted at Sonkh (Mathurā), where, through the medieval and gupta levels, the most ancient kuṣāṇa level was reached with the discovery of an apsidal temple, already founded in the śuṅga era, dedicated to the cult of the Nāga and equipped with a balustrade, for the first time found in a temple. In Saurāshtra, the two limited excavations of Nagara and Dwarka revealed a very long occupation, which spanned the most lively period in the first centuries of the Christian era, characterized by Roman amphorae and Red Polished Ware. Not far away, in Devnimori (now submerged by the water of a dam), a Buddhist settlement has been excavated – probably of the Sammitīya school of the Small Vehicle – which next to an older vih ā ra revealed a large st ū pa from the end of the 4th century, adorned with sculptures that appear to form the bridge between the art of Gandhara and the art of Gupta.
In Maharāshtra, the excavation of Bhokardan, the sātavāhana city of Bhogavardana, in addition to the Roman amphorae and the Red Polished Ware, gave a mutilated ivory statuette very similar to the famous one in Pompeii. In Pauni, near Nāgpur, two ancient Buddhist st ū pa have been partially excavated. The sculptures that come from the first st ū pa, expanded several times, are very close to those of Bhārut and Sāñcī, so much so that Pauni can be considered the transmission center of Buddhism (and of the Northern Black Polished Ware) in the southern regions. Another Buddhist site, but much later, in Bengal, is Rājbāḍīdāṇgā, identified with Karṇasuvarṇa, the metropolis of Śaśāṅka, the first king of Bengal (7th century AD). Finally, the Buddhist site of Salihundam (Āndhra Pradesh) shows almost uninterrupted occupation from the 2nd-3rd century. to. C. to the 7th-8th century. d. Christ. For the Hindu era, there are in all the India large monumental restorations, which at times – as in Aihoḷe (Mysore) – serve to clarify the chronology of the temples. In Paṭṭaḍakal, not far from Aihole, the ruins of a pillared temple probably from the Sātavāhana era have appeared.