Notes of Chapter 8 Vital Villages, Thriving Towns Class 6th History

Iron tools and agriculture

• Around 2500 years ago, there is evidence for the growing use of iron tools.

• These included axes for clearing forests and the iron ploughshare.

Other steps to increase production: irrigation

• Irrigation was also used to increased production other than use of new tools and the system of transplantation.

• Irrigation works that were built during this time included canals, wells, tanks, and artificial lakes.

Who lived in the villages?

• There were at least three different kinds of people living in most villages in the southern and northern parts of the subcontinent.

• In the Tamil region,
→ Large landowners were known as vellalar
→ 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 (often the largest landowner).
→ Independent farmers were known as grihapatis
→ Landless labourers were known as the dasa karmakara (had to earn a living working on the fields owned by others.)

• In most villages, there were also some crafts persons such as the blacksmith, potter, carpenter and weaver.

Finding out about cities: stories, travellers, sculpture and archaeology

• Jatakas stories that were probably composed by ordinary people, and then written down and preserved by Buddhist monks.

• Sculptors carved scenes depicting peoples’ lives in towns and villages, as well as in the forest which were used to decorate railings, pillars and gateways of buildings that were visited by people.

• Rows of pots, or ceramic rings arranged one on top of the other, known as ring wells, were used as toilets in some cases, and as drains and garbage dumps.

• Accounts of sailors and travellers who visited the early cities also provided information about the past.


• Archaeologists have found several thousands of punch-marked coins belonging to this period made up of silver or copper have been found belonging to this period.

Cities with many functions

• A city performed a variety of functions.

• Mathura was an important settlement for more than 2500 years as it was located at the cross roads of two major routes of travel and trade.
→ It was also a centre for arts, crafts, religion and administration according to inscriptions that have been found.

Crafts and crafts persons

• Archaeological evidence for crafts which include extremely fine pottery, known as the Northern Black Polished Ware (NBPW).

• The famous centres for cloth manufacturing were Varanasi and Madurai, where both men and women worked.

• Many crafts persons and merchants formed associations called shrenis.

A closer look — Arikamedu

• Between 2200 and 1900 years ago, Arikamedu was a coastal settlement where ships unloaded goods from distant lands.

• A massive brick structure, which may have been a warehouse, was found at the site.

• Finds also include pottery from the Mediterranean region, such as amphorae (tall double-handled jars that contained liquids such as wine or oil) and stamped red-glazed pottery, known as Arretine Ware, which was named after a city in Italy.

• Roman lamps, glassware and gems have also been found at the site.

NCERT Solutions of Chapter 9 Vital Villges, Thriving Towns

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