Balathal is an archaeological site of Ahar-Banas Culture located in Vallabhnagar tehsil of Udaipur district of Rajasthan. It is located on banks of Katar river. The site was discovered by V. N. Misra during a survey in 1962-63.
This ancient site was occupied during two cultural periods: the Chalcolithic and the Early Historic. Excavation at Balathal revealed a Chalcolithic period stretching from 3000 to 1500 BC and an Early Historic period dated to 5-3 century BC.
Chalcolithic Phase (3000 -1500 BC):
- Balathal was part of the Ahar-Banas Complex and can be connected to other Ahar-Banas culture sites through artifacts that have been discovered.
- The period is characterized by well-planned structures. The houses found at the site are square or rectangular made of mud brick and stones.
- Stone objects including saddle querns, mullers, rubber stone, hammer stone and copper objects including choppers, knives, razors, chisels and tanged arrowhead have been found.
- It has been determined that the people practiced agro-pastoralism, which is a mixture of both farming and herding animals. Pottery at the site has been thoroughly analyzed and tells much about life at this ancient site.
After the Chalcolithic period the site was abandoned for a long time till the Early Historic period.
Early Historic Phase (5 – 3 BC):
- Excavation of early historic phase produced the evidence of large-scale use of iron implements, suggesting its important role in the economy of that period.
- The people lived in wattle and daub houses and the floors were made of mud and stone rammed together.
- Iron working in the form of furnaces with iron slags and abundant objects like nails, arrow head, lamps, needle, hoe, spatula, knife etc. are found on site.
Most peculiar item:
A skeleton was found buried at Balathal believed to be 4,000 year old skeleton of a man believed to be 37 years when he died. The skeleton it provides the oldest evidence of leprosy in human beings.