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Department of Archaeology


In addressing the overarching question “Does climate change really cause collapse?”,

TwoRains will explore a number of subordinate questions, including:

  • How did the abrupt weakening of the ISM at c.2100 BC affect the distribution and intensity of summer (and winter) rain across NW India?
  • Did the abrupt weakening of the ISM coincide with a dramatic change in the Indus settlement distribution?
  • To what degree were Indus farming strategies adapted to different micro-ecologies in NW India, and did they change after the abrupt weakening of the ISM at c.2100 BC?
  • Was there an appreciable change in the water stress experienced by plants before, during and after the Indus urban phase, and particularly after the abrupt weakening of the ISM at c.2100 BC?
  • Were there changes over time in the foodstuffs and liquids consumed by Indus populations?
  • What changes to settlement, social, and subsistence systems, and food security might be expected in the wake of an abrupt weakening of the ISM at c.2100 BC?

TwoRains will address these questions by pursuing specific objectives through four interrelated work-packages: three focusing on the evidence for palaeoclimate, rainfall, landscapes, settlement, water stress and life-ways on the plains of NW India for the period between c.3000 and 1500 BC; and a fourth, which will integrate the resultant data to identify cross-correspondence and formulate agent-based models that establish which approaches to subsistence might have been sustainable, and enabled resilience in the face of climate and culture change.


 Diagram of the TwoRains work packages showing the timeline and content of the different packages.

Work-package 1. Climate

Work-package 2. Landscapes

Work-package 3. Water stress & life-ways

Work-package 4. Agent-based modelling of strategies of adaptation and resilience

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