The Ganga plain has been the cradle of Indian civilization right from the ancient times. This is well attested by the archaeological findings of a number of city and village sites of the Early Historical times. The region also witnessed formation of early states and urban centres. According to ancient texts, Kashi was an important janpada, with Varanasi as its capital. On account of antiquity and continuity, it is also claimed to be one of the oldest living cities of the world. The expertise in tangible skills in technologies, arts and crafts, and spiritual attainments reflected in ideologies and institutions, have placed Varanasi at the forefront of the cultural centres of the country.
The answers to many questions related to the early history of the city lie buried under its fertile plains. The recent archaeological excavations at Rajghat were aimed to estimate the dates as well as the stages of the growth of Varanasi. The findings reported in the present book have brought to light many hidden aspects of this city, which evidence origin and proficiency in a number of crafts like pottery making, ivory carving, and technologies such as glass, copper, iron, lapidary and gold smithy. The growth of Varanasi from rural to flourishing trade city, which happened during the 1st millennium bce to the early centuries of the Common Era, was the result of a continuous historical process of development. The book not only brings to light several important findings, but also adds significantly to the history of cities of the Early Historical period in the Ganga plain.