added by archaeologs Important site of a series of settlements of the Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods in Baluchistan, western Pakistan, important as the earliest farming site known in the area, perhaps dating from the 8th-6th millennia BC. The earliest phase was aceramic and the evidence at Mehrgarh provides a clear picture of an early agricultural settlement exhibiting domestic architecture and a variety of well-established crafts. The use of sea shells and of various semiprecious stones, including turquoise and lapis lazuli, indicates the existence of trade networks extending from the coast and perhaps also from Central Asia. Subsequent phases in the 5th, 4th, and 3rd millennia show a developing society, characterized by craft specialization (with specialist production of pottery figurines and beads of semi-precious stones) and extensive trade networks linking Baluchistan with eastern Iran and southern Turkmenistan. Although no Harappan Civilization phase is represented here, the culture of Mehrgarh provides a plausible local antecedent for this civilization. It was probably occupied until the beginning of the Mature Harappan in the 3rd millennium BC.