The Kulli culture was a prehistoric culture in
southern Balochistan (Gedrosia) in Pakistan
flourishing ca. 2500 - 2000 BCE., with pottery
and other artefacts similar to those of the Indus
It is not clear whether the Kulli culture is a local
variation of the Indus Valley Civilization or an own
The culture was thus named after an
archaeological site near the area of Kolwa,
discovered by Sir Aurel Stein.
Globular red earthenware jar, the upper part of
the body decorated by a wide register of scenes
with stylised caprids divided by vertical narrow
Around 2600 BCE, most sites in northern and
central Balochistan were abandoned, as a
consequence of the expansion of the Indus
Civilisation into their territory. Nevertheless,
southern Baluchistan continued to be inhabited
by a civilisation to be later labelled "Kulli.
More than 100 settlement sites are presently
located and known but very few of them have
Some of them have the size of small towns and
are much similar to those of the Indus Valley
Civilization. Houses are constructed of local
stone along streets.The latter are sometimes
paved. Many a times there are stairs on the street
level which allow access to higher levels of the
houses and to terraces. The settlements are often
placed at important strategic positions on small
hills overlooking the surrounding country side, on
top of mountains or terrace hills, overlooking the
valleys and controlling the plains and passes.
Other sites are small hamlets built in the open
plain. Although they have no defenses, they are
of a very compact appearance.
Agriculture was mainly the economical base of
this culture. Close to numerous Kulli culture sites
dams were found, providing evidence for a highly
developed water management system.
Murda Sang is one town, about 35 ha big. The
latest occupation level belongs to the Kulli
Several other sites have become known in the
later years from Makran to southern Kalat and
Nindowari, to Nausharo in the Kachhi plain, and
to the eastern foot of the Kirthar Range in
Certain motifs and vessel shapes which are found
in southeastern Iran and on the Arabian
Peninsula, are sometimes also linked to the Kulli
culture and are seen as indications for long-
The lay-out of some sites resemble the plan of
Harappan sites. Building materials were large
ashlars or boulders, and the houses are often
preserved to a considerable height.
Ceramic vessels from the Kulli phase have been
unearthed at Nindowari, Nausharo and other
small sites in Baluchistan. Their surface often
painted with reddish-brown slip designs, one of
the most common being the ensemble of vertical
strokes depicted on the neck, as in the case of a
small fragment unearthed at Bakkar Buthi, a small
Harappan site located in the Kanrach Valley, a
remote area bordered by the Mor and Pab
Ranges, and as in the globular jar here illustrated.
While this vessel would have been most probably
used to carry water, it is also the creation of an
artist with a trained eye. The form of the work,
built up from coiled clay, is elegant and refined.
The pronounced globular form of the vessel
tapers into the shoulder, where it juts inwards into
the short rim. The upper half of the vessel has
been decorated with painted motifs, including a
number of ibexes with long curving horns. These
patterns would seem to confirm its appurtenance
to the Kulli culture of southern Baluchistan,
possibly dated to the late 3rd Millennium BCE.
Comparable works are to be found in: G. Possehl,
Kulli: An Exploration of an Ancient Civilization in
South Asia, Durham, 1986.