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Schwartzberg Atlas, v. , p. 156.

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Ehrich, R. W., ed. Chronologies in Old World archaeology. 2d ed. Chicago, 1965.

Fairservis, Walter A., Jr. The roots of ancient India. 2d ed. rev. Chicago, 1975.

Gordon, Douglas Hamilton. The pre-historic background of Indian culture. Bom- bay, 1958.

Hammond, Norman, ed. South Asian archaeology. Park Ridge, N.J., 1973.

Piggott, Stuart, ed. Prehistoric India to 1000 B.C. London, 1962.

Sankalia, Hashmukhlal Dhirajlal. Prehistory and protohistory in India and Paki- stan. Bombay, 1962.

Subbarao, Bendapudi. The personality of India. . . . 2d ed. Baroda, 1958.

Wheeler, Robert Eric Mortimer. Civilizations of the Indus Valley and beyond. 2d ed. London, 1966.

—. Early India and Pakistan: To Ashoka. Rev. ed. London, 1968.

—. The Indus Civilization. Supplementary volume to the Cambridge history of India, 3d ed. Cambridge, 1968.



The three distribution maps on plate II.1 all relate to stone tools, but properly speaking only the first two belong wholly to the Stone Ages. "Stone Ages," with its subdivisions, is the name usually given to the earliest of man's cultural stages. It is an archaeologist's term that supposes that an observable, simple technology characterizes other inferred aspects of cul- ture, such as (for the Early and Middle Stone Ages) a hunting and gathering way of life and a band type of social organiza- tion. As is discussed below, no such inferences can validly be made from the presence of the specialized tools called "micro- liths." These do not in themselves depict a cultural stage; con- sequently the map of their distribution occurs together with the Stone Age maps for convenience alone.

II.1 (a). Early Stone Age

Beyond South Asia, and especially in Africa, the archaeol- ogy of the Pleistocene epoch shows the course of man's bio- logical evolution. Beginning with the crude pebble tools used by the somewhat hesitantly walking, though erect, australo- pithecines, through to the appearance of Homo sapiens, whose precision grip enabled him to produce specialized tools, stones tell the story. As elsewhere, so also in South Asia there was a man behind each of the thousands of stone tools gathered in museum storerooms and private collections. It seems neces- sary to recall this obvious fact, since thus far not a single hominid bone of Pleistocene date can be associated with them. This circumstance, odd enough in itself, becomes even more odd with the recognition that a likely ancestral form of the African australopithecines is Ramapithecus. This prehominid ape, perhaps already walking semierect some fourteen million years ago, was first identified in the Siwalik Hills, in what is now Pakistan, in 1935. An East African form of Ramapithecus has also been found, suggesting that during late Miocene times the environment in these two distant parts of the world was similar. Broad watercourses, bordered by patches of forest grading into open savanna, stretched across what is now Ara- bia to link Asia with Africa. But, whereas in Africa the se- quence of fossil man is reasonably continuous, in South Asia there are no remains at all to bridge the gap between Rama- pithecus and the earliest dated skeletal find of modern man of 10,000 years ago. Further research is likely to alter this, since Pleistocene remains of other megafauna such as Bos (bison), Cervus (deer). Elephas, Equus, Hippopotamus, Rhinoceros, and Sus (pig) have survived.

Recent studies show that the beginnings of the Pleistocene may extend back two million years or more. The alternating cycles of wetter and dryer periods that characterize the Pleis- tocene climate of South Asia correspond broadly to the cli- matic fluctuations of the Mediterranean regions as shown in the chart on plate II.1. They are best recognized along river terraces, and it is from these that the cultural evidence for early man's activities also comes. This evidence consists of stone tools used in a hunting and gathering way of life; to crush bones, crack nuts, slash tough skins, and pulp fibrous plants. Because of their durability, the archaeologist concen- trates on stones, but tools made of organic materials such as wood and bones were also in use. Excavated sites, as opposed to surface collections, of Pleistocene date in South Asia are few, and the distribution pattern of the stone tools along wa- tercourses may reflect archaeological exploration techniques rather than past reality. Nonetheless, locating Palaeolithic campsites close to water sources afforded good hunting op- portunities and compensated for the inability to store supplies.

It was long thought possible to divide South Asia's Early Stone Age into northern and southern cultural spheres. In the north the best explored regions are those of the Soan and Beas Rivers. The climatic phases in the regions of these rivers are not yet well established, but there are indications that the ear- liest tools found there correspond to the late Lower and early Middle Pleistocene (see chart), when conditions were cold and wet. These tools are mostly large, heavy flakes, constitut- ing the Pre-Soan industry. Following them is the better-studied Soan sequence proper, for which an internal evolution over time has been recognized on the basis of both typology and stratigraphy. There remains, however, some question whether the Pre-Soan can be taken as genetically ancestral to the Soan. The earliest Soan phases coincided with the onset of warmer and drier times and are marked by a high proportion of quartz- ite pebbles, called "chopping tools." and some thick flake "cleavers." This industry gradually became transformed over some 300,000 years and passed through a series of advances in flaking techniques that led to the Late Soan industry. The cultural affinities of the Soan tradition with those of regions beyond South Asia are somewhat ambiguous, but the cleavers especially suggest China and Southeast Asia. Similar tools there are associated with fossil remains of the fire-using pithecan- thropines (Homo erectus). On the other hand, the pebble chopping tools recall Africa. There is thus reason to think that in Pleistocene times the northern part of the South Asian sub- continent was a transition zone between East and West. If so, this should become firmly established once the Early Stone Age archaeology of Baluchistan and the Gangetic Plain be- comes better known.

The Madrasian stone industry was first recognized in 1863 at the site of Attirampakkam, near the city of Madras. Its type tool, the bifacially worked hand ax, is generally found together with larger flakes struck from a prepared core with a hammer stone. The pear-shaped and ovate Madrasian hand axes be- came, over time, progressively smaller in size, finishing with a regular straight-line cutting edge. In Europe, Africa, and West- ern Asia the corresponding tradition is the Acheulian, of which the Madrasian represents the easternmost extension.

As knowledge of the Early Stone Age grows, it becomes ap- parent that the Soan and Madrasian industries are not entirely distinct. Hand axes actually do appear in the north, and chop- ping tools appear in peninsular South Asia where the Madras- ian had its focus. Nonetheless, the low frequency of hand axes in the Himalayan region substantiates the evidence from Iran, where hand-ax users also appear to have preferred the fringes of the forested zone. Recent excavations in central India, es- pecially at Adamgarh, near Hoshangabad, have successfully demonstrated this relationship.

II.1 (b). Middle Stone Age

At Adamgarh and Chirki, near Nevasa, successive archaeo- logical strata demonstrate an uninterrupted continuity from the Old to the Middle Stone Age. Here, too, South Asian develop- ment parallels that of the West, with the affinities extending to the appearance of the rather specialized manner of tool prep- aration called "Levalloisian." This technique, though not com- mon in South Asia, occurs at Chirki and in a Late Soan context that may date back some 150,000 years.

The chief characteristic of this stage is a shift in the prep- aration of stone tools from removing flakes to achieve a de- sired form to using the flakes themselves as tools. By working on fine-grained silicates with a bone or wooden hammer rather than using the earlier stone-on-stone technique of hand-ax pro- duction, it was possible to produce a thin, even-edged flake. These flakes themselves made excellent cutting tools, and they were also frequently retouched to make scrapers, points, borers, and awls. Such tools represented an important advance in effi- ciency; whereas earlier technology concentrated on multipur- pose tools, flake tools became task-specific.

Functionally, these tools represent a skin-working assem- blage. It is no accident that they arrive with the onset of the colder conditions of the last glacial period. By wearing animal skins, using fire (for which, however, there is no direct evi- dence), and inhabiting the mouths of caves, man in South Asia adapted to the new conditions. One of the two cave habitations excavated on the subcontinent is Sanghao, north of Peshawar in Pakistan's Buner District. The lowest strata there contain pointed quartz flakes that resemble the widespread Mousterian industry of Europe and Western Asia. Another cave, excavated in limestone at Darra-i-Kur in the hills of Badakhshan in north- eastern Afghanistan, helps authenticate the association at San- ghao. It had not only Mousterian flakes, but also bones of a hominid whose genetic affinities lie with the Skhul variety of Neanderthals identified at Mount Carmel, Israel.

The other excavated Middle Stone Age cave on the subcon- tinent itself is in Chingleput District of Tamil Nadu. Unlike Sanghao, where the thick deposit implies continuous occupa- tion, this site seems to have been visited only occasionally by hunters of big game and may have been a seasonal camp. Be- tween the northern and southern extremes, the surface collec- tions of flake tools from peninsular India and the Gangetic Plain suggest a widespread distribution of hominids. That they were fishers as well as hunters of big game is inferred from tools found on coastal sand dunes at the tip of the peninsula and near Bombay.

With the western affinities of the Early and Middle Stone Age established as likely, it is natural to ask if subsequent de- velopments have similar links. Thus, in the west the next rec- ognizable period is the Upper Paleolithic. It is marked by a blade and burin industry with long, parallel-sided flakes pro- duced from carefully blocked-out cores. Such blades make handy knives; but they may also be retouched to produce chisel-edged graving tools, or burins. Because the blade and burin industry elsewhere has close associations with the first appearance of modern man (Homo sapiens), its recognition in South Asia is of high interest. Unfortunately, the situation is not clear. Surface collections of blades and burins have been reported from the Gangetic Plain, Gujarat, Maharasthra, and a few southeastern districts. The Sanghao cave has some much- used burins but few, if any, blades. To find a clear definition of this stage, one must again turn to northern Afghanistan. Two cave sites provide the evidence. At Kara Kamar, near Samangan, the sequence begins with an amorphous flake in- dustry, passes on to a blade and burin stage, also well repre- sented at Aq Kupruq, dated to 32,000 B.P. (before the pres- ent), and concludes with microlithic levels dated to 10,000 B.P.

II.1 (c). Microliths

Microliths are abundant in most regions of South Asia ex- cept for the mountainous north and the Baluchistan region, where research on the Stone Age still awaits development. They cap the sequence at Sanghao cave, however, and are found sporadically west of Karachi. In much of Gujarat, Ma- harashtra, and Rajasthan they seem to be ubiquitous, Micro- liths do not, however, represent a uniform cultural stage; nor are they assignable to a single chronological period. The vari- ous microlithic assemblages are probably all post-Pleistocene, and many presumably antedate the appearance of metals. Some, however, are associated with iron implements, and in- deed their manufacture and use survived in isolated areas into the 19th century. Taken as a whole, these tiny stone tools di- vide broadly into two groups. The first includes unretouched bladelets, as they spring from the core, or bladelets only slightly modified, as when one edge is blunted. The second consists of the so-called geometric shapes in which the original bladelet is retouched to produce triangles, crescents, or oblique points. All the microliths were intended for use in composite tools, being set into handles or shafts of wood or bone, with vegetable gums and resins holding them in place. Bladelets would be arranged in a linear series to provide a serrated cutting edge, while the geometric microliths served as points or barbs on arrows and harpoons. Although quartz was sometimes used to fashion microliths, more common and better suited were the locally found chalcedony, agate, jasper, and chert. The blades were separated from rectangular cores by applying controlled pressure to the core with a wooden or bone punch.

Excavations at microlith sites demonstrate that these tools were used in three different modes of life: (1) hunting, fish- ing, and gathering; (2) nomadic pastoralism with a continuing, but less important, reliance upon hunting; and (3) settled agri- culture. (This grouping, however, is not indicated on plate II.1, map (c), which shows finds that in the vast majority come from the ground surface and are reported in the literature merely as "microliths" in a generic sense.) Where microliths are associated with agriculture, the geometric component of the assemblage may be as low as 3 percent. While reliable sta- tistics for the other two modes are lacking, the ratio of geo- metric microliths to bladelets seems to increase in direct pro- portion to the importance of hunting in the economy. It should be observed that these three modes do not necessarily fall into an evolutionary sequence. They may exist concurrently as in- terdependent sectors of the cultural-ecological system of a given region. This was seen in the upper strata at Bagor, Raja- sthan, where modes (2) and (3) were prevalent toward the middle of the last millennium B.C. The implication of the Bagor evidence is that pastoralists moved seasonally with their herds of cattle, sheep, and goats through areas of unintensive agricul- ture, maintaining a symbiotic relationship with the farmers of that region which probably involved exchanging animal prod- ucts for grain and pottery. Additionally, high proportions of

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