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A Late Palaeolithic assemblage at Kunjaram, south-east India

  • Malavika Chatterjee (a1), Kumar Akhilesh (a2), Shanti Pappu (a2), Sudha Ravindranath (a3) and Udayaraj (a4)...
Extract

In contrast to the Acheulian and Middle Palaeolithic, the Late Palaeolithic archaeological record of the south-east coast of India is poorly understood (Pappu 2001; Petraglia et al. 2010; Pappu et al. 2011). Considerable uncertainty surrounds the definition of the blade-based microlithic or non-Levallois, flake-based assemblages, largely as a result of the lack of chronometric dates from excavated sites and due to the paucity of lithic studies (Pappu 2001). The Late Palaeolithic is a crucial period in relation to questions about the dispersals of anatomically modern humans across India and Sri Lanka (Petraglia et al. 2010; Mellars et al. 2013; Roberts et al. 2015) and regional evolutionary trajectories of blade technologies. Here, we present an overview of the site complex of Kunjaram (KJ) in the Kortallaiyar River Basin, Tamil Nadu, south-east India. This represents one of the 43 Late Palaeolithic sites documented in this region (Pappu et al. 2010). While analysis of the lithics from other sites continues, we focus here on the lithic assemblage from KJ-3 because of its good preservation and potential to yield information on all stages of the reduction sequence, as well as its geographic proximity to the Lower and Middle Palaeolithic site of Attirampakkam, which would enable the construction of regional cultural sequences.

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*Author for correspondence (Email: pappu.shanti@gmail.com)
References
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Mellars, P., Gori, K.C., Carr, M., Soares, P.A. & Richards, M.B.. 2013. Genetic and archaeological perspectives on the initial modern human colonization of southern Asia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 110: 10699–704. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1306043110
Mishra, S., Chauhan, N. & Singhvi, A.K.. 2013. Continuity of microblade tehnology in the Indian subcontinent since 45 ka: implications for the dispersal of modern humans. PLoS ONE 8 (7): e69280. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0069280
Pappu, S. 2001. A re-examination of the Palaeolithic archaeological record of northern Tamil Nadu, south India (British Archaeological Reports International series S1003). Oxford: Archaeopress.
Pappu, S., Shinde, D.P., Akhilesh, K., Gunnell, Y., Ganbavale, G., Ravindranath, S., Raj, U. & Singhvi, A.K.. 2009. Luminescence dating of prehistoric archaeological sites and Quaternary fluvial and Aeolian deposits in northern Tamil Nadu, south India. Paper presented at the Second Asia-Pacific Conference on Luminescence and Electron Spin Resonance Dating, Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad, India, November 12–15, 2009.
Pappu, S., Akhilesh, K., Ravindranath, S. & Raj, U.. 2010. Applications of satellite remote sensing for research and heritage management in Indian prehistory. Journal of Archaeological Science 37: 2316–31. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2010.04.005
Pappu, S., Gunnell, Y., Akhilesh, K., Braucher, R., Taieb, M., Demory, F. & Thouveny, N.. 2011. Early Pleistocene presence of Acheulian hominins in south India. Science 331: 1596–99. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1200183
Petraglia, M.D., Haslam, M., Fuller, D., Boivin, N. & Clarkson, C.. 2010. Out of Africa: new hypotheses and evidence for the dispersal of Homo sapiens along the Indian Ocean rim. Annals of Human Biology 37: 288311. https://doi.org/10.3109/03014461003639249
Roberts, P., Perera, N., Wedage, O., Deraniyagala, S., Perera, J., Eregama, S., Gledhill, A., Petraglia, M.D. & Lee-Thorp, J.A.. 2015. Direct evidence for human reliance on rainforest resources in Late Pleistocene Sri Lanka. Science 347: 1246–49. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aaa1230
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Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
  • URL: /core/journals/antiquity
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