Microlithic occurrences in the central Narmada Basin, Madhya Pradesh

  • Date: Mar 1, 2023
  • Time: 01:30 PM - 02:30 PM (Local Time Germany)
  • Speaker: Dr Nupur Tiwari
  • Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Bombay
  • Location: Zoom
  • Host: Department of Archaeology
  • Contact: gjha@shh.mpg.de
Microlithic occurrences in the central Narmada Basin, Madhya Pradesh

In the Indian Subcontinent, contexts belonging to the Late Pleistocene to early Holocene period are dominated by records of hunter-gatherer behaviour in the form of microliths. Central India offered abundant resources of the required raw materials, rock shelters, open scrubland, water bodies, various flora and fauna in the lap of the Vindhyan and Gondwana ranges. The region must have regularly attracted foragers through its role as a critical biogeographic and cultural crossroads. Microlithic tool kit is synonymous with the prehistoric Homo sapiens (PHS). Research carried out in the central Narmada Basin paints a variant picture of microlithic producing hunter-gatherers.

Surveys were carried out in the Vindhyans in the north, Gondwanas in the south and the Narmada floodplains in between. This divides the area into northern and southern zones within the central Narmada Basin. These areas yielded a large number of sites in the foothills, forested areas, and a few in agricultural fields. The number of sites in the Vindhyan foothills is more significant than those found in the Gondwana foothills. This uneven distribution of sites in the landscape can lead to various hypotheses, the major factor being the unavailability of preferred raw materials. However, a few pockets in the southern group have yielded primary sites. The technological analyses of the microlithic assemblages demonstrate a high assortment of debitage or debris that is a by-product of prominent manufacturing behaviour. This dynamic land use dichotomy in the Late Quaternary period of the central Narmada Basin shows continuous movement on the landscape for tool manufacture, raw material and tool transport and associated subsistence behaviours by PHS. The presence of abundant rock shelters at near most of the open air sites suggests dynamic and intense landuse patterns. The distances between the rock shelters and spatially associated open-air sites are variable. Many of these rock shelters are adorned with rock art of various styles and designs and use of different pigments. The landscape movement of the hunter-gatherer populations is evident through the large number of microlithic occurrences found.

Go to Editor View