March 20, 2011

Archaeonews from South Asia

The latest Archaeonews bulletin is full of interesting information on South Asian prehistory, from Nepal to Kerala:


Nepal mountain burials

27 people buried in caves at c. 4000 meters above sea level have been found in the Himalayan country and dated between 3000 and 1500 years ago. 

67% of the bodies were defleshed, a mysterious burial practice, which may relate to a contemporary Tibetan one (sky burial) or, alternatively,  Zoroastrian rituals (who in the past defleshed the bodies and fed the meat to animals - nowadays they feed the whole bodies to vultures in special grounds). 

Full stories at República and National Geographic.


Kerala Megalithic dome

A new Megalithic tomb has been found at Kodiyeri with a curious pillar (left), a similar dome is recalled to have been found 40 years ago (but nobody seems to know its destiny anymore).

Full story at The Hindu.



Kerala claims oldest non-African Paleolithic site

With and age of 1.83 million years at the deepest layer, Bukit Bunuh may be one of the first homes of our cousins Homo erectus (or H. georgicus or...), when they migrated to Asia.  The site was apparently chosen for its excellent ecology that would have provided our cousins with all they needed for a living: fresh water, hunt, plants and stone to make handaxes. 

The site also shows more recent inhabitation dates of 40,000 and 30,000 years ago which surely belong to modern humans.

Protection from UNESCO as World Heritage Site has been requested. 

Full story at University Sains Malaysia and Asia Research News.

Note (Mar 31):

I wrote earlier in regards to this Indian site: Also, maybe more in detail, at Ancient Indian Ocean Corridors (by archaeologist Michael Petraglia, who includes a link to a relevant paper in press).

But this one is actually another site, in nearby Tamil Nadu, with a confirmed age of 1.6-1.4 million years on a more careful (and hence credible) measure. David Sánchez has an excellent review of this finding and its implication in Spanish language today.

3 comments:

  1. The resumption of occupation of the Bukah Bunut site only 40,000 years ago in South Asia is notable, as evidence against the modern human inhabitation of South Asia being complete at the ca. 75,000 year old date of the oldest modern human traces in South Asia.

    ReplyDelete
  2. We do not have enough information in that article to judge as you do. There's a host of other sites across South Asia with much older dates that may well belong to Homo sapiens.

    One site alone does not say much, not even about the local district.

    ReplyDelete
  3. "The site was apparently chosen for its excellent ecology that would have provided our cousins with all they needed for a living: fresh water, hunt, plants and stone to make handaxes".

    Humans have never been evenly distributed across the earth's surface. They tend to concentrate where the habitat suits them. Hence my continued insistence on the virtual absence of humans in the jungle-clad mountains of South China and Southeast Asia, not forgetting the mangrove swamps of much of the tropical coastline.

    "evidence against the modern human inhabitation of South Asia being complete at the ca. 75,000 year old date of the oldest modern human traces in South Asia".

    Possible, but I tend to agree with Maju's obseravtion.

    ReplyDelete

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