Overview for The Mesolithic Age in South Asia: Tradition and Transition
The present volume tries to evaluate the cultural and environmental factors, which necessitated a transition from hunting-gathering to food-producing stage; and the material culture, technology, subsistence, art, religious beliefs, disposal of the dead, biological composition, dietary habits, pathology and social organization of the then inhabitants, drawing data from the excavated finds, ethnography and author’s own understanding of this phase for the last five decades.
Evidence for the microlithic tradition in India, which now has a duration of over forty millennia, is much richer than for the preceding Palaeolithic period which lasted nearly from 1.0 to 1.5 million years. In the Mesolithic period, microlithic and composite tools took the centre stage resulting in an improved economy and sedentary lifestyle and laying the foundation for a settled agricultural life. The book discusses the origin and evolution of the Mesolithic culture with its chronological details.
Contents: Preface. 1. Introduction: Evolution of the Mesolithic Concept. 2. Brief History of Mesolithic Research. 3. Brief History of Mesolithic Research in India. 4. Typology of Mesolithic Tools. 5. Archaeological and Ethnographic Evidence of Hafting and Use of Microliths and Related Tools. 6. The Northwest or Pakistan. 7. Rajasthan. 8. Gujarat. 9. Rock-Shelters in the Kaimur Range. 10. Belan Valley. 11. Son Valley. 12. Ganga Valley. 13. Central India. 14. Eastern India. 15. Northern Deccan. 16. South India. 17. Chronology of the Mesolithic Cultures and their Ethnological Significance. 18. Comparisons with Mesolithic Cultures Outside India and the Problem of Origins. Appendices. References. Index.
V.N. Misra (Author)
Virendra Nath Misra got his M.A. degree in Anthropology from Lucknow Universityin 1957, and Ph.D. in Archaeology from Pune University in 1962, under the guidance of the eminent archaeologist, Prof. H.D. Sankalia. He has carried out extensive archaeological explorations in Rajasthan, M.P. and U.P., and has discovered more than a hundred archaeological sites. He has excavated Mesolithic sites of Bagor and Tilwara, several Palaeolithic sites near Didwana, and Chalcolithic and Early Historic site of Balathal in Rajasthan, Palaeolithic and Mesolithic rock-shelters at Bhimbetka,and Palaeolithic site of Samnapur in M.P. Misraâ€™s studies of Quaternary deposits in western Rajasthan and excavations at Singi Talav and the fossil dune at 16R, Didwana, jointly with Prof. S.N. Rajaguru, have significantly contributed to understanding the evolution of environment and early human colonization of the Thar desert. His excavations at Balathal have thrown ample light on the lifeways Balathal have thrown ample light on the lifeways of the Chalcolithic farmers and early historic iron workers of Mewar. Misra has conducted ethnographic studies among the hunting-gathering communities of Bhils, Van Vagris, and Kalbeliyas in Rajasthan, Kanjars in U.P., and Pardhis and Kuchbandhias in M.P. He has supervised Ph.D. research of 25 students in different branches of archaeology, and has authored or edited, singly or jointly, 10 books, and over 120 research papers published in leading journals and edited volumes. Misra has been editor of Man and Environment, Journal of the Indian Society for Prehistoric and Quaternary Studies from its inception in 1977, and was co-editor of Eastern Anthropologist. Besides, he has been associated, as a member of the editorial advisory boards, with Journal of the S.C. Roy Institute, The Anthropologists, Journal of World Prehistory, Lâ€™ Anthropologie, the Holocene, The Asian Perspectives, and Geoarchaeology. Prof. Misra has been recipient of Pandit Jagpal Krishna Gold Medeal of Lucknow University; Homi Bhabha Fellowship; Leverhulme Visiting Fellowship at ANU, Canberra; Senior Fulbright Fellowship at UC, Berkeley; Corresponding Membership of IsMEO, Rome; Visiting Fellowships at Allahabad University and NEHU; National Fellowship of ICHR; Emeritus Fellowship of UGC; D.N. Majumdar Memorial Medal of Indian Social Science Association, and V.S. Wakankar Award of Indian Archaeological society. He has taught Anthropology at Lucknow University and Archaeology at Deccan College Post-Graduate & Research Institute (Deemed to be University), Pune. He was Director of the Deccan College from 1990 to 2000.