From Lower Palaeolithic to Mesolithic: Regional Diversification and Technological Transformation in South Asia

Vivek Singh, Nupur Tiwari

Indian Institute of Science Education and Research

The earliest presence of hominin occupation of South Asia is evident in the Late Pliocene. Though there is a meagreness of hominin fossil evidence, we see a continuous occupation of hominins represented by several lithic technologies through time. Due to the diverse geography, geomorphology and ecology of the region, there is a clear chronological overlap in some lithic technologies during the prehistoric period. Regional differences in the introduction or arrival of various lithic technologies can provide insights into understanding the timing and dispersal of tool technologies. Some tool types might have been introduced/arrived at an early stage of hominin occupation, some later, and in some regions, certain lithic technologies are absent altogether. A lack of stratified sites preserving records from the Lower Palaeolithic to Mesolithic is one of the restricting factors in understanding the transitions within and between these periods in human history. It is only by the correlation and comparison within and between lithic technofunctional records that we can begin to understand regional diversity, and start to identify technological transitions in the South Asian Palaeolithic record.

This session focuses on archaeological investigations at the micro/regional levels in lithic technology, site distribution, site formation and settlement patterns. This panel aims to discuss prehistoric lithic technologies within a regional framework to untangle some of the intricacies in human adaptive behaviour and innovation embedded within some implement manufacture. The trajectories we aim to follow are to understand the absence and presence of lithics, transitions within tool typologies, and between technologies, in the regional record of South Asia.