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Robert Bruce Foote and Indian Prehistory Author(s): Dilip K. Chakrabarti Source: East and West, Vol.

29, No. 1/4 (December 1979), pp. 11-26 Published by: Istituto Italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente (IsIAO) Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/29756503 . Accessed: 18/10/2013 11:05
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Robert Bruce Foote

and Indian Prehistory


by Dilip K. Chakrabarti

Joseph Prestwich's classic paper to the Royal Society in 1859 C) inspired among others Robert Bruce Foote, a young geologist of theGeological Survey of India stationed in
Madras, to look for the remains

That the Royal Society acknowledgementof the prehistoricantiquityof man was themain inspiringfactorbehind Footed subsequent discoveries is beyond doubt. He himselfwrites, ? the news of this remarkable revelation had turned my thoughtsto thenecessityof looking out for possible similar traces of early human art in South India where my work then lay ? (2). On 30thMay, 1863, he picked up a palaeolith (3), the first to be discovered
and recognized as such in India,

of prehistoric

men

in course

of his geological

field-work.

Madras.

In September 1863, he and a fellow-geologist William King with whom he sub? sequentlydid a good amount of his geological work discovered a largenumberof palaeoliths, some of them in situ, in the valley of theAttirampakkamnullah, about 40 miles northwest
In January collector 1864 he discovered two more palaeoliths and at Pallavaram, came the site of to occupy a

from among

the debris

of a lateritic pit at Pallavaram

near

of Madras. a confirmed

his firstdiscovery. In 1864 again he discovered his firstneoliths. Since then he became
of prehistoric objects of significant part of his active scientific career. Foote's place as a pioneer of prehistoric all ages prehistory has

research

in India

been

knowledged by themodern scholars. In 1963, just one hundred years after the discovery of the firstpalaeolith in India, A. Ghosh, then theDirector General of theArchaeological work of Foote (4). Survey of India, wrote his editorial notes in Ancient India, 18-19, on the
In Asian Perspectives in 1962 A. P. Khatri wrote a paper on a century of prehistoric

handsomely

ac?

(*) The author is grateful to Dr F.R. Allchin and Dr Mrs Bridget Allchin for their interest and help in the preparation of the paper. The following abbreviations have also been used: MGSI = Memoirs of the Geological Survey of India; PASB = Proceedings of the Asiatic = Society of Bengal; QJGS Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society; RGSI = Records of the Geological Survey of India. the Occurrence of ?On (*) J. Prestwich, Flint Implements Associated with the Remains of Animals of Extinct Species in Beds of a Late Geological Period at Amiens and Abbeville and 11

in England at Hoxne ?, Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, 10, 1860, p. 50; this has The Origin and been reprinted in G. Daniel, Growth of Archaeology, Harmondsworth, 1967,
pp. 69-78.

(2) R.B. Foote, The Foote Collection of Indian Prehistoric and Protohistoric Antiquities. Notes on Their Ages and Distribution, Madras, 1916,
p. V.

(3) The implement concerned was a handaxe, recently illustrated in AI, 18-19, 1962-6.3. (4) Ibid., pp. 1-3.

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research in India in which the figureof Foote necessarily loomed large (5). In 1963, F. R. Allchin published his monograph Neolithic Cattle-Keepers of South India inwhich he paid
warm tributes edited to Foote's pioneering research in the same area (6). In 1962 two papers Ghosh In 1966 D. discoveries (7). directly connected with Foote's a volume of essays on prehistory with international contribution he published Sen and A. K. and this was

dedicated to the memory of Foote (8).


It would not, however, be correct

with Foote. Among the Indian prehistoricobjects the megaliths drew the first attention with the because they could easily be observed on the ground and because their similarity
Indian megaliths and Meadows dates from 1823 (9). One may also refer to the papers of H. Congreve on research (10). his were Foote commenced Taylor megaliths, many of which published before European specimens too close to be overlooked. The first paper was on

to think that prehistoric

research

in India began

only

In 1862W. Theobald reported a number of celts from Bundelkhand (").


discovered stone "knives" ash-mounds in his south (12). The Deccanese

In 1842 Dr

Primrose

area of the in the Raichur garden at Lingsigur received the attention of Newbold (13). In 1860 H. P.

Le Mesurier discovered about twelveneoliths in centralIndia and published themin 1861 (14). Even in thematter of palaeoliths it may not be logical to believe that only Foote was witnessed inspiredby the new discoveries inEurope. The second half of the 19th century
prehistoric his quest. discoveries almost all over India and this suggests that Foote was not alone in ? as regards the question of one tends to agree with Valentine Ball: Basically it in India, of stone implements and discovery priority, with reference to the observation

is one which it is perhaps impossible to decide ? (15). Footed creditwas thathe was the most indefatigableof these early pioneers; he realized fully the implication of his disco? veries, correspondedwith the leading prehistoriansof the time inBritain and was generally
able to attract for Indian prehistory far more attention that it attracted before. He himself

? A Century of Prehistoric (5) A.P. Khatri, Research in India?, Asian Perspectives, 6, 1962, (6) F.R. Allchin, Neolithic Cattlekeepers of South India, Cambridge, 1963. ?Painted (7) F.R. Allchin, Pottery from Pot ?A Neolithic Andhra Pradesh?; Patpadu, from Andhra Pradesh ?, Antiquity, 36, 1962, pp. 221-24 and pp. 302-3 respectively. (8) D. Sen, A.K. Ghosh, edd., Studies in Robert Bruce Foote Memorial Volume, Prehistory, Calcutta, 1966. (9) J.B. Babington, ? Description of the Pan Transactions of the doo Coolies in Malabar?, Literary Society, Bombay, 3, 1823, pp. 324-30. (10)H. Congreve, ? Some Observations on a in the Remarkable Cromlech near Pulliconda Carnatic?, Madras Journal of Literature and Science, 3, 1844, pp. 47-51; Id., ?Remarks on 12
pp. 169-97.

the Druidic Antiquities of the South of India ?, ibid., 22, 1861, pp. 205-12; N. Taylor, ? Ancient Remains at the Village of Jiwarji near Ferozabad on the Bhima?, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, Bombay, 3, 1851, pp. 179-96. in Bun^ ?Celts Found (n) W. Theobald, delkhand and Chert Implements from the An damans?, PASB, 30, 1861, pp. 81-85. (12) Cited in B. and F.R. Allchin, The Birth 1968, of Indian Civilization, Harmondsworth,
p. 20.

? Note on the Occurrence (1S) TJ. Newbold, of Volcanic Scoria in the Southern Peninsula?, JASB, V, 1836, pp. 670-71. on Twelve Le Mesurier, ?Note (14)H.P. Stone Hatchets or Celts from the Neighbourhood of Jubbalpur?, PASB, 30, 1861, pp. 81-85. ?Ancient Stone Implements in (15)V. Ball, India ?, PASB, 57, 1888, p. 194.

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wrote

as now understood ? (16). R. D. Oldham called Foote Archaeology a most the earliest discoverers enthusiastic and later investigator of relics of an? ? in southern India ? (17). In fact, it is his enthusiasm his cient man for the subject ? which and publications discoveries singles him out from among his con? wide-ranging in Europe ? one of of Prehistoric temporary The investigators personal of prehistoric one can men in India. about Foote's professional life are scanty. Born details

merit in discovering the flint implements in the Somme valley was really the day-break

? attracted near Madras the attention of scores of that his discovery of palaeoliths as none there the observers where had been de Perthes' before, just recognition of Boucher

in 1834 he joined theGeological Survey of India on 29th December, 1858 and sub? sequently served in various parts of Madras, Hyderabad and Bombay. In 1887 he officiated as theDirector of theGeological Survey. Immediately after his retirementfrom the Survey in 1891 he became the State Geologist of the princely state of Baroda. In 1894 he went
to another

gather

Geology. Finally, he retired to Yarcaud in the Shevaroy hills in the south and died on 29th December, 1912, in Calcutta. In 1867 he was elected a Fellow of theGeological So?
ciety, London. assessment He was also a Fellow of the Royal is worth Anthropological in detail. Institute.

princely

state, Mysore,

as

the Director

of

its newly-founded

Department

of

In 1913 H. H. Haydon, then theDirector of theGeological Survey of India, made an


of Foote as a geologist, which quoting

The greater part of his service was spent in southern India, where almost the whole of theMadras Presidency and the southwestern portion of the Bombay Presidency were surveyed and described by him and his colleague, the late Dr King: a joint record unsurpassed by that of any two other mem? bers of the Geological Survey. Strictly comparable to the great area covered by his work was the wide range over which it was extended; for it embraced not only the crystalline rocks, which form such a large proportion of the Peninsula, but also stratigraphical and palaeontological researches and extensive studies of the character and distribution of the prehistoric stone implements of India. Along each of these lines Mr Foote made his mark; he was the first to separate definitely the Dharwar system from the South Indian crystalline complex and his papers on ?the Dharwar system, the chief aur? iferous rock series of south India? marked an important advance in, and still remains the basis of, In the field of palaeon? the subdivision and classification of the Archaean group of the Peninsula. a our to of the addition Mr Foote made valuable pleistocene fauna of India by tology knowledge his discovery and description of a new species of rhinoceros, named by him R. Deccanensis, which he found in the cotton soil of Belgaum (18). a similar assessment was

Almost

made

ingsup to 1887, both geological and prehistoric (20). A comprehensive list of his writings on prehistoryup to 1916 is available in the bibliography of Indian prehistoric writings
prepared by H. C. Dasgupta (21).

by R. D.

Oldham

(19) who

also

listed his writ?

(16)R.B.
note?, ibid., (17) R.D.

Foote,
p. 198. Oldham,

?Remarks
?R.B. ?R.B.

on Mr

Ball's

Foote? Foote?

QJGS, RGSI,

1913, p. 66.
Haydon,

(obituary), (obituary),

(18) H.H.

43, 1913, pp. 7-8.

(19)Oldham, op. cit., pp. 65-66. (20)R.D. Oldham, A Bibliography of Indian Geology, Calcutta, 1888, pp. 45-47. (21)H.C. Dasgupta, ?Bibliography of Pre? historic Indian Antiquities ?, JASB, n.s., 27, 1931,
pp. 33-37.

13

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II

Before he died in 1912 Foote finishedwriting a detailed catalogue of his collection of prehistoric antiquities,which was sold to theMadras Museum in 1904. The catalogue was published by themuseum after his death in two volumes, the first of which, published in 1914, contained a descriptive list of the objects in the collection, arranged according to were found. The second volume, published in the districts and localities inwhich they
the plates and a map, a general index and certain additional notes (called "addenda") prepared by Foote It is this second volume which himself. represents most clearly the extent of Foote's more than forty years' field-work The result of work in, and ideas of, Indian prehistory. 1916, contained Foote's the ages and distribution of prehistoric research. The basic purpose of the present paper is to analyse how his notes on the antiquities,

lie behind this publication which occupies as such a unique place in the history of Indian
ideas

have stood the test of time and how his work in differentareas has been followed up by
the modern prehistorians one working in India.

To put the ideas embodied in the second volume of the catalogue in their proper
perspective from the two earlier writings. Apart a is twenty-one. volumes of his catalogue the number of his writings on prehistory Quite most are on in are in his professional writings These few of them geology. incorporated cases very brief and contain no more than a passing reference to different prehistoric sites should perhaps go back to Foote's

and their geological settings. But some of them deal specifically with prehistoryand offer a good idea of what he thought and did. It appears worthwhile at this place to give a brief summaryof themain points of all the earlier writings of Foote on prehistory,both
specific and casual. No such survey has hitherto been made.

The firstpublication of Foote on Indian prehistory, ? On


Implements Districts His in Lateritic Formations Journal in in Various of Literature were, Parts of ?, was in Madras discoveries and Science, however,

the Occurrence of Stone


and earlier North 1866, pp. to Arcot 1-35.

the Madras

3rd s., part II,

Society of Bengal, Calcutta, by Dr Oldham of the Geological Survey in 1864 and 1865. In 1865, a year before the regularpublication of the journal, fifty copies of Foote's paper
were of Britain, among whom one notes the printed and sent to the leading archaeologists names of J. D. Evans and other pioneers. The paper itself consists of four basic sections. an section In the first section is The second outline of the history of these discoveries. three merate the geological sections implement-bearing was in detail features in and level. the implement-bearing the Attirampakkam around of raw-material and formations. nullah are At least described

palaeolithic

1863-64,

reported

the Asiatic

discusses

and in each of them theposition of the implementsis carefullynoted. The lateriticconglo?


speculates ?. area an so over It was his belief that ? the lateritic their wide-spread deposition during at the bottom of a shallow sea studded with moun? and sands were deposited conglomerates The areas exceeding tainous islands between which flowed strong and rapid currents ?. Finally, 14 the implement-bearing are discussed in the third section. The Foote typology of the implements on ? the circumstances existing

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400 ments

feet in elevation found below that:

constituted this level were

islands where presumed

the to have

The lived. implement-makers sea. in Foote the lost been

imple? further

argues

...ifwe attempt to form an estimate of the time required for the elevation of the lateritic for? mations to such a height above the existing sea-level? by adopting Sir Charles LyelFs standard rate of oscillation of 2V2 feet per century, we should obtain a period of about 14700 years ? assuming the rate of elevation to have been constant throughout the whole period. The first appearance of the
human race in southern India would then have to be referred back to a period even more remote...

His

final point

temporary and Indian coast was

is that the implement-makers of Europe and south India was an wet that there then climate in the tropics. extremely in a clearer form in his second paper, ? On the Distribution

were

con?

The idea of a formerlateriticsea submerginga considerable part of the present south


put of Stone

Implements in Southern India ?, published in QJGS, 24, 1868, pp. 484-95. It is concerned more with the geological implicationsof the implement-bearing deposits than with the
distribution The implementiferous of the implements themselves. coastal lat? geographical ente and the coarse boulder-gravel in interior and the quartzite-shingles the were, according to him, deposited at the same time and were of marine origin. He estimates that during

the latter part of this period an elevatorymovement raised the land between 500 and 600 feet and thiswas followed firstby a period of quiescence in which the lateritic deposit was denuded largelyby river-action,and thenby a period of depression inwhich the recent
coastal position. be of alluvium was He formed. A small elevation also believes as that the particular then brought up coastal elevatory the land again to its present movement could have af?

fected other parts of the peninsula and that the laterite of the west coast of India could
the same age the implement-bearing that the people beds near Madras.

In the discussion that followed Foote's reading of this paper before the Geological
Society it was

the originalAryans but the ancestorsof themodern tribes living in the hills and that the similarityin typesbetween the implementsof Asia and Europe suggesteda single centre of

emphasized

who

made

the quartzite

implements

were

not

Madras and North Arcot Districts Lying North of thePalar River, and Included in Sheet 78 of the Indian Atlas ? published inMGSI, 10, 1873, there is a brief section (pp. 43-58)
on ? stone implements in the laterite ? where he more or less repeats what he wrote in 1866, are to some extent repetitive and have a com? 1868 and 1870. In fact, all these writings mon theme: implements in laterite around Madras.

Prehistoric Archaeology, Norwich, 1868, London, 1869, p. 236. In 1870, in his ?Notes on theGeology of Neighbourhood of Madras ?, RGSI, 3, no. 1, pp. 11-17, he brieflyrefers (p. 13) to the occurrence of chipped implements in the lateritic formation and the Con In ? On theGeology of Parts of the jeevaram gravels in the neighbourhood of Madras.

In 1868 Foote read another paper on the took place. origin of man from which dispersion same topic to the International at Norwich of Prehistoric and an Congress Archaeology abstract of the paper was published in Transactions of the International of Congress

The brief note, ? Discovery of PrehistoricRemains in India ?, published in Geological


15

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Magazine, 10, 1873, p. 187, reports the discovery of two localities of neolithic celts and
rubbing stones on hill

ity, about 15 or 16 miles west of Bellary, in which he himself discovered some neolithic of softyellowish slag, implementsassociated with a large conical mound ? consistingchiefly ?. This, according to him, possibly represented in layers interstratified with midden-stuff
at several intervals.

terraces near Bellary

by William

Fraser.

Foote

also

refers to a local?

a settlement of straw huts burnt

In 1876, in ? The Geological Features of the SouthMaharatta Country and Adjacent Districts ? published inMGSI, 12, Foote reports (pp. 240-43) the occurrence of palaeoli? other along its tributary,the Benihalla. The first section is near Kaira on the left bank miles southof the junctionof theBenihalla of theMalaprabha and the second one is three
and the Malaprabha. This part of the country seems to have been a centre of implement-makers, for implements of
axes, spear-heads and scrapers of great variety ? occur scattered in large numbers over the

thic implements

in two beds

of kankar-cemented

gravel,

one

along

the Malaprabha

and

the

?. The implements found in the surrounding country,wherever the red lateritic sub-soil is exposed river-beds must have been carried a very small distance by water-action, for they shew very little or no sign of attrition. at a

all

sorts ?

place called Tolanmatti and the other near the village of Tolur, about 8 miles northwest
of Manoli. In the Tolanmatti animal, ? tooth of a bovine in situ. An upper molar the implements occurred hard kankar ?, and encrusted with partly thoroughly mineralised gravel

Report

is also made

of

two more

implement-bearing

gravels,

one

near Kaladgi,

was found in a small patch of kankar-cemented gravel on thebanks of theYelhatti nullah. In ? On theGeological Features of theNorthern Part of Madura District, the Pu dukottai State and the SouthernParts of the Trichinopoly Districts Included within the Limit of Sheet 80 of the Indian Atlas?, published inRGSI, 12, part 3, 1879, Foote writes (p. 154) that no unquestionable examples of stone implementshad yet been found in this
area but he thought there reports several chert-flakes in the area ? almost could that further search to be called implements deserving result in definite discoveries. ?. He

In ? Sketch of theGeology of North Arcot District ?, also in the same issue of RGSI,
is only a bare reference to the occurrence of stone artifacts in the lateritic patches

of the districtof northArcot. In ? On theGeological Structureof the Eastern Coast from Latitude 15? Northward toMasulipatam ? {MGSI, 16, 1879-80) he notes the presence of implements in laterite
near Ramapatam and between Potelur and Gudlur. There is also a report of the occurrence

of of some assorted human remains including a lower jaw in the gritty alluvial sand-cliffs Gundlakamma near the village of Velampalle about 18 or 20 feetbelow thepresent the river
surface. The bones are said to be of "recent aspect", no mineralization having taken place. in the

In 1880 he published his ? Notes on the Occurrence of Stone Implements in the


Coastal

South Maharatta Country ? in Geological Magazine, 7, pp. 542-46.


16

Laterite,

South

of Madras,

and

in High-Level

Gravels

and Other

Formations

This paper is largely

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a list of some of the implementiferous localities discovered by him since he read his paper to theGeological Society in 1868. The first area covers the region south of the Palar river. The sites areNinniyur (about 40 miles northwestof Trichinopoly), Vallam (7 miles
west-southwest discovered where rivers he

Madura he reports the occurrence of a chert core which he believes to be the first to be
south of central India. The second area is the northern half of Nellore of the Penneru The but A district is in the previously lateritic beds in the valleys unknown found implements of the "Madras types" and several scrapers. the southwestern Deccan the sites are mostly in the Malaprabha where is on the Krishna near Agani, some 12 or 15 miles west of Shorapur. and Maneru third area one of flake was them

of Tanjore),

Shuragudi

(16 miles

south of Pudukottai)

and Madura.

Near

chert

found at Shellugi near Bijapur. In 1883 in the lateriticconglomeratenorth of theMadura town (? On theGeology of Madura and Tinnevelly Districts ?, MGSI, 20, p. 50) he ob?
served

In 1884 Foote published two papers on the Billa Surgam caves in Andhra, both in RGSI, 17, pp. 27-34 and pp. 200-208. The Billa Surgam caves lie in a valley in the
range of low hills miles they drew dras, to arrange Foote. He and plateaus side of forming the western east-southwest of the modern village of Baitumcherloo. the attention Huxley who for their further exploration. visited the two caves mentioned by Newbold cave Note to a depth of 15 feet. was also taken of some of most the caves was important of pottery Zari Some smaller of T. H. the Kurnool First basin, about 3 reported by Newbold the governor of Ma? Duff, requested to entrusted The task of exploration was Grant and excavated found a portion and of the to bones were ascribed Because

scrapers

or knives

of brown,

buff or greyish chert.

smaller northern living species.

rock-shelters

of thediscoveryof an oval quartzite implementnearby (outside the caves), the possibility of


a palaeolithic occupation caves in this area. The pits work revealed at Billa some Foote also discovered suggested. seems to be Yerra Zari Gabbi where and charcoal at different levels. The constituted the material of Foote's some more exploratory preliminary first paper

in the vicinity.

fragments Surgam and Yerra

Gabbi

on the subject, ? Rough Notes on Billa Surgam and Other Caves in the Kurnool District ?. son Henry Foote, a lieutenant in the Royal Ar? The follow-up was done by Foote's laid in three trenches were Exploratory tillery temporarily attached to his department. two small In Purgatory and Cathedral. caves, now curiously called Purgatory, Charnel crude pottery bowls of teeth and bones of equus Caves and bones were noted at a depth large deserve of 15-16 No of feet below stone some surface. A fair number among found. them Foote and on of various rhinoceros and medium-sized attention. animals were collected;

in his second publication on the subject in 1884, ?Mr H. B. Foote's Work


Surgam ?, did not doubt the identification cut bones as on Foote's third publication thought that these could be neolithic. further excavations in the Billa the results of Mr H. B. Foote's Surgam bones. represent Foote estimates that 200 of the cut and trimmed purpose bones ?. ? may

Implement was

at the Billa

implements the subject, ? Notes caves ?

(RGSI> to the

18, pp. 227-35) was in 1885. Furtherwork by Henry Foote led to the discovery of more
be considered and a definite prepared with not illustrated. 17 The implements

real implements sections of the caves were

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Foote's paper, ?Notes on Prehistoric Finds in India ?, JRAI, 16, 1887, pp. 70-75, of pottery in a blown sand deposit about 14 miles south? found cores, flakes and fragments
west were of Tuticorin. of translucent Most of the cores also. The and flakes were was of reddish-brown chert but some quartz quartz stained red from the oxide of iron present is a summary of the letters he wrote to John Evans about his discoveries. In 1881 he

in the blown sand covering the flakes. The pottery, thoughworn off,was supposed to be enormous in quantity. During this year he also found a small bone pendant with a drilled hole and incised pattern,which was washed out of the black mud of a submerged forest,
about 25 miles west of the Pamban strait. In 1883 he came across

Kurnool district ? either a village site or a place where a burial had taken place ?, which and a few other things. The yielded red and black polished pottery, cores, iron-implements
area was to the west revisited

at Banganapalle

in the

chert, agate etc.

of this site yielded and more

In 1884 he found pottery and neolithic celts east ofHyderabad.


neolithic The settlements were ends with discovered of pride in this area.

a good

number

of cores,

flakes and scrapers of jasper,

Bellary
On the

in 1885

basis of his finds of pottery and implements from the ash-mounds he had no doubt that
these represented settlements. paper a note in these celt-makers.

The southern celt-makers were probably not one whit inferior to those of Central India, any more than are the living Dravidians behind their northern neighbours... the southern folks are in every way equal to the more be-praised Bengali and Hindu tribes.

The

neolithic

the basic subject of his paper ? Notes on Some Recent Neolithic and Palaeolithic Finds in South India ?, JASB, 56, part II, 1887, pp. 259-82. In the introductorysection of the paper he expressed a few of his theoretical ideas for the first time: south India did not
pass through any copper age and there was and an periods, though between the palaeolithic iron and her neolithic between overlap a considerable time the neolithic there was

settlements,

particularly

those of Bellary,

Anantapur

and Kurnool,

were

gap. The site in Kurnool which has been discussed in detail is Patpad near Banganapalle, which Foote noted earlier. He assigned the site to late neolithic overlappingwith iron. In
Bellary-Anantapur The total number the sites which have drawn 43; the main attention are the neolithic settlements. of sites noted was the main to be 22, supposed artifact-types were is also a note on the varieties of stone carefully and in detail his com?

some of them having their own sub-types. There On the ash-mounds which he observed selected for use.

ment is: ? the proper way to test the real origin of thismuch debated mound would of course be to cut a section throughit, a work which ought to be executedby theArchaeological Survey ?. In this paper Foote stronglycriticizesValentine Ball's theory that the neolithic were only chipped celts were mainly distributed in northeast India while in the south there implements. According to Ball (22) the people represented by these two industrieswere

(22)V. Ball, ? On the Forms and Geographi? cal Distribution of Ancient Stone Implements in 18

India ?, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, 2nd s., 1, 1879, pp. 388-414.

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contemporary and indicated two racial groups. some palaeoliths at Halakundi near Bellary. was written was

There

is also

a reference

in this paper

to

The brief paper ? Remarks on Mr Ball's Note ? published inPASB, 1888, pp. 194-99,
in response to Ball's reply to his criticism. He points not based on facts. In Transactions the British Association of in Gujarat, Western ? The India ?. Two out theory the Advancement for that Ball's

Man of Science, 1894, p. 664, there is a brief note, ? On Prehistoric


of the Sabarmati cores palaeoliths were

in theOld Alluvium
found in situ. The ?

old alluviumwas overlain by ? loess and loam ? and in thishe discovered flint flakes and (MGSI, 25, 1895) contains a chapter on ?prehistoric economic geology ?
Here he largely restates his earlier observations on prehistory of and fragments of pottery. Geology of the Bellary District, Madras the Bellary Presidency area. This

(pp. 206-13).

contains in addition a list of the quarries and localities in Bellary district where granite of good quality could be obtained by the neolithic celt-makers. In the monograph The Geology of Baroda State published in 1898 he describes (pp. 84-104) the occurrence of
palaeoliths the "loess" in the Sabarmati deposits gravels of the area. and small stone tools, pottery and animal bones in

In 1901 Foote published a catalogue of the prehistoricantiquities in theGovernment Museum, Madras (Catalogue of the Prehistoric Antiquities, Madras, 1901). This was
before logue his own of his collection was acquired and wanted by the Museum. He was then drawing up a cata? own collection to study the museum for a general collection a little more than 1400 Of these about objects are listed.

In this catalogue comparison. were 122 and the rest com? 90 the neolithic objects were about palaeolithic implements; the pot? An important item in the collection was prised iron age objects, mostly pottery.

Wilkinson Breeks from the cairns of theNilgiris. tery and other things collected by James In the preface Foote outlines his general views of south Indian prehistory: lack of
age, hiatus between the palaeolithic and the neolithic and the overlap between

a copper

the neolithic and the iron. He also emphasized the need of a systematic prehistoricsurvey of the south by somebodywho should know about geology, archaeology and osteology. Such a survey would make clear the distributionof differenttypesof sites and also throw on the origin of theDravidians. He was interestedinknowing if theneolithicpeople light
in the south were consisted modern of pottery. cattle to be direct descendants notes of the neolithic tribes.

observations the preface is mainly concernedwith the Breeks collection the bulk of which
Foote in the south older by about that the cattle-figurines were just as the painted over are painted over on certain The figures religious occasions. a thousand reminded of which years. On this basis the antiquity of iron-smelt? ?.

Apart

from

these

general

on the lids are supposed to be more archaic than the figures on the Sanchi reliefsand hence
argued vessels The and

ing in India has been supposed to be three thousandyears old. The elegance of thebronze
in the Breeks publications, content collection the content him of the ? Graeco-Egyptian has been summarized he wrote above, Art works naturally The antedate ideas and

much of what Foote wrote in his catalogue published posthumously in 1916. But both in
scope this later work rises far above what 19 earlier.

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sites which receive

were

in most was

cases

barely

touched

upon

in

the earlier

a much

fuller and more

significant present in a much more of the south he discarded spread was glaciation, on Indian due

idea which

carefully arranged discussed earlier has been form.

treatment left out

came to publications in this definitive work. No

two of his publications but has been omitted in the catalogue is the idea of a marine origin
coastal laterite. As he himself writes one. This in pp. 180-83 suggested with of this idea in favour of a new time he the catalogue, that the lateritic the Himalayan

cogent

In fact, the only

here; on the contrary it is in the first idea which was present

to the effect of a great pluvial period, the earlier ferruginous rock-material.

contemporary

Ill
As far as the catalogue (1916) is concerned, nobody need now agree with Foote's

initial contention that of the differentprehistoric stages India passed through only four
of them?the that there was the neolithic, the early iron age and the later iron age?and palaeolithic, no copper-bronze in It is surprising that Foote refers to India India. age

as a whole; in his paper in 1887 and in the preface to the catalogue published in 1901 where he firstput forward this idea he was referring only to south India. In the context for thisopinion. As he never had of south India alone did Foote possess any justification
the opportunity knowing Wheeler to excavate that copper-bronze excavated here a prehistoric of settlement site in the south he had no means was known in the south before iron. It was only in 1946 when

lithic or copper objects stages vations, should

be held to the credit of Foote thathe detected an overlap between the neolithic and iron
in this area. This is a fact which has been (24). But notably by the one at Hallur not have ignored the existence of a copper of India ? in Indian Antiquary, adequately borne out by the recent exca? in the context of India as a whole Foote age. In 1905, seven years before Foote's

in the Chitaldurg that the so-called chalco district, Mysore, Brahmagiri now the copper-bronze came to in the Even be recognized south (23). stage and it should neolithic constitute a small portion of an otherwise assemblage

death, Vincent Smith published a paper entitled ? The Copper Age and PrehistoricBronze
Implements 34, pp. 229-44. Based on a review of copper age. In 1907

implements found at 14 places this paper argued that in the greater part of north India {Indian Antiquary, 36, pp. 53-55) Smith published evidence from twomore places in the
valley. Foote completely is Foote's ignored these discoveries. of a mesolithic period in Indian prehistory Equally surprising non-recognition separated from the neolithic period by an intervening copper

the iron age was

Gangetic

and his continuous belief in a hiatus between the palaeolithic and the neolithic. As has

dravalli (1947) ?, AI, 4, 1947-48, pp. 180-310. 20

(23) R.E.M.

Wheeler,

Brahmagiri

and

Chan

(24)Nagaraja Rao, Protohistoric Tungabhadra Valley, Dharwar, 1971.

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pointed out, Piette's excavation invalidity of

been

the term "mesolithic'' at Mas d'Azil theory.

the "hiatus"

lithic stage goes to A. C. L. Carlyle who, according to Allen Brown in 1899, argued that in India the palaeolithic and neolithic were connected, as far as the types of implements
were

as early as 1866 (25). In any case, after came to be fully aware of the in 1895 prehistorians In the Indian context the credit of recognizing a meso? was used

"mesolithic" could be applied (26). Sieveking has pointed out that in the BritishMuseum Catalogue of the Exhibition of Paintings, Sculpture, Indian Antiquities, etc., 1887, section V, based largelyon the Carlyle collection from the Vindhyas, was listed ? palaeolithic, mesolithic ? (italics ours). In 1906, in Indian Antiquary, 35, pp. 185-95, Vincent Smith made a surveyof the findsof what he called "pigmy flints" and which, according to him, came in between the palaeolithic and neolithic periods. Foote himself discovered
microlithic referred blages teri and Gujarat sand-dunes but he consistently Sawyerpuram to them as neolithic. As microlithic tools were also found in his neolithic assem? sites in the perhaps never thought of the possibility of their existence in a separate, in?

concerned,

by certain

forms which

appeared

to be

intermediate

and to which

the term

Foote

termediatelevel. But there can hardly be any justificationfor his not taking any notice of the concept of mesolithic which was generally accepted by prehistorians around 1900.
Foote's distinction between

least the basis of this division has not been made clear by him. As far as his notion of anti?
evidence is concerned, one must admit that whatever quity of the objects from the Nilgiris we have on them points to a later date, possibly not earlier than the early centuries A.D. is also no reason been found to assume that gold came to be used neolithic only in the later iron age; gold

the early and

later iron stages

seems

to be

confusing;

at

This point has been made clear by L. S. Leshnik's studyof the Nilgiri collection (2S). There
has to occur in the south Indian levels is wrong (29). Foote's because idea of the antiquity India no mega?

of the south Indian megaliths seems to be hazy; at one place in the catalogue (p. 5) he
refers to ? neolithic lith is yet known megaliths ?, which to be pre-iron. sites. The obviously in south

In the field of palaeoliths Foote seldom goes beyond enumerating the geological con?
text of the implements and never fully discussed. Nor which, There were tool-typology and the methods of manufacture of tool-types evolution is any attention given to the possible on to Chello-Mousterian the period. analogy European belonged on the Magdalenian aspect of the Billa Surgam cut bones.

to him, according is also a recurring emphasis

(25) J. Brown, ?The Mesolithic?, Antiquity, ?The 33, 1959, pp. 130-31; C.-A. Moberg, ibid., 35, 1961, pp. 220-21; P. Mesolithic?, Smith, ?More on theMesolithic ?, ibid., 35, 1961,
pp. 61-63.

98-100.

Some Small Highly (26) J.A. Brown, ?On Specialized Forms of Stone Implements Found in Asia, North Africa and Europe?, JRAI, 18, 1889, pp. 134-39. (27)G. de G. Sieveking, ?Morhana Pahar: or theMystery of A.C. Carlyle ?, Man, 1960, pp. 21

(28) L.S. Leshnik, ?A Suggested Dating for the Antiquities of the Nilgiri Plateau, South India ?, Reprint of Publications of StaffMembers, South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University, no. 100, 1970. According to Leshnik the clustering of dates in the 3rd, 4th and 5th centuries A.D. The Stone (29)Nagaraja Rao, K.C. Malhotra, Hill-Dwellers of Tekkalakota, Poona, 1965. Age
is very apparent.

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There cannot be any objection to his idea of a palaeolithic use of wooden


reference to the old Makran tribes in this context suggests a taste all his interested in the problem of eoliths logies. He was just as to reconstruct the zoological More significantly, he attempted

spears; his
ana? were.

for ethnographic contemporaries of

environment

thicmen in India, and postulated a pluvial period in the south during that time. One, however, feels that itwas while discussing theneolithic sites in theBellary-Anan
that Foote was at his best. Most of the observations he made their associated culture assemblage lying on the surface have been on the tech? correct by the modern observations research. His and raw-materials of neolithic tools are generally accurate. cow to the burning of accumulated ash-mounds write and

the palaeoli?

areas tapur and Kurnool on these settlements and found niques His to be

substantially of manufacture, typology

taste for ethnography is apparent in his reference some to account inside African for the origin of the neolithic zaribas dung the similar south To Indian neolithic the point specimens. On pottery he could

to the Caribbean tribalmethod of hafting a celt to explain the absence of perforation in little except emphasizing the significanceof stratifiedsites in determiningthe relative ages
naturally very

better than refer to his description of the neolithic settlementon the Peacock hill, Bellary, in JASB, 1887, pp. 268-71, which is perhaps one of the finest descriptions ever of an
unexcavated of occupation neolithic settlement in Indian prehistory. in the small terraces revetted with traces Nothing escaped his eye?the rough stone walls, bones of cattle, little

of pottery.

establish

of Foote's

excellence

in neolithic

studies one

can do no

tanksmade by damming up the little stream draining thenorthern side of the ridge,meal? ing troughs in the form of hollowed blocks of granite, locally collected and imported raw
for tools, different or stages of their manufacture, in small caves, where ? well troughs polishing obtainable perfect shade was under during

materials

cover of great rock-shelters, observed on

the heat of the day ?, tracesof huts of perishable material, in fact anything that could be
As far as the neolithic is concerned he had almost an the ground. to arrive at the truth. The neolithic character of the ash-mounds was established nature of the ash-mounds could the result of burnt deposits intuition by their

associated findsbut it needed intuition to thinkof theAfrican zaribas and suggest that the
scoriaceous which, be of cow-dung, in fact, they were.

IV

The area of Foote's fieldwork in prehistory should be clear from the distributionmap
of sites in the catalogue. in south-central Kathiwar. between Tinnevelly In Gujarat his sites lie mostly between Mehsana and Surat, and cover almost In the south they sporadically the entire area two marked concentrations and Hyderabad with of sites between the

Krishna and the Palar, and around Bellary. It should be interestingto know how far the modern prehistorianshave followed up his researches in thiswide area. any palaeolithic or neolithic implement in the former princely state of Travancore or
22 Beginning the survey from the extreme south one notes that Foote could not discover

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roughly modern

south Kerala.

No

such site has been

discovered

must be one of the very few existing report of a neolithic celt from the Malabar district
to which in the Trivandrum Museum The burial-urns reports of similar finds from Kerala. a reference indicate the existence of megalithic The makes remains in this region. full extent, nature and chronology of the Kerala on megalithic remains are not yet clear but

yet in this area.

Foote's

Foote

an ideamay be had inKrishnaswami's paper on themegaliths of south India in 1949 (30)


and

In Tinnevelly themost significant discoveryof Foote was thatof the teri sites, though theirmesolithic characterwas not recognized by him. The only piece of significant research which has been done on them since then is a paper by F. E. Zeuner and Bridget Allchin published in 1965 (32). One may also take note of A. Aiyappan's paper on the Sawyer puram artifacts in 1945 (33). Rea's work at Adichanallur, which has been mentioned by
Foote, area. between occasional Foote constitutes No Salem till now almost has been all that is known undertaken since tools of the iron The age settlements of the this area fresh fieldwork and Madura then. of prehistory attention so far but Archaeology?a hills,

in Gururaja

Rao's

recent monograph

the subject

(31).

also has not drawn of prehistoric to the megalithic

reports a reference makes

of discoveries

any systematic in Indian

there are (34). these

Review though

remains

in the Palni-Perumal research on

were not discovered by him. These were taken note of by Aiyappan in 1940-41 (35) and Ghataprabha valleys has been done by R. V. Joshi (37). The palaeolithic of Mysore as a
whole The has not been written literature which has about grown in detail around but one may the neolithic The refer to Seshadri's of publications (38). ter? began the Bellary-Raichur-Kurnool modern of research phase recently F. R. Allchin has written on them (36), A systematic the Malaprabha

withWheeler in 1947 and it has been followedup by Subbarao D,


(30)V.D. Krishnaswami, ?Megalithic Types of South India?, Ancient India, 5, 1949, pp.
35-66.

ritory since the days of Foote

is quite

extensive.

Allchin (40),Sankalia (41),


Asiae, XVIII, 1955, pp.

banahalli?,
271-87.

Artibus

Rao, Megalithic (31)Gururaja South India, Mysore, 1971.


t32) F.E. Zeuner, B. Allchin,

Culture
?The Micro?

in

(39) B. Subbarao,
lary, Poona, 1948.

Stone Age Cultures of Bel?

AI,

lithic Sites of Tinnevelly District, Madras State ?, 12, 1956, pp. 4-20. i33)A. Aiyappan, ?Mesolithic Artifacts from Sawyerpuram in Tinnevelly District, S. India?, Spolia Zeylania, 24, 1945, pp. 145-54. Review, 1961 (34) Cf. Indian Archaeology?a 62, p. 18.

?Rude Stone Monuments (35)A. Aiyappan, in the Perumal Hills ?, Quarterly Journal of the Mythic Society, 1940-41, pp. 373-79. (36) Personal discussion. (37)R.V. Joshi, Pleistocene Studies Malaprabha Basin, Poona, 1955. in the

F.R. Allchin, Piklihal Excavations, Hy? C40) derabad, 1960; Id., Utnur Excavations, Hyderabad, the Antiquity and Methods 1961; Id., ?Upon of Gold-Mining in Ancient India ?, Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, 5, 1962, pp. 195-211; Id., ?Painted Pottery from Patpadu, Andhra Pradesh ?, Antiquity, 1962, pp. 221-24; Id., ?A Neolithic Pot from Andhra Pradesh ?, ibid., pp. 302-3; Id., Neolithic Cattle Keepers of South India, Cambridge, 1963; Id., in Prehistory, ed. D. Sen, A.K. Ghosh, Calcutta, 1966, pp. 58-63; F.R. and B. Allchin, ?The Archaeology of a River-Crossing?, Indian Studies
Anthropology, (41) H.D. ed. T.N. ?Pottery Head-rests from Narsipur Sangam?,

i38)M. Seshadri, The Stone-using Cultures of Prehistoric and Protohistoric Mysore, London, 1956; Id., ?The Palaeolithic Industry of Kib 23

bay, 1962, pp. 52-65.


Sankalia,

Madan, Mesolithic

G.

Sarna, and

Bom?

Pre-Me

solithic Industries from the Excavations ganakallu, Bellary, Poona, 1969.

at San

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Nagaraja

Rao

(42), S. R.

Rao

ma

(47) and others (48). On


is less extensive.

the palaeolithic of the area between thePalar and the Krishna


In the late 1930s, De Terra and Paterson (49), and Krish

(43), Paddayya

(44), Rami

Reddi

(45), Sundara

(46), Shar?

the literature naswami

area. in the Madras In 1947 Krishnaswami (51) (50) followed up Foote's work a account of this work. Since then there has hardly been any work also wrote summary in this area. Recently K. D. Banerjee and A. K. Ghosh (52) (53) have begun investigations on the palaeoliths in this area. In Andhra after Foote was the first important publication

one may mention those and Burkitt in 1930 the recent works (54). Among by Cammiade Prehistoric of Isaac (57) and Murty (56), Sarkar (58). (55), Soundararajan investigations were begun inGujarat in the 1940s. Since then there has been a steady after Foote by Sankalia stone age, notably by Zeuner stream of work on the Gujarat (60), Sanka? (59), Wainright

lia (61),Bridget Allchin and her associates (62). There was thus a lapse of about 50 years before the trail of Foote was picked up by
the modern

in Gujarat andWheeler

prehistorians.

De

Terra

and Paterson

and Krishnaswami

in Madras,

Sankalia

inMysore made a new beginning; systematic work began only in

of Certain ?Survival (42)Nagaraja Rao, Neolithic Elements among the Boyas of Tekkala kota?, Anthropos, 1965, pp. 480-81; Id., Proto historlc Tungabhadra Valley, Dharwar, 1971; Na?
garaja

Indian Archaeology?a ibid., 1963-64, p. 19.

Review,

1962-63, p.

12;

in Indian Archaeology?a (43) S.R. Rao, and 1964-65 Review, 1967-68; the names of the sites are Payampalli and Singanapalli. (44)K.V. Paddayya, Investigations into the Neolithic Culture of the Shorapur Doab, South India, Leiden, 1973. (45)V. Rami Reddi, Pre- and Protohistory of Southwestern Andhra Pradesh, unpublished Ph.D. thesis, Poona University, 1968. (46)A. Sundara, ?New Discoveries of Ash Mounds in North Karnatak: Their Implications ?, Prof. K.A. Nilakanta Shastri Felicitation Volume, Madras, 1971, pp. 308-14. (47) I.K. Sharma, ? Painted Pottery from Pu salpadu, Andhra Pradesh and Further Explorations in the Cuddapah and Kurnool Districts ?, Indica, 1967, pp. 75-94.
(48) Z.D. at S.N. Poona, Sanganakallu, Rajguru, 1966. Ansari, Nagaraja Rao, Excavations Mujumdar, at Kupgal, Poona, Ashmound G.G. 1969; Excavations

Rao,

Malhotra,

op.

cit.

Light on the Stone Ages of Southeast India?, Antiquity, 1930, pp. 327-39. (55)N. Isaac, The Stone Age Cultures of
Kurnool,

information. f53) Personal M.C. (54) L.A. Cammiade,

Burkitt,

?Fresh

sity, 1960.

unpublished Sounda

Ph.D.

thesis,

Poona

Univer?

tries near Giddalur ?, AI, 8, 1952, pp. 66-92; Id., ? Studies in the Stone Age of Nagarjunakonda ?, AI, 14, 1958, pp. 49-113. Sarkar has prepared a monograph (57)H.B. on the stone age of Nagarjunakonda on the basis of the Archaeological Survey of India excavations at the site: unpublished. M.L.K. Murty, ? Blade and Burin Indus? (58)
tries near

(56) K.V.

Rarajan,

? Stone

age

indus?

India?, Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society, 1968, pp. 83-101. (59)F.E. Zeuner, Stone Age and Pleistocene Chronology in Gujarat, Poona, 1950. (60)G.T. Wainright, The Pleistocene Deposits of the Lower Narmada Basin, Baroda, 1964. historic Archaeology
(61) H.D. Sankalia, Investigations in the Pre

Renigunta

on

the

Southeast

Coast

of

Studies (49)H. De Terra, T.T. Paterson, on the Ice Age in India and Associated Human Cultures, Washington, 1939, pp. 327-30. historicMan near Madras ?, Journal of theMadras Geographical Association, 1938, pp. 58-90. ? Stone Age India ?, (51)V.D. Krishnaswami, AI, 3, 1947, pp. 11-57. site Gudiyam, district Chingleput, (52)The 24
i50) V.D. Krishnaswami, ?Changes of Pre?

in the Narmada Valley, ground of Early Man Gujarat ?, Journal of theM.S. University, Baroda, A. Goudie, ibid., 1970, pp. 15-32; B. Allchin, ? Dunes, Aridity and Early Man A. Goudie, in Western India 248-65. ?, Man, 1971, pp. Gujarat,
1968, pp. 141-45; B. Allchin, K.T.M. Hegde,

at Langhnaj Id., Excavations B. K.T.M. Allchin, (62)

of Gujarat,
1944-63, Hegde,

Baroda,
Poona, ?The

1946;
1965. Back?

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the 1950s. This is somethingtrueof Indian prehistory as a whole, not merely of


prehistory of the areas in which a Foote teacher worked. of It is not

the

research died out completely in India in the firsthalf of the 20th century. One has only
to remember that P. Mitra, the Department of Anthropology, Calcutta Uni?

that the tradition of prehistoric

versity, published his monograph Prehistoric India in 1922 (2nd ed., 1927). In the same year, JohnMarshall, while writing forCambridge History of India, vol. I, did not ignore
prehistory

of his chapter one also notices a bibliographyof writings on Indian prehistory. But by and large prehistory continued to be thoroughlyneglected in India of that period. It
no impact the professed the general Indian historical thinking. research interests of the official Archaeological in fact, laid down Prehistoric its basis. on It was Survey. The not One then also included notices in a

altogether;

at least he wrote

a few pages

on

Indian

prehistory

and

at the end

made

marked dwindling of interest in the subject among the British amateurswho in the 19th
century took a lot of interest and apathy of the Archaeo? to Indian interested And,

logical Survey is easily explainable: the Directors General tillWheeler


predilection for the historical during remains. of studies did not appeal they were in an more rule. alien simply because ploring gradually sionals those days would political to be give intense nationalism self-respect the British with

in 1944 had a
scholars in ex? with a

things which changing came

them some in India

situation occupied

administrators

and other profes? interests; in

perhaps

too much

their own

professional

the firsthalf of the 20th century they retained very little of that wide-ranging curiosity
which generally of characterized scholars with their predecessors a different workers Foote who attitude in the 19th. to the Indian It remained past for the modern the legacy generation of Foote To established to rediscover

and his

contemporary Bruce

in prehistory. first discovered in his interest a palaeolith in prehistory in a among geologically the contem?

sum up, Robert context

in India was

not alone

The megaliths and neoliths were both and other professionals. discovered earlier. The cultural implication of the microliths was first recognized by Carlyle. In his final the context of his time Foote was not without his limitations. Even within porary British administrators

publication, posthumouslypublished in 1916, he still did not recognize the existence of


the mesolithic; Indian he took no notice of

and elsewhere. Even in the field of palaeoliths he remained content by writing that the
to the Chello-Mousterian stage of European belonged prehistory, though consti? he must have known Mousterian that in European the Chellean and the prehistory not ob? He was tuted two different stages with two different techno-typological forms. palaeoliths this out in the context of Indian prehistory. At the same interested in working viously these limitations he was decidedly time one should not forget that despite the most syste? matic and enthusiastic investigator of prehistoric remains of his time in India. His fieldwork in south covered covers a span of more than thirty years during which he dis? and Gujarat area. over sites In the catalogue of his col? this of all wide very types prehistoric India

the copper-bronze

discoveries

in the Gangetic

valley

lection of prehistoricobjects, which he finished writing before his death, he described the sites and objects coherently and in detail, and thus conveyed a total view of prehistoryof 25

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a very large segment of the subcontinent. He did not excavate anywhere but as his publi? cations reveal he was never a mere antiquarian in the collection interested mainly of arti? in every case he left behind a meticulous facts. Almost and other record of the geological contexts his of the sites. The He was also In very often interested implements. general accuracy of his observations in determining has in many the functions cases been of sub?

stantiated

tivityand eye for detail, and his care for precise publication should place him firmly in
the ranks of the great nineteenth century pioneers of prehistory.

by later research.

fact, his wide-ranging

fieldwork

and discoveries,

his objec?

26

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Minat Terkait