‘Human presence in India dates back to 1.5 million years’

An expert in the field of pre-historic stone tool technology said here on Thursday that researches have conclusively proved that the earliest evidence of humans in India dates back to 1.5 million years to 1.7 millions years.

Dr. Kumar Akhilesh, co-director of Attirampakkam Excavation Project and Director (Research), Sharma Centre for Heritage Education, Chennai, told The Hindu that the conventional position held is that humans in India existed around 500,000 to 600,000 years ago and not earlier.

However, the current researches at Attiramapakkam in Tamil Nadu has pushed back the date further.

He was speaking on the sidelines of a workshop on “Pre-historic Stone Tool Technology” organised by the Department of Ancient History and Archaeology, University of Mysore.

Dr. Akhilesh said this also underlined the importance of more focus on pre-historic studies in India to understand the collective heritage of the country. “India should focus on pre-historic studies and strive to establish the records from nearly 1.5 million years ago for which there are ample evidence in the form of stone tools,” he said.

He is also part of the team exploring Attirampakkam and said the site has a long sequence of prehistoric cultures, the oldest of which belongs to the Acheulian phase. The team, along with the collaborating agencies, dated this phase to around 1.5 million to 1.7 million years old and was contemporary to other similar sites in Africa and Israel.

Though the earliest evidence for stone tool technology dates to 3.3 million years in Africa, there is no fossil evidence for it as far as India was concerned, he said, underlining the importance of protecting such sites.

“These are our earliest heritage and though some of the sites are well-preserved others have been impacted. There are similar sites in Karnataka as well and the site at Isampur in Kalaburgi district was rich in stone tools and could be dated to 1.3 million years,” said Dr. Akhilesh.

The sites at Attirampakkam and Isampur have yielded thousands of tools and Dr.Akhilesh and his team of experts are working at the site since many years with the objective of studying one site in totality.

He later demonstrated the making of stone tools.

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Printable version | Oct 15, 2021 11:21:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/human-presence-in-india-dates-back-to-15-million-years/article8593324.ece

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