Quellenkunde zur indischen Geschichte bis 1858

2. Quellen zur Vor- und Frühgeschichte

2. Discovery of Stone Implements in India / by W. Blanford and others (1876)

Herausgegeben von Alois Payer


Zitierweise / cite as:

Discovery of Stone Implements in India / by W. Blanford and others (1876). -- (Quellenkunde zur indischen Geschichte bis 1858. -- 2. Quellen zur Vor- und Frühgeschichte ; 2.). -- Fassung vom 2008-02-14. -- http://www.payer.de/quellenkunde/quellen022.htm        

Erstmals publiziert in: Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. -- 1867. -- S. 136 - 153

Wieder abgedruckt in: A source-book of Indian archaeology / ed. by F. Raymond Allchin .... -- New Delhi : Manoharlal. -- Vol 1: Background. Early methods. Geography, climate and early man domestication of plants and animals. - 1979. -- X, 354 S. : Ill. -- S. 11 - 24. -- Hier nach diesem Nachdruck wiedergegeben.

Erstmals hier publiziert: 2008-02-14


Anlass: Lehrveranstaltung FS 2008

©opyright: Public domain

Dieser Text ist Teil der Abteilung Sanskrit  von Tüpfli's Global Village Library

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W. Blanford and Others
Discovery of Stone Implements in India

"At the October meeting of last year, I was enabled, through the kindness of Mr. Rivett Carnac, to exhibit to the Society a very interesting collection of agate flakes and cores found by the late Lieutenant Swiney at Jubbulpoor. A selection from this collection has now been lithographed, for publication in the Society's proceedings. Since last year I have had some slight opportunities of adding to our knowledge of the distribution of these agate implements throughout the country, and I can also state a little from personal observation as to their mode of occurrence.

"I first met with them at Jubbulpoor. Major Oakes, of the Revenue Survey, and Major Ryder very kindly pointed out to me some of the localities in which Lieutenant Swiney's specimens were found. They appear to abound upon almost every rising ground. I found them here and there near Seoni, and abundantly at several places around Nagpoor. I also met with a few west of Chanda, and, lastly, with two or three small specimens on the trap outlier close to Rajamandry.

"They appear thus to occur in abundance along the edge of the trap country, which furnishes the stone of which they are composed. They are chiefly found on gentle rises, rarely scattered over alluvial plains. They are frequently to be met with a few miles outside the trap boundary. Whether they occur in equally large numbers throughout the trap area, it is difficult to say; they have certainly not been found in any quantity as yet. So far the theory which appears best to suit their mode of occurrence is, that men living outside the trap boundary travelled to its edge, in order to obtain the material for their flakes, made what they required on the spot, and threw away the useless cores and the badly shaped flakes. The spots I have indicated, rises near and upon the trap boundary, are precisely those where agates and jasper derived from the traps would first be met with. The numbers of the chipped agates, in some places, are astonishing. Lieutenant Swiney must have collected several thousand specimens near Jubbulpoor, and he only took the more perfectly shaped cores, throwing away at least 19 out of 20. The collection I exhibited last year, was only a very small portion indeed of his collection, of which Major Ryder possesses the bulk. I myself obtained several hundreds of flakes and cores from a small hill about 6 miles north of Nagpoor. The majority were not worth taking, as there were only a few faces on them from which flakes had been split, but taken in connection with other specimens, the marks of their having been subjected to the same treatment was unmistakable.

"I have been unable to trace the flakes in connection with the extinct fauna of the Nerbudda and Godavery waters any further than I mentioned last year. As a rule, the cores and flakes only occur on the surface, or immediately beneath it, on the surface soil. This is precisely the case with flakes and cores of similar form in Europe.

"The enormous number of cores which occur, and their widely spread distribution, point either to a very large population using them, or, which is the same thing, to a very long period of time during which they were used. The former is unlikely, the latter extremely probable. The race which used them was probably one of hunters and fishers, scattered sparsely over the country.

"At the October meeting, I mentioned that I had seen specimens of cores, similar to those of Central India, brought from Sind. Specimens from the bed of the Indus have since been figured in the Geological Magazine, and I learn from Sir Bartie Frere, to whom I sent some specimens of the Nagpoor cores, that similar chipped siliceous fragments occur in bushels on the surface of the limestone at Roree. The Sind cores are of chert, doubtless derived from the nummulitic limestone, and they appear even to excel, in regularity of form, the specimens from Central India. I stated in October that I had seen no figures in European works of any of the sub-conical forms of cores. After the meeting, copies of the first number of Messrs. Christy and Lartet's Reliquiae Aquitanicae reached India, and in one of the plates there are some specimens figured, precisely similar to those of India, except in being much larger.

"I have nothing to add as to the relative ages of the Madras form of implements, the so-called axes, (not axes at all as I believe) scrapers, &c, and of the agate and jasper cores and flakes. I have, however, found specimens of the quartzite axe-shaped implements about halfway between Nagpoor and Chanda; again at Edlabad in the Pemgunga valley, west of Chanda; and a very beautiful specimen at Maledi, W.N.W. of Sironcha. One or two specimens of the same form, but composed of agate, were found by Mr. Fedden, in the Pemgunga valley in S.E. Berar, but their form is not sufficiently good to render their artificial origin quite certain."

"Mr. King said:—In April 1865, I found frequent specimens of chipped stone implements of the different types already met with by Mr. Foote, of the Government Survey, and myself in the neighbourhood of Madras, lying scattered over the surface of the eastern side of the Khoondair or central valley of the Kuddapah and Kurnool districts of that Presidency. They were principally found in that part of the valley which lies in the Kurnool district, and were generally of the flat oval form, that is, an oval, either long or short, having one end longer and more pointed than the other, and with—what I take to be a very distinctive mark of an artificially worked or chipped stone—a more or less regular and wavy sharp edge all round the larger periphery of the stone and in the same plane. The other form, not so commonly found, viz., a supposed axe-head, with one straight edge at the longer end, met by lateral edges from the short end, were also met with. All these were lying about irregularly, sometimes out on the open plains and on the rising grounds; or, as was more frequently the case, in the beds of the little lateral valleys of the streams. In the latter cases, the implements appeared to have been washed out of the layer or layers of gravel and shingle which occasionally show in the banks of these lateral valleys.

"The principal localities about which these implements were found are the villages of Roodrar and Madaypoor, and the country between and south and north of them. In the beginning of last year, I was induced to look more particularly over the ground around these places, and was successful in finding some good specimens of implements in situ. These occurred in deposits which I have called the 'Implement gravels': and which are only seen to any extent in this part of the country along the eastern side of the Khoondair valley. Here these gravels show up all the streams flowing from the Nullamullays, which mountains border this side of the Khoond depression, and they are exposed in nearly every well that has been sunk within four to six miles of the bases of the mountains. The deposit generally consists of a pale yellow and greyish coarse clay, more or less filled with coarse sandy particles, fine gravel, or shingle. The gravel and shingle occur in irregular layers which are sometimes totally separate, but generally run into one another until they form often a thick bed at the bottom of the formation. I have never seen the whole deposit over 20 feet in thickness, but there is every evidence of its being thicker in places. The implement gravels are generally in the stream sections overlaid unconformably by a finer sandy deposit, with fine gravel, which has been found on the worn surface of the older accumulations. The same coarse lower gravels extend southwards to the Kuddapah basin presenting like fractures; and thence we find them at intervals all the way down to the Madras area, where they contain the stone implements of the Trivellore taluq and other localities examined by Mr. Foote and myself nine years ago. The gravel and shingle is all of quartzite on altered sandstone: generally well rounded and quite smooth. For the most part, the clay is calcareous, the contained debris being coated with kunkur; but often it is ferruginous and mottled with red spots and patches of ferruginous matter, occasionally presenting a lateritoid character.

"While working up the Madaypoor stream, I examined the vertical banks as closely as possible, and at last recognized the apparently rounded and edged end of an implement just sticking out from the shingle bed in the bank. This turned out to be a good specimen of a pointed oval: it lay in one of the layers of pebbles and rectangular fragments of quartzites which occur in a thick bed of ferruginous and lateritic sandy clay; at seven feet below the present upper surface of the bank. Nearly immediately above this layer, at about four feet from the surface, I picked out a second implement of a ruder shape: still a pointed oval, but rather thick than flat, as the ovals generally are. This was from another layer of coarse gravel which appeared to be the bottom of a newer set of gravels than that containing the first specimen: but I found afterwards that these apparently separate deposits run into each other by lenticular tailings. At the bottom of this bank and section, there is a very coarse gravel and breccia in a kunkury matrix, which partly forms a little talus or foot at the base: and from the surface of this, cemented with the rest of the shingle, I extracted another rude implement. It is broken at its longer end, and was flatter and not so pointed at this extremity as either of the others. It may possibly have fallen out of the bank above, and become cemented with the debris at the base.

"Again, some seventeen miles further south, I found two implements in situ in the banks of the Ullamoor stream. They were associated with the gravels much the same as was the case with those already described: the one in the face of the bank, at 4 feet from the surface: the other on the sloping edge of a cemented gravel bank in the bed of the ruins. They are both flat ovals, but without pointed ends: though slightly longer at one extremity than the other. They were not at all easily extracted from the surrounding gravel: neither were the three from the Madaypoor stream.

"So far, except in one instance when the rather doubtful specimen consisted of trap, our chipped implements of the Madras Presidency have hitherto been all of quartzite; but I was rather struck with the occurrence at certain points, along the banks of these streams, of scattered fragments of light and dark-coloured chert, some of which looked like small 'flakes.' These fragments were likewise, in places, much crowded together, as though they had been broken off and left there, for instance by modern workers as substitutes for flints, or other uses to which chert might be put, or even that they might have been collected and broken for amusement by the shepherds and their children. There is, besides, a tribe of very uncultivated people, called Chensulahs, inhabiting the jungle skirting the Nulla-mullays; and they might have taken to stone for arrow-heads, &c. I could, however, learn nothing confirmatory of my suspicions; and the Chensulah people use iron arrow tips, or the simple hardened and pointed wood, while they do not remember that stone was never used by their ancestors for such purposes. Nevertheless, I did pick up a chipped fragment of chert, which looks remarkably like as if it had been manufactured: it is of a rude shield-shaped oval form, short and blunt at one end, with a sharp edge all round in the same plane, and is about 21/2 inches long by 2 inches broad. The general elevation of that part of the Khoondair referred to, is from six to nine hundred feet above the sea. This is not, however, the greatest elevation at which implements have been found in the Madras Presidency: for I have picked them up in the Kuddapah Sub-division, a little south of Raichotee, at about 1,400 feet."

Mr. King then showed three specimens which he had found on the surface in another series of valleys on the eastern side of the Nullamullays. The first was a very flat oval, with an extremely acute and sharp edge all round: which he supposed to have been a "skinscraper." In one of the other specimens, a large axe-headed form, there is still apparent, on the largest flaked surface, the peculiar conical area of fracture called by archaeologists, the "core of percussion."

The third specimen was a very rude one, and is probably not an implement. It was very coarsely weathered and fractured, and does not possess a continuous plane edge all round its larger periphery. It was interesting at the time of its being found, from its being the only approach to a stone weapon which Mr. King had seen in the hilly country of the Kurnool district.

In the absence of the author, Mr. Blanford read the following note by Mr. Wilson of the Geological Survey:

"The chipped stones I send, form a portion of a large collection I made last season. I found them scattered generally widely over the trap area, forming the southern boundary of the district of Sangor, and the northern to the Nerbudda valley,—the highest ground of the scarp being covered with trap. They always occur in the surface soil, mostly black clay, called cotton soil; but in all cases the underlying trap rocks protruded in lumpy masses here and there through the soil, in which the chipped specimens were found. The only other fragments I ever found associated with them, were those of intertrappean rocks, and once a large fragment rolled of jasper.

"On the trap forming a large flat, and the summit of the scarp, two miles east of where the new road from Nursingpoor to Saugor crosses it, several specimens were found scattered about. This flat overlooks the sandstone area to the north-east, 10 miles westwards on the same plateau on the trap. Several more were picked up 11 miles north, again near Moar village, south of Deoree. Several more again on trap along the edge of the main ranges of trap hills, close to and north of Deoree. Some three dozen specimens were found along the north side of the Sookcher nullah, north and westwards of Deoree; and in the centre of the trap area four specimens were picked up, in surface soil, on traps.

The Duhar nullah which crosses the Saugor and Deoree road midway between the two, is bounded on the east by a high plateau escarp, on which several specimens were found. Sandstone shown in patches in the nullah was about 50 feet below. In the sandcramped valley between Jabbalpore and Damoh I found 7001 specimen on the surface of the ground. On the plateau south, on which Killoomer hill is situated, some 600 feet above the valley, six or seven were found."

Mr. Ball then read the following note:

"I have to record a single addition to the scanty collection of stone implements which have been found in Bengal. The specimen I now exhibit was found on the surface, at an elevation of about 700 feet, near the village of Gopeenathpoor which lies 11 miles S.S.W. of Beherinath hill in the district of Manbhoom. Though of the same material (quartzite) it is much better shaped and more symmetrical than any of the specimens which I described in the communication I made to the Society in 1865.1 This superiority of workmanship makes it approximate much more closely to the character of the implements from Madras than do any of the others. The chief-interest attaching to this discovery is, that the locality is the most eastern in India, in which any trace of the ancient races who manufactured these implements has been found; no sign of anything of the kind has been met with in the alluvium which stretches for over a hundred miles further to the west. In Burmah and Assam, it is true, implements have been found, but they are of a very different type, and probably of a much more recent age. ! do not feel that this discovery of a single specimen justifies me in making any further remarks; and I must content myself for the present with the hope, that, in the examination of the lower portions of Manbhoom, of Singbhoom and Dhalbhoom districts, formerly known as the jungle mehals, and at present inhabited in parts by rude and almost savage races, I may be sufficiently fortunate to make some discovery, which will throw more light on this very interesting and important subject."

1 vide P.A.S. 1865, p. 27.

Dr. Anderson then exhibited some specimens of agate flakes which were found in an old Andaman encampment, and which were forwarded to the Society's Museum by Col. Haughton in Nov. 1861.2

2 vide P.A.S. 1863, p. 306.

Mr. Ormsby, the general Secretary, directed the attention of the meeting to some celts from the Indian Museum which had been presented to the Society, in February, 1861, by H.P. LeMesurier, Esq., Chief Engineer, Jubblepore Line, E.I.R.

These implements were of a much more finished description than any of the others exhibited, and were evidently much more modern. A full account of them is given in the Proceedings for February, 1861.

Mr. Ormsby then remarked that he thought one of the best proofs of the antiquity of the ruder forms of stone implements, and of the fact of their being manufactured by man, can be seen in the case of a weapon being found stuck in the scapula of a Megaceros Hibernicus, an animal now extinct.

Mr. W.T. Blanford said:
"I am much disposed to believe that we have evidence in India of the existence of man at a much earlier period than in Europe. I pointed this out last year, but the subject has not attracted the attention it deserved; and I may therefore briefly recapitulate the peculiar circumstances which render the flake found by Mr. Wynne, in situ in the Godavery gravels near Pyton, so peculiarly interesting. As I then stated, although the flake is so well shaped, that I entertain very little doubts of its being of human manufacture, still it is extremely desirable that further evidence should be obtained; and it is only right to add that, although both Mr. Fedden and I searched carefully this year, in several places upon the tributaries of the Godavery (the Wurda and Pem or Pyne Gunga), where fossil leaves are met with, no more flakes were found. But, accepting Mr. Wynne's flake as of human origin, we have evidence of the co-existence of man with the animals, the bones of which occur in the Godavery gravels, and which are identical with those found in the Nerbudda gravels. The fauna thus indicated differs much more widely from the existing Indian fauna than the pleistocene animals of Europe do from those now existing in that country. The change which has taken place in the Indian fauna since the period of the Nerbudda gravels, consists in a substitution of animals with Malay affinities for animals with European or African affinities. . . . The fauna of India at the present day is a remarkable mixture of African and Malay forms. The idea, so commonly expressed in European books, of India belonging to the same geological province as the Malay peninsula and Southern China, is quite erroneous. The fauna of the Nerbudda gravels, however, so far as it has hitherto been worked out, appears to have been either purely Western (African and European) in its affinities, or to have been much more nearly allied to the Western fauna than is that now existing."

Mr. Justice Phear remarked:
"That as there was still, no doubt, very much incredulity as to whether these supposed stone implements were properly attributable to a human origin or not, he might be permitted to mention a fact which in some sort afforded negative evidence in favour of the hypothesis. A few years ago, he had occasion to examine with some care the gravels of the valleys of denudation in Norfolk and Suffolk: a very large portion of these gravels consist solely of flint, and are the result of the erosion and the dissolving of the chalk in which the flints were originally imbedded. In most instances, no traces of beach action are apparent, though on the other hand the flints are often broken, obviously by violence. The result is, that in these areas are very large quantities of gravels, in which the flints especially exhibit abrupt outlines and sharp edges: still, among these he never detected any forms resembling those of the stone implements. At the same time he must admit that his observation was not then quickened by expectation. If, however, his supposition, that these forms were absent in the gravels of which he had spoken accorded with the fact, it would go some extent to show that they were not probably due to fracture brought about by natural causes. He would add that too much weight ought not to be given to the objection founded on the rudeness and incompleteness of the great bulk of the specimens, because if they really were the handywork of man, most if not all of those found in the gravels, from which they are manufactured, would be failures. All that were finished, and brought to a condition fitted for use, would of course be taken away from their places, and, if discovered at all, would be found isolated or on the sites of dwellings."

Mr. Dall suggested that the instruments might have been used for religious purposes, probably as sacrificial knives.

Mr. Ball said:
"One of the chief difficulties with most of these implements is to assign a probable use for them. If it be true that the art of manufacturing some of the more complicated forms is lost, it seems no less to be the case that the art of putting them to the use for which they were intended has not been handed down. As suggesting a probable use for some of the flakes exhibited by Mr. Blanford and Dr. Anderson, I would remind the meeting that, when the first Europeans landed in Mexico, they found that the inhabitants used to shave themselves with flakes of obsidian: two such razors, it is said, were blunted by the operation. It is a well known custom amongst the Andamanese to shave the head with pieces of broken glass, as well as to use lancets of the same material; now, bearing in mind the objection which savage races always have to adopting new customs, we cannot suppose that the introduction of this one was posterior to that of glass... .

Mr. King said, with reference to the supposed uses of these implements, that he was strongly inclined to consider, that they had been to a large extent used in the hand. They are easily held in this way: injury to a fellow creature might be easily brought about by a good blow from such a hand weapon: and the hewing of wood, grubbing up of roots, and the scraping of skins were savage practices which might be easily, though slowly, done by manual labour, assisted with one of these oval, or axe-headed implements.

Dr. Anderson then exhibited four deer horns and three skulls received from Colonel Dalton, and directed the attention of the meeting to the fact of the sutures of one of the skulls being almost entirely obliterated.

"Mr. Ball said—I have to regret that I was not before aware of Dr. Anderson's intention of exhibiting this skull this evening, as I possess a somewhat similar one, which I picked up at Searsole near Ranigunj in November last. It was found in a field where lay the bones of hundreds of victims to the famine, so that it is impossible to say with certainty to what race or caste its owner belonged, but the presumption is in favour of his having been either a Bhowrie or a Sonthal. This, however, is a matter of not much importance, as so abnormal a specimen could never be regarded as an ethnological type. Since it was picked up, ten months ago, I have not seen it, but as far as my recollection serves me, it had most of the principal sutures either partially or totally anchylosed. Besides which, it had a strongly marked ridge over the eyes. I shall take the first opportunity which may occur of exhibiting it to the Society."

The following communication has been received from Mr. Ball.
"The discovery of stone implements having proceeded so far in India, it has been thought desirable to tabulate the principal facts which have been published on the subject, with the twofold object of facilitating future reference, and of showing in one view how extensively these remains are distributed, not only in India itself, but also in some of the Islands of the Indian Ocean.

"The implements are divided into the three following classes:
A. Cores and flakes of agate, flint, etc.
B. Chipped axes, etc., chiefly of quartzite.
C. Polished 'celts' of Trap, Chert, Jade, etc.

[Im Original folgt hier eine tabellarische Übersicht über die Funde]

Zu. 3.: Abbildungen prähistorischer Artefakte Indiens (1917)