Mesolithic implements found at Chevayur

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Shedding more light on the life of pre-historic people in the State, a young researcher attached to the Kerala Institute for Research, Training and Development Studies here has discovered a set of Mesolithic implements at Chevayur in the city. 

Some of these pieces of cultural evidence, including scrapers, borers, lunates (crescent or moon-shaped article), broken blades, and simple flakes used by people during 10,000-3,000 BC. These are surface finds, found10 km midland from the Arabian Sea. 

“These are not microlithic in character as found in other Mesolithic sites in the State,” says N.K. Ramesh, 28, who made the discovery. (A microlith can be a very small blade made of flaked stone and used as a tool). 

Mesolithic people were experts in hunting, who also engaged in fishing. They used locally available material, particularly milky quartz and crystal quartz, in the State. British geologist K.R.V. Todd, discovered Mesolithic implements from Chevayur during 1930-35. The remains are now housed at the British Museum. 

Mr. Ramesh says the presence of blades revealed the ability of people during Mesolithic times to prepare tools of blades. The scarcity of such tools could have been probably due to the less-prevalent use of microlithic implements. 

Previously, Mr. Ramesh had found lower Paleolithic prototype hand axe, upper Paleolithic tools, and Neolithic Adzes in various sites in Kozhikode district. 

He is also credited with marking the first Paleolithic site in the Vanimel river basin four years ago. 

These typical lower Paleolithic tools are now maintained at the Ethnological and Heritage Museum at the Department of Anthropology, Kannur University. 

Mr. Ramesh has plans to carry out further exploration at Panom forest, 1,500 feet above sea level, bordering the Kozhikode and Wayanad districts. 

His research is guided by P. Rajendran, University Grants Commission Research Scientist and Archaeologist at the Department of History, University of Kerala. 

Dr. Rajendran told The Hindu on Thursday that carbon dating could not be done for surface findings at Chevayur unless supported by organic materials. 

Superior technology 

“However, the discovery of implements made out of quartz shows that people in the State used superior technology than their counterparts elsewhere. Quartz is one of the hardest rock forms. The people preferred pebbles from gravel bed to make a single tool,” he said. 

Dr. Rajendran made discovered wood charcoal and carvings at Thenmala rock shelter habitation site in 1986. 

This is the first carbon dating of the Mesolithic era in South India confirming the implements used during 3210 BC. 

“North Kerala is generally neglected in archaeological exploration. This was even after the discovery of Paleolithic tools at Kanjirapuzha, Palakkad, in 1974,” he said. 

Author: Biju Govind | Source: The Hindu [August 10, 2012]

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