Early Farming Communities of The Kaimur- Excavations At Senuwar: 1986-87, 89-90 (Part-I)
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Early Farming Communities of The Kaimur- Excavations At Senuwar: 1986-87, 89-90 (Part-I)

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Item Code: UAH923
Author: Birendra Pratap Singh
Publisher: Publication Scheme, Jaipur
Language: English
Edition: 2004
ISBN: 8181820045
Pages: 470 (Throughout B/w Illustrations)
Other Details 11.00 X 9.00 inch
Weight 1.39 kg
About the Book
The volumes embody the results of archaeological excavations conducted at Senuwar, district Rohtas, Bihar by Dr. Birendra Pratap Singh, one of the senior- most archaeologist of the Banaras Hindu University who has experience of field research of over three decades.

The work highlights the potential of this area in terms of understanding the socio-economic conditions of the Neolithic, Neo ithic-chalcolithic and Chalco lithic population. The site provides conclusive evidence of a unilinear evolution of culture in this region from Eolithic to NBPW.

The meticulous investigations at Senuwar have enabled us to reach such deductions that may alter the course of archaeological and historical reconstructions made so far. Comparative study between Neolithic complex of the Belan valley with Senuwar not only reveals the striking similarity but demonstrates the eastward expansion of the former. Senuwar excavation testifies an early contact of Senuwarians with Indus civilization and the South Indian Neolithic folk.

Volume II has been synthesized to bring together the broad ranging and thought provoking articles by some learned scholars of diverse scientific backgrounds, to mark a close-knit integration with the economy, technical skills and the exploitation of material wealth of ancient settlers at Senuwar. Dr. R.S. Pappu, an archaeologist and Quaternary geomorphologies attached to the Deccan College, Pune has contributed to 'Site Catchment Analysis'.

The welcome narrative on plant economy has been contributed by Dr. K.S. Saraswat, Senior Scientist at Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeobotany, Lucknow and a noted palaeoethnobotanist of the country.

He is known to have extensively contributed to the overall archaeological perspective of Harappan-culture in the Middle Ganga Plain. His approaches have offered a body of empirical evidence against which archaeological models are being evaluated. On plant remains from Senuwar excavations, botanical approach opens up avenues to conceptualize the growth and concomitant development of agriculture based economy from the earliest Neolithic to Chalco lithic times, and, also furnishes information on economic and ecological background of ancient settlers in this region. The empirical data produced by Senuwar excavations is exceedingly important to surmise that·

Harappans in north-western regions in India, during much earlier time, did have substantial influence in the agricultural development of far distant areas in the east.

The diffusion of the founder crops of Harappan economy, must have had entailed the modifications in the technological skills of Neolithic farmers to enhance food production in the rice-growing Kaimur region of Bihar, around 2000 B.C. These results are expected to be reckoned with, in the context of archaeology of Middle Ganga Plain.

Dr. Vijay Sathe of the Deccan College, Pune and Dr. G.L. Badam (Joint Director, Deptt. of Culture, Raipur, Chhattisgarh) a renowned Quaternary geologist and paleontologist has analyzed the Faunal remains of the site.

Dr. (Mrs.) Anupama Kshirsagar (The Deccan College, Pune) has contributed on the soil sample analysis from the site. Dr. R.N. Singh of the Department of Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology of the Banaras Hindu University analyzed the metal objects from Senuwar and has contributed a valuable appendix.

Banaras Hindu University has contributed significantly through the spade 0 archaeologists to the history of north India in general and Middle Ganga Plains are particular. This has been possible because of the dedicated efforts of the teachers and students of the Department of Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology, who have not only conducted significant field investigations, but have also published the reports of the discoveries. The present monograph, - Early Farming Communities on the Kaimur : Excavations at Senuwar - 1986-87 & 1989-90, is another valuable addition to the publications and reports well recognized set of the Department. Earlier reports were on excavations at Rajghat (ancient Varanasi), Prahladpur, arhan, Paisra, Chunar, Varanasi & Sarnath and have been well recognized by the experts in the field.

The present monograph embodies the results of one of the recent archaeological excavations conducted by Dr. Birendra Pratap Singh, Reader of the Department between 1986 and 1990. The work has brought to light a continuous sequence of archaeological cultures from Eolithic to the historical periods. The result of this field investigation is particularly significant for the expansion and growth of food producing economy and subsistence in the Middle Ganga Plains.

In accordance with the recent trend, the present excavation report is based on multi-disciplinary scientific studies of unearthed remains, like the palaeobotanical studies of floral findings, catchment study of the site, ontological study of the animal bones, pedagogical analysis of soil samples, and metallurgical studies of artifacts. The contribution of various scientists and, of course, the archaeologist in the preparation of this publication are excellent both in terms of the multi-disciplinary approach in archaeology and a meaningful reconstruction of the history of the early cultures of the Middle Ganga Plains. I am sure this monograph will be very useful to the students and researchers of History and Archaeology on one hand and other allied scientific disciplines on the other. I congratulate the authors and wish them wide readership.

The post independence period witnessed a spurt of archaeological activities in the Indian sub-continent. Middle Ganga plains were no exception to it. As a result Proto Historic and Historic sites were brought to light in the Middle Ganga plain, and quite a few of them were subjected to excavations. However, most of these excavations were carried out with a view to determining culture sequence of sites, making a little or no use of facilities of scientific analysis available in various institutions in India.

The excavations at Senuwar in district Rohtas, Bihar conducted by Dr. Birendra Pratap Singh, though was also limited to a small area, yet it differed from most of the other excavated sites of Middle Ganga plains on more than one counts. First, the objective of the excavator was not Limited to determining the culture sequence, but unveiling the earliest hitherto lesser known phase of Neolithic culture of Bihar through selecting potential areas on laying trenches. Second, the excavator ensured participation of at least two experts viz; Dr. K.S. Saraswat ofB.S.I.P. and Dr. R.S. Pappu a geologist from the Deccan College, Pune in the excavation, so that necessary data may be collected from the excavated trenches by them for subsequent laboratory analyses. Besides, Dr. Vijaya Sathe and Dr. G.L. Badam ofthe Deccan College, Dr. Anupama Kshirsagar of the same institution and Dr. P .K. Chattopadhyay of the Steel Authority of India Ltd. were requested to carry out ontological studies of the faunal remains, pedagogical studies of the soil samples and metallurgical studies of the metal objects found during the excavation, respectively. Thus, in spite of the limited nature of the excavation, the excavator has succeeded in providing many more information’s of lasting value than are generally available from the small scale excavations of his type.

The meticulous investigations carried out at and around Senuwar have enabled us to reach at such deductions that may alter the course of historical and archaeological reconstructions made so far. A comparative study between the Mahagara-Koldihwa Neolithic complex of the Belan valley and that of Senuwar demonstrates remarkable similarity, implying thereby that the latter represents an eastward extension of the former. However, as is natural, the Neolithic folks reaching Senuwar along the Kaimur range developed some new traits like domestication of pig, a variety of bone tool industry, use of stone beads and post firing ochre painting on the rim and necks of certain pots, and also introduced some changes in the pottery such as manufacturing of burnished grey ware in place of burnished black ware and making lesser number of pots with cord impression and rustication. They obviously represent the process of adaptation to new environment. It may also be argued that some changes were introduced due to the contact of the Neolithic inhabitants of Senuwar with those of south Indian Neolithic complex. In this connection, mention may be made of a few culture patterns like domestication of pig, post firing ochre painting on pots and use of crypto crystalline beads, which are common to both complexes. These similarities may not be brushed aside as mere accidental, and most probably denotes cultural contact, although its mechanism cannot be explained at the present state of our knowledge.

The evidence gathered by the excavator of Senuwar throws significant light on the subsequent course of evolution of Neolithism in Bihar. On the basis of the excavation at Senuwar it is possible to recognize three evolutionary stages of the Neolithic culture, which may be summarized as follows:

Stage I (Circa 2200 B.C. - Circa 2000 B.C.) : This earliest stage is characterized by the cultivation of only rice, domestication predominantly of cattle, buffalo, sheep and pig, gathering of wild rice and other edibles etc. The settlements were probably small in which huts of wattle and daub and rammed mud floors were made. Various crafts were in rudimentary stage which were represented by bone tool industry, shell industry and stone industry comprising of a few rounded butt small celts of basalt, small tool industry including microliths of crypto crystalline silica and some food processing objects like pestles, querns, rubber stone etc. Big game hunting was also an important feature 'Of the economy.

The Site

Senuwar (Lat. ~4°56'N, Long. 83°56'E) is located 7 km. west of Sa ram town, district headquarters of the Rohtas district in Bihar. The site is situated on the right bank of the Kudra river which flows approximately 0.50 to 0.75 km. away from the site and has developed as a shallow meander here. The ancient mound covers an area of 300m . from east to west and 360m. from north to south, and rises to the maximum height of 9 m. from the ground level. The habitation has taken place on flat alluvial surface and the site is spread over about 6- 7 hectares.

The nearest railway station is Sasaram which is on the grand chord line of the Eastern Railway. The site can be approached from Sasaram-Chorbaddi metalled road. Private buses, jeeps and rickshaws are available on this route throughout the year.

Environment Landforms

Topographically, the land surrounding the site is almost flat alluvial terrain forming part of the South Bihar alluvial plain which in turn forms part of the great Indo-Gangetic plain. The region, for a radius of 5 km. around the site, has an elevation of about 100 to 103m. AMSL. The average slope around the site is very gentle and as result the relative relief and dissection index show very less values. The Kaimur hill ranges are located 8 to 9 km. south and southeast of the site. The alluvial deposits are found abutting against Kaimur hill ranges. These hill ranges are offshoots ofthe great Vindhyan range of the Peninsula. They occupy a small southwestern portion of the Rohtas district between Sasaram town and the Son river and form the eastern end of the Kaimur plateau. These occur in the form of tableland. The most salient feature of the landscape is the presence of numerous escarpments. These are everywhere lofty and bold and the highlands have an elevation varying from 300 to 475 m. The summit of the plateau displays old gently undulating character while the edge is precipitous scarp from which numerous streams emerge through deep gorges. Some of the streams have magnificent waterfalls.

River System

The Kudra fiver belongs to the Ganga river system. It is one ofthe several minor streams which rise in the Kaimur hill ranges. It originates at an altitude of 170m. AMSL beyond Arachnid pass 7 km. southeast of Sa ram town. The river has a total course of about 80 km. and flows in north and northwest directions. It joins the Durgauti river near Bandipur and Tendwa villages. After this confluence, the river Durgauti flows in northerly direction for a distance of 9 km. and meets the Karamanasa river near Saraila Chitarkoni village. The Karamanasa river has a course of another 40 km. in northeast and north directions and finally meets the Ganga near the village Chausa.

The river Kudra has a rocky channel in the upper parts of its course up to Arachnid pass and the bed of the river in this portion is made up of boulders, cobbles and pebbles. After it crosses the Arachnid pass and enters the plains, the river has a low gradient, and displays well developed meandering pattern in its middle and lower reaches. In this portion the cliffs are made up offline alluvium such as fine sand, silt and clay.

Book's Contents and Sample Pages

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