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New Evidence on the Age of The Acheulian in India

Early Pleistocene Presence of Acheulian Hominins in South India

Shanti Pappu, Yanni Gunnell, Kumar Akhilesh,Régis Braucher,Maurice Taieb, François Demory, Nicolas Thouveny

Read the full paper in Science, March 25th, 2011.

South Asia is rich in Lower Paleolithic Acheulian sites. These have been attributed to the Middle Pleistocene on the basis of a small number of dates, with a few older but disputed age estimates. Here, we report new ages from the excavated site of Attirampakkam, where paleomagnetic measurements and direct 26Al/10Be burial dating of stone artifacts now position the earliest Acheulian levels as no younger than 1.07 million years ago (Ma), with a pooled average age of 1.51 ± 0.07 Ma. These results reveal that, during the Early Pleistocene, India was already occupied by hominins fully conversant with an Acheulian technology including handaxes and cleavers among other artifacts. This implies that a spread of bifacial technologies across Asia occurred earlier than previously accepted.

 

You can read more about this paper by following this link

You can also check out perspectives on this paper by Robin Dennell in the same issue of Science.

A comment on this paper is also present on John Hawks web blog

More comments on Sheila Mishra's web blog