NEW OBSERVATIONS ON THE AGE AND CONTEXT OF SOANIAN TOOLS FOUND IN POST-URBAN HARAPPAN SITES AND ALONG WTH SE ASIAN TYPE TOOLS ON THE MID-HOLOCENE TERRACES IN THE NW SUB-HIMALAYAS
AbstractABSTRACT Most of the alluvial fan surfaces in the northwestern sub-Himalayas were laid down during terminal Pleistocene to late mid-Holocene times and so were the cusp terraces of the streams cutting through Siwaliks and the joining perennial Himalayan rivers. Though the stone tools and other prehistoric artefacts found on a surface have to be younger than the age of that surface but in the absence of any dates, almost all the earlier workers in this region determined the chronology of lithic sites by mere speculations. We have recently made surface collections from almost 30 stream-terrace sites and alluvial fan surfaces in the sub-Himalayas and have excavated two in buried state, all were in dated contexts. We have observed that the Soanian type stone implements existed in the sub-Himalayas up to late mid-Holocene times. This inference is also confirmed by the discovery of such tools from post-Urban Harappan sites and also in association with Harappan potsherds on young terrace surfaces. The discovery of many new tool-types, especially the pitted cobbles and edge-ground lithic specimens known from the mid-Holocene sites elsewhere, especially of Southeast Asia, also hints at the influence of those lithic industries in this region. We briefly present here the lithic assemblages from five sites with new evidences and conclude that the Soanian and many new tool-types were in use in the northwestern sub-Himalayas until the late mid-Holocene times.