Recent Recovery of Unpublished Field Notes of Theodore D. McCown's Paleoanthropological Explorations in the Narmada River System, India, 1964-1965

By Kennedy, Kenneth A. R.; Langstroth, Elizabeth | Asian Perspectives: the Journal of Archaeology for Asia and the Pacific, Spring-Fall 2011 | Go to article overview

Recent Recovery of Unpublished Field Notes of Theodore D. McCown's Paleoanthropological Explorations in the Narmada River System, India, 1964-1965


Kennedy, Kenneth A. R., Langstroth, Elizabeth, Asian Perspectives: the Journal of Archaeology for Asia and the Pacific


INTRODUCTION

Since the discovery in 1982 of the "Narmada Man" fossil cranial remains in the middle Narmada (Narbadda) Valley of India (Fig. 1) by the geologist Arun Sonakia, several scholars in the international community of palaeoanthropologists have sought to determine the specimen's antiquity, its stratigraphic context, and the nature of its associated middle Pleistocene stone tools. Removed from the deposit were Acheuliantype hand axes, cleavers, and fossilized bones and teeth of extinct faunal species. Research within the Narmada River system was directed in 1964-1965 by the late Theodore D. McCown (1908-1969) with his team from the University of California at Berkeley. McCown's untimely death and other circumstances precluded the publication of a report of his explorations. However, his handwritten notes (Document 1), letters (Document 3), and a typed list of the locations that he explored with his team (Document 2) have been recovered (Tables 1 and 2). In the present article these materials were copied and minimally edited. They are of historic value and are potentially useful as a guide to a number of sites for investigation by twenty-first-century palaeoanthropologists. These goals can be attained through exploration and excavation of the localities within the Narmada River system, which are discussed and listed here. McCown's interpretation of the prehistoric stone tools and biotic specimens he encountered along the Narmada River and its vicinity is that those artifacts and faunal remains exposed along the present-day flood plain had eroded out of adjacent higher stratigraphic levels of middle Pleistocene age and became re-deposited. His usage of cultural and lithic traditions as Early, Middle, and Late Stone Ages reflects his application to the African system of chronology and diagnostic lithic features current at the time he was writing. Today there is a preference among South Asian prehistorians to identify these lithic-cultural traditions as Early, Middle, and Late Palaeolithic. Post-leistocene (Holocene) stone tool traditions fall within the Late Palaeolithic.

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

DOCUMENT I: HANDWRITTEN FIELD NOTES

"The proposal I made in connection with the sabbatical leave application for 1964-1965 was to carry [out] our field research in Central India, primarily in the Narbadda and Tapti Valleys, concentrating on prehistoric archaeological problems of Pleistocene time.

"This area of Central India, especially the middle stretch of the Narmada valley from Harda to Jabalpur, has been regarded for a century as representing the Middle Pleistocene fauna of peninsular India. The presence of ancient man in India has been attested by chipped stone tools through discoveries made in the last century and in the Narbudda Valley since the 1930s. Reasonable evidence has been available of tools typologically like Middle Pleistocene tools from Europe and Africa with indications Late Pleistocene and post-Pleistocene forms present also.

"From Jabalpur to the Arabian Sea, the river current turns a little and southwest for a distance of about 150 kilometers. To the south the valley is bounded by the Satpura Range which effectively marks the northern edge of the Deccan Plateau. To the north the Vindhya Range with its continuation westerly of the Malwa Plateau forms a distinct boundary. The valley continues eastward and north of Jabalpur until the water divide is reached which separates the eastward flowing of the Son River. A major river enters the valley south and west of Jabalpur, coming from the southeast, and because of its size is regarded as the upstream continuation of the Narbadda. Physiologically it is a major southern tributary which turns eastward about 300 km south of Jabalpur and has a source on the mountains that roughly divide this part of Madhya Pradesh from Orissa.

"If the Indus River is excepted, this is India's only flowing river of any length and volume in a major rift valley. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Recent Recovery of Unpublished Field Notes of Theodore D. McCown's Paleoanthropological Explorations in the Narmada River System, India, 1964-1965
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.