Prehistoric massacres

Prehistoric massacres


The prehistoric massacres

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In the previous issue I stated that our prehistoric ancestors committed ecological misdeeds as much and in some cases more than our contemporaries. In this issue we will see a "case" of that kind, that of the Clovis.

The contemporary evolution of several species in the same places normally causes some of them to evolve characteristics corresponding to the evolution of the others; thus, if the cheetah gets faster, even its usual preys tend to improve speed, by natural selection. This is exactly what happens in Africa, between the Homo species and its prey: these evolve defensive strategies, while Homo hones his hunting skills. Thus, the only continent in which large animal species have not become extinct en masse, in the last fifty thousand years, is precisely Africa, the one in which Homo has lived for the longest time (1).

Big, slow ones first

Where Homo sapiens suddenly arrived, the first to pay for it were the large, slow-moving animals. The giant sloth, which we see here grabbing a tree (pictured left), weighed up to four tons. The gliptodonti (reconstruction below) in some cases had the size of a Fiat 500; their armor evidently was not enough to protect them from the weapons of the newcomers. Both were probably very slow: ideal for being quickly transformed into large roasts. The bones and armor, however, have come down to us, and we can see them in museums (photo in the center).

Where evolution did not take place in parallel, the sudden arrival of very skilled hunters will have much more disastrous consequences for the most sought-after prey. Most of the extinctions occurred before a few thousand years ago, by populations who used bows, arrows and spears. By comparison, modern extinctions (at least of large animals) are certainly fewer, and not because moderns are wiser hunters: they simply haven't had as many large species available to destroy. Some think that the massacre was practically global; clues are not lacking: the first are discovered in North America. Starting around 12,000 years ago, over a period of just over a thousand years, three quarters of the large mammals in North and South America disappear. Many point the finger at the Clovis, the people probably responsible for the first significant human presence in the Americas. The story that comes out of some research on Clovis is one of the most significant examples of the influence that our species has on nature, and will help us understand what happened in the past almost everywhere.

The Clovis

The Clovis are named after an American location in New Mexico, where traces of their culture were discovered for the first time in 1927. The identification mark of this are very sophisticated spearheads; their props are in fact very large (up to almost thirty centimeters in length), and at the end that is towards the weapon shaft they are shaped in the shape of a large inverted V. That shaping was used to facilitate the attachment of the tip to the shaft.

Spears for big game

With spear heads of this type, the Clovis probably hunted large animals: mammoths, mastodons, camels, horses, cave bears, bison, yaks, giant sloths, glyptodons. The tips should not have broken when they were brandished with force inside the belly of the prey. In fact, they were precious, and it was important to recover them whole.

Remains of their culture have been found in various locations throughout most of North America; the dating of the finds goes systematically from 11,500 years ago for the Clovis sites of the American northwest, up to a few hundred years later, for the sites of the southeast of the continent.

It is believed that they came from Siberian lands; they reached North America by the only possible route, passing through Beringia, the land now covered by the Bering Sea, which at that time was a dry isthmus and connected eastern Siberia to Alaska. It is thought that a little before 11,500 years ago an ice-free corridor was formed, connecting Beringia to the area where Edmonton is located today, in the Canadian state of Alberta.

That corridor was a possible transit route between two large ice masses.

The corridor

The figure sketches the situation of the territory of Beringia and part of North America around 11,000 years ago. The two great ice masses are indicated by their names: Cordilleran and Laurentide; the arrows represent the Clovis migration through the ice-free corridor.

The presence of Sapiens in eastern Siberia is proven by finds that are at least 20,000 years old; twenty thousand years ago the last glaciation was almost at its peak, and would have continued, albeit gradually decreasing in intensity, until beyond the time when the Clovis migration took place. Given the great scarcity of rainfall, those lands were free from ice, and were covered with herbs and shrubs suitable for an arid and cold climate. In those conditions, which also seem prohibitive to us, some large herbivorous animals managed to survive. There were probably only very large animals in that area of ​​Siberia: those small or medium-sized could not live at those temperatures without getting too cold. Certainly there was the mammoth, and it was perhaps the most widespread animal; perhaps here and there there were musk ox, woolly rhinoceros, bison, grizzly bear.

Mammoth under the snow

With its large body, the mammoth certainly did not fear the cold, as long as it had enough forage to feed on. This looks comfortable under heavy snow; but it's not in Siberia: I caught it just outside the Natural History Museum in Paris.

Below, one of his companions in misfortune is depicted, who disappeared from North America at the same time: the mastodon.

For Sapiens in that environment, hunting was not an option, but it was the only possible life strategy. The collection of spontaneous vegetables and fruits, assuming that there were any suitable for its diet, could contribute to sustenance only during the summer months. Certainly he had to know how to defend himself from the cold, and therefore cover himself with the fur of available mammals, build shelters, govern and produce fire at will. But most of all he had to be an excellent hunter and have adequate weapons for large prey, as well as cunning and courage.

It is enough to look at the Clovis spearheads, which probably derive from those Siberian peoples, to realize how those points were in practice the maximum that can be obtained with a lithic technology, having to produce a weapon capable of killing a large animal. such as a mammoth.

We can imagine that those spears were not only thrown, to obtain that force of penetration, but that they were brandished with force inside the belly of the prey, therefore from almost no distance. Such a great risk is explained by an absolutely probable reason: those prey were vital for those populations; without them they could not have survived.

In those cold climates, a culled pachyderm could provide food for more than a month for a whole group of Sapiens. An extremely hard existence, however, always poised between life, frostbite and hunger. Those harshness in all likelihood shaped a culture that valued the great prey at its greatest, a culture that could not devote time and energy to the superfluous. Those populations lived to hunt, precisely because hunting was the only way to survive, and they probably moved more or less continuously, in search of areas richer in large game.

Giancarlo Lagostena

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  1. On the Clovis, their culture, and the Overkill Hypothesis, that is the hypothesis that it was that people who caused the extinction of the great North American mammals, see:
  • Prehistoric Overkill, by Paul S. Martin, is part of the volume Quaternary Extintions, a Prehistoric Revolution, published by Paul S. Martin and Richard G. Klein, with contributions from various authors; University of Arizona Press, 1995;
  • Overkill, in The End of Evolution, Peter Ward. Bantam Books, New York, 1994;
  • The Call of Distant Mammoths, Peter Ward. Copernicus by Springer-Verlag, New York, 1997;
  • Peopling the New World, in Timewalkers; Clive Gamble. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1994;
  • Human Impacts of the Past, in The Sixth Extinction, Richard Leakey & Roger Lewin. Doubleday, New York, 1995. Published as Laesta Extinction. The complexity of life and the future of man, by Bollati Boringhieri, 1998.
  1. On the evolution of the horse, see: Fellow Creatures, in The Day before Yesterday; Colin Tudge. Jonathan Cape, London, 1995.
  2. On climate swings in the ice age, see: The Ice Age World, in In Search of the Neanderthals, Christopher Stringer & Clive Gamble. Thames & Hudson, New York, 1993.


Paul Martin used a specially developed model to simulate on a computer the advance of a population in the conditions of the Clovis, and the density of large mammals that that population hunted. Some of the details of the Clovis story told in this article stem from the results obtained with that model.
  • Discs: Keith Haring's records are unique pieces because they are made in a single copy per subject. These are musical discs of which the artist has created the cover which is signed in the original.
  • Lithographs: they are works made in several copies in limited edition and in collaboration with the gallery owner Lucio Amelio. All works are signed in original.
  • Montreux Jazz Festival 1983 Poster in this category there are posters of the 17th Montreux Jazz Festival, official Mantifesti made by Keith Haring and signed in original.
  • Pop Shop: They are the famous original bags that were sold in the New York Pop Shop. The original copies available are signed and sometimes have felt-tip drawings made by Haring


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Jazz Festival Poster - Orange

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New Years 1988

Malcolm McLaren, Would Ya Like More Scratchin '- Haring records

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Art Zoyd, Le mariage du ciel et de l'enfer - Haring records

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Larry Levan, The Final Nights Of Paradise Pt. 1/5 - Haring Records

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Paul Zone, Man to man, at the gym - Haring records

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  • 1 Language
    • 1.1 Script
    • 1.2 Latin literature
  • 2 Education
  • 3 Calendar and measurement
    • 3.1 Hours of the day
    • 3.2 Numerals and units
    • 3.3 Three-age systems
  • 4 Religion
  • 5 Science and philosophy
  • 6 Roman law and politics
  • 7 Inventions
  • 8 Colonies and roads
  • 9 Architecture
  • 10 Imperial idea
  • 11 Toponymy and ethnonymy
  • 12 See also
  • 13 References
  • 14 Sources
  • 15 External links

Latin became the lingua franca of the early Roman Empire and later of the Western Roman Empire, while - particularly in the Eastern Roman Empire - indigenous languages ​​such as Greek and to a lesser degree Egyptian and Aramaic language continued in use. Despite the decline of the Western Roman Empire, the Latin language continued to flourish in the very different social and economic environment of the Middle Ages, not least because it became the official language of the Roman Catholic Church. Koine Greek, which served as a lingua franca in the Eastern Empire, remains in use today as a sacred language in some Eastern Orthodox churches.

In Western and Central Europe and in parts of northern Africa, Latin retained its elevated status as the main vehicle of communication for the learned classes throughout the Middle Ages and subsequently witness especially the Renaissance and Baroque periods. Books which had a revolutionary impact on science, such as Nicolaus Copernicus' De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (1543), were composed in Latin. This language was not supplanted for scientific purposes until the 18th century, and for formal descriptions in zoology, as well as botany - it survived to the later 20th century. [1] The modern international binomial nomenclature holds to this day: taxonomists assign a Latin or Latinized name as the scientific name of each species.

In the 21st century the Romance languages, which comprise all languages ​​that descended from Latin, are spoken by more than 920 million people as their mother tongue, and by 300 million people as a second language, mainly in the Americas, Europe, and Africa. [2] Romance languages ​​are either official, co-official, or significantly used in 72 countries around the world. [3] [ failed verification ] [4] [ need quotation to verify ] [5] [ need quotation to verify ] [6] [ need quotation to verify ] [7] [ need quotation to verify ] [8] [ need quotation to verify ] Of the United Nations' six official languages, two (French and Spanish) descend from Latin.

Additionally, Latin has had a great influence on both the grammar [ citation needed ] and the lexicon of West Germanic languages. Romance words make respectively 59%, 20% and 14% of English, German and Dutch vocabularies. [9] [10] [11] Those figures can rise dramatically when only non-compound and non-derived words are included. Accordingly, Romance words make roughly 35% of the vocabulary of Dutch. [11] Of all the loanwords in Dutch, 32.2% come directly from some form of Latin (excluding loans from Romance languages). [12]

Script Edit

All three official scripts of the modern European Union— Latin, Greek and Cyrillic — descend from writing systems used in the Roman Empire. Today, the Latin script, the Latin alphabet spread by the Roman Empire to most of Europe, and derived from the Phoenician alphabet through an ancient form of the Greek alphabet adopted and modified by Etruscan, is the most widespread and commonly used script in the world . Spread by various colonies, trade routes, and political powers, the script has continued to grow in influence. The Greek alphabet, which had spread throughout the eastern Mediterranean region during the Hellenistic period, remained the primary script of the Eastern Roman Empire through the Byzantine Empire until its demise in the 15th century. Cyrillic scripts largely derive from the Greek. [13]

Latin literature Edit

The Carolingian Renaissance of the 8th century rescued many works in Latin from oblivion: manuscripts transcribed at that time are our only sources for some works that later fell into obscurity once more, only to be recovered during the Renaissance: Tacitus, Lucretius, Propertius and Catullus furnish examples. [15] Other Latin writers never went out of circulation: Virgil, reinterpreted as a prophet of Christianity by the 4th century, gained the reputation of a sorcerer in the 12th century.

Cicero, in a limited number of his works, remained a model of good style, mined for quotations. Medieval Christians read Ovid allegorically, or re-imagined Seneca as the correspondent of Saint Paul. Lucan, Persius, Juvenal, Horace, Terence, and Statius survived in the continuing canon and the historians Valerius Maximus and Livy continued to be read for the moral lessons history was expected to impart.

Through the Roman Empire, Greek literature also continued to make an impact in Europe long after the Empire's fall, especially after the recovery of Greek texts from the East during the high Middle Ages and the resurgence of Greek literacy during the Renaissance. Many educated Westerners from the Renaissance up to the 20th century, for instance, read Plutarch's Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans, originally written in Greek. Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar takes most of its material from Plutarch's biographies of Caesar, Cato, and Brutus, whose exploits were frequently discussed and debated by the literati of Shakespeare's time.

Martianus Capella developed the system of the seven liberal arts that structured medieval education. Although the liberal arts were already known in Ancient Greece, it was only after Martianus that the seven liberal arts took on canonical form. His single encyclopedic work, De nuptiis Philologiae et Mercurii "On the Marriage of Philology and Mercury", laid the standard formula of academic learning from the Christianized Roman Empire of the 5th century until the Renaissance of the 12th century.

The seven liberal arts were formed by the trivium, which included the skills of grammar, logic, and rhetoric, while arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy played part as the quadrivium.

The modern Western calendar is a refinement of the Julian calendar, which was introduced by Julius Caesar. The calendar of the Roman Empire began with the months Ianuarius (January), Februarius (February), and Martius (March). The common tradition to begin the year on 1 January was a convention established in ancient Rome. Throughout the medieval period, the year began on 25 March, the Catholic Solemnity of the Annunciation.

Roman monk of the 5th-century, Dionysius Exiguus, devised the modern dating system of the Anno Domini (AD) era, which is based on the reckoned year of the birth of Jesus, with AD counting years from the start of this epoch, and BC denoting years before the start of the era.

The modern seven-day week follows the Greco-Roman system of planetary hours, in which one of the seven heavenly bodies of the Solar System that were known in ancient times — Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, the Sun, Venus, Mercury and the Moon —Is given "rulership" over each day. The Romance languages ​​(with the exception of Portuguese, that assigns an ordinal number to five days of the week, from Monday to Friday, beginning with segunda-feira, and ending with sexta-feira) preserve the original Latin names of each day of the week, except for Sunday, which came to be called dies dominicus (Lord's Day) under Christianity.

This system for the days of the week spread to Celtic and Germanic peoples, as well as the Albanians, before the collapse of the empire, after which the names of comparable gods were substituted for the Roman deities in some languages. In Germanic languages, for instance, Thor stood in for Jupiter (Jove), yielding "Thursday" from the Latin dies Iovis, while in Albanian, native deities En and Prende were assigned to Thursday and Friday respectively.

Day Sunday
Sōl (Sun)
Moon (Moon)
Mars (Mars)
Mercurius (Mercury)
Iuppiter (Jupiter)
Venus (Venus)
Saturnus (Saturn)
Latin dies Sōlis dies Lūnae dies Martis dies Mercuriī dies Iovis dies Veneris dies Saturnī
Italian Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
French dimanche lundi mardi Wednesday jeudi sell samedi
Spanish domingo lunes martes miércoles jueves viernes sábado
Catalan diumenge dilluns dimarts dimecres dijous divendres dissabte
Romanian duminică moons marți miercuri joi you win sâmbătă
Albanian te dielën
( diell = "sun")
të hënën
( hënë = "moon")
të martën të mërkurën të enjten të premte të shtunën
Irish An Domhnach
Dé Domhnaigh
An Luan
Dé Luain
An Mháirt
Dé Máirt
An Chéadaoin
Dé Céadaoin
An Déardaoin
An Aoine
Dé hAoine
An Satharn
Dé Sathairn
Welsh dydd Sul dydd Llun dydd Mawrth dydd Mercher dydd Iau dydd Gwener dydd Sadwrn
Breton Disul Dilun Dimeurzh Dimerc'her Diriaou Digwener Disadorn
Old English Sunnandæg Mōnandæg Tīwesdæg Wōdnesdæg Þunresdæg Frīgedæg Sæternesdæg
German Sonntag Montag Dienstag, Ziestag (Swiss German) Mittwoch (older Wutenstag) Donnerstag Freitag Sonnabend, Samstag
Dutch zondag maandag dinsdag woensdag donderdag vrijdag zaterdag
Icelandic sunnudagur mánudagur þriðjudagur miðvikudagur fimmtudagur föstudagur laugardagur
Norwegian Nynorsk sundag / søndag måndag tysdag onsdag torsdag fredag laurdag
Danish søndag mandag tirsdag onsdag torsdag fredag lørdag
Swedish söndag måndag tisdag onsdag torsdag fredag lördag

Hours of the day Edit

The 12-hour clock is a time convention popularized by the Romans in which the 24 hours of the day are divided into two periods. The Romans divided the day into 12 equal hours, A.M. (ante-meridiem, meaning before midday) and P.M. (post-meridiem, meaning past midday). The Romans also started the practice used worldwide today of a new day beginning at midnight.

Numerals and units Edit

Roman numerals continued as the primary way of writing numbers in Europe until the 14th century, when they were largely replaced in common usage by Hindu-Arabic numerals. The Roman numeral system continues to be widely used, however, in certain formal and minor contexts, such as on clock faces, coins, in the year of construction on cornerstone inscriptions, and in generational suffixes (such as Louis XIV or William Howard Taft IV ). According to the Royal Spanish Academy, in the Spanish language centuries must be written in Roman numerals, so "21st century" should be written as "Siglo XXI".

The Romans solidified the modern concept of the hour as one-24th part of a day and night. The English measurement system also retains features of the Ancient Roman foot (11.65 modern inches), which was used in England prior to the Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain. The inch itself derives from the Roman uncia, meaning one-twelfth part.

Three-age systems Edit

Although the present archaeological system of the three main ages — stone, bronze and iron — originates with the Danish archaeologist Christian Jürgensen Thomsen, the concept of dividing pre-historical ages into systems based on metals extends to Ancient Rome, originated by the Roman Lucretius in the first century BC.

While classical Roman and Hellenistic religion were ultimately superseded by Christianity, many key theological ideas and questions that are characteristic of Western religions originated with pre-Christian theology. The first cause argument for the existence of God, for instance, originates with Plato. Design arguments, which were introduced by Socrates and Aristotle and remain widely discussed to this day, formed an influential component of Stoic theology well into the late Roman period. The problem of evil was widely discussed among ancient philosophers, including the Roman writers such as Cicero and Seneca, and many of the answers they provided were later absorbed into Christian theodicy. In Christian moral theology, moreover, the field of natural law ethics draws heavily on the tradition established by Aristotle, the Stoics, and especially by Cicero's popular Latin work, De Legibus. Cicero's conception of natural law "found its way to later centuries notably through the writings of Saint Isidore of Seville and the Decretum of Gratian" [16] and influenced the discussion of the topic up through the era of the American Revolution.

Christianity itself also spread through the Roman Empire since emperor Theodosius I (AD 379-395), the official state church of the Roman Empire was Christianity. Subsequently, former Roman territories became Christian states which exported their religion to other parts of the world, through colonization and missionaries.

Christianity also served as a conduit for preserving and transmitting Greco-Roman literary culture. Classical educational tradition in the liberal arts was preserved after the fall of the empire by the medieval Christian university. Education in the Middle Ages relied heavily on Greco-Roman books such as Euclid's Elements and the influential quadrivium textbooks written in Latin by the Roman statesman Boethius (AD 480–524).

Major works of Greek and Latin literature, moreover, were both read and written by Christians during the imperial era. Many of the most influential works of the early Christian tradition were written by Roman and Hellenized theologians who engaged heavily with the literary culture of the empire (see church fathers). St. Augustine's (AD 354-430) City of God, for instance, draws extensively on Virgil, Cicero, Varro, Homer, Plato, and elements of Roman values ​​and identity to criticize paganism and advocate for Christianity amidst a crumbling empire. The engagement of early Christians as both readers and writers of important Roman and Greek literature helped to ensure that the literary culture of Rome would persist after the fall of the empire. For thousands of years to follow, religious scholars in the Latin West from Bede to Thomas Aquinas and later renaissance figures such as Dante, Montaigne and Shakespeare would continue to read, reference and imitate both Christian and pagan literature from the Roman Empire. In the east, the empire's prolific tradition of Greek literature continued uninterrupted after the fall of the west, in part due to the works of the Greek fathers, who were widely read by Christians in medieval Byzantium and continue to influence religious thought to this day ( see Byzantine literature).

While much of the most influential Greek science and philosophy was developed before the rise of the Empire, major innovations occurred under Roman rule that have had a lasting impact on the intellectual world. The traditions of Greek, Egyptian and Babylonian scholarship continued to flourish at great centers of learning such as Athens, Alexandria, and Pergamon.

Epicurean philosophy reached a literary apex in the long poem by Lucretius, who advocated an atomic theory of matter and revered the older teachings of the Greek Democritus. The works of the philosophers Seneca the Younger, Epictetus and the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius were widely read during the revival of Stoic thought in the Renaissance, which synthesized Stoicism and Christianity. Fighter pilot James Stockdale famously credited the philosophy of Epictetus as being a major source of strength when he was shot down and held as prisoner during the Vietnam War. Plato's philosophy continued to be widely studied under the Empire, growing into the sophisticated neoplatonic system through the influence of Plotinus. Platonic philosophy was largely reconciled with Christianity by the Roman theologian Augustine of Hippo, who, while a staunch opponent of Roman paganism, viewed the Platonists as having more in common with Christians than the other pagan schools. [18] To this day, Plato's Republic is considered the foundational work of Western philosophy, and is read by students around the globe.

The widespread Lorem ipsum text, which is widely used as a meaningless placeholder in modern typography and graphic design, is derived from the Latin text of Cicero's philosophical treatise De finibus.

Pagan philosophy was gradually supplanted by Christianity in the later years of the Empire, culminating in the closure of the Academy of Athens by Justinian I. Many Greek-speaking philosophers moved to the east, outside the borders of the Empire. Neoplatonism and Aristotelianism gained a stronghold in Persia, where they were a heavy influence on early Islamic philosophy. Thinkers of the Islamic Golden Age such as Ibn Sina (Avicenna) and Ibn Rushd (Averroës) engaged deeply with Greek philosophy, and played a major role in saving works of Aristotle that had been lost to the Latin West. The influence of Greek philosophy on Islam was dramatically reduced In the 11th century when the views of Avicenna and Avveroes were strongly criticized by Al-Ghazali. His Incoherence of the Philosophers is among the most influential books in Islamic history. In Western Europe, meanwhile, the recovery of Greek texts during the Scholastic period had a profound influence on Latin science and theology from the Middle Ages into the Renaissance.

In science, the theories of the Greco-Roman physician Galen dominated Western medical thought and practice for more than 1,300 years. Ptolemy produced the most thorough and sophisticated astronomical theory of antiquity, documented in the Almagest. The Ptolemaic model of the solar system would remain the dominant approach to astronomy across Europe and the Middle East for more than a thousand years. Forty eight of the 88 constellations the IAU recognizes today were recorded in the seventh and eighth books of Claudius Ptolemy's Almagest.

At Alexandria, the engineer and experimentalist Hero of Alexandria founded the study of mechanics and pneumatics. In modern geometry, Heron's formula bears his name. Roman Alexandria also saw the seeds of modern algebra arise in the works of Diophantus. Greek algebra continued to be studied in the east well after the fall of the Western Empire, where it matured into modern algebra in the hands of al-Khwārizmī (see the history of algebra). The study of Diophantine Equations and Diophantine Approximations are still important areas of mathematical research today.

All of the planets in the Solar System, excluding Earth and Uranus, are named after Roman deities.

Although the law of the Roman Empire is not used today, modern law in many jurisdictions is based on principles of law used and developed during the Roman Empire. Some of the same Latin terminology is still used today. The general structure of jurisprudence used today, in many jurisdictions, is the same (trial with a judge, plaintiff, and defendant) as that established during the Roman Empire.

The modern concept of republican government is directly modeled on the Roman Republic. The republican institutions of Rome survived in many of the Italian city-states of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. The United States Congress is inspired by the Roman senate and legislative assemblies, while the president holds a position similar to that of a Roman consul. Many European political thinkers of the Enlightenment were avid consumers of Latin literature. Montesquieu, Edmund Burke, and John Adams were all strongly influenced by Cicero, for instance. Adams recommended Cicero as a model for politicians to imitate, and once remarked that "the sweetness and grandeur of his sounds, and the harmony of his numbers give pleasure enough to reward the reading if one understood none of his meaning." [19]

Many Roman inventions were improved versions of other people's inventions and ranged from military organization, weapon improvements, armor, siege technology, naval innovation, architecture, medical instruments, irrigation, civil planning, construction, agriculture and many more areas of civic, governmental, military and engineering development.

That said, the Romans also developed a huge array of new technologies and innovations. Many came from common themes but were vastly superior to what had come before, whilst others were totally new inventions developed by and for the needs of Empire and the Roman way of life.

Some of the more famous examples are the Roman aqueducts (some of which are still in use today), Roman roads, water powered milling machines, thermal heating systems (as employed in Roman baths, and also used in palaces and wealthy homes) sewage and pipe systems and the invention and widespread use of concrete.

Metallurgy and glass work (including the first widespread use of glass windows) and a wealth of architectural innovations including high rise buildings, dome construction, bridgeworks and floor construction (seen in the functionality of the Colosseum's arena and the underlying rooms / areas beneath it) are other examples of Roman innovation and genius.

Military inventiveness was widespread and ranged from tactical / strategic innovations, new methodologies in training, discipline and field medicine as well as inventions in all aspects of weaponry, from armor and shielding to siege engines and missile technology.

This combination of new methodologies, technical innovation, and creative invention in the military gave Rome the edge against its adversaries for half a millennium, and with it, the ability to create an empire that even today, more than 2000 years later, continues to leave its legacy in many areas of modern life.

Rome left a legacy of founding many cities as Colony. There were more than 500 Roman colonies spread through the Empire, most of them populated by veterans of the Roman legions. Some Roman colonies rose to become influential commercial and trade centers, transportation hubs and capitals of international empires, like Constantinople, London, Paris and Vienna.

All those colonies were connected by another important legacy of the Roman Empire: the Roman roads. Indeed, the empire comprised more than 400,000 kilometers (250,000 mi) of roads, of which over 80,500 kilometers (50,000 mi) were stone-paved. [20] The courses (and sometimes the surfaces) of many Roman roads survived for millennia and many are overlaid by modern roads, like the Via Emilia in northern Italy. The roads are closely linked to modern-day economies, with those that survived from the empire's territorial peak in 117CE having more economic activity today. This is especially true in European areas, which kept wheeled vehicles in the latter half of the first millennium, whereas other regions preferred cheaper methods of transport such as camel caravans. [21]

In the mid-18th century, Roman architecture inspired neoclassical architecture. Neoclassicism was an international movement. Though neoclassical architecture employs the same classical vocabulary as late Baroque architecture, it tends to emphasize its planar qualities, rather than sculptural volumes. Projections and recessions and their effects of light, and shade are flatters sculptural bas-reliefs are flatter and tend to be enframed in friezes, tablets or panels. Its clearly articulated individual features are isolated rather than interpenetrating, autonomous and complete in themselves.

International neoclassical architecture was exemplified in Karl Friedrich Schinkel's buildings, especially the Old Museum in Berlin, Sir John Soane's Bank of England in London and the newly built White House and Capitol in Washington, DC in the United States. The Scots architect Charles Cameron created palatial Italianate interiors for the German-born Catherine II the Great in St. Petersburg.

Italy clung to Rococo until the Napoleonic regimes brought the new archaeological classicism, which was embraced as a political statement by young, progressive, urban Italians with republican leanings.

From a legal point of view the Roman Empire, founded by Augustus in 27 BC and divided into two "parts" (or rather, courts, as the empire continued to be considered as one) after the death of Theodosius I in 395, had survived only in the eastern part which, with the deposition of the last western emperor Romulus Augustulus, in 476, had also obtained the imperial regalia of the western part reuniting from a formal point of view the Roman Empire.

The Roman line continued uninterrupted to rule the Eastern Roman Empire, whose main characteristics were Roman concept of state, medieval Greek culture and language, and Orthodox Christian faith. The Byzantines themselves never ceased to refer to themselves as "Romans" (Rhomaioi) and to their state as the "Roman Empire", the "Empire of the Romans" (in Greek Βασιλεία των Ῥωμαίων, Basileía ton Rhōmaíōn) or "Romania" (Ῥωμανία, Rhōmanía). Likewise, they were called "Rûm" (Rome) by their eastern enemies to the point that competing neighbors even acquired its name, such as the Sultanate of Rûm.

The designation of the Empire as "Byzantine" is a retrospective idea: it began only in 1557, a century after the fall of Constantinople, when German historian Hieronymus Wolf published his work Corpus Historiæ Byzantinæ, a collection of Byzantine sources. The term did not come in general use in the Western world before the 19th century, [ citation needed ] when modern Greece was born. The end of the continuous tradition of the Roman Empire is open to debate: the final point may be viewed as coming as early as the sack of Constantinople in 1204, or the capture of Constantinople in 1453, or as late as the abolition of the Ottoman sultanate in 1922 given the Sultans' adoption of the title of Emperor of the Romans (Kayser-i Rum) for themselves.

After the fall of Constantinople, Thomas Palaiologos, brother of the last Eastern Roman Emperor, Constantine XI, was elected emperor and tried to organize the remaining forces. His rule came to an end after the fall of the last major Byzantine city, Corinth. He then moved to Italy and continued to be recognized as Eastern emperor by the Christian powers.

His son Andreas Palaiologos continued claims on the Byzantine throne until he sold the title to Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile before his death in 1502. [22] However, there is no evidence that any Spanish monarch used the Byzantine imperial titles.

In Western Europe, the Roman concept of state was continued for almost a millennium by the Holy Roman Empire whose emperors, mostly of German tongue, viewed themselves as the legitimate successors to the ancient imperial tradition (King of the Romans) and Rome as the capital of its Empire. The German title of "Kaiser" is derived from the Latin name Caesar, which is pronounced [ˈkae̯sar] in Classical Latin.

The coronation of Charlemagne as "Roman" emperor by Pope Leo III in the year 800 happened at a time of unprecedented sole female imperial rule in Constantinople (by Empress Irene) which was interpreted by adversaries as tantamount to a vacancy. The imperial title in the West generated what historians have called the problem of two emperors. The emperors of the Holy Roman Empire sought in many ways to make themselves accepted by the Byzantines as their peers: with diplomatic relations, political marriages or threats. Sometimes, however, they did not obtain the expected results, because from Constantinople they were always called "King of the Germans", never "Emperor." The Holy Roman Empire survived Byzantium, but was eventually dissolved in 1806 owing to pressure by Napoleon I.

In Eastern Europe, firstly the Bulgarian, then the Serbian and ultimately the Russian czars (Czar derived from Caesar) proclaimed being Emperors. In Moscow in Russia adopted the idea of ​​being a Third Rome (with Constantinople being the second). Sentiments [ citation needed ] of being the heir of the fallen Eastern Roman Empire began during the reign of Ivan III, Grand Duke of Moscow who had married Sophia Paleologue, the niece of Constantine XI (it is important to note that she was not the heiress of the Byzantine throne , rather her brother Andreas was). Being the most powerful Orthodox Christian state, the Tsars were thought of in Russia as succeeding the Eastern Roman Empire as the rightful rulers of the Orthodox Christian world. [ citation needed ] There were also competing Bulgarian and Wallachian [23] [24] claims for succession of the Roman Empire.

In the early 20th century, the Italian fascists under their "Duce" Benito Mussolini dreamed of transforming Italy back into the Roman Empire again, encompassing the Mediterranean basin. [25] Associated with Italian fascism also Nazi Germany and Francoist Spain connected their claims with Roman imperialism. [ how? ]

Aside from the city of Rome itself, the Imperial Roman name has survived in a number of regions and was also adopted by some of the political regimes that ruled them. These include:

  • Romagna, the Italian region that was the administrative center of Byzantine Italy and thus remained associated with the Roman Empire when most of the country had fallen under Lombard rule
  • Rum, the name by which the Seljuq Turks referred to the parts of Anatolia which they had conquered from the Eastern Roman Empire, thus the common name of the Sultanate of Rum for their realm (1077-1308). [26] Under the Ottoman Empire after the 1390s, the Rûm Eyalet was the region around Sivas, later known simply as Eyalet of Sivas.
    • The name of the Turkish city of Erzurum has been derived from the ArabicArḍ ar-Rūm (Arabic: ارض الرد) 'land of the Rûm'. [27] [28]
  • Romania, a habitual reference in medieval Latin and Romance languages ​​to the Byzantine Empire, or between 1204 and 1261 to the Latin Empire. It survived for a time in place names such as that of Nafplio, which in Italian was referred to as Naples in Romania well into the modern era, or to this day in the Bosnian region of Romanija.
  • Rumelia, the Balkanic parts of the former Eastern Empire, labeled "land of the Romans" following their conquest by the Ottomans and at a time when the Asia Minor territories formerly known as Rum were more commonly referred to again as Anatolia.
  • Central Greece is still known colloquially as Roúmeli (Ρούμελη).
  • The modern country of Romania. Tracing the origin of the Romanians to the Roman Empire's province of Dacia has long been part of the national narrative in spite of the scarcity of conclusive evidence. The "Roman" demonym referring to Romance speakers in Wallachia, Moldavia and Transylvania appeared in the 16th century (with various vernacular spellings) under the influence of Renaissance humanism.

    The word Romance, naming the language family that also includes Spanish, Portuguese, French and Italian among others, is itself derived from "Roman".

Between the flake and the blade: Associated systems of production at Riparo Tagliente (Veneto, northern Italy)


The Riparo Tagliente site (Verona, Italy) shows three macro phases in which high technological variability can be observed. The aim of this study is to evaluate the specific role of the Middle Paleolithic blade production within this variability. Preliminary results show a complex scenario in which the role of the blade is strictly linked with flake production through mixed reduction systems.

Two different approaches were used for analyzing the lithic assemblages from the site. The first analysis focused on the identification of the reduction systems by determining the techniques, methods and concepts underlying the entire chathene opératoire. The second approach concentrated on analyzing blade production in order to identify its variability.

Evidence of blade technology from the Middle Pleistocene (MIS 8-6) has been found in northern Europe (France, Belgium). Later, during MIS 5 blades can be found over a larger area, this time also including north-western Germany and the central-southern part of France. A third period (MIS 4-3) marks the appearance of laminar production in southern Europe, including in the Italian peninsula. Based on the present state of research these three phases appear to be on-and-off events without clear evolutionary continuity.

By repositioning the sequence of Riparo Tagliente within the Italian context we can observe that at the end of the Mousterian period the technological patterns differ greatly, with laminar production being one of its most evident expressions. The origin of this fragmentation is questionable.

Concepts and Methods

The term "art" is used in this article in the conventional archaeological sense of "representational and decorated objects" such as figurines, sculptures, paintings and so on I explicitly disavow any notion that these objects must have been meant principally for aesthetic enjoyment or to express discursive meanings and creative mastery of the people who made them. Indeed, in Gell's (1998) sense of art as a social technology, they accomplished many tasks, from presencing spiritual beings to asserting social power if a comparison with modern things is warranted, many of them would be better understood not as "art" but as interior decoration, narration devices, outlets for spiritual power or even medical technologies. Nevertheless, just as visual culture encompasses not only fine art but also advertising posters, wallpaper and family photographs, they embody the visual conventions and meanings of their times. There are several strands of visual culture research from which we can draw inspiration. In art history, Gombrich (1962) pioneered exploring styles such as naturalism and visual systems such as perspective. Half a century on, as Mitchell’s provocative question "What do pictures want?" highlights how the interaction between people and images is complex and reciprocal (Mitchell 2006 Belting 2011 Moxey 2008 Mitchell 1998). “Ways of seeing” (Berger 1972) are grounded in how viewers interact with images, often unconsciously they include not only conventional systems such as perspective, but also habitual themes, scenes and internalized reactions about the act of viewing these. These also reflect conceptions of the shape of space (Summers 2003). Forms of vision are historically specific and are both attuned to and constructed by art (as in the concept of the “period eye” (Baxandall 1972 Alpers 1984)). History may be a succession of forms of visuality (Davis 2011). Converging with this, anthropologists have argued that aesthetic senses are culturally specific (Coote and Shelton 1992 Heyd 2012) and may be enmeshed with social reflexes (Gell 1998). Moreover, many examples show how aesthetic reflexes relate to ontological and cosmological presuppositions. For instance, pattern in Aboriginal art embodies concepts of ancestral spiritual power (Morphy 1992), while indigenous Andean metalwork techniques were inseparable from concepts of material and purity (Lechtman 1984). Similarly, in animistic traditions, an object can be both a crafted object and a spirit (Bray 2009) in our own tradition, a theological divide between matter and spirit underlies an understanding of “images” as representations of reality rather than reality itself.

Critically, modes of vision are enmeshed with identities and power relations. One example is the gendered male gaze, at the heart of much Western art since Classical times (Koloski-Ostrow and Lyons 1997 Berger 1972). Another is colonial mode of vision, embedded in practices of surveillance, mapping, photography and the racialised gaze of “natives” (Smith 1998). For this research, the key point is that modes of vision are historically specific and fundamentally embedded in systems of orientation, cultural values ​​and sociopolitical relations. Moreover, they are signaled or triggered through material codes such as choice of medium, framing, composition and style of execution.

This is heterogeneous ground to summarise briefly, but all of these establish useful foundational principles:

The act of seeing is not a neutral or universal act, but is constructed within a given social and historical context

There is a fundamental link between social contexts, especially relations of power, and the habituated reflexes of the viewer

There is a fundamental link between the habituated reflexes of the viewer and the material, thematic and stylistic characteristics of visual culture (using visual style in the sense of a way of doing things, akin to aesthetic style or technological style, and potentially reproduced through formal characteristics). Visual culture works with and reproduces these reflexes, and indeed in some cases provides explicit clues to how it should be interpreted.

In prehistory, power took radically different forms than it did in the urban, class-stratified societies visual culture studies typically deal with, but this general line of inquiry — examining art to see what it tells us about the act of seeing — is worth extending to prehistoric worlds. Archaeologists have rarely adopted a visual culture approach to prehistoric art, but some pioneering efforts have yielded important insights (Bradley 2009 Jones et al. 2011 Skeates 2005 Robin 2009 García Sanjuán et al. 2006 Wells 2012 Garrow and Gosden 2012 Helskog and Olsen 1995 Fredell et al. 2010 Fahlander 2012 Cochrane and Jones 2012 Primitiva Bueno Ramírez and Bahn 2015). It has often been pointed out how art made creative use of the physical features of its settings for instance, Palaeolithic art sometimes utilizes the 3-dimensional topography of cave walls to define imagery, and Swedish Bronze Age rock art may have used water running naturally over surfaces to appear animated. Bailey (2005) has discussed how figurines act psychologically upon people handling them. Gosden, Garrow and colleagues (Garrow and Gosden 2012 Gosden et al. 2008) have applied Gell's concept of "technologies of enchantment" to Celtic art, noting its capacity for drawing in and bewildering the viewer. Wells (2012) has identified aesthetic patterns across genres of material culture in Iron Age Central Europe, relating them to social changes in the mid-late 1st millennium BC. Most relevant for this study, Jones (Jones 2012b, 2012a Jones et al. 2011) has interpreted British Neolithic rock art and material culture as reflecting an animated world view, and Ranta et al. (2019) have used art theory to identify narrative characteristics in Bronze Age Scandinavian rock art. We return to these studies below.

While prehistorians can take inspiration from modern visual culture studies, for methods, we are on our own. Our data are necessarily coarse-grained, and the social context we can assign them often is as well. Moreover, we necessarily work with "formal" methods deriving interpretive clues from the material itself rather than "informed" methods which place it within a long-standing ethnographically known tradition, as in Australia, South Africa and the Americas (Tacon and Chippindale 1998) . Here, I take the simplest possible approach, asking straightforward questions about each body of art:

Where is it located? What kind of context was this, what kind of people had access to it and what did they do there?

Does it depict things we can identify? How do these tell us about its social context and meanings? How are things depicted? Is it part of a coherent visual strategy?

How are the art's motifs arranged? Are images grouped spatially or related thematically? Is there an overall spatial or thematic order, or are they random accumulations of independent motifs?

As a first attempt at this project, these questions are evaluated here in a broad, qualitative way, by characterizing tendencies within an entire corpus. This is what is possible for no substantial corpus of prehistoric art would the available data allow rigorous statistical analysis, and even less possible is comparative analysis using data created by applying similar methods to disparate corpora. Characterization is based upon both publications and in many cases personal observations. Such an analysis suffices to reveal some preliminary broad patterns.

The Grotto of the Beata Vergine di Frasassi

The geology

The Frasassi Caves, located in the Marche Region (central Italy) on the Adriatic side of the Apennine Mountains, 40 km from the coast (Fig. 1), are one of the most famous Italian underground systems, due to their importance as a show cave. There are karst systems on both sides of Frasassi Gorge, which is a 500-m-deep and 2-km-long canyon cut through by the River Sentino from west to east (Fig. 8). Elevations range between 200 m at river level and 957 m at the top of the gorge. The caves originate from the interaction between the limestone and the acidic waters ascending from a deep aquifer. Witnesses to this ascent are the sulphurous springs visible on the right bank of the River Sentino, near to the tourist entrance of the Great Grotto of the Wind, which are used in the San Vittore di Genga thermal spa. The discontinuities of the rock, represented by fractures and stratifications, are the preferential routes for the movement and action of these waters, favoring the formation of caves. The steep cliffs of the gorge clearly show the geological structure. An asymmetric anticline fold, with a main NNE vergence, was formed in the Late Miocene during a tectonic compressive phase that also caused the Apennine uplift and emersion. The eastern limb is cut by a system of N – S faults. The caves have mainly developed in the Massive Limestone Fm. (Early Jurassic), which constitutes the core of the anticline and outcrops across the entire gorge and in the hinge zone.

Frasassi Gorge. The Abbey of San Vittore alle Chiuse (eleventh century) can be seen in the foreground on the left-hand side

The Grotto of the Beata Vergine di Frasassi is a very interesting natural cavity from an archaeological point of view, given the effects of a prolonged period when it was frequented by man in protohistoric and historical times. The cave is located on the left side of the gorge (coming from Genga), at an altitude of 319 m a.s.l. and 110 m above the River Sentino, and has a magnificent entrance in the limestone wall. The cave is part of the karst complex of the Grotta del Mezzogiorno, the access to which can be found at about 490 m a.s.l. on the rocky cliff of the south-eastern slope of Mount of Frasassi (Fig. 9, after Galdenzi and Menichetti 2002). The name of the cave comes from the presence of two Christian places of worship: the hermitage of the cloistered Benedictine nuns of Santa Maria infra Saxa (Fig.10a), set against the southern outer wall of the cave, and the nineteenth century church (Fig.10b), located in the entrance hall, whose construction required leveling and widening of the entrance. The church was built entirely of travertine in 1828 by Pope Leo XII, probably designed by the architect Giuseppe Valadier. Inside, on the alabaster altar, there is a copy of the statue of the Virgin and Child in white Carrara marble, which is attributable to Canova (Fig.11a). The excavation of the 8- to 10-m-thick sediment from the cave's entrance hall led to the removal of the Middle Pleistocene fluvial terrace and the more recent overlying debris with anthropic traces. There is an 8-cm-high statuette, called the Venus of Frasassi (Fig.11b), above this debris in the entrance hall. This was found inside the cave in 2007 and, with its style and proportions, falls within the Venus of Gravettiano typology (28–20,000 years ago) the morphostratigraphic data have allowed us to establish a pre-Holocene age for the statuette. The area was frequented by man for a long and discontinuous period, which persisted throughout the Bronze Age, and even in the early Iron Age (about 3000 years ago). The relics found, including a dagger and a glass-paste button, suggest the cave probably had votive and cult functions (Pignocchi and Montanari 2016). More recently, a necropolis found in the entrance hall, which was later emptied for the construction of the church, reveals that the cave also had a funeral function in the late ancient and early medieval ages.

Simplified scheme of the underground systems of the Frasassi Gorge (after Galdenzi and Menichetti 2002)

Grotto of the Blessed Virgin of Frasassi. (a) Hermitage of Santa Maria infra Saxa (b) Sanctuary-church of the Valadier

The female figure is recurring: (a) Original of the Canova sculpture (nineteenth century), Genga Museum (Marche Region), visible in a copy inside the church (b) Venus of Frasassi found inside the cave in 2007 and now preserved in the Archaeological Museum of the Marche Region

The second itinerary relates to the Grotto of the Blessed Virgin of Frasassi and starts at San Vittore delle Chiuse. From there, a road across the gorge for about 2 km takes visitors to a parking area on the right (P, Fig. 12) and a path leading down to the river (Stop 1). The peace there, before the climb to the cave, is so great that it will introduce you to the place of rare suggestion that you are going to visit. Coming back to the parking, a steep road up toward the cave can be easily found. This route, which is about 700 m in length and is not difficult terrain, provides superb views of the Frasassi Gorge. The opening to the large cave appears suddenly after a walk of about 20 min, with the Valadier sanctuary in the center (Stop 2).

The proposed itinerary at Grotto of the Blessed Virgin of Frasassi. P, parking area 1 and 2 — stop (© 2020 Marche Region)

At this point, the question asked earlier about The Sassi Simone and Simoncello is posed again: how can the uniqueness of the place be communicated through art? Here, the keywords chosen to portray the gorge through poetry and music are as follows: karstism, mother, weeping of the Earth.

The poem

The following verses are the interpretation offered by the poet for this place: each cave is a Cave of the Nativity, where rock and water encircle and reveal life. Pining and pain are a prelude and necessary condition for life, and nothing and nowhere touches this timeless law.

The music

The musical piece chosen to depict this very suggestive place is Pavana Lachrimae, SwWV 328 (, by the illustrious Dutch composer Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (1562–1621) , and it is a variant for harpsichord of “Flow, my tears, fall from your springs”, a piece for lute and voice by the English composer John Dowland. Originally written to be purely instrumental, and given the name Lachrimae pavane in 1596, it is Dowland's most famous composition. Indeed, he was so bound to it that he sometimes even signed his name as “Jo Dolandi de Lachrimae”. The piece is probably the most popular melody from the early 1600s, and was one of the favorite improvised motifs throughout the seventeenth century. There are numerous versions with different arrangements, which can be found in over 100 manuscripts and prints.

The piece was chosen for several reasons. First, the melody, intense and forlorn, is particularly suitable for expressing the aura of this sacred place. Yet, more than this, the words, which begin with tears that flow from eyes defined as “a source”, articulate the pain of the Virgin toward her son, but also of Mother Earth toward humanity. The composition immediately seems to understand and absorb the extraordinary caves created by the karst phenomenon, building up to reflect a slow, but inexorable, cry that not only consumes rock and generates cavities but also is capable of regenerating in the caves' magnificent stalactites and stalagmites .

Prehistoric Excavations and Explorations in Central India

Dr Jose Rapheal

Jose Rapheal is an Archaeologist specializing in Prehistoric archeology. He has done his PhD from Deccan College, PGRI, Pune on the 'Technology of Cleavers', a Prehistoric Tool found in the lower Paleolithic (Acheulean) sites. He is also an expert stone knapper who can reproduce the prehistoric stone artefacts. He also writes for various blogs on subjects pertaining to Indian Culture and Heritage.

After the attainment of Independence, the newly born Indian nation was struggling with the future of 350 million people. Democracy, poverty, unemployment, industrialization, the idea of ​​unity in diversity were the hot topics of debate. It was during this time that some scholars, armed with maps and toposheets, crisscrossed the vast Indian terrain, mostly on foot, looking for stones. These stones were the evidence of the earliest existence of human beings in India. They are the remains of a culture, perhaps the only culture, which can be called a pan-Indian culture. The evidence of this can be found right from the foothills of Shivaliks to the South Indian plains. This came to be known as Acheulian culture, a synonym for Lower Paleolithic in India.

The Partition in 1947 created an 'archaeological hotspot vacuum' in the Indian territory. The celebrated Bronze Age sites of Harappa and Mohenjo-daro along with the well-stratified Paleolithic sites became a part of the newly-formed Pakistan. Considering the gravity of the situation, Sir Mortimer Wheeler [1] suggested Indian scholars turn their attention to the 'heart of India'. Among the end number of scholars who worked on the complex cultural strata of central India, only a few concentrated on the Stone Age sites. Though the Pleistocene deposit coinciding with the Lower Paleolithic (Acheulian) industries were discovered by William Theobald (1860) [2], HB Medlicott [3] (1873) and H De Terra [4] (1936), major work in this area was done after 1950.

Accompanied by geologists, archaeologists explored the vast area of ​​central India. They drew maps, plotting the newly-discovered Stone Age sites and categorized them into early, middle, and later Stone Age. The early Stone Age cultures correspond with the Acheulian age. For understanding Acheulian culture, interdisciplinary work became a necessity. Hence, early scholars tried to understand the Acheulian sites from the context of its geology along with the evidence of fossil remains. In most cases, the relative chronology of the stone tools with the sediments from which they were discovered was studied to discern the age of the stone tools. Hence the geoarchaeology of the Acheulian sites became important in understanding the nature of the Acheulian sites. The stone tools thus obtained from these sites are classified into different groups. This typology of the stone tools determines the nature of the site — whether it is an Acheulian site or a post-Acheulian site. This typo-technological analysis of the stone tools became the base of the Stone Age studies in India.

The Stone Age sequence of the central Indian Acheulian sites was established by the studies of De Terra and Paterson. Among the earliest scholars who ventured into this lesser-known corridor of human history was Dr H.D. Sankalia. He was familiar with the Stone Age sites as well as the monuments and coins discovered during the time of Alexander Cunningham [5]. Sankalia tried to bridge the gap between the prehistoric sites and historic sites in terms of timescales by excavating the sites of Navdatoli and Maheshwar.

His contribution to the study of Stone Age sites was carried on by A.P. Khatri. In 1958 under the CSIR research project, Khatri [6] searched for the fossil man in Narmada valley (central India). This was necessary to understand the evolutionary trend of the Stone Age sites and to date them along with the help of associated fossil remains. For this, he studied the stratigraphical sequence of the Pleistocene deposit which contains stone tools and another fossil. He was able to establish the sequence of the stone tools along with the stratigraphy of sediments, and tried to figure out the evolution of the hand-ax which is one of the standardized tool types of Acheulian culture, but could not find any hominin fossil.

A.K. Ghosh and D. Sen also studied the lithic cultural complex of central India. [7] Their efforts were again mainly directed at typo-technological analysis of the stone tools and comparing them with the well-dated sites of Europe, thereby trying to put the Stone Age sequence of central India in the geological timescale. Their attempts to place the Indian Stone Age in the world context was noteworthy.

In the 1970s, Jerome Jacobson surveyed central India and discovered a large number of Stone Age sites. [8] In one of his explorations in Raisen district of Madhya Pradesh, he discovered more than 90 localities of Acheulian occurrences within a radius of 9 km. He considered it the 'heaviest concentration of Lower Paleolithic occurrence in the old world'. [9] He highlighted the importance of studying the surface sites, i.e., the Stone Age sites where a huge collection of stone tools are exposed to the surface. These exposed sites can give us information about adaptive strategies of the hominin groups. He discovered Acheulian sites along the riverside, nalas, forest terrain and cultivated fields. This led to the search for more surface sites in the episode of understanding central Indian Acheulian culture.

Prof. V.N. Misra excavated the site of Bhimbetka in 1973. Though Bhimbetka was discovered in 1957 by V.S. Wakankar, the excavation of rock shelter IIIF-23 between 1973 and 1976 has revealed the continuous occupation of humans from the Acheulian Age until the historic period. Along with these material evidences, the rock shelters of Bhimbetka were also decorated with prehistoric paintings which depict human interactions since time immemorial. The study of the human skeletal remains from the various rock shelters have shown the affinity of the human figures depicted in the paintings. But the studies of V.N. Misra [10] along with K.A.R. Kennedy [11] and J.R. Lukas shows that there is a considerable biological diversity evident from the analysis of bones and teeth from Bhimbetka localities. There is also a continuous occupation of this region of rock shelters and open-air sites. But these skeletal remains do not match with the type of skeleton of the Gond people living nearby at present. The ethnoarchaeological works done among the Gond tribe living in the vicinity also disclaim the rock shelters as they consider it the abode of demons.

Vidula Jaiswal studied the stone tools from the site of Mahadeo Piparia, Adamgarh, Bariapur, Lalitpur, Luni, Jamalpur, and Belan group. [12] She has classified the stone tools according to typology. She tried to understand the technological features of the stone tools of different phases, but despite them being from a different phase, she has not found much difference in the technology of their making. The slight differences in the statistical variation of the technological features may be due to differences in the individual nature of the industry. This testified the homogenous nature of the stone tools of the Acheulian period in central India.

Though the technological and statistical analysis of the Acheulian stone tools were done by Corvinus [13] and Gaillard [14], especially in the sites of Rajasthan and places in Nepal, the first elaborate work in central India was done by Mohammed Alam, a student of VN Misra. He studied the artefact assemblage from the excavated trench of IIIF-23. He proposed the variation in the artefact type between three cultural periods, i.e., Lower Paleolithic, Middle Paleolithic, and Upper Paleolithic. The technological evolution between artefacts within the same cultural period was also discussed.

This attempt made an advance in the study of the Acheulian period from the technological point of view than the mere classification of stone tools. Here the statistical methods used to analyze the nature of the stone tools helps to understand the refinement of the stone tools which shows the change in the behavioral pattern of the hominin group. This type of study also brings out the need for Settlement System Perspective studies, since out of the 14 excavated sites of Bhimbetka only four have yielded Acheulian cultural material. Out of them only the rock shelter IIIF-23 have yielded continuous occupation. These observations give us evidence for thinking more deeply into the subject.

The excavations at the Acheulian site of Tikoda [15] is another landmark in understanding the nature of the Acheulian sites of central India. This excavation was a joint venture of Deccan College, Pune and the Archaeological Survey of India. The geoarchaeological investigations in this area were led by Dr S.B. Ota and Prof. Sushama Deo in 2010 and the site was excavated continuously for five years. The site is an open-air site where the Acheulian artefacts are scattered in a vast area. One of the important features of this site from the point of view of a stone tool analyst is the occurrence of a proportionately large number of cleavers. Though this particular feature is noticed in many Acheulian sites in India, an exclusive study of cleavers to understand their technical behaviors was done here for the first time in India. This particular study has helped to understand the various patterns in the Acheulian tool type called cleavers.

Among the number of systematic problem-oriented research, there were also few salvage archaeological attempts. During the construction of the Narmada Sagar Dam, along with the destruction of the settlement area of ​​the tribal population and the devastation of ecology, a number of archaeological sites had also gone under water. Among these, were a large number of prehistoric sites. According to the Reconnaissance survey of Dr S.B. Ota [16], among the hundreds of archaeological sites a number of Acheulian sites have also drowned. He has pointed out the ignorance of government and other non-governmental organizations in preserving and studying the Acheulian sites. Wherever salvage archeology is done, priority is given to the standing structural remains more than the prehistoric sites and mounts. This clearly suggests that we are more concerned with protecting structures than with gaining wider knowledge about past cultures. As S.B. Ota points out, 'We prefer to relocate the structural remains but do not care to preserve buried and surface archaeological sites which are less impressive but equally or more important for providing information about our earliest cultures.' [17]

In 1986, the Department of Archeology and Deccan College, Pune, under the expertise of Prof. V.N. Misra, Prof. S.N. Rajguru, along with R.K. Ganjoo and Ravi Korrisetter, launched a project aimed at locating and investigating the Paleolithic sites from the geoarchaeological point of view. The sites around the Devakachar village in Madhya Pradesh, known for the vertebrate fossils and Paleolithic assemblage, were selected for the study. This geoarchaeological investigation helped in understanding the strategy of settlement pattern. It also threw light on the possible subsistence strategy of the hominin group and the exploitation of the raw materials.

The geoarchaeological investigations helped in understanding the land modification due to flood and other natural causes. The archeology of this region in relation to the geology was a major contribution to understanding the Acheulian sites. In this aspect the contribution of the geologists is praiseworthy. These interdisciplinary studies made a new epoch in understanding the nature of the archaeological sites in India. V.S. Kale, L.S. Chamayal, A.S. Khadkikar, J.N. Malik, and D.M. Maurya are few scholars whose researches gave new insights to the archaeologists in understanding the nature of the Acheulian sites, which are otherwise seen only through the angle of stone tool typology and technology. This interdisciplinary research helps in interpreting the Acheulian sites from the point of view of land-human relationship. The first hominin fossil remains from the Narmada valley was discovered by a geologist, Arun Sonakia, same goes for the first Paleolithic tool which was discovered from Pallavaram in Tamil Nadu in 1863 by the British geologist Robert Bruce Foot. This goes to show that the contribution of geology to the discipline of archeology is obvious as well as relevant in understanding the Acheulian sites.

The interdisciplinary nature of archaeological studies, especially prehistoric studies, may be considered as the effect of Processual Archeology. In Europe, this was considered as an effective way to interpret archaeological remains. But this wave has a deeper impact on the Stone Age studies in India. Indian scholars began using statistical methods in stone-tool analysis. The comparison of these stone tools with the sites of India and those of the European countries lead to new interpretations in this field.

The recent studies in this field show that the Indian Acheulian is different from its European counterpart, and if it should be compared it can be done with the African Acheulian which is older than the West. The Indian Acheulian, as deduced from the excavations at Attrimpakkam by Prof. Shanti Pappu and her team, is 1.5 million years old, which is a time period similar to the African Acheulian. Similar types of work inferring the technology of stone tools were also done in other parts of India by researchers including Gudrun Corvinus, Clair Gaillard, Sharma and Ota, K. Paddayya, Ajith Prasad, P.K. Behera, M.L.K. Murthy, and Neethu Agarwal.

In the immediate post-Independence period, there was a shift in the nature of Stone Age studies which started with the exploration of the sites and understanding the extent of it. The studies became deeper when the problem-oriented archaeological excavations came into picture. This led to the study of the Acheulian sites in a pan-Indian context and the results of the studies gave us a picture of the nature of the Acheulian sites in India. With the basic nature of the Acheulian sites in central India, and in a broader sense the whole of the Indian subcontinent, it may be said that this is the only culture which has a pan-Indian nature through the time span of over a million years .Though there is a difference in the technology of toolmaking and the exploitation of raw materials used for making the tools, there is a considerable similarity of the stone tool type exhibited throughout the Old World in India.

[1] Wheeler, R.E.M. 1947-48. Ancient India. (4): 2.

[2] Theobald, W. 1860. 'On the Tertiary and Alluvial of the Central Portion of Nerbudda Valley'. Memoirs of the Geological Survey of India 2: 279-298.

[3] Medlicott, H.B. 1873. 'Note on a celt found by Mr. Hacket in the Ossiferous Deposits of the Narbada Valley (Pliocene of Falconer) and the Age of Deposits and on Associated Shells'. Records of the Geological Survey of India 6 (3):49-54.

[4] De Terra H, and De Chardin PT. 1936. 'Observations on the upper Siwalik formation and later Pleistocene deposits in India'. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society: 791-822.

[5] Cunningham A. 1875. Report for the year 1872-1873 5. New Delhi: Archaeological Survey of India.

[6] Khatri, A.P. 1961. 'Stone Age and Pleistocene Chronology of the Narmada Valley, Central India'. Anthropos 56: 519-530.

[7] Sen D, and Ghosh AK. 1963. 'Lithic culture-complex in the Pleistocene sequence of the Narmada Valley, Central India'. Journal of Prehistoric Sciences (18): 3-23.

[8] Jacobson J. 1985. 'Acheulian Surface Sites in Central India', in Recent Advances in Indo-Pacific Prehistory (V.N. Mishra and P. Bellwood eds.). 49-57, New Delhi: Oxford IBH.

[10] Misra V.N. 1978. 'The Acheulian Industry of Rock Shelter III F-23 at Bhimbetka, Central India'. Australian Archeology 8: 63-106.

[11] Kennedy KAR, and Caldwell PC. 1984. 'South Asian Prehistoric Human Skeletal Remains and burial Practices'. In: Lukacs JR, editor. People of South Asia. 159-197, New York: Plenum Press.

[12] Jayaswal V. 1979. 'Old Stone Age of Central India: A Technological Study'. Man and Environment 3: 19-26.

[13] Corvinus G. 1985 Prehistoric Discoveries in the Foothills of the Himalayas in Nepal 1984. Ancient Nepal 2.

[14] Gaillard C, Raju D.R., Misra V.N., and Rajaguru S.N. 1986. 'Handaxe Assemblages from Didwana Region, Thar Desert, India: a Metrical Analysis'. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 52: 89-214.

[15] Ota S.B., Deo S.G. 2014. 'Investigation of Acheulian Localities TKD-I and TKD-II at Tikoda, District Raisen, Madhya Pradesh (2010-12)'. Indian Society for Prehistoric and Quaternary Studies.

[16] Ota SB. 1992. 'Archeaological Investigations in the Submergence Area of ​​the Narmada Sagar Dam, Madhya Pradesh: a Reconnaissance Survey'. Man and Environment 17: 97-103.

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