Monday, August 09, 2010

Archeological Exploration in Sikkim (2002-2004) finds place in a book

I still remember writing an article on early man tools found in Sikkim some times back. I had wrapped in brief three separate excavations completed in different parts of Sikkim. Few years latter to find a complete package of excavation report of the last excavation done at Sikkim (2004) in a form of a book was enough to excite my small heart. The book “Archeological Exploration in Sikkim” written by Dr. PK Mishra provides the report of the excavation done in the year 2002 and 2004 at Sikkim by the team led by Dr. Mishra from Pre-historic Branch of the Archeological Survey of India.  The book also illustrates photographs with information of early man artifacts discovered from over two dozen Neolithic sites from North and East Sikkim. 

Dr. Mishra writes those tools recovered from Sikkim were collected from the fields, under step cultivation and even from the local people who thought that those were “Chattang ko Dunga” or the “Vajra Dunga” stone from heaven. I smiled when I first read about it. Well this reminded me of an interesting point from a well read book “Lepcha – My Vanishing Tribe” by AR Foning. The author AR Foning writes about his experience with “Sadaer Longs”, the so called thunder stones that the old folks used to term as possessing blessings from the Thunder God.

According to the book, "interesting aspect of the excavation done at Sikkim pushed a significant breakthrough in the world of archeology, the scholars considers that the region of Sikkim as a corridor through which the Neolithic Celt making techniques entered India from the South East Asia.  The tools found in Sikkim were derived from dolerite, shale, slate and fossil woods. “The typological analysis of the tools suggests two phases in their development, which forms the basis for a twofold schema that has been introduced for their identification. These phases are: (i). Early phase with tools being wholly chipped and the edge ground. (ii). Later phase with pecked and edge ground and fully ground tools. Using this schema, the early phase shows common features with Hoabihian Culture of South East Asia dated to 10,000 B.C., and later phase assignable to 8000 B.C. shows a close affinity with that of South China and South East Asia.”

I am sure these findings take back the origin of the land of Sikkim way back as we had never thought off. I still remember a news article published in ‘Now’ newspaper covering this very excavation said the most excellent part of the exploration was the findings of a fossilized antelope horn in Sajyong area near Rumtek that was reported to about 1,50,000 years old. But somehow nothing is written about the fossilized horn in any of the pages. The other major breakthrough of the excavation was the carbon dating of one of the Neolithic tools dating back beyond 2,500 BC in the East District of Sikkim.