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Gulf of Cambay Cradle of Ancient Civilization (cont.)
By Badrinaryan Badrinaryan

A series of microlithic tools were collected at various locations. Generally microlithic tools are characteristic of the Mesolithic period and are found between Paleolithic and Neolithic stone age periods. The characteristic features of mesolithic tools are that unlike the earlier Paleolithic stone tools these are much smaller, normally between 5cm to 1cm in length and are made of finely crafted semi-precious stones. These include quartz, chert, jasper, flint, chalcedony, agate, corundum, etc. About 248 such tools were collected by sampling. The tools included a baked blade with a serrated edge, point, point on flakes, lunate, scraper, cores with negative chipping and a borer. The tools have both geometric and non-geometric forms.

The Mesolithic period of Western India revealed the existence of their cultural phases, namely aceramic and ceramic. In general the Mesolithic sites confirmed the existence of a ceramic phase in its later part, containing other than potteries and microlithic tools, materials like wattle and clay shreds for house construction, flooring of the houses, etc. The Mesolithic sites are comparatively larger. Here the hunting and gathering way of life was replaced by organised food production. Holed stones which appeared in the late paleolithic became prominent in the Mesolithic. These holed stones appear to have been used as weights in digging sticks and as net sinkers by the fishing folks. In general a sedentary form of living heralded the beginning of other associated cultural artifacts like pottery, living in well-built houses like wattle and clay, or of sun dried and fired bricks.

Coming to microliothic tools a variety of classic collections were made. These include Thumb nail scraper (Fig.19) to skin the small animals (Fig.20), obliquely truncated fluted core made of red corundum apart from borers and points (Fig.21). Usage of Corundum is something unique as it is the second hardest material known after diamond as per the Mohrs scale of hardness. The red and blue transparent varieties of corundum are the gem stones Ruby and Sapphire.. This is the first reported usage of corundum as microlithic tool in India and maybe in the world. Other tools include a microlithic blade made of chert and quartz (Fig.22) for cutting purposes, a microlithic side scraper (Fig.23), and a microlithic tool point with a serrated edge (Fig.24). Apart from these, pieces of hearth material have been collected (Fig.25). These were used for firing and heating and hence are very good for dating purposes. At places pieces of light weight, hollow circle-like materials have been collected (Fig.26). Probably these may be slag pieces, cinder after extraction of metal, and the ancients might have the knowledge of some metallurgy. Pottery pieces of various types have been collected. These include a broken bowl (Fig.27), coarse red-ware (Fig.28), pottery pieces embedded in mud walls (Fig.29), slow wheel turned pottery pieces (Fig.30), pieces of jar-lid (Fig.31), pottery piece with some cord impression (Fig.32) and a very ancient fragment of pottery, possibly amongst the oldest so far collected anywhere anywhere in the world. (Fig.33)

Thumb Nail Scraper
Figure – 19

Microlithic tools
Figure - 20

Figure – 21

Figure – 22

Figure – 23

Figure – 24

Hearth Material
Figure – 25

Figure – 26

Figure – 27

Figure – 28

Figure – 29

Pottery Piece
Figure – 30

Jar Lid
Figure – 31

Figure – 32

Figure – 33
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