The INQUA-HaBCom (International Union for Quaternary Research – Humans and the Biosphere Commission) Workshop cum Training Programme entitled "Prehistory, Plants and People" in the framework of the ongoing project Palaeoanthropological Perspectives on Plant Communities in South Asia, is jointly organized by the Sharma Centre for Heritage Education (www.sharmaheritage.com) and the French Institute of Pondicherry (www.ifpindia.org) from 18th to 24th January 2016 and will be held partly in both institutions.
This comprises a training workshop and discussion on phytoliths (i.e. optically isotropic microscopic silica form in plant tissues) in the context of prehistory, environmental archaeology, palaeoecology, experimental archaeology and ethnobotany in South Asia. The workshop seeks to situate our ongoing research on phytoliths at the Palaeolithic site of Attirampakkam, Tamil Nadu, South India, in a wider perspective. This would aim at introducing young researchers in the field of prehistory and archaeobotany and palaeoecology to the use of phytoliths to understand the plant resource occupation at prehistoric sites and adaptation to changing palaeoenvironments in South Asia. These studies are placed within the wider context of examining the basic lines of phytolith taphonomy and the nature of human adaptation to changing Quaternary environments, with a component on inferences drawn from studies of material culture (e.g. lithics) from archaeological stratigraphy. As stone artefacts comprise the primary source of evidence for much of the prehistoric past, experimental studies will introduce participants to the range of techniques in the manufacture and use of prehistoric stone artifacts. We also introduce ethnobotanical and ethnoarchaeological components related to traditional plant exploitation in India. Aspects of later cultural phases will also be discussed. The workshop will comprise lectures, hands-on training in field and laboratory techniques and methods, experimental tool manufacture and use, and field-visits. Participants will also be invited to present posters/powerpoints on their research.
- Sharma Centre for Heritage Education, Conference Hall, 28, I Main Road, C.I.T Colony, Mylapore, Chennai 600 004
- French Institute of Pondicherry, Indology Hall, 11 Saint Louis street, Pondicherry