INQUA-HaBCom workshop 'Palaeoanthropological Perspectives on Plant Communities in South Asia'


The INQUA-HaBCom (International Union for Quaternary Research – Humans and the Biosphere Commission) workshop cum training programme entitled 'Palaeoanthropological Perspectives on Plant Communities in South Asia' is jointly organized by the Sharma Centre for Heritage Education ( and the French Institute of Pondicherry ( from 27th October to 2nd November, 2014.

An overwhelming response greeted our announcement of this workshop and call for participation both nationally and internationally and finally 13 trainees have been selected. The nearly 15 resource persons from India and abroad for this workshop are drawn from diverse fields: archaeology, paleoecology and palynology, botany and earth sciences.

The programme will be held primarily at the French Institute of Pondicherry.

This comprises a training workshop and discussion on application of phytoliths (microscopic siliceous parts of plant tissues) in the context of prehistory, experimental archaeology and ethnobotany in South Asia. The workshop seeks to situate our ongoing research on phytoliths at the Stone Age (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 to the use of opal phytoliths to understand the prehistoric use of wild plant resources and adaptation to changing palaeoenvironments in South Asia. We seek to establish research networks of scientists working in South Asia for developing integrated approaches towards the study of past vegetation and plant use at prehistoric sites ranging from the Early Pleistocene to mid-Holocene. The workshop will be a mixture of lectures, hands-on training in field and laboratory techniques and methods. One-day field visit to Attirampakkam for understanding the present day environmental context of the site will be included.

Detailed report of the INQUA-HABCOM training workshop published in Quaternary Perspectives issue 21(2).


French Institute of Pondicherry, Jawaharlal Nehru conference hall, 11 Saint Louis street, Pondicherry.