Aspects of the ethnoarchaeology of Adilabad (Andhra Pradesh), India
This thesis is an ethnoarchaeological investigation of subsistence and settlement patterns in Kuntala (Adilabad District, Andhra Pradesh) in semi-arid Central India. Ethnographic and archaeological data for this study were collected during primary fieldwork among the Gonds, an ethnic group subsisting on a mixed economy of agriculture, hunting, gathering, and fishing. The primary objective of this study is to provide an understanding of subsistence and associated settlement patterns in the Upper Palaeolithic-Mesolithic Transition phase (c. 10,000 to 6,000 B.C.) in the area. To this end, a predictive, regional model is constructed on the basis of combined historical and modern ethnographic material. This model, in the form of an hypothetical picture rather than a rigorous, quantitative and formal one, is laterally evaluated with data for such patterns from other contemporary ethnic groups in the Indian subcontinent. Predictions are made for prehistoric subsistence and settlement patterns in the Kuntala region. These are evaluated against primary archaeological evidence. The model suggests a mixed subsistence strategy of hunting, fishing and gathering with an associated settlement pattern involving large permanent camps at sources of perennial water supply, and randomly dispersed short-term encampments during the Transitional period. These predictions are corroborated on the basis of statistical analyses of artefact densities and variability in tool types at Kuntala. These results are then analysed against data from other key sites in Peninsular India. A secondary objective is to examine the theoretical and methodological paradigms that inform contemporary Indian archaeology and to assess their strengths and weaknesses. Although there is a clear place for ecological and Processual inquiry in Indian archaeology, this study points to the need for post-Processual frameworks of analysis that focus on the contextual dimensions of the prehistoric past.