Happy Vernal Equinox 2015 to you all

Happy Vernal Equinox 2015 to you all
Vernal Equinox Sunrise in the Punkri Burwadih Megaliths. Hazaribagh

Although ancient tribal megaliths are found in abundance in most of the states of India from Kashmir to Kerala and from Mizoram to Gujarat yet they have been denied the pride of being the truest source of India's prehistory.

The people of the world and even of our country are ignorant that India indeed is also a country with a hefty repository of ancient megaliths. The government makes no effort to publicise these tribal monuments to the world.

If megaliths of India are ever recognized as venerated heritage of the tribals, many of their civilisations under wraps till now would surface which subsequently will persuade scholars to rewrite India’s unknown prehistory.

This website is therefore a humble attempt to showcase this unknown treasure of Indian tribals; their megaliths to the world.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Vernal Equinox in Punkri Burwadih Megaliths. Hazaribagh. Jharkhand. East India.

Self portrait at the Punkri Burwadih Megaliths.

The crowd had begun to gather in the Punkri Burwadih megalithic complex from about 5.00 AM.  We arrived at around 5.45 A.M. The sun here was to rise at about 6.06 A.M.

A day prior we laid down lime markers to indicate people where to stand and from where to view the sunrise.

Marking with lime to show the alignment of the stones and the place to stand

Two menhirs M2 and M3 can be seen positioned adjacent to each other so that a "V" notch is formed. I have observed that menhirs in the state are oriented towards the mid-winter sunrise.Similarly the menhirs in this complex were made to face the Winter Solstice sunrise.

A small stone marked A is placed in a North-South orientation about a few meters towards the NW of the two menhirs.

At about 93" towards the Summer Solstice observing point to its right is the point from where the Equinox Sunrises can be viewed through the V; in other words from this point the V is to its Due East

The three menhirs M1, M2 and M3

The North-South aligned stone A

Waiting eagerly for the sun to rise

The anxious wait for the sun...

...and there is the solar orb visible right in the centre of the V, behind the hill...cameras flash.

Why did the ancients observe the Equinox Sunrise ?

This is something difficult to answer as the ancient megalithic astronomer-priests left behind no written documents. But we can speculate from the positioning of the stones that these were surely placed after observing the movements of the sun for reasons more than one. 

Explaining the functioning of the Punkri Burwadih megalithic observatory to the crowd

One reason for such arrangements of the stones could be perhaps to observe the Equinoxes and Summer Solstice sunrises from which they could fix these significant days in the year  for their day-to-day life as marriages and agriculture et al

The sun is cradled inside the V  between the two male female menhirs

Therefore Punkri Burwadi megalithic complex functioned not only as a burial but also as an observatory of the transits of the sun for it to perform as a calendar for the community. An Indian Hindu even today wouldn't move a foot without referring to their calendars.

What does the sun in the "V" signify?

We need to realise that that megaliths were appendages of the fertility cult, rather a cult related to birth and death, worship of the sexual organs and the wombs, and  worship of the ancestor. All these found expression in symbols.

Of the two menhirs of M2 and M3 one is of red colour comprising of hematite which perhaps symbolises the female whereas the one adjacent to it as the male. 

The "V" in the middle of both the male and the female stones is symbol of the pubic triangle or the female vulva. Through the symbolical vagina of the V notch therefore the new sun takes birth on Equinox mornings exactly though the middle of the V vulva as consequence of the union of M2 and M3.

It is widely believed that on the Equinox day the new sun was born. Therefore on this day or the day after was considered to be the beginning of the New Year for the megalithic multitude.

Monday, 22 December 2014


I am privileged to live in a middle-sized semi-urban town of Hazaribagh in North Jharkhand state of East India. My privilege emerges from reasons confined not only to my town's surrounding being densely wooded or she having a lovely weather but for me precisely for the numerous varied megaliths her environs house.

The uniqueness of Hazaribagh megaliths is that they differ from the megaliths of other region. Apart from being sepulchral monuments Hazaribagh also houses a few very ancient megaliths which reveal stunning astronomy and mathematics  as a testimony of these sciences prevalent among the tribals of the ancient times.

The photographs below are of a few of these primitive monuments. These were built at a very ancient time and can be seen in and around Hazaribagh.

Sadly many of these megaliths below have been lost in lack of protection as the Indian Government does not care much for the protection of her own culture and heritage particularly tribal megaliths.

This megalithic site is Lati on the way to Itkhori

The very ancient Raja Gosaiwn menhir in Silwar. This menhir is still worshipped by the villagers as Raja Gosaiwn.

These depressions on the rock are called cupules or cupmarks and are appendages of megaliths. This cupuled rock is adjacent to the Raja Gosaiwn menhir in Silwar. These are supposed to have been made thousands years ago and are believed to be the symbol of the erstwhile Mother Goddess.

An Oraon dolmen in the large megalithic site of Banjha

Megalithic site of Gidhore

I stand in the ancient megalithic site of Basantpur near Ghatotand

This very beautiful Mundari site is Gurua near Seotagarha


A very young Prantik (Bumpy), my son sits on the elephant behind the Gibraltar House on Jabra Road.




The very ancient menhir at Kallu Chowk, Lohsinghna

Sujit stands near a very large menhir in Barath

The astronomical pillar of Furuka few kms away from Ichak. This megalith has to be seen to be believed

This megalithic site in Jabra Road and is worshipped by the locals as the Pacahi Baba. This worship has protected this very ancient megalithic site.

The megaliths of Amnari

The beautiful Birbir megalithic site

The astronomical megaliths of Punkri Burwadih


This is a lizard shaped capstone of a dolmen in Banadag

The tall menhirs of Punri Mandar megalithic burial site

Lean-support menhirs in Rahriya Tand.


The film shoot.

It happened during a film shoot in the megalithic complex. 
I was standing about 2/3 mtrs NE of the menhir B while the camera was positioned about 7/8 mtrs to my opposite. The director wanted me to walk towards the camera while giving the discourse on the megalith.
In the process while walking about 2 mtrs opposite the menhir B, I was suddenly taken aback as I felt that I was speaking in an open auditorium.
I stopped immediately and called the crew explaining them the phenomenon. They soon rushed in to find the occurrence of the same phenomenon while speaking from a particular spot.

I let the discovery be for that day and continued with the shoot. I returned the next morning to research on the acoustics in the megaliths. I had read of sound effects in many European megaliths and was skeptical about them but to happen with me in the Punkri Burwadih megaliths itself was indeed something unanticipated.

But how can  an echo ensue in the open, this was maddening ?

The next morning I set out for Punkri Burweadih accompanied by a small team including Prantik my son, Alok Rana my co-worker, Abhisek Mishra, a Senior Geologist from Srinagar, Kashmir in North India and a host of Geology students of the Vinoba Bhabe University.

Prantik, Abhishek and I stand at the marker stone and speak towards the menhir B to experience echo effect.

The natural depression on the menhir can be seen. That the megalith is inclined to the front in the photograph can also be perceived.

Working on the menhir which creates the echo.

Arriving at the megaliths I sought for the spot from where the reverberation was occurring. I discovered a small stone dug into earth at a distance of about 72" from the menhir; a standard megalithic measurement in this region of India.
I learnt the stone in the spot must have been dug in by the ancients which surely served as a marker indicating the exact spot from which the echo could be obtained.

We all huddled around that stone and began conducting tests of the echo. We discovered that for the best results we were required to speak louder facing the the menhir B. We were amazed at the effect...as if we were conversing in an open room. 

How could the ancients acquire the feat in this wide open, we wondered.

We then began working on the menhir to find the stone was slightly tilted towards the marker stone. We also spotted a natural depression at the middle of the eastern surface of the stone with  a tentative height of about 28"  and a width of about 14" to 15" and it was this particular cavity which was causing the reverberation, ofcourse the incline was also aiding to the effect. 

We were required to confirm this hypothesis, so Prantik, Abhishek and an another youngster stood in front of the menhir obstructing the depression while I yelled. There was no echo and once I talked louder removing the three fellows; bingo...the echo had resumed.
So indeed it were both the depression and the incline that was creating the echo. Such basic science and such a marvellous effect.

That would mean they deliberately searched for a stone with such a depression on it so that the echo could be produced with its help. The exact angle of the tilt therefore was mandatory for the ancient megalithic astronomers to procure the reverberation from the exact spot of 72"; a standard megalithic measurement which must have been sacred from them.

Many megaliths in the region has been found to be of 72".
72" according to ancient Indian measurements is I (one) danda or is 8 vitastas or vittas (one vitatsta is equal to 9" or the span between the smallest finger and the thumb).

But why echo?

The echo must have been serving a socio/religious/magical purpose in the megaliths which much have been under the custody of the astronomer priests.

I thereafter invited a few Physics professors of the Post Graduate Dept of the Vinoba Bhabey University to work on the echo effect in Punkri Burwadih. 

I of course had a hard time explaining to them what a megalith was. It is unfortunate despite living in a tribal state people at large are ignorant of tribal megaliths.

So one fine winter morning the University team comprised of Physics professors and PG students headed by Dr.Navin Chandra of the Physics Dept accompanied me to the Punkri Burwadih megaliths to study its newly discovered echo effects.

Professors and PG students of Physics of Vinoba Bhabhe University tries to unravel the mystery of the echo by covering the menhir.

A curtain is placed at the left side of the menhir to block the draft whether that changes the quality of the echo.

The scholars expressed their utmost shock to find the echo and without wasting much time they fell to work. They had bought curtains and tried blocking the wind from the sides of the menhir B to find why and how the reverberation worked.

Hours of research too had them conclude that it was the depression and the tilt of the menhir that was creating the echo.

Friday, 21 November 2014


                             Giriraj Kumar and Ram Krishna

KEYWORDS:   Cupules  –  Technology  –  Replication  –  Daraki-Chattan –  India

Abstract. The Lower Palaeolithic cupules in the small cave of Daraki-Chattan are of different shapes and sizes. How they were made is the subject of this investigation. The hardness of the quartzite rock of the cave adds to the complexities in understanding the production process. The study of the more than 500 cupules on the vertical walls of the cave is a joint venture of Indian and Australian scientists, the EIP Project. The senior author commenced a programme of replicating the cupules, in an effort to understand the circumstances of their creation, on an experimental rock panel close to Daraki-Chattan in 2002. The project of replicating different kinds of cupules encountered in Daraki-Chattan has been continued since then and was joined by the second author in 2004. This paper presents the gist of the replication project from 2002 to 2012.

Daraki-Chattan is a small, narrow and deep cave inquartzite buttresses of Indragarh Hill near Bhanpura,district Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh, India (Fig. 1). Iwas discovered by our friend Ramesh Kumar Pancholiin 1993 (Pancholi 1994). The cave is slightly more than4.0 m wide at the dripline, and 1.4 m at its mouth. Frohere it continuously narrows down in width, to 34 cmat a depth of 7.4 m, it then becomes slightly wider, upto 40 cm, finally closing at the depth of 8.4 m from itsmouth. The cave is maximal 7.4 m in height. It bearsmore than five hundred cupules on both of its verticalwalls. A cupule is a petroglyph of hemispherical shapeor its variation, created by percussion technique on horizontal, inclined or vertical rock surface.The cave overlooks the valley of the river Rewwhich opens in front of it into nearly 3-km-wideagricultural fields. The area was a dense forest withrich fauna including tigers even just 50 years back, inthe 1960s. The hills and their foothills on both sidesof the river were also a rich source of quartzite formanufacturing of stone artefacts by hominins in theLower Palaeolithic, as indicated by extensive surfacoccurrences of artefact scatters as well as in stratifieexposures.

Figure 1. Daraki-Chattan Cave in the quartzite buttresses of Indragarh Hill in Chambal basin, central India

We discovered early Acheulian factorysites with finished artefacts, big flakes and cores fronearby, especially from the foothill on the opposite hillon the right bank of the river and on the ChanchalamataHill near Daraki-Chattan. We also discovered Acheulianartefacts on the plateau of Indragarh Hill above thecave, as well as artefacts representing the transitional phase from Lower to Middle Palaeolithic industries from inside the cave. No other artefacts of later cultural hence one of us postulated that the cupules inside thecave may belong to the Acheulian or the followingtransitional phase (Kumar 1995, 1996).Most of the first half portion of the southern wall isdevoid of cupules on its surface (Fig. 2). It must havebeen exfoliated and fallen below and become stratified.This meant that the sloping sediments in front of thecave should contain pieces of cupule-bearing slabsand also some of the hammerstones used for theirproduction. Both were indeed amply found duringexcavations (Kumar et al. 2005; Bednarik et al. 2005).

Figure 2. Part of southern wall of Daraki-Chattan near entrance, bearing hundreds of cupules.

The EIP Project
In order to study the early cupules in India and es-tablishing their antiquity the EIP Project was established during the Third AURA Congress at Alice Springs in 2000. Its name is an acronym of Early Indian Petroglyphs:Scientific Investigation and Dating by International Commission. It is a joint venture by Indian and Australian scientists conducted in collaboration of RASI and AURA under the aegis of IFRAO, with Giriraj Kumar and Robert G. Bednarik as its Indian and Australian directors. It has been supported and supervised by the Archaeological Survey of India. Support was also given by the Indian Council of Historical Research and the Australia-India Council, Canberra.Under the EIP Project excavations were carried out at Daraki-Chattan for five seasons from 2002 to 2006, under the supervision of the first author (Kumar et al.2005; Kumar 2006), and 325-cm-thick sediments were excavated. The preliminary results of the EIP Project
have been published in India, Australia and her countries from time to time (Kumar et al. 2002, 2005, 2012; Kumar 2008, 2010a, 2010b, 2010c; Bednarik et al.2005; Bednarik 2009a, 2012; Bednarik and Kumar 2012; Krishna and Kumar 2012a, 2012b, 2012c). However, here to define the typological-cultural deve- lopment of lithics and correlation of the ex- foliated cupules and hammerstones found in different layers with them.
Summary of the excavations
The Lower Palaeolithic stone tool sequence in the Daraki-Chattan sediments commences from the uppermost levels of the floor deposit, which comprises only a very thin layer of more recent strata. In places an industry intermediate to Middle and Lower Palaeolithic (MP and LP) typology was visible at the surface before excavation commenced. These intermediate tool types are underlain by a substantial deposit defined as Acheulian, but poor in typical handaxes and cleavers. Six vague and fairly arbitrary layers were distinguished in the sediment, becoming progressively more reddish in layer 5 (Bednarik et al. 2005: Fig 26). The lowest sediment deposit is characterised by its red colour, the upper part of which contains severely weathered Mode 1 cobble tools as well as hammerstones of the type used to produce the cupules (Figs 3–5, 8a). Arbitrary sediment layers 3 and 4 contain LP flake artefacts, some made from river cobbles, but most made of the local purplish quartzite. A few artefacts consist of deeply patinated  cherts. Layer 5 contains still much the same industry, but increasing iron content has effected a more reddish colour. Both stone tools and clasts show increasing effects of weathering and iron induration with greater depth, which on large clasts may take the form of thick mineral crusts of primarily ferromanganese composition.
The basal sediment layer features only very weathered stone tools and clasts. Tool types from the lower sediments include cobble tools, discoids, core choppers,flake scrapers and polyhedrons similar to the so-called Durkadian (for references for the following summary see Bednarik 2009b; Bednarik and Kumar 2012). A few specimens resemble what have been called core scrapers at Mahadeo-Piparia, another central Indian site, whose repertoire has been called the Mahadevian. These characteristic pieces are large blocks with a zigzagging edge produced by chunky flakes having been removed alternatively from each side.Although LP and MP stone-tool traditions are widespread in India, represented in massive quantities and typologically accounted for, their absolute chronology has remained largely unresolved so far This is due both to a paucity of excavated sites (most known sites are surface scatters) and a pronounced lack of well-dated sites. The cobble or chopping tools preceding the bifaces of the Indian Acheulian have attracted comparatively little attention. While the Lower Acheulian remains largely undated, preliminary indications suggest a late Middle Pleistocene antiquity for the Final Acheulian. Thorium-uranium dates from three calcareous conglomerates containing Acheulian artefacts (Nevasa, Yedurwadi, Bori) suggest ages in the order of 200 ka. The most recent date for an Indian Acheulian deposit is currently the uranium-series result of about 150 ka from a conglomerate travertine at Kaldevanahalli. There remains wide disagreement about the antiquity of the Early Acheulian and the Mode 1 industries. Some favour a date of 1.4 million years (Ma) from Kukdi valley for the earliest phase of the Acheulian; others reject it. The earliest phase of human presence in India, of Mode 1 assemblages, remains largely undated, but at Pabbi Hills, dates ranging from 2.2 to 1.2 Ma have been acquired by palaeomagnetism. The few flaked quartzite cobbles from Riwat (Pakistan) appear to be in the order of 2.5 Ma old, rather than 1.9 Ma as previously proposed. The claims from Labli Uttarani, ranging from 1.6 to 2.8 Ma, are viewed sceptically. However, the earliest data from China imply an occupation by hominins prior to 2 Ma, which presumes human presence in India by that time. Reliably identified Mode 1 industries have been excavated from secure stratigraphies in very few cases, and they were found below Mode 2 (Acheulian) strata at the two early cupule sites, Auditorium Cave at Bhimbetka and Daraki-Chattan. These quartzite tools are partially decomposed at both sites and they were found in both cases below pisoliths and heavy ferromanganese mineral accretions indicating a significant climatic incursion. Details of the typological context of the excavated tools from Daraki-Chattan have been published by Bednarik and Kumar (2012: 154–55, in CD pp. 895–906)

Figure 3. Excavations at Daraki-Chattan: section facing south.

Figure 4. Daraki-Chattan: Oldowan type chopper on quartzite from the lower-most level of pseudo-layer 5.

Figure 5. A slab lying close to bedrock in pseudo-layer 5/6 bearing an oval/elliptical cupule (broken); inset close-up of the same.

The excavations at Daraki-Chattan have established that the cave was a Lower Pa- laeolithic occupation site (Figs 3 and 4). During the excavations exfoliated cupules and hammerstones used for the creation of cupules (Fig. 5) were obtained from arbitrary layer 3 down to arbitrary layer 4, 5 and from the interface of 6/5 (Bednarik et al. 2005: Fig.26). It means the cupules on the excavated slabs must have been much older than their stratigraphical antiquity, and this applies also to the cupules on the cave walls. Thus, the EIP Project has confirmed the evidence of Lower Palaeolithic cupules for the first time in the world..It also established that with more than five hundred cupules on both vertical walls,Daraki-Chattan is the richest known early Palaeolithic cupule site in the world (Fig. 2) (Kumar 1995, 1996, 2006; Kumar et al. 2005; Bednarik et al. 2005).

                           Figure 6. Big circular cupules on northern wall

In addition to housing some of the oldest known rock art, Daraki-Chattan is also an important Palaeolithic site because it is one of the very few Indian locations where Mode 1 (pre-Acheulian) occupation evidence has been excavated in a stratified context. Overlain by a typical Acheulian with handaxes, this deposit has yielded very simple, Oldowan-like stone artefacts made mostly of the local quartzite. This very early cupule site is therefore of particular importance to exploring the LP industries of southern Asia (Bednarik and Kumar 2012: 154–155, in CD pp. 895–906).

Questions raised by Daraki-Chattan
The high concentration of cupules in a small cave such as Daraki-Chattan requires an explanation.Thhardness of the quartzite rock of the cave adds more complexities to its understanding.Common questionbeing raised in reference to this site are:
1.  How were these cupules made on such a hard quartzite rock?
2.  Were these cupules the creation of a single period or were they made in different periods, and when were they made?
3.  Do the cupules in Daraki-Chattan show a diachronic development?
4.  What was the purpose of creating such a large number of cupules on such a small and narrow cave?
5.  What is the significance of the study of these cupules?
Until c. 2001 it was impossible to answer such questions scientifically. The study of the early pet- roglyphs through the EIP Project has focused on being able to answer some of these questions.

Study of the cupules
We made a preliminary study of the cupules in Daraki-Chattan Cave while documenting them in
1994–95 (see Kumar 1996: Figs 5, 6). However, for understanding the creation of cupules in Daraki-Chattan through replication it was necessary to understand the cupule forms more closely.

Figure 7. Small circular cupules with conical depth on southern wall.

                      Figure 8. An oval cupule on northern wall.

Figure 9. Roughly triangular cupule No. 23 southern wall.

Figure 10. Roughly square shape cupule with angular depth, No. 174 on southern wall.

Categories of cupule forms in Daraki-Chattan

We studied and and documented 496 cupules on both walls of Daraki-Chattan Cave in 1995. Out of these, 402 cupules are circular or almost circular, 85 are elongated (oval) and 9 are more angular in shape. Of the circular cupules we distinguished two categories in 1995: (1) saucer-shaped big circular cupules, and (2) bowl-shaped big circular cupules (Kumar 1995).However, later on we observed that circular cupules have one more category: circular cupules with conical section (Kumar and Prajapati 2010; Krishna and Kumar 2012a).
Almost all the cupules and the bedrock around them bear light-brown patina. Most of them also bear
mineral encrustation and also show different stages of weathering. Later on a few more cupules have been observed near the roof of the cave on the southern wall, and two on the bedrock of the cave floor. Besides, slabs bearing 28 cupules were excavated during 2002–2006, out of which two cupules were in situ (Kumar et al. 2012).
The archaic cupules in Daraki-Chattan Cave have now been classified broadly into four categories with
their sub-categories as follows (Kumar and Prajapati 2010; Krishna and Kumar 2012a):
1. Big circular cupules with saucer-shaped floor or deeply rounded floor (Fig. 6):
1a Big circular cupules of more than 50 mm dia- meter and smooth saucer-shaped floor, of more than 5 mm depth.
1b Big and deep cupules of about 30 to 50 mm diameter and 7 to 12 mm depth, smooth and rounded floor; sometimes the depth is more than 12 mm.
2. Cupules with conical section:
2a. Circular cupules of about 30 to 40 mm diameter and conical section of more than 5 mm depth (Fig.7).
2b. Oval or elongate cupules with oblique and conical section, deepest point is always below the
cupule’s centre (Fig. 8).
3. Small cupules:
3a Small circular and shallow cupules which appear to be unfinished.
3b Small circular cupules with deep smooth floor.Examples on the northern wall (NR): NR 144; 24.65 × 27.0 × 11; 35 mm, deep conical cupule. NR 162.24.5 × 23. 8 × 8. 83 mm. On southern wall: SR 195b.32.3 × 24.6 × 8.4 mm.
4. Small cupules with angular periphery and deep angular section. They are rare: (1) Northern wall, on the lower side before Group 1a: 18.3 × 17.6 × 5.7 mm, with roughly triangular periphery and angular section (it is a new cupule observed on northern wall of the cave on 27 December 2008, hence has no number).
(2) SR 23 (Fig. 9); 27.3 ×24.6 × 8.4 mm, with roughly triangular periphery and roughly triangular section. It is the only case of its kind and is exceptionally difficult to produce.
(3) However, in the study of the cupules in DC in January 2012 we observed a few more specimens with angular periphery. Near the distal end of the southern wall, cupule SR 174 is deep and with roughly square periphery (Fig. 10). It could be identified on close observation. Close to and slightly below it, cupule SR 200 is roughly triangular in shape with weathered base facing upwards and roundeupper half. Cupule SR 193 is located slightly above,and close to it on its left side is a big version of cupule SR 200 (Krishna and Kumar 2012b).
Categories 1 and 2 form the major bulk of the cupules in Daraki-Chattan Cave. Category 3 forms only small part, while cupules of category 4 are rare. Cupules of category 2 have been found from the excavations at Daraki-Chattan.
Replication of cupules
In the global literature (Bednarik 1998: 23–35) on rock art we do not have any reference for replication work that could have helped us in understanding the techniques used, cognition and skill required and complexities involved in producing the cupules on hard quartzite rock. Hence, in order to understand the creation of cupules and their significance in Daraki-Chattan we have been experimenting with threplication of cupules on a selected vertical wall in a rockshelter closely associated with and located by the right side (south) of Daraki-Chattan (Fig. 11).

Figure 11. Experimental rock in a rockshelter by the southern side of Daraki-Chattan (left), and some of the replica cupules on it (right).

Figure 12. (a) A quartzite hammerstone with broad striking head obtained from pseudo-layer 6 in thexcavations at Daraki-Chattan

It is a continuation of the same quartzite bedrock forming Daraki-Chattan. The rockshelter, 660 cm in breadth at the dripline, 175 cm deep and 275 cm in height at present, faces west. The vertical wall of the shelter runs 210 cm from north to south, than turns to southeast for an additional distance of 140 cm. It is 200 cm in height from the present floor surface.

We really need to show how hard it is to make the described different  types  of  cupules  and how  mucdeliberate  effort  is required in their production. Secondly, we also need to understand and justify the nature and types of hammerstones discovered in the excavations at Daraki-Chattan and correlate them with the cupules in the cave (Fig. 12). Experiment with replication of cupules was commenced by GK in 2002, thyeaobeginninthexcavatioaDaraki-Chattan. RaKrishna (Prajapati) joined the replication project in 2004. It is still continuing (Kumar and Prajapati 2010; Krishna and Kumar 2012a, 2012b, 2012c). So far we have replicated ten cupules.
Hammerstones used for practical work
Pebbles and cobbles from a nearby site, Patasighati, with purple-red coloured core, are very hard and are most suitable for use as hammerstones for cupule production and also to make artefacts from. They are of greater density than the bedrock of Daraki-Chattan. They were similarly used at this place by hominins in the Lower Palaeolithic. We also experimented with hammerstones on chert, chalcedony, and basalt and other igneous rocks, but they were not found suitable because of their fragile nature.
Patasighati is located in between Indragarh Hill and Chanchalamata Hill. It contains highly cemented thick boulder conglomerate of river deposit in a palaeochannel. So far we could not find any stone artefact or fossil remains from this palaeochannel deposit. It must have been formed by a very powerful stream of very high kinetic intensity, as the boulders up to 50 cm diameter have become almost round, some are flat and round, hence the local name Patasighati (valley of boulders, cobbles and pebbles like sugar cakes).

Technique used
From the study and observation of the hardness of the bedrock and smoothness of the archaic cupules in Daraki-Chattan, GK believed intuitively from the very beginning that these could have been produced by direct percussion technique; hence he used the same technique for cupule replication unless mentioned otherwise.

Summary of the replication project, study and observations to date
The details of our replication project on different shapes and size of cupules (Figs 13–17) and the shape of different hammerstones after their use (Fig. 18–21) have been reported from time to time (Kumar 2010c; Kumar and Prajapati 2010; Krishna and Kumar 2012a, 2012b, 2012c). Hence, instead of giving these details we are presenting here a summary and a comparative study of the replication process in Table 1. It is followed by our understanding of the creation of different cupule forms and overall

Category of replicated cupules
1a - Big and saucer- shaped cupules
2a - Small circular cupules
with conical depth
4 - Roughly triangular cupules
Id No &
RC-2, big saucer- shaped cupule created by a young shepherd in 2002. Dimensions: 55.7 ×
55.0 × 9.0 mm
(Fig. 13).
RC-9, small cupule with conical depth, created by an
urban engineering student in 2009. Dimensions 32.0 ×
31.5 × 9.0 mm
(Fig. 15).
Stage 1: RC-6, small cupule with conical depth,
33.5 × 32.5 × 9.0 mm (Fig. 14).

Stage 2: RC-6 was converted to RC-10, a roughly triangular form cupule, 36.0 (breadth) × 35.0 (height) × 10.0 mm (depth). (Figs 16 and 17).
No of strokes and time duration
17 300 powerful strokes in 138 minutes in 2 days,
12–13 June 2002.
28 327 light strokes in 372 minutes in
2 days, 16–17 June
Stage 1: RC-6, 21 661 light strokes, in 172 minutes in 3 days,
25–27 Dec. 2008. Out of these, 3322 strokes were made by
indirect percussion in 22 minutes.
Stage 2: 89 600 light strokes (direct percussion) in
640 minutes in three days, 27–29 Jan. 2012 at an average
rate of 140 strokes per minute.
Size, nature and No. of hammer- stones (Hs) used
Two Hs on big cobbles of quartzite were used. The Hs has to be lifted up to shoulder level (28 to
30 cm) to exert great power to it while striking.
Using comparatively light strokes made by 17 small Hs, by lifting them only up to a height of 5 to 6 cm.
Stage 1: comparatively light strokes made by 12 small Hs, by lifting them only up to a height of 5 to 6 cm.
Stage 2: light strokes made by three small and elongated Hs, by lifting them only up to a height of 5 to 6 cm. Most of the time two elongated Hs were used. A third one was discarded after a short duration of 32 minutes only on 28
Concen- tration, commitment, skill, precision and patience required
It is a product more of strength and commitment, and less of skill.
Steady work with precision and concentration. It
is a product of comparatively light strokes made by small hammerstones.
A roughly triangular shape of cupules became possible because of the further experiments in the small circular cupules with conical depth. Producing such cupules by direct percussion is a work of high precision and great patience and commitment. It is the further advanced
stage of cupule creation after the creation of small circular cupules with conical depth. Its creation requires proper planning and strategy and a lot of time as compared to small circular cupules with conical depth.
Cognitive develop- ment and intelligence estimated
It is a product more of dedication and determination and less of skill.
It is a product of advanced skill
and precision with great concentration and patience. Creation of such cupules also
reflects a tradition of long experience.
A small conical cupule with conical depth produced by direct percussion forms the base to produce a triangular form of cupule. If we shift the centre of the depth, the cupule form will change to angular form. In the case of RC-
10 it was shifted downwards by 4–5 mm (Fig. 17). Further, it needs innovative skill and reflects on the advanced stage of the cognitive development of its author. Size of an angular cupule is a function of time and also of finding or making a suitably long and thin hammerstone.
Table 1: Comparative study of the production process and observations on the replicated cupules, and comments on them.
observation on the skill, efficiency and cognitive state of their authors.
Our replication experiments on hard quartzite rock by the side of DC from 2002 to 2012 have revealed some facts about the creation of different forms of

cupules in Daraki-Chattan Cave which are as follows:
1.      It is incredibly hard to replicate cupules on hard quartzite rock. Besides, it requires immense skill and precision.
2.        Big circular cupules.
 In Darakihattan,cupules of category 1a, .e. big circular cupules of more than 50 mm diameter, more than 5 mm deep and saucer shaped, appear to be the work more of strength and commitment and less of skill. They were produced by using a very simple technology of direct percussion. They appear to represent the earliest stage of cupule production. Our cupule replication experiment indicates that to produce cupules of category 1a needs two to six hammerstones on cobbles to produce such cupules, depending on the quality of the stone used and the strength of the person at work. It is a tough and tedious task to produce a cupule on hard quartzite rock, requiring motivation, commitment, strength, endurance and patience for its production.

Figure 13. Big saucer-like replica cupule, RC-2 created in 2002.

Figure 14. Small circular cupule with conical depth, RC-6 created in 2008

Figure 15. Small circular cupule with conical depth, RC-9 created in 2009.

Figure 16. Roughly triangular form of cupule, RC-10 created in January 2012.

3.     Small circular cupules with conical section
We successfully replicated such cupules in December 2008 and June 2009. They appear to be the work of modified technology of direct percussion with small hammerstones of specific shape andsize.
It requires proper planning, immense skill and great precision and patience to produce such cupules. The person at work on cupule production cannot afford a wrong stroke, even in a thousand, as it increases the diameter of the cupule. Thus, these cupules are a work of modified technology and advanced skill and precision and great concentration and patience. Their creation needs comparativellight strokes and use of multiple hammerstones. It also reflects a tradition of long experience.
4.  Elongated cupules are the result of further experiments with small circular cupules with conical section.
5.  Roughly triangular cupules. A small cupule with conical section produced by direct percussion forms the base to produce a roughly triangular form of cupule. If the centre of the depth is shifted, the cupule form will change to a roughly triangular form. It is the main finding of our study of the cupules in Daraki-Chattan, their close observation and discussion followed by replication work durinJanuary 2012. Further, it needs individual innovation and reflects on the advanced stage of the cognitivdevelopment of its author. Its production requires light strokes applied over longer time, compared tsmall circular cupules with conical section.

Figure 17. Figure showing the shifting of the centre point of the replicated cupule to 4.5 mm downwards on the vertical length of RC-10.

Figure 18. Hammerstone after its use in creation of big saucer-shaped cupule RC-2.

Figure 19 (left). Hammerstone after its use in creation of cupule RC-5.

Figure 20. (a) One of the hammerstones used for replication of RC-9; (b) close up of the striking head of the same.

Study and understanding of the creation of roughly angular form of cupules may help to understand thinvention and development of geometrical forms,especially the triangular and square forms in termof antiquity in the Stone Age. It will also help in understanding the antiquity of the cognitive ancultural development of their authors.
7.  Cupule creation is definitely not a leisure work or ludic. It is a very tough job and appears to be closely associated with something special and deeply significant.
8.  Cupule replication is found to be an important method for understanding the process and technique
of cupule creation, in the present case on hard quartzite rock. It renders hypotheses testable; hence it is an important scientific exercise.
1.  In addition to housing some of the oldest known rock art in the world, Daraki-Chattan is also an
important Palaeolithic occupation site because it is one of the very few Indian locations where Mode
1 (pre-Acheulian) occupation evidence has been excavated in a stratified context. Overlain by a typical Acheulian with handaxes, this deposit has yielded very simple, Oldowan-like stone artefacts made mostly of the local quartzite. This very early cupule site is therefore of particular importance to exploring the Lower Palaeolithic industries of southern Asia (Bednarik and Kumar 2012).
2.  It is incredibly hard to replicate cupules on hard quartzite rock. Besides, it requires immense skiland precision.

Figure 21. Small elongated hammerstone Hs-2, used in stage 2 of the production of RC-10.

3.  The replication of cupules helped us in understanding that their creation on hard quartzite rock is a very long,hard and labour-consuming task, involving literally tens of thousands of strokes with hammerstones.
The struck rock being very hard, the hammerstone rebounds with equal force with each stroke, and gives a powerful jerk in the shoulder of the worker, especially in case of cupule replication of categories 1a and 2a. Hence, the person working on replication of cupule creation must have sufficient physical strength, commitment, stamina and patience.
4.  Big circular cupules, small circular cupules with conical depth and roughly triangular cupules created by direct percussion method may reflect a steady advancement in technology, skill, precision,intelligence and cognitive development in early human history of the Pleistocene. It appears a phenomenon more of the social and cultural environment and also that of opportunities and encouragement provided by the social groups rather than evolution of skill in different species of the Homo. The same is the case even at present when we observe the development of juveniles in rural and urban environment in different parts of the world. We can also recall the Industrial Revolution and development of bicycles, motor bikes, cars, aeroplanes etc., from their modest forms in the beginning to the modern advanced forms of the present. The underlying nature of the culture of our ancestors was not significantly different in a qualitative sense from our own. Of course in the Stone Age the development was a slow process.Different technologies, designs, devices and equipment were developed according to the need of the time to make the tasks comparatively easy and life more comfortable. Thus, cupule creation of different forms by early humans appears to be related to cultural evolution deeply embedded in the cognitive development in hominins.
We sincerely extend our heartfelt thanks to the four scholars for reviewing the paper as RAR referees and for their constructive suggestions, most of which have been taken care of in the final version of this paper.

Professor Giriraj Kumar
Faculty of Arts
Dayalbagh Educational Institute
Dayalbagh, Agra 282 005

Ram Krishna

Final MS received 12 November 2013.

R E f E R E NC E S

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