Million Year Tamil Site Pallavaram Chennai Dated Report

I  posted an article that the Tamils lived around 74,000 years ago and that too near Chennai.

I forgot to provide the Link.

Scroll down for Video.

This led to the speculation that I have been providing information not backed up by facts.

Readers of this site know well that I never post information without evidence nor providing information without authentic links.

I forgot in the above case.

Attirampakkam,Chennai being excavated.Jpg Attirampakkam,Chennai being excavated..

That is also good in the sense that I have been able to get more information on the site and details.

The site is now estimated to be around .

‘Archaeologists have discovered India’s oldest stone-age tools, up to 1.5 million years old, at a prehistoric site near Chennai. The discovery may change existing ideas about the earliest arrival of human ancestors from Africa into India…

The Story of Attirampakkam.

One hundred and fifty years ago, on May 30, 1863, young geologist Robert Bruce Foote bent down and picked up a stone tool on the Parade Ground at Pallavaram cantonment, near Chennai. It turned out to be an epochal discovery. Foote’s discovery revolutionised the study of India’s pre-history.

Attirampakkam (13°13′50″N, 79°53′20″E, 38.35 m a.s.l), is an open-air Palaeolithic site situated near a meandering tributary stream of the river Kortallaiyar, northwest of Chennai, Tamil Nadu, along the southeast coast of India. Discovered in September 1863, by Robert Bruce Foote and his colleague William King, it was investigated in the early to mid 20th century by several scholars- T.T. Paterson, V.D.Krishnaswami and K.D.Banerjee. Later work on the prehistory of this region was conducted by A.Swami. S.Pappu’s doctoral dissertation on the prehistory of the Kortallaiyar river basin (see publications), highlighted the importance of the context of artefacts at this site, in addition to other observations on the nature of the prehistoric record of this region.

A team of Indian and French archaeologists have used two dating methods including Cosmogenic nuclide burial dating to show that the stone hand-axes and cleavers from Attirampakkam are at least 1.07 million years old, and could date as far back as 1.5 million years.

12 years of painstaking work

The Tamil Nadu site was first discovered in 1863 by British geologist Robert Bruce Foote, and has been excavated at various times since then.

Archaeologists Shanti Pappu and Kumar Akhilesh from the Sharma Centre for Heritage Education have spent the last 12 years continuing to excavate the site and have now found 3,528 artefacts that bear a distinct similarity to prehistoric tools discovered in western Asia and Africa.

The tools fall into a class of artefacts called Acheulian that scientists believe were first created by Homo erectus – ancestors of modern humans – in Africa about 1.6 million years ago.

“This means that soon after early humans invented the Acheulian tools, they crossed formidable geographical barriers to get to southern Asia,” said Michael Petraglia, an archaeologist at the University of Oxford, who is an expert in Asian prehistoric archaeology but was not associated with the Chennai study. “The suggestion that this occurred 1.5 million years ago is simply staggering,” he said.

Petraglia himself had earlier been involved in excavating the Hunsgi valley in Karnataka, which has yielded 1.27 million-year-old stone tools, regarded as India’s oldest until now. Although earlier excavations had revealed Acheulian tools at a few sites on the Indian subcontinent, including a two million-year-old site in Pakistan, the dates assigned to the artefacts so far have remained under debate.

The latest dating techniques

Pappu and her colleagues assigned dates to the Attirampakkam tools by analysing traces of certain elements embedded in them and by correlating the archaeological layers excavated at the site with changes in the Earth’s magnetic field.

“We adopted two different dating methods and arrived at consistent results,” Shanti Pappu explained “We believe this is the strongest evidence so far for an Acheulian industry in India older than one million years.”

The dating studies were carried out by collaborating geophysicists in French academic institutions. Researchers believe the new dates will have major implications for current ideas about who carried the Acheulian culture into India.

In the past, some researchers had attributed the flow of Acheulian tools into southern Asia and Europe to the Homo heidelbergensis, another ancestor of modern humans but one that appeared long after the Homo erectus. But the 1.5 million year date assigned to the Attirampakkam tools suggests that groups of Homo erectus carried the tool-making culture into India.

In an independent research study, Petraglia and his colleagues have analysed Acheulian tools in India that appear to be only 120,000 years old. The two findings suggest that the Acheulian toolmakers inhabited India for 1.4 million years – from 1.5 million years ago to 120,000 years ago.

“The excavators have done an outstanding job, unprecedented in archaeology studies in India. This means soon after early humans invented the Acheulean tool kit 1.6 million years ago, groups migrated out of Africa crossing formidable barriers to get to southern Asia,” confirmed Michael Petragalia.

What sets apart the Indo-French discovery from other similar previous findings is the dating accuracy.

The tools in Attirampakkam suggest that the Homo erectus carried the Acheulian culture into India before the Homo heidelbergensis ferried this tool-making culture into Europe, where the earliest sites are about 600,000 years old, said Robin Dennel, a senior archaeologist at the University of Sheffield, in a special scientific commentary in the March 2011 issue of Science.

Early Pleistocene Presence of Acheulian Hominins in South India

Shanti Pappu, Yanni Gunnell, Kumar Akhilesh,Régis Braucher,Maurice Taieb, François Demory, Nicolas Thouveny

Read the full paper in Science, March 25th, 2011.

South Asia is rich in Lower Paleolithic Acheulian sites. These have been attributed to the Middle Pleistocene on the basis of a small number of dates, with a few older but disputed age estimates. Here, we report new ages from the excavated site of Attirampakkam, where paleomagnetic measurements and direct 26Al/10Be burial dating of stone artifacts now position the earliest Acheulian levels as no younger than 1.07 million years ago (Ma), with a pooled average age of 1.51 ± 0.07 Ma. These results reveal that, during the Early Pleistocene, India was already occupied by hominins fully conversant with an Acheulian technology including handaxes and cleavers among other artifacts. This implies that a spread of bifacial technologies across Asia occurred earlier than previously accepted.

You can read more about this paper by following this link

You can also check out perspectives on this paper by Robin Dennell in the same issue of Science.

A comment on this paper is also present on John Hawks web blog

More comments on Sheila Mishra’s web blog

The contents are copyrighted.

Please visit the sites.

Reference and Citation for  research.Thanks to these Studies.

A discovery that changed the antiquity of humankind who lived in Indian subcontinent

Early bi-face tools from South India

* Some links may be broken and some have moved

9 thoughts on “Million Year Tamil Site Pallavaram Chennai Dated Report

  1. is it possible that it was out of india ie the tools found way from indai to africa and europe .why is that africa is taken as the start point is the moot point here.civilisations could have exsisted
    mutally at the same time notwithstanding the western againt everything indian first


  2. First humans to cross over African continent to other part of the world was about 70,000 years back. How come million years come into picture?


  3. Interesting article Ramani. Just a correction, the excavation site mentioned above Attrambakam is not near Pallavaram, but near Tiruvallur. I explored some caves a couple of years back, but did not know about the excavation at that time.
    We were also not able to spend too much of time there because of a greedy cop waiting for do some excavations from our pockets!



    1. Thanks. I sourced it from the Link provided.Let me cross check.About Thiruvallur site, I am aware there is a site which is quite old.I am not sure whether both are the same.Regds.


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