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24 December 2005
Prehistoric tools unearthed in Bengal

Archaeologists will soon visit Labpur, Birbhum (West Bengal, India) where weapons dating back to Stone Age and Iron Age were recently found. They will also excavate details about the civilisation during the Middle Paleolithic Age. A number of Stone Age and Iron Age weapons has been unearthed recently by villagers. And if carbon dating of these tools confirms the archaeologists’ beliefs, then the stone age history of Bengal will have to be rewritten. Labpur will become the third stone-age settlement in the state.
     Till now, two stone-age settlements are known in the state — Shushunia, Bankura and Maluti Sadar Ghat, Birbhum. A week ago, discovery of some stony tools like borer, scarped and sundry similar to those ones, believed to be used by the hunter-gatherers of Stone Age during an excavation of a pond in Gopalpur village, has created the possibility of getting another site where ancient times will speak itself with many unknown things about the hunter-gatherers’ and their establishment.
     A Visva-Bharati professor of Archeology and a member of standing advisory body of the Archeological Survey of India, Prof. Subrata Chakraborty rushed to the spot after being informed about the tools being found in the course of digging to create a pond in the area. "I collected the stony tools that seem to be of the mid- Paleolithic age and also got some clusters of iron slag from the spot which I think would be of any later establishment in which people knew the process of iron melting," said Prof. Chakraborty. These recovery of iron clusters indicates that iron was melted and used by the inhabitants of that age.
     Meanwhile, Prof. Chakraborty said tools like scraper bores and other sundry evidences were found from the spot. "I have to test all those tools. Such tools are not at all uncommon with those found in West Bengal or in other states. But what is unique in this place is this laterite zone has met the alluvial plains of Gangetic West Bengal. If any establishment of hunter-gatherers is found here, then whether they had originated from the alluvial plains or not, is interesting because change of geographical background changes the culture of human beings," explained Chakraborty.

Source: The Statesman (22 December 2005)

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