cafe scientifique


Shanthi Pappu, with Kumar Akhilesh

Dinner by the river a million years ago

A look into our past, and how humans lived in Tamil Nadu 1.5 million years ago

7:30 PM, Thursday 28 March 2013   |   JAYAMAHAL PALACE HOTEL

This talk takes you back to more than a million years ago- to the forgotten world of South Asian prehistory. Often ignored in the face of our ‘glamorous’ monumental art and architecture, this heritage tells us the fascinating story of the earliest inhabitants of India. We discuss the crucial position which India occupies in global debates on population dispersals, stone tool technology, past environments and changing patterns of behaviour. We focus on our excavations and research at Attirampakkam, a unique prehistoric site in Tamil Nadu, where the earliest occupation dates back to around 1.5 million years in age. We reconstruct the diversity of techniques used to make stone artefacts through studies of the assemblage and through programs of experimental knapping. We discuss the implications of these studies in terms of past behaviour and cognition. From below the earth, we take you to space, and highlight how satellite remote sensing aids in research and in developing strategies for conserving this valuable heritage from being rapidly destroyed. We end by discussing the efforts of our Centre in generating an awareness of our prehistoric past amongst children and teachers.

Shanthi Pappu, with Kumar Akhilesh

Dr. Shanti Pappu is the founder/director of the Sharma Centre for Heritage Education, and Sharma Children’s Museum, Chennai/Pune, India. She is an archaeologist who obtained her M.A. And Ph.D from the Deccan College Postgraduate and Research Institute, Pune, India, where she worked on the prehistoric archaeology of Tamil Nadu. She has been actively involved in archaeological research in Tamil Nadu since 1991, and has been excavating the prehistoric site of Attirampakkam, Tamil Nadu. She is also interested in issues related to culture resource management policies.