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Those early man tools found in Sikkim

Sunday, Jun 28, 2020 14:45 [IST]

Last Update: Sunday, Jun 28, 2020 09:05 [IST]

Those early man tools found in Sikkim

Sikkim Prehistoric Exploration (2002 & 2004)–III

SHITAL PRADHAN
In 2002 & 2004, the archaeologist team from Prehistory Branch of Archaeological Survey of India, Nagpur again found few interesting Neolithic material around Rumtek-Martam area. The team led by P.K. Mishra, Superintendent Archaeologist, ASI, Nagpur surveyed around Martam, Adampool, Rumtek, Samdur and Sajyong areas in the East district. Agriculture tools along with other objects were recovered from these areas. The most excellent part of the exploration was the findings of a fossilized antelope horn in Sajyong area near Rumtek that was reported to about 1,50,000 years old.
The complete excavation report had been published on a book “Archaeological Exploration in Sikkim” written by Dr. PK Mishra. The book provides the report of the excavation done in the year 2002 and 2004 at Sikkim by the team led by Dr. Mishra from Pre-historic Branch of the Archaeological Survey of India.  The book also illustrates photographs with information of early man artefacts discovered from over two dozen Neolithic sites from North and East Sikkim. 
Dr. Mishra writes those tools recovered from Sikkim were collected from the fields, under step cultivation and even from the local people who thought that those were “ChattangkoDunga” or the “VajraDunga” stone from heaven. This reminded me of an interesting point from a well-read book “Lepcha – My Vanishing Tribe” by AR Foning. The author AR Foning writes about his experience with “Sadaer Longs”, the so called thunder stones that the old folks used to say as possessing ‘blessings from the Thunder God’.
According to “Archaeological Exploration in Sikkim, "interesting aspect of the excavation done at Sikkim pushed a significant breakthrough in the world of archaeology, the scholars considers that the region of Sikkim as a corridor through which the Neolithic Celt making techniques entered India from the South East Asia.  The tools found in Sikkim were derived from dolerite, shale, slate and fossil woods. “The typological analysis of the tools suggests two phases in their development, which forms the basis for a twofold schema that has been introduced for their identification. These phases are: (i). Early phase with tools being wholly chipped and the edge ground. (ii). Later phase with pecked and edge ground and fully ground tools. Using this schema, the early phase shows common features with Hoabihian Culture of South East Asia dated to 10,000 B.C., and later phase assignable to 8000 B.C. shows a close affinity with that of South China and South East Asia.”
I am sure these findings take back the origin of the land of Sikkim way back as we had never thought off. I still remember a news article published in ‘Now’ (Feb 19-25, 2003 – SarikahAtreya) newspaper covering this very excavation said the most excellent part of the exploration was the findings of a fossilized antelope horn in Sajyong area near Rumtek that was reported to about 1,50,000 years old. But somehow nothing is more written about the fossilized horn in any of the pages on the ‘book’. The other major breakthrough of the excavation was the carbon dating of one of the Neolithic tools dating back beyond 2,500 BC in the East District of Sikkim.
Off course, in order to ascertain the route through which Neolithic Culture entered Sikkim, further work has to be conducted. Several research works are to be done on different subjects in Sikkim that might well place the age of Sikkim par the stage of early primitive. Study on Sikkim Primitive, a fossilized maize variety found in Sikkim in 1950s has made Sikkim the secondary origin of maize after Mexico. Much-talked human foot prints scattered in places of Sikkim could provide ample chances of early man’s foot print rather than surrounded by myths. Presence of one of the oldest molar teeth of the human ancestors on earth dating some eleven million years old found in Nepal, results of the Neolithic tools found around Kalimpong and Peking Man found in China might create ripple of the presence of the more traces of the early men in Sikkim!

Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi