A Late Palaeolithic assemblage at Kunjaram, south-east India

Malavika Chatterjee, Kumar Akhilesh, Shanti Pappu, Sudha Ravindranath & Udayaraj


Abstract image

In contrast to the Acheulian and Middle Palaeolithic, the Late Palaeolithic archaeological record of the south-east coast of India is poorly understood (Pappu 2001; Petraglia et al. 2010; Pappu et al. 2011). Considerable uncertainty surrounds the definition of the blade-based microlithic or non-Levallois, flake-based assemblages, largely as a result of the lack of chronometric dates from excavated sites and due to the paucity of lithic studies (Pappu 2001). The Late Palaeolithic is a crucial period in relation to questions about the dispersals of anatomically modern humans across India and Sri Lanka (Petraglia et al. 2010; Mellars et al. 2013; Roberts et al. 2015) and regional evolutionary trajectories of blade technologies. Here, we present an overview of the site complex of Kunjaram (KJ) in the Kortallaiyar River Basin, Tamil Nadu, south-east India. This represents one of the 43 Late Palaeolithic sites documented in this region (Pappu et al. 2010). While analysis of the lithics from other sites continues, we focus here on the lithic assemblage from KJ-3 because of its good preservation and potential to yield information on all stages of the reduction sequence, as well as its geographic proximity to the Lower and Middle Palaeolithic site of Attirampakkam, which would enable the construction of regional cultural sequences.


  • Malavika Chatterjee
    Department of Archaeology, Deccan College, Pune 411006, India
  • Kumar Akhilesh
    Sharma Centre for Heritage Education, 28 I Main Road, C.I.T. Colony, Mylapore, Chennai 600004, India
  • Shanti Pappu
    Sharma Centre for Heritage Education, 28 I Main Road, C.I.T. Colony, Mylapore, Chennai 600004, India
  • Sudha Ravindranath
    Regional Remote Sensing Centre—South, (RRSC-S) NRSC, ISRO, Department of Space/Government of India, ISITE Campus, Marathahalli, Outer Ring Road, Bangalore 560 037, India
  • Udayaraj
    National Remote Sensing Centre, ISRO, Deptartment of Space, Balanagar, Hyderabad 500 037, Telangana, India