Collection Description

Tradition Name

South Asian Upper Paleolithic

Tradition Description

The South Asian Upper Paleolithic Tradition of mobile bands of hunter-gatherers was located across the Indian Subcontinent, including India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and, probably, Bangladesh and Nepal, from 40,000–7000 BP. Sites, however, have only been found in regional clusters, probably in areas that have better-preserved geological formations, experienced more favorable climate conditions during the period, and/or have been the focus of more research. Characteristic stone tools included blades, microblades, and microliths. Rare finds include beads, rock art, and a probable shrine from late in the period.


Select the Tradition Summary link above for a longer description of the culture.


Asia --Southeast Asia



Sri Lanka



OWC Code


Number of Documents


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Number of Pages


Collection Overview

Documents referred to in this section are included in the eHRAF Archaeology collection and are referenced by author, date of publication, and title where necessary.

An overview of the South Asian Upper Paleolithic tradition can be found in Chauhan (2009), which covers the entire two million year Paleolithic record of the Indian Subcontinent. Jayaswal (1990) presents an overview of the Upper Paleolithic for the state of Uttar Pradesh.

Other documents detail findings from important sites, often with emphasis on particular aspects of the assemblages. Raju (1985) concentrates on excavations at the site of Vodikalu and includes findings from surface collections at Beellu and Rallachenu. Sali (1985, 1989) describes excavations at the site of Patne in detail. Clarkson et al. (2009) report on the Jwalapuram Locality 9 rockshelter, which contained both human and faunal remains. Some faunal remains were identified at Ellora (Ota et al. 2007). Mishra et al. (2013) discuss the lithic assemblage, and Ghosh (1993) examines core reduction strategies at Mehtakheri. Sharma (1985) briefly discusses the lithics found at Michimagiri III. Kenoyer et al. (1983) excavated what can be considered a shrine at the site of Baghor I, and Kenoyer (1992) examines these and other potentially ritual artifacts from other sites.

For further information on individual works in this collection, see the abstracts in the citations preceding each document.

Overview by

Sarah Berry

Federmesser – small, backed stone blade, possibly a composite projectile point (German: “penknife”) – use "WEAPONS (411)" for use as a point; use "GENERAL TOOLS (412)" for unspecified purpose

MIS (Marine Isotope Stage) – climatic periods determined by oxygen isotopes in deep sea cores; even-numbered stages are cold glacial periods, odd-numbered stages are warm interglacial periods (MIS 3 begins 57,000 BP) – use "CLIMATE (132)"

Modern humans – Use "GENETICS (143)"

OSL (Optically Stimulated Luminescence) – dating method for geological sediments and archaeological strata – use "DATING METHODS IN ARCHAEOLOGY (1211)"

Indexing Notes by

Sarah Berry

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