June 25, 2010


These quartzite tools (a core, a truncation and a geometric) were collected between 1964 and 1965 at Dindori 3, a site along the banks of the Narmada River, India. The tools are included in a sizable collection of paleolithic implements from about 30 discrete localities in the Narmada Valley in India. The archaeological expedition was organized by Theodore D. McCown and one of his students, George V. Shkurkin. Sadly it would be McCown's last field season as he passed away in 1969 after more than 30 years at UC Berkeley, first as a student and later as faculty and museum curator. The collections were then accessioned to the PAHMA and used by prof. J. Desmond Clark (and others) for teaching and research. Professor Clark went himself on archaeological expeditions in India in the 1980's.
Another prominent UC Berkeley anthropologist, Sherwood Washburn, recalled how McCown was convinced that the testing ground to understand human evolution laid to the east. The land between Palestine, where his father worked as biblical archaeologist, and India was where he thought Dryopithecines had space and time to develop the variations that eventually led to modern apes and humans.
Below is what McCown wrote to campus administrators prior to his leave of absence from the university: 
The purpose of my sabbatic leave is to spend from October 1964 to May 1965 in India, investigating and excavating Pleistocene localities containing assemblages of paleolithic tools and/or fossil fauna materials. The principal localities to be tested lie in the central and eastern parts of the state of Madhya Pradesh between the town of Hosangabad and Jubbulpore. The area is one I visited and surveyed during five weeks in the spring and summer of 1958 on sabbatic leave from the University. A number of promising localities were visited, but it became obvious that the main stream of the Narmada River poses problems whose solutions will have to be sought along the tributary systems running it from Vindhya mountains to the north and the Satpuras to the south. No systematic investigation has been made of the remnants of the terrace system, especially where they have been dissected by the Narmada's tributaries.

Hearst Museum #9-10093; 9-10074; 9-10072
India; Madhya Pradesh; Narmada valley; Dindori 3
Collected by Theodore D. McCown and George V. Shkurkin, 1964-1965

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