Archaeometallurgy in Proto and Early Historic Periods (With Special Reference to Andhra Pradesh)
|Author:||K. Gayathri Subrahmanyam|
|Publisher:||Bharatiya Kala Prakashan|
|Pages:||179 (Throughout B/W Illustrations)|
|Other Details||11.00 X 9.00 inch|
The Archaeological Excavations of many pre-proto and early historic sites by the State Department of Archaeology and Museum brought to light a number of metal objects including iron objects as grave goods from megalithic burials. Very few number of copper objects were recovered from neo Chalcolithic sites. Ex:- Budigapalli, Chinnamaruru Guthikonda Hulikal, Karapakala, Polkonda etc., places. A sequence of Neo Chalcolithic culture with an overlap of Iron Age is unique in this region of south India. Iron Age is represented more prominently by the megalithic burials in the Andhra Pradesh. Stratigraphically, the megalithic phase over laps the earlier Neolithic phase and Iron Age cultures was followed by early historical cultures. From the very few available C dates it can be deduced that the origin of Iron Age cultures in this region was around 1100 to 1000 BC, along with megalithism and iron making technology. This phase continued up to early historical levels. Prior to this abundant availability of iron ore gave scope for the development of iron tool making. The scientific studies of these archaeological metal finds were not carried out even though the archaeological reports appeared in the form of mono graphs, annual and PhD thesis publications. Hence, an attempt was made to study the metal tool manufacturing technology through Archaeometallurgical studies. The evidence of the earlier iron smelting in this part of south India is supporting the indigenous origin theory of iron making technology. The present study revealed that iron entered the productive system of India by C.1000 BC.
Born on 08-09-1954 at Gudivada, Krishna District in Andhra Pradesh, Dr. K.Gayathri Subrahmanyam, daughter of P.Gurunadha Sastry and Subrahmanyeswaramba, She perused her Post-Graduation in Organic Chemistry in the Post Graduation Centre at Warangal and took her M.Sc. degree in 1976 from Osmania University, Hyderabad. She worked as Associate lecturer in Chemistry in Singareni Collieries women's College at Kothagudem in the year 1976.Later in the year 1979 she joined the Birla Archacological and Cultural Research Institute (BACRI) chemical laboratory. Hyderabad as Scientific Assistant and worked under the abele guidance of late Dr.K.V.Rao, Retd., Director, chemical branch, Geological Survey of India, Hyderabad, and worked in the field of chemical conservation, research and analysis of artifacts. Alongside she published 16 research papers on those works she attended in BACRI
In 1987 she joined as chemist in the State Department of Archacology and Museums, Hyderabad. Since then she actively participated in laboratory and field chemical conservation works of various antiquities that are brought to the laboratory through excavations, explorations and treasure troves. She obtained her M.A. degree in Ancient Indian History and Archaeology from Osmania University, Hyderabad in the year 1989.She worked for Ph.D., degree on Archacometallurgy in A.P.in Proto and Early historic periods and was awarded degree in 1998 by Osmania University, Hyderabad. In that, the author has made an attempt to undertake Archaeometallurgical study of iron, copper and silver metal objects datable to proto and early historical periods that were unearthed during excavations from different sites by the State Department of Archacology and Museums of Andhra Pradesh with an aim to reveal the technological aspects of the primitive metal work in this region of India. The time span of the present work covering the technical study of iron, copper & silver objects is from megalithic to carly historical periods (C.1100 B.C. to 6 century A.D.).
She contributed a good number of research articles to various reputed national and International journals like Studies in Conservation, Bulletin of Material Science, Current Science and Studies on Conservation of Cultural Property in India. She published a Status Report on Mural paintings of India. She is a life member Indian Association for the Study of Cultural Property in India (IASC) and Andhra Pradesh History Congress and participated in various workshops and seminars and presented research papers.
At present she is working as Director of Archaeology and Museums, Government of Andhra Pradesh.
The Archaeological Excavations of many pre-proto and early historic sites by the State Department of Archaeology and Museum brought to light a number of metal objects including iron objects as grave goods from megalithic burials. Very few number of copper objects were recovered from Neo-Chalcolithic sites. Er. Budigapalli, Chinnamaruru, Guthikonda, Hulikal Karapakala, Polkonda etc., places, A sequence of Neo Chalcolithic culture with an overlap of Iron Age is unique in this region of south India. Iron Age is represented more prominently by the megalithic burials in the Andhra Pradesh. Stratigraphically, the megalithic phase over laps the earlier Neolithic phase and Iron Age cultures was followed by early historical cultures: From the very few available C dates it can be deduced that the origin of Iron Age cultures in this region was around 1100 to 1000 BC, along with megalithism and iron making technology. This phase continued up to early historical levels. Prior to this abundant availability of iron ore gave scope for the development of iron tool making. The scientific studies of these archaeological metal finds were not carried out even though the archaeological reports appeared in the form of mono graphs, annual and Ph.D. thesis publications. Hence, an attempt was made to study the metal tool manufacturing technology through Archaeometallurgical studies. The evidence of the earlier iron smelting in this part of south India is supporting the indigenous origin theory of iron making technology. The present study revealed that iron entered the productive system of India by C.1000 BC.
The Geological reports recorded that both ores and pre-industrials smelting occurred particularly extensively in this region. The integrated study of relevant data ie., Archaeological, Geological, Archaeometallurgical and Ethno Graphic data led to the premise that this region of India was a possibly indigenous and independent centre for the manufacture of early iron which was practiced as home industry. Due to lack of availability of uncorroded metal samples: the study was restricted to few samples of certain sites and periods. An attempt was made with iron samples from Somasilla, Uppala Padu. Peddamaruru, Peddabankuru, Kotilingala, and Keesaragutta. Copper objects recovered from Peddabankuru, Keesaragutta in early historic levels and Silver panchmarked coins and silver samples from Bodhan, an early historical site, were studied.
I record here my deep sense of gratitude to Dr. M. Radha Krishna Sarma, former Professor and Emeritus fellow of Ancient Indian History Culture and Archaeology, Osmania University, Hyderabad, who permitted me to register for PhD degree under his guidance and gone through the thesis, took pains to correct meticulously, and enabled me to complete the work.
I express my grateful thanks to Dr. VV. Krishna Sastry and Sri Rajeev Sarma, IAS, former Directors, Prof. P. Chenna Reddy, the present Director of Archaeology and Museums, Govt. of A.P. for encouraging and permitting me to collect the material from the Department, for the work.
Archaeometallurgy a topic dealing with the study of ancient mystical metallurgical practices is an immensely popular topic amongst the modern metallurgists. A few scientific groups working on reproducing art effects and publication of a number of research papers in myriad metallurgical journals propagate the knowledge our ancestors had in making, heating and beating metals to useful shapes. The dependence of mankind on metals grew after Stone Age to such an extent that metallurgy is labelled as the second oldest profession, next only to the amorous flirtations mankind enjoyed. Metallurgy had its origins around the present day Iraq and thrived through centuries with significant contributions from the ancient civilizations of India, china and Europe. Wootz steel, the iron pillar, bronze artefacts etc., stand testimony to India's envious record in driving the growth of metallurgy.
Dr. (Mrs.) K. Gayathri Subrahmanyam is an archaeological chemist of repute with keen interest in archaeometallurgy. It was her zeal that encouraged me and my fellow metallographers at the defence metallurgical research laboratory, Hyderabad to subject the various articles, collected by her from the length and breadth of Andhra Pradesh, to detailed metallurgical characterisation to evaluate the favoured compositions and the production methodologies employed. I am glad that this effort has resulted in the book titled archaeometallurgy in proto and early historic periods-with special reference to Andhra Pradesh.
The book contains exhaustive details of the archaeological findings and extensive metallurgical characteristics on each of the artefacts examined. Details of articles made from iron based alloys of the megalithic period, copper based alloys of the Chalcolithic period and silver based alloys of early historical period are covered in the book. It is amazing to note that, even centuries before phase diagrams were formulated; our distant predecessors were masters of making alloys and converting them to articles of daily use! Prehistoric metal artisans seem to have known of eutectic compositions (Ag-Cu), the role of alloying elements (carbon in increasing the hardness of iron) and the metalworking technologies.
I hope that the book will provide significant additions to the knowledge on archaeology and archaeometallurgy.
Choice of the TopicArchaeology generally speaking is the systematic study of the antiquities as a means of reconstructing the past. Metallurgy is the science about the process of extracting metals from their ores and readying them for use by smelting, purifying etc., and of producing desired objects from such metals. The word Archaeometallurgy deals with the systematic and scientific and metallurgical study of ancient metal objects, ores, slag etc., which throws light on the technical aspects of the past. The analysis of ores, -lag, metals provide most useful information on the early techniques of metal extraction. The conclusion and inferences drawn from these studies often help in the solution of practical problems of the archaeologist. It may be possible for instance to determine whether ancient metallurgical operations were carried out in a random fashion or under controlled condition. Chemical analysis provides evidence as to whether metals from different archaeological periods show differences in their elemental composition. Modern scientific techniques also provide at least some of the answers regarding geographical provenance of the metal, thereby ancient trade, trade routes and details regarding the industries can be established. Comparative analysis of metal objects produced for various utilitarian purposes show how the early metal workers understood the materials they work with and how skillfully they exploited the different properties of different metals and alloys to the best advantage.
Review of the LiteratureArchaeometallurgy is a specialist study now-a-days. It shows the importance and relevance of metallurgy to man's cultural development. In recent years, lot of interest and curiosity was created on the old world metallurgy or preindustrial age metallurgy all over the world. Many organizations have come up to encourage studies in this line and numerous scientists have worked on this line of study in various countries. Among these BAAS (1) (British Association for the Advancement of Science in England) is the oldest of all.
Desch carried out a large number of analysis of prehistoric objects from many countries including Harappan artifacts from India for BAAS. In recent times the Comite Pour la Siderugie Ancienne de FVISPP (CPSA in 1966) in Prague; Historical Metallurgical Society London; MASCA (Museum Applied Science Centre for Archaeology), University of Pennsylvania, Metallographic laboratory of the archaeological Institute Prague, Czechoslovakia; Scientific study centre at Varse. Italy: Centre per la Storia della Metallurgia Associazone Italiana di Metallurgia di Milano, Italy; The University research laboratory for archaeology and the history of art in Oxford: The Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford; The ancient mining metallurgical committee of the Royal Anthropological Institute, London, Institute for Archaeometallurgical Studies, Institute of Archaeology. University college, London; National Museum, Dublin; Belfast. Museum in Ireland: Historical Metallurgical Commute founded by the Metallurgical Society of CIM (Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy); The Metals Museum, Institute of Metals, Japan: are actively engaged in this research work.
The interesting results of research work are published in concerned journals like Archaeomaterials, MASCA, Historical Metallurgy, History of technology, Archaeometry, Bulletin of the Metal Museum etc. Abstracts of the research work appears in the Art and Archaeology abstracts, Chemical abstracts, Historical Metallurgy section in metal abstracts etc. These interdisciplinary organizations arrange symposia on the subject. Old world archaeometallurgy symposia were conducted at Zhengzhou in 1986 and at Heidelberg in 1987, at Prague in 1987 In India too a national seminar on Indian archaeometallurgy was conducted by Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi in 1990.
Book's Contents and Sample Pages
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