Bridges linking present and past

Noted archaeologist K Paddayya said that after the hunting and foraging groups, the era of the early agro-pastoral communities occurred between 8,000 BC and 1,000 BC.
Bridges linking present and past
Looking at tribal communities for past links (representational image)

Chennai

Tribal communities, who still follow hunting and foraging ways for survival, are an important link to the past.
Noted archaeologist K Paddayya said that after the hunting and foraging groups, the era of the early agro-pastoral communities occurred between 8,000 BC and 1,000 BC. “During this period, agriculture and domestication of animals began, along with commencement of village settlements, primitive art like pottery and change in the way of life. However, while these changes were taking place, there were pockets of people who preferred the hunting gathering way of life,shifting to the mountains. That is how we can explain the survival of these communities,” he explained.
Paddayya pointed out, “The links between the Stone Age cultures and the ancestors of present-day tribal groups were being mooted already in the latter half of the 19th century. The roots of all the major institutions and features of the human society can be traced back to this remote phase of man’s past. The late Bridget Allchin characterised the present-day peasant and tribal cultures of South Asia as ‘Living Past’.” These communities not only preserved the prehistoric roots, but also interacted with others. “Archaeologist
MLK Murty’s work Ethnoarchaeology of the Kurnool Cave Areas has brought to light evidence of the interaction between hunter-gatherers and Neolithic groups. While the hunter-gatherer groups occupying cave areas acquired pottery and copper artefacts from the Neolithic people, the latter in turn obtained forest foods and meat from their hunter-gatherer neighbours,” said Paddayya.
Prehistory has been considered as our ‘deep past’. “The prehistoric and protohistoric phases, covering well over a million years, constitute our deep past. This past is the foundation to recent or historical past in a double sense. The basic traits, institutions and practices of material life and non-utilitarian or symbolic behaviour had their roots or origins in this period and progressed across time. Secondly, far from suffering or experiencing a total disconnect, these flowed into the historical past with or without modifications and in fact, constitute a significant segment of the present way of life in the country,” said Paddayya.

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