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Information on Symposia per Science Theme

Theme No.

Theme Title

Number of Symposia proposed

Symposia Title

Symposia Conveners

Biographical sketch of the Conveners




Human evolution, Geoarcheology, Sustenance Strategies

Dr. Rajiv Nigam


Dr. Rakesh Tiwari


Geoarchaeology and Paleoenvironment

P. D. Sabale


Atreyee Bhattacharya


1. Professor in Geoarchaeology, Deccan College Deemed University, Pune (Maharashtra) India-411006.

2.Instructor / lecturer in Environmental studies, C.U. Boulder USA.

Under water Archaeology, Coastal environment and landscape evolution, man-land relationship, sea level changes.

Geoarchaeology is a study of archaeological record and can be applied to a wide range of scales, from the reconstruction of palaeoenvironments and how they have been affected by human activity. Geoarchaeological research includes both geological and archaeological practices and converge into a single discipline with specific characteristics, aims, and procedures. Undoubtedly, the effective integration of the earth and archaeological sciences is one of the major challenges of geoarchaeology.

An integration of invasive viz. archaeological excavation and noninvasive approaches viz. application of geospatial techniques, maps for geological-geomorphological analysis, geophysical surveys, use of available natural resources etc. may help in the process. Coring of sediment section undoubtedly constitutes one of the most common methodological approaches employed by geologists and archaeologists in reconstructing subsurface stratigraphic architecture. This symposium is planned to address all aims and challenges of geoarcheology in varied situations.

Late Quaternary Climate Shifts and Human Adaptation to Landscape: A Geoarchaeological Approach

Hema Achyuthan


Dr. Hema Achyuthan has keen interest in understanding man land relationship and his adaptation to late Quaternary climate shifts.

Climate Change, Man land relationship, Late Quaternary, Proxy records,

During the Late Quaternary period, climate has fluctuated several times with varying intensity and duration. These shifts have affected civilisations, causing their decline and collapse such as the Harrapan, Sumerian, Akkadian, since the mid-Holocene period or even older Man’s communities. Application of geological methods to archaeological sites, especially of the stratified archaeological deposits have yielded a wealth of information and records of vegetation change reflecting both geomorphic and

past climate events and the utilization of plant resources by Man. Changes in composition of charred wood, fruit, and seed assemblages indicate the progressive impact of man upon the native vegetation during the late Quaternary to Holocene period. Man has experienced Late Quaternary climate shifts, has adapted and settled on the land. Land clearance and cultivation over the past several thousands of years have increased the extent of forest edge, the transition zone between closed forest and open areas. These changes have led to an increase in landscape carrying capacity, in the abundance, and diversity of food resources available to expanding populations. Paleoenvironmental and paleoecological analyses of palaeosols, sediments from lakes, sediment detritus from archaeological sites, coastal sites, sites within the river banks, ocean cores that will be correlated with terrestrial and climate events. This symposium will bring together researchers who will deliberate on their findings.

Terrain, Time and Tools: Pleistocene to Early Holocene Prehistoric Adaptations

Rakesh Tewari


Shanti Pappu


Kumar Akhilesh (India)

Yanni Gunnell (France)

Partha Chauhan (India)

Rakesh Tewari: Former Director-General, Archaeological Survey of India;

Shanti Pappu: Archaeologist specialising in prehistory and palaeoenvironments, directing and co-directing research projects including excavations at Attirampakkam under the Prehistory and Palaeoenvironments in SE India, with publications in Science and Nature.

Kumar Akhilesh: Archaeologist specialising in prehistory and lithic technology, directing research projects including excavations at Attirampakkam under the Prehistory and Palaeoenvironments in SE India, with publications in Science and Nature.

Yanni Gunnell: Professor, Université Lumiere Lyon 2, expert in geography, geomorphology, geology, with research in India and elsewhere in the world,

Parth R. Chauhan: Assistant Professor at IISER Mohali; Specialising in prehistoric archaeology of central India and northern India. Carries out paleoanthropological research on stone tool technology, geoarchaeology and vertebrate palaeontology.

Prehistory, Pleistocene, Holocene, adaptation, migrations, human evolution

This symposium aims to discuss new perspectives in investigating Palaeolithic to Neolithic adaptations to site-specific, regional and global environmental changes during the Pleistocene. Ffocus will be on dynamic phases in the story of human evolution, i.e. ranging from the Lower Palaeolithic (around 2 Ma-250 ka) to the early Holocene Mesolithic cultural phases with major cognitive and behavioural shifts. This symposium aims to highlight specific questions those include new paradigms concerning a. the chronology and nature of hominin dispersals across the world; b. new debates on the nature of cultural phases and transitions and association with hominin species; c. greater precision in environmental reconstruction and models of adaptation; d. new approaches in the study of prehistoric cognitive skills and behaviour based on analysis of the artefact assemblages and associated material; and e. a deeper understanding of correlations between fossil, genetic and archaeological data.

Recent Scientific Methods In Coastal And Inter-Tidal Archaeology

Supriyo Kumar Das


Kaushik Gangopadhyay


1. Dr. Supriyo Kumar Das, an Organic Biogeochemist with international portfolio, is working to address fundamental geoarchaeological problems by applying geochemical methods.

2.Dr. Kaushik Gangopadhyay is an experienced and trained environmental archaeologist, and is working in coastal West Bengal since 2006. He and his team have excavated two sites in east Medinipur district in West Bengal.

Archaeology, geoarchaeology, coastal and intertidal sites, scientific methods

Coastal and inter-tidal archaeology have emerged as one of the major subdisciplines within the field of archaeology in recent years. Coastal areas have been colonized by humans from the prehistoric period because of the presence of easily exploitable marine as well as terrestrial resources. Therefore, there is a need to develop inter-disciplinary approaches to understand the archaeological records preserved in the dynamic and varied coastal landscapes. These landscapes include coastal sand dunes, basins of tide dominated estuaries, islands and swamps. The symposium will address methodological challenges of studying coastal geoarchaeology, and its link to site-formation processes. Stratigraphy of a coastal sites is affected by sea-level changes, burial and erosion processes. These dynamic mechanisms have direct impact on the preservation of archaeological sites. Archaeological artefacts and objects such as bones are modified as a result of dynamic processes of water actions. Transport of objects into secondary contexts is common occurrences thereby making cultural interpretations difficult. These can be addressed as formation process of the archaeological site. Scientific methods adapted from geology, for example, studying the roundness of fluvially-transported clasts would be useful in such conditions. The session will also address challenges in dating coastal sites, and the usefulness of combining multiple dating techniques such as AMS radiocarbon and OSL. The session will further address modern tools in geoarchaeology including organic residue analysis and the application of stable isotopes and lipid biomarkers in reconstructing the anthropogenic history in archaeological record.