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BANC-103: Archaeological Anthropology

BANC-103: Archaeological Anthropology

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2021-22

If you are looking for BANC-103 IGNOU Solved Assignment solution for the subject Archaeological Anthropology, you have come to the right place. BANC-103 solution on this page applies to 2021-22 session students studying in BSCANH courses of IGNOU.

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Assignment Code: BANC-103 / ASST / TMA / 2021-22

Course Code: BANC-103

Assignment Name: Archaeological Anthropology

Year: 2021 - 2022

Verification Status: Verified by Professor


Read the instructions carefully and answer accordingly. There are three Sections in the Assignment. Answer all questions from all the Sections.


Assignment I


Answer the following in about 500 words each. 20x2= 40


Q a. What is Archaeological Anthropology? Briefly discuss the relationship of Archaeological

Anthropology with other sciences.

Ans) Archaeological Anthropology is the study of protohistoric and prehistoric social behaviour. The archaeologist works with surviving artefacts from previous societies, including as tools, shelters, and the remains of plants and animals eaten as food. Artefacts are the remains that are used to reconstruct past behaviour. Simultaneously, the evolution of prehistoric civilization in relation to early human biological evolution is investigated. In other terms, it is historical anthropology.


Anthropology is regarded as a master science that has gathered data using numerous specialised departments of previously existent sciences. These are used to study man in terms of biology, culture, and his relationship to the environment over time and place. None of the present sciences can tell the whole narrative of human beings on their own. In archaeological anthropology, man and civilization are rebuilt from fragments of early man and his material remnants discovered in various locations on the surface of the earth as well as below it. The method of reconstructing early man's anthropology is thought to be conjunctive. It is accomplished with the aid of a variety of sciences.


The methodology incorporates a wide range of disciplines. Geography, geology, archaeology, history, botany, zoology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and many other natural sciences are among the most important. Of course, because anthropology is the mother discipline and has developed its own methodology, it is an essential aspect of the study of archaeological anthropology.



The relationship between man and region is highlighted by geography. A location can be classified as advantageous or unfavourable for human habitation based on its geographical characteristics. Archaeological anthropologists start looking for early human remains based on the suitability of the location for human occupancy.


Chronology is provided by geology. It provides a solution to the question of "when" man and civilization emerged and evolved. Stratigraphy, lithology, palaeontology, and petrology are the main components of geology that are important for this subject. In terms of archaeological anthropology, each of the geological branches described is equally important.


Archaeology is concerned with the search for man-made things. Exploration and excavation are the two types of searches.


The theory of evolution, as well as the understanding of development, change, and spreading mechanisms, can be explored through the history of discoveries. This subject is concerned with the reconstruction of cultural history. When archaeological data and historical records are integrated, they often create a more complete picture of man and culture than each would have provided independently.

Botany and Zoology

Botany and zoology are both major fields of study. Flora and animals are important environmental indicators. In the context of today's environment, the biology and culture of humans can be comprehended. In archaeological anthropology, botany is also important. Pollen analysis provides valuable information not just on chronology but also on a region's vegetation pattern. The relevant environmental background for human activity is shown by the vegetation pattern.

Physics and Chemistry

Physical and chemical sciences are used in radiometric dating. The radiocarbon method, which uses radioactive carbon, is the most essential and well-known. The importance of chemistry in archaeological anthropology can be seen in the fluorine test, amino acid racemization, and nitrogen analysis, to name a few examples.


Q b. What is exploration in Archaeological studies? Briefly discuss various methods of exploration.

Ans) Exploration is a surface survey used to determine the significance of prehistoric materials. Exploration identifies the site's significance and indicates the need for additional excavation. The exploration goal could be selective or even biased in nature. The removal of diagnostic tools, potsherds, or other artefacts from a site's surface may cause the spatial patterning to be lost. A prehistoric archaeologist should be on the lookout for many types of evidence. The gathering of evidence should be scientific since such evidence can be used to construct a rational reconstruction of prehistoric man's lifeways.


Exploration can be divided into two types, extensive and intensive explorations:

The preliminary is the first, and the detailed is the second. Both modes of exploration, on the other hand, are complementary. Both extensive and intense methods must be used simultaneously to complete an area's exploration and gain a complete understanding of the region's Prehistoric culture.

1. Extensive Exploration

As the name implies, this entails a large-scale area survey. The explorer covers as much ground as is required.

The following are the objectives of substantial exploration:

  1. To gain a comprehensive understanding of the area's history, layout, and presence of any archaeologically significant evidence. These could include tools, artefacts, dwelling grounds, walls, ditches, roadways, and cemeteries, among other things.

  2. The evidence gathered will be linked to distinct geological strata, allowing the artefacts to be categorised into kinds and organised into different cultural stages.

  3. The object kinds could also be linked to the region's current cultural phases system.

  4. Extensive exploration can help us understand the past and present environmental situation. The area's naturally revealed stratigraphy and relief pattern can be used to rebuild the environment. Ecological reconstructions can be developed based on such evidence.

  5. Extensive research connects the area's previous culture to the region's current cultural element. This is very useful in prehistoric archaeology ethnological reconstruction.


2. Intensive Exploration

The process of intensive exploration is guided by specific aims. Data gathered during exploration must be organised in chronological order, and its spatial scope must be determined. The geological background and geographic extent of dissemination of data obtained are important to prehistorians. In this approach, the cultural pieces will be rebuilt in space and time.

a) Grid System

This is a key aspect of the intensive exploration method. This approach aids in the mapping and documenting of artefacts and features located on the property. A fixed point must be chosen before the grid can be drawn. This point is referred to as the datum point. The grid is created from this location. In this way, a meaningful reconstruction of early man's activities in the area may be accomplished.


b) Collection of Materials

Exploration is carried out in order to gather evidence. It's important to remember that gathering data from the field is also a form of evidence destruction. As a result, the collection should be scientific in character, with meticulous documentation of its appearance in the grid. An exploration's material collecting should be logical and scientific, not speculative.


Assignment II


Answer any two of the following questions in about 250 words each. 10x2=20


Q a. Attirampakkam Archaeological site.

Ans) Though the site was discovered by Robert Bruce Foote and later worked on by members of the Yale Cambridge expedition and the Archaeological Survey of India, it has been extensively explored, excavated, and dated by members of the Sharma Institute of Heritage Studies under the direction of Shanti Pappu since 1990.


The Site

Robert Bruce Foote, a British geologist, is known as the "Father of Indian Prehistory" because he unearthed the first stone tool from the Palaeolithic period in India in 1863 near the former Madras city of Pallavaram. In the same year, he and his colleague William King discovered the site Attirampakkam while conducting a geological survey of the area. The site is located on a tributary stream of the River Kortallaiyar in the city of Chennai's north-western outskirts. It is located on an outlier of the Satyavedu hill of the Eastern Ghat, at a height of 200-380 metres above sea level. Foote had described the location, reconstructed its previous surroundings, and deduced the typo-technology of the tools discovered there. The site and culture of Attirampakkam were re-examined in the 1990s under the guidance of Shanti Pappu. Her hard effort and collaboration had generated valuable knowledge on the site's Palaeolithic culture. Modern dating techniques have solidly confirmed the site on the world map of Palaeolithic civilisation and identified it as one of the stops in Homo erectus' migration route from Africa to India.


Q b. What are different Lower Palaeolithic stone tools? Discuss.

Ans) The following are some of the most important lower Palaeolithic tools:


1. Pebble Tools:

All pebble-based tools are referred to as "pebble tools." In everyday use, it refers to a wide range of choppers, scrapers, and hand axes with a block-on-block operating edge. These large, gigantic implements are typical of Southeast Asian, Northwest Indian, and East African lower Palaeolithic civilisation.


Two types of pebble tools are normally seen:

Chopper and Chopping

  1. Choppers are unifacially flaked large massive tools.

  2. Choppings are similar to the choppers except that they are 103 bifacially flaked. These tools are used for chopping, scraping and clearing purposes.


2. Biface/Hand axe

These are bifacially flaked core tools, with thick and heavy butt end and thin tapering pointed working end. On the basis of methods of manufacture, hand axes are placed under three traditions: Chellian, Abbevillian and Acheulian based on the evidence found in France.


a) Chellian-Abbevillian Hand axe: These are tools crude in nature and flaked from the upper and lower surfaces. These hand axes are irregular in outline with zig-zag working end.

b) Acheulian Hand axe: Regular in outline, beautiful to look at, these were worked by removing thin flakes from both surfaces. In cross section, they were biconvex. They could have been produced by a light cylindrical hammer made of wood, bone or stone

c) Micoquian Hand axe: These are small triangular hand axes, with thin elongated working ends. The thick and heavy butt end often preserves the original surface. However, unlike Abbevillian it is finely retouched with extensive secondary flaking.


3. Cleaver

Next to hand axe, cleaver is an important and regularly occurring lower Palaeolithic tool. This is a cutting or cleaving tool with a broad cutting edge and a prototype of the present iron axe. Though occurring in association with hand axe, it is later in antiquity than the hand axe.


Answer the following questions in about 50 words each. 2x5=10


Q a. Three Age system

Ans) The three-age system divides human prehistory into three periods: the Stone Age, Bronze Age, and Iron Age; however, the concept can also refer to various tripartite groupings of historical time periods. The three-age system is a 19th-century methodological paradigm in history, archaeology, and physical anthropology that allows artefacts and events from late prehistory and early history to be roughly organised into a recognisable chronology.


Q b. Excavation

Ans) Excavation is the process of exposing, processing, and recording archaeological remains in archaeology. The region under investigation is known as an excavation site or "dig." During a project, these locations can range from one to multiple areas at a time, and they can take anywhere from a few weeks to several years to complete.


Excavation entails retrieving many forms of data from a site. Artifacts (portable objects), features (non-portable site changes such as post moulds, graves, and hearths), ecofacts (evidence of human activity through organic remains such as animal bones, pollen, or charcoal), and archaeological context are all included in this data (relationships among the other types of data).


Q c. Carbon dating method

Ans) Radiocarbon dating (also known as carbon dating or carbon-14 dating) is a method for establishing the age of an organic thing using the properties of radiocarbon, a radioactive carbon isotope.


Carbon-14 dating, often known as radiocarbon dating, is a method of determining age based on radiocarbon's decay to nitrogen. The interaction of neutrons with nitrogen-14 in the Earth's atmosphere produces carbon-14 in nature; the neutrons required for this reaction are produced by cosmic rays interacting with the atmosphere.


Q d. Ethnoarchaeology.

Ans) The anthropological study of peoples for archaeological purposes, usually through the study of a society's material remains, is known as ethnoarchaeology. Ethnoarchaeology helps archaeologists reconstruct past lifeways by researching present societies' material and non-material traditions. Ethnoarchaeology also aids in the comprehension of how an artefact was constructed and what it was intended to be used for.


Q  e. Olduvai Gorge.

Ans) The Olduvai Gorge (also known as Oldupai Gorge) in Tanzania is one of the world's most important paleoanthropological sites, and it has proven essential in the study of early human evolution.


Because the East African wild sisal grows abundantly across the canyon area, the gorge gets its name from the Maasai word oldupai, which means "the place of the wild sisal."


Assignment III


Answer the following questions in about 250 words 10x3=30


Q a. Briefly describe any two stone tool making techniques with suitable diagrams.

Ans) Stone tool production techniques have evolved based on the type of hammer used, as well as the maker's control and competence. Manufacturing technologies have progressed in lockstep with human biology. The following are the most important techniques: (a) Direct percussion, (b) Indirect percussion (c) Pressure flaking, and (d) Grinding- polishing.


Two techniques are described below:

1. Direct percussion: Flaking by striking directly with a hammer is known as direct percussion flaking technique. This flaking technique includes many flaking techniques, such as:

  1. Anvil technique or Block-on-Block technique,

  2. Stone hammer technique or Direct percussion technique,

  3. Cylinder hammer or Hollow hammer or bone/antler/hard wood hammer technique,

  4. Bipolar technique,

  5. Step or Resolved or Controlled flaking technique,

  6. Clactonian technique,

  7. Levalloisian technique, and

  8. Discoid core or Mousterian technique.


2. Indirect Percussion Technique: This method includes striking a medium with a hammer to remove the flake. The medium is commonly referred to as punch, and the technique is also referred to as punch technique. As seen in the illustration below, this technique is used to remove blades. It was one of the prehistoric man's means of obtaining a blade. The prepared cylindrical core is struck with a punch rather than directly by the hammer in this example. The pointed end of the punch is fastened on the core's striking platform, while the other end of the punch is pounded. As a result, a thin blade with multiple closely spaced conspicuous ripples on the main flake surface was removed.


Q b. Briefly discuss various core tools with suitable diagrams.

Ans) Following are some of the core tool types.

1. Pebble Tool Types

Many tools have been prepared on pebbles. Pebbles are stones that have had their outer surfaces smoothed by running water. Choppers are the most basic pebble tool types.

Chopper: These are the earliest human-made tool types. Chopper is a broad and thick rock that has been fractured transversely to provide a cutting edge.

There are two sub types of choppers:

a) Unifacial choppers: The pebble is flaked along one surface only. The flake scars meet the flat ventral surface and give rise to transverse chopping edge as shown in the figure.

b) Bifacial choppers: The pebble is flaked from both the surfaces to produce the transverse working edge (see figure below).


Following are the most common core tool types.

a) Hand axe: It's simply a bifacial instrument with one end of the specimen wider and thicker than the other while the other end is narrow. The anterior end is the sharp and pointed end, whereas the butt end is the opposite end, which is generally thick and bulbous. Both the lateral borders and the anterior end have a functioning edge. As indicated in the illustration, when the hand axe is enormous and the technique is block-on-block or stone hammer, such hand axes are considered to belong to the Abbevillian or lower Acheulian lineage.

b) Cleaver: This is a biface, just like a hand axe, with the exception that the working edge is transverse and on the front side. It resembles a modern axe and was allegedly used to cleave wood, flesh, and other materials. A transverse working end is formed when a flat and sloping flake scar is removed from the anterior end in such a way that it intersects with a scar of detachment of the under surface. The lateral boundaries are shaped in such a way that the tool's cross section resembles a parallelogram.

 The cleavers as a rule have shape like a U or a V. For statistical analysis, as also for computation of proportion of core tools to flake tools, hand axes and cleavers made on flakes are counted within core category.


Q c. What is a Blade tool? Describe various Blade tool types with suitable diagrams.

Ans) Blade tools are defined as flakes with a length that is greater than or equal to double their width. To put it another way, every blade is fundamentally a flake, but not every flake is a blade. These typically measure 8-9 cm long, 2-3 cm wide, and 1-2 cm thick. Punching, or indirect percussion with an antler as an intermediate punch, is the method of production.


There are numerous types of tools that are produced on blades during Upper Palaeolithic cultural stage, but the most dominant among these are:


1. Retouched blades

A retouched blade is a thick blade which is retouched in a semi abrupt manner along the

lateral sides. Figure is shown below:

2. Backed Blades

These are blades in which one of the borders of the blade is blunted with the help of

steep flaking and the margin parallel to the blunt surface is left sharp as shown in figure.

3. Burins

These are blades in the anterior end of which a screwdriver like edge is prepared by

the careful removal of two sloping facets. These facets intersect to form the working

edge which is equal to the thickness of the blade. See figure below.

4. End scraper

The scraping edge in this type is confined to the shorter side which is steeply retouched. Usually, the scraping end is located on the distal or proximal end of the flake in respect to the location of bulb of percussion.


5. Leaf Points 

This is a very characteristic tool type of Solutrean tradition of French Upper Palaeolithic. Here flat flakes or blades measuring in average 6 cm × 2 cm are given series of scars on both the surfaces by pressure flaking technique. The figure is depicted below.

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