POTTERY FROM THE FOOTHILLS OF ASSAM AND ITS ETHNOARCHAEOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVES

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1 CHAPTER VI POTTERY FROM THE FOOTHILLS OF ASSAM AND ITS ETHNOARCHAEOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVES Pottery is defined as a container or vessel made of clay that is baked to a certain temperature; and the artisans who are engaged in making pottery are known as potters (Singh, 2008). Pottery making manifests a settled village life in the passage of cultural evolution of human being. The tradition of making earthen pot originated during Neolithic past in Assam and other parts of Northeast India (Sharma, 1978, ,Ashraf 1990,Roy, 2004:146). The process initiates more or less a permanent mode of subsistence along with a settled way of life. But in pan-indian context pottery is often found in association with certain cultural phases having microlithic traditions (Sankalia, 1962:65). The foothills of Assam witness the continuity of this tradition from time immemorial. Stone artifacts, particularly, the celts of Neolithic traditions-an example of archaeological corroboration are commonly found in association with the pottery in this region. For instance, the Kitchen Midden at Bambooti of Locality -1 holds a strong indication for the same. Similarly, the stone artifacts and common pottery types, like that of L-1, from L-2 and L-3 of foothills of Assam too suggests a sort of coordinated continuity of both stone tool tradition and pottery tradition in these localities. In the contemporary scenario the stone implements ceased to exist but the pottery tradition remains as the only tangible living prehistoric tradition among the ethnic groups of this region. In this connection it is also to be noted that, in the localities under study, the extinct stone artifacts re-emerged as replica of its original forms, but the only difference is the alteration of raw material, where stone has been replaced by iron ( plate: 6.1). The above observations would be reasonable if we meet up the basic queries circling around this paradigm; that may include (i) the period of co existence between the particular tool-type and pottery-type, (ii) mode of variation/separation between the two, (iii) the broad period of occupation of the sites followed by a comparison of activities in-between the different areas or sites, looking for evidence for or against social differentiation or specialize activities (Orton Clive et al, 2007:41). To delve with the problems, we have chosen the Bambooti archaeological site as a case to understand the continuity and variation of the archaeofacts that we have encountered in various localities under study; besides, it also helps us to perceive the past present continuum in the context of material cultures among the ethnic communities. The contextual part of 244

2 evidence in this regard is that, the Bambooti excavations provide us the following particulars-(i) an absolute date through OSL (ii) mode of subsistence pattern (iii) mode of settlement pattern (iv) bench mark for the introduction, distribution and continuation of distinctive pottery types that co- existed around 3000 years BP in the Neolithic Plate: 6.1 Replica of Stone artifacts context. The ground and polished lithic tools have been found at Bambooti sites in association with earthenware. Later examples have been found at various sites in the foothills of Assam. These localized pottery types, having legacy with regional Neolithic are quite distinctive in its texture and forms. It dispels the notion of Southeast Asian cord impressed pottery as the hallmark of Indian Neolithic in the Northeast. 6.1 ARCHAEOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE OF POTTERY FROM VARIED LOCALITIES POTTERY OF LOCALITY 1 Pottery collected from the surface and different layers of the excavated site at Bambooti are similar in fabric and types. These are either dull red or drab brown in colour. Grey ware is quite rare. In respect of surface treatment of the pottery none has been found with any kind of treatment. The selection of substandard clay, improper levigation and use of medium grained sand particles as tempered material make the pottery of Bambooti coarse in fabric and texture. However, the potteries from Silpara are finer in texture, though these are also hand made like that of Bambooti. All the potteries are devoid of any kind of surface treatment. The firing of pottery as a whole was not well controlled, and as such, most of them were ill fired. 245

3 The thickness of the pottery varies from cm. All the pottery are invariably hand made. Only two numbers of pots were cord impressed and a good number of rims were decorated with incised designs. Because of the ill fired state of the pottery, these become more susceptible to weathering and as such the state of preservation is not up to the mark. The following types can well be deduced from the rim and base portions of the available pots: (i) pitcher (Kalăh). (ii) salver/platter (Chãru), (iii) shallow (Mõla), (iv) deep, (v) culinary, (vi) lid, (vii) urn (viii) storage jar, and (ix) pot. In the entire collection salvers outnumber the rest followed by culinary s. Thickness of rim and body parts of different varieties of pots are shown in the following table (parts from the same pots are excluded as far as practicable) Table: 6.1 Thickness of pottery-rims and its percentile distribution Sl. Thickness Nos. of PC No. of Rim s cm cm cm Total It appears from the Table 6.1 that available thicknesses of rim vary from 0.4cm to 2.1 cm. If we categorise the range of thickness of rims into three divisions it is found that the most common group of thickness of rim comes within 0.4 cm to 0.9 cm (57.02%); followed by 1.0cm to1.5cm (36.29%). Thickness of rim beyond 1.5 cm is negligible (6.66%) in the collection from archaeological context. Table: 6.2 Thickness of pottery-body and its percentile distribution SL.No Thickness of body Nos of s PC cm cm cm cm cm cm cm cm cm Total

4 It appears from the Table 6.2 that available thicknesses of body- segment of pottery vary from 0.3cm to 1.1 cm. Within this range the most common form of body, in terms of thickness, ranges from 0.4 cm to 0.6 cm (77.84%). It is also worth mentioning that the thickest pottery in the collection is restricted within 0.9cm to 1.1 cm (2.01%), which negates the use of storage jar in the given localities. Table: 6.3 Distribution of Pottery types in Locality-1 SL.No Type Number Percentage 1 Pitcher Platter /Salver Shallow Bowl Deep Bowl Culinary Bowl Lid Storage Jar Pot Pitcher base Total The above Table:6.3 shows that the platters (Salver= Chãru), are highest in number (26.84%) while lid is lowest in number 2.01%.The percentile distribution of the above listed household earthen appliances clearly indicate that none of the types played any major role in their day to day life in any of the localities. This phenomenon existed all through the early stage, up to the cultural reallocation, from stone to metal. This is nothing but a reflection of lignin cultural effects that hovers over the entire Southeast Asia, including Northeast India during the common time plane; i.e. till the end of Neolithic period, which however, intrudes into the iron using stage through ceramic Neolithic in northeast of India. The most interesting and important information provided by the above table is the introduction of salver (Chãru) at a time when ground and polished stone implements mostly in the form of shouldered celts still played a significant role in the life of the people. In the later stage, this particular type of earthenware (Chãru) continued more or less in the same form as a traditional item amongst the aboriginal communities, not only of the localities under study, but the whole of Assam. 247

5 Table: 6.4 A glimpse of Pottery from archaeological (excavated) context Sl. No. Site/Acc.No. 1 BBT/X (S)/1/2010 Dull red Horizontal budded Characters Colour Rim Texture Surface treatment 2 BBT/X (S)/2/2010 Grey; Featureless budded 3 BBT/X (S)/3/2010 Dull red Budded Type/ Shape Deep Platter Oblique lines on the rim Deep Remarks, If any 4 BBT/X (S)/4/2010 Dull red Featureless Pitcher 5 BBT/X (S)/5/2010 Dull red Platter 6 BBT/X (S)/6/2010 Dull red Inward slanting, Deep concave and thicken rim with lip BBT/X (S)/7/2010 Dull red Featureless- Deep - 7 budded 8 BBT/X (S)/8/2010 Dull red Platter 9 BBT/X (S)/9/2010 Dull red Platter 10 BBT/X (S)/10/2010 Dull red In turn budded 11 BBT/X (S)/11/2010 Dull red Internally slanted thicken rim - Shallow Decoraation Crisscross incised lines on the rim 12 BBT/X (S)/12/2010 Dull red Platter 13 BBT/X (S)/13/2010 Dull red Platter 14 BBT/X (S)/14/2010 Grey Internally slanting 15 BBT/X (S)/15/2010 Dull red Intern budded 16 BBT/X (S)/16/2010 Dull red Budded 17 BBT/X (S)/17/2010 Dull red Club-headed intern thick Deep - Pitcher Pitcher - Bulbous pot - Deep - Storage jar Bulbous pot 248

6 Contd... Table: BBT/X (S)/18/2010 dull red Internally slanting thicken Crisscross incised lines on the rim Deep 19 BBT/X (S)/19/2010 Dull red Shallow sl.no BBT/X (S)/20/2010 Dull red Platter 21 BBT/X (S)/21/2010 Grey Platter 22 BBT/X (S)/22/2010 Dull red Shallow 23 BBT/X (S)/23/2010 Dull red Slanted thicken 24 BBT/X (S)/24/2010 Dull red Internally slanting thicken 25 BBT/X (S)/25/2010 Dull red Budded Crisscross incised lines on the rim Crisscross incised lines on the rim Oblique lines on the rim Deep Deep Pot sl.no BBT/X (S)/26/2010 Dull red Platter 27 BBT/X (S)/27/2010 Dull red Platter 28 BBT/X (S)/28/2010 Dull red Shallow 29 BBT/X (S)/29/2010 Dull red Deep 30 BBT/X (S)/30/2010 Dull red Shallow 31 BBT/X (S)/31/2010 Dull red Shallow sl.no.10 4 sl.no.10 sl.no BBT/X (S)/32/2010 Dull red Platter 33 BBT/X (S)/33/2010 Dull red Internally slanting thicken 34 BBT/X (S)/34/2010 Grey Internally slanting 35 BBT/X (S)/35/2010 Dull red Budded Coarse - Storage jar - Pot - Storage jar 36 BBT/X (S)/36/2010 Dull red Shallow sl.no

7 Contd... Table: BBT/X (S)/37/2010 Dull red Budded - Culinary 38 BBT/X (S)/38/2010 Dull red Shallow 39 BBT/X (S)/39/2010 Dull red Shallow sl.no.10 sl.no BBT/X (S)/40/2010 Dull red Platter 41 BBT/X (S)/41/2010 Dull red Deep 42 BBT/X (S)/42/2010 Dull red Shallow sl.no.6 sl.no BBT/X (S)/43/2010 Dull red Platter 44 BBT/X (S)/44/2010 Dull red Platter 45 BBT/X (S)/45/2010 Dull red Shallow 46 BBT/X (S)/46/2010 Dull red Shallow 47 BBT/X (S)/ Dull red Shallow 48 BBT/X (S)/48/2010 Dull red Storage jar 49 BBT/X (S)/49/2010 Grey Budded Coarse Crisscross incised lines on the rim Deep 50 BBT/X (S)/50/2010 Dull red Deep 51 BBT/X (S)/51/2010 Grey Internally slanted rounded rim 52 BBT/X (S)/52/2010 Dull red Club headed slanted sl.no.10 sl.no.10 sl.no.10 sl.no.35 4 Lid Flattopped knob Crisscross incised lines on the rim Storage jar 53 BBT/X (S)/53/2010 Grey Lid sl.no BBT/X (S)/54/2010 Dull red Shallow sl.no BBT/X (S)/55/2010 Dull red Platter 56 BBT/X (S)/56/2010 Dull red Platter 57 BBT/X (S)/57/2010 Dull red Internally slanted - Pitcher 250

8 Contd... Table: BBT/X (S)/58/2010 Dull red Platter 59 BBT/X (S)/59/2010 Dull red Storage jar 60 BBT/X 60/2010 Balk A3-A4 (S) Dull red Featureless horizontal rim Coarse - Deep sl.no BBT/X/61/2010, L 2, Tr A3-A4 Dull red Budded rim Coarse - Culinary Bluntly carrinated 62 BBT/X/62/2010, L 2, Tr. A3-A4 Dull red Culinary - sl.no BBT/X/63/2010, L 2, Tr A3-A4 Dull red Shallow sl.no BBT/X/64/2010, L 2, Tr A3-A4 Dull red Platter 65 BBT/X/65/2010 Dull red Platter 66 BBT/X/66/2010 Dull red Club headed - Culinary 67 BBT/X/67/2010 L 2, Tr A3-A4 68 BBT/X/68/2010 L 2, Tr A3-A4 69 BBT/X/69/2010 L 2, Tr A3-A4 70 BBT/X/70/2010 L 2, Tr A3-A4 71 BBT/X/71/2010 L 2, Tr A3-A4 72 BBT/X/72/2010 L 2, Tr A3-A4 73 BBT/X/73/2010 L 1,Tr A3-A4 74 BBT/X/74/2010 L 1,Tr A3-A4 75 BBT/X/75/2010 L 1,Tr A3-A4 76 BBT/X/76/2010 L 1,Tr A3-A4 77 BBT/X/77/2010 L 1,Tr A3-A4 Dull red Internally slanting and thicken rim - Storage jar Dull red Platter Dull red Shallow sl.no.10 Dull red Platter Dull red Pitcher sl.no.4 dull red dull red Club headed internally slanted Horizontal budded rim - Pitcher Oblique incised design on the rim Deep Dull red horizontal budded rim - Storage jar Dull red Shallow sl.no.10 Dull red Platter Dull red Club headed - Storage jar 78 BBT/X/78/2010 L 1,Tr A3-A4 79 BBT/X/79/2010 L 1,Tr A3-A4 Dull red Budded rim - Deep Dull red Platter 251

9 Contd... Table: BBT/S/80/2010 Dull red Platter 81 BBT/S/81/2010 Tr B3 82 BBT/X(S)/82/2010 Tr B3 83 BBT/X(S)/83/2010 Tr B3 Dull red Internally slanting and thicken rim Dull red - Dull red - Crisscross incised lines on the rim Deep - Pitcher base - Culinary Ring like base 84 BBT/X(S)/84/2010 Tr B3 Dull red Budded rim - Deep 85 BBT/X(S)/85/2010 Tr B3 86 BBT/X(S)/86/2010 Tr A2 87 BBT/X(S)/87/2010 Tr A2 88 BBT/X(S)/88/2010 Tr A2 89 BBT/X(S)/89/2010 Tr A2 90 BBT/X(S)/90/2010 Tr A2 91 BBT/X(S)/91/2010 Tr A2 Dull red Platter Dull red - - Pitcher Ring like base Grey Platter Dull red Horizontal budded rim - Culinary Dull red Shallow Dull red Shallow Bluntly carrinated sl.no.10 sl.no.10 Dull red Platter 92 BBT/X(S)/92/2010 Tr A2 Dull red Platter 93 BBT/S/93/2010 Dull red Platter 94 BBT/S/94/2010 Dull red Platter 95 BBT/S/95/2010 Dull red Platter 96 BBT/S/96/2010 Dull red Shallow sl.no BBT/S/97/2010 Tr A3-A4 L2 Dull red Platter 98 BBT/X/98/2010 Tr A3-A4 L2 Dull red Platter 99 BBT/S/99/2010 Dull red Deep 100 BBT/S/100/2010 Dull red Culinary sl.no.84 sl.no

10 Contd... Table: BBT/S/101/2010 Grey Featureless budded rim - Culinary 102 BBT/S/102/2010 Dull red Platter 103 BBT/S/103/2010 Dull red Platter 104 BBT/S/104/2010 Dull red Pitcher 105 BBT/S/105/2010 Dull red 106 BBT/S/106/2010 Dull red Internally slanted Internally slanted Dull red Horizonta l budded rim Crisscross incised lines on the rim Crisscross incised lines on the rim Pot Storage jar 107 BBT/S/107/2010 Grey Lid (Flattopped knob) 108 BT/S/108/2010 Dull Featureless Coarse - Pitcher red budded rim 109 BBT/S/109/2010 Grey Culinary 110 BBT/S/110/2010 Grey Featureless horizontal rim 111 BBT/X(S)/111/2010 Dull red Featureless horizontal rim - Culinary - Culinary sl.no.74 sl.no.51 sl.no BBT/X(S)/112/2010 Dull red Deep BBT/S/113/2010 Grey Club headed rim - Storage jar 114 BBT/X(S)/114/2010 Dull red Club headed rim - Deep 115 BBT/X(S)/115/2010 Dull red Club headed rim - Storage jar 116 BBT/X/116/2010 Dull red Pitcher sl.no BBT/X/117/2010 Tr A3-A4 L 1 Dull red Platter 118 BBT/X/118/2010 Tr A3-A4 L 1 Dull red Platter 119 BBT/X/119/2010 Tr A3-A4 L 1 Dull red Platter 253

11 Contd... Table: BBT/X/120/2010 Tr A3-A4 L BBT/X/121/2010 Tr A3-A4 L 1 Grey Budded out turn rim - Culinary Grey Culinary sl.no BBT/X/122/2010 Tr A3-A4 L BBT/X/123/2010 Tr A3-A4 L BBT/X/124/2010 Tr A3-A4 L BBT/X/125/2010 Tr A3-A4 L BBT/X/126/2010 Tr A3-A4 L BBT/X/127/2010 Tr Z-A 128 BBT/X/128/2010 Tr A3-A4 129 BBT/X/129/2010 Tr A3-A4 130 BBT/X(S)/130/2010 Tr B3-B4 131 BBT/X(S)/131/2010 Tr B3-B4 132 BBT/X(S)/132/2010 Tr B3-B4 Dull red Club headed rim Featureless budded rim - Pitcher Dull red - Deep Dull red Shallow Grey Featureless budded rim - Pot Dull red Shallow sl.no.10 sl.no.10 Dull red Platter Dull red Budded out turn rim Dull red Pitcher sl.no.4 Dull red Deep Dull red Deep Grey Budded in turn rim Pot - Culinary sl.no.84 sl.no BBT/S/133/2010 Dull red - - Pitcher Ring like base 134 BBT/S/134/2010 Dull red - - Pitcher sl.no BBT/S/135/2010 Dull red Platter 136 SLP/S/1/2010 Dull red Externally slanted - Storage jar concave rim 137 SLP/S/2/2010 Dull red Storage jar sl.no SLP/S/3/2010 Dull red Externally slanted grooved rim - Storage jar 139 SLP/S/4/2010 Dull red Storage jar 140 SLP/S/6/2010 Dull red Featureless - Culinary budded rim 141 SLP/S/7/2010 Dull red Featureless budded rim Pitcher sl.no

12 6.1.1(i) Optimal Luminescence Dating (OSL) of the Bambooti pottery Since the pottery from Bambooti are archaeologically in situ and occur together with the stone artifacts in the Kitchen Midden, therefore the age in absolute term of these pottery has been considered as a vital source of information to ascertain the chronology of the allied prehistoric material cultures of the foothills of southwestern Assam. Three numbers of the pottery samples from Bambooti have been brought under the process of OSL dating. The estimated age of these pottery are shown in the following table- Table: 6.5 Quartz Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) ages of the pottery samples along with elemental concentration (by ICP) used for dose rate calculation and equivalent dose (De) Lab. No. LD 1060 LD 1061 Sample No. U (ppm) Th (ppm) Potassium K (%) Equivale nt Dose (De) Gy Dose rate (Gy/ka) BBT/137/ ± ± ± ± ±0.07 BBT/138/ ± ± ± ± ±0.06 Age (ka) 2.70±0.05 (2700±0.05) 3.29±0.07 (3290±0.07) LD 1062 BBT/139/ ± ± ± ± ±0.06 ka=kilo years=1000 years Gy=gray Average Age = 3.69±0.10 (3690±0.10) 3226±. 06 years POTTERY OF LOCALITY 2 The site Hahim has yielded hand made plain coarse as well as cord impressed pots. Pottery collected from the surface and top layer of the trial trench at Jogdoba resemble in fabric and types to that of the pottery retrieved from Bambooti of Locality- 1. Almost all the potteries are dull red and highly weathered. A very few are grey in colour. Pottery as a whole is ill fired, coarse in texture, and without having any surface treatments. It is worth mentioning that, the Jogdoba assemblage (consisting of ground celts and pottery) though having close affinities with that of the Bambooti assemblage, but in reality, these celts were brought to the region by Burmese medicine man during eighteen century AD. This inference is made on the basis of historical facts, which is associated with the occupation of the mound by a Burmese medicine man that used these celts for medicinal purpose. (Ashraf, 2006: ). It is a common practice in this area, or among the tribes of Southeast Asia (Sarkar, 1982, c.f. Ashraf, 2006:249), to attribute magico religious/medicinal values to such celts. The above phenomenon is quite compelling to ascertain the continuity with slight variation of the prehistoric pottery at least till the end of 18 th century. 255

13 From the available rim and base portions of the pots, the types that can be deduced are, (1) Culinary Bowl, (2) Deep Bowl, (3) Shallow Bowl, (4) Pot, (5) Platter. Table: 6.6 Range of thickness of the identifiable rims & its percentile distribution Sl. No. Thickness of Rim Nos. of s PC cm cm cm cm cm cm cm cm cm cm cm Total Locality -2 shows that thickness of rim at 0.4 to 09 cm stands at. 41.1%, while thickness ranges from 1.1cm to1.9 cm is 58.9%. Table: 6.7 Range of thickness of the identifiable body parts & its percentile distribution Sl. No. Thickness of body Nos. of Sherds PC cm cm cm cm cm Total Popular body thickness of the pottery ranges from 0.4 to 0.6 cm (i.e.15 out of 17 nos.= 88.2%. Table: 6.8 Distribution of Pottery types in Locality-2 SL No Types of Pottery No. PC 1 Culinary Bowl Deep Bowl Shallow Bowl Pot Platter Total

14 Instead of the dominating pottery type in the form of platter (Chãru 26.84%) at Bambooti (L-1), here at Jogdoba, Hahim (L-2) the most popular type is the deep (52.9%); followed by Culinary Bowl and Shallow Bowl (17.6% each). Thus the as a whole (deep + culinary + shallow ) constitute fifteen number of pottery from Jogdoba along with 1(5.9%) pot and 1(5.9%) platter and have been analysed in the following way- Table: 6.9 A glimpse of Pottery from Locality-2 Sl. No. Site/Acc.No. Characters Colour Rim Texture Surface treatment 1 JDB/1/1998 Dull red Featureless Decora-ation Criss-cross designs on the outer surface of the body Type/ Shape Culinary 2 JDB/2/1998 Dull red Featureless budded Deep 3 JDB/3/1998 Grey Featureless Culinary 4 JDB/4/1998 Dull red Internally slanting thicken Criss-cross incised lines on the rim Deep 5 JDB/5/1998 Dull red Deep 6 JDB/6/1998 Grey Horizontal rim Criss-cross Pot designs on the top of the rim JDB/7/1998 Dull red Featureless- Shallow 7 budded 8 JDB/8/1998 Dull red Internally slanted and thicken rim Deep 9 JDB/9/1998 Dull red Deep 10 JDB/10/1998 Dull red Deep 11 JDB/11/1998 Dull red Deep 12 JDB/12/1998 Dull red Deep 13 JDB/13/1998 Dull red Shallow Remarks, If any BBT/X (S)/24/2010 sl.no.4 BBT/X (S)/10/2010 sl.no.4 sl.no.4 sl.no.4 sl.no.4 sl.no.7 257

15 Cont... Table: JDB/14/1998 Dull red Deep 15 JDB/15/1998 Dull red Club headed, rim, internally slanted and thicken rim, Criss-cross designs on the slanted surface of the rim. Culinary 16 JDB/16/1998 Dull red Shallow 17 JDB/17/1998 Grey Featureless budded rim sl.no.8 sl.no Platter BBT/X (S)/2/2010 L-2 shows remarkable similarity with the Bambooti pottery. Internally slanted and thicken rim and stylistic pattern of the pottery are the common features between the pottery of L-1and 2. It is remarkable to note that in the given contexts the time-gap between material cultures of the two localities is around 3000 years POTTERY OF LOCALITY-3 Locality 3 comprising the prehistoric sites like Kamakhya (Nilachal), Adingiri, Pamohi, Tetelia, Chandrapur and Sonapur, Sarutaru and Maragdola out of which Pamohi, Chandrapur, Sarutaru and Maragdola have yielded a good number of pots. Basistha is another site from where a number of pots have been collected during exploration. Basistha is a site located in the southeast corner of Guwahati, at a distance of about 12 Km from Nilachal and about 2 Km away from the famous Basistha temple. The site is within the village Chibra inhabited by the Garos. No stone artifacts were encountered during exploration in this site. Therefore, the site is not included within the category of prehistoric sites. Sarutaru is located at about 25 Kms southwest of Guwahati. It is a small hamlet where the prehistoric site is located on the top of a hillock, about 125m high from the foot of the hill. Geologically, the area is a part of the Shillong plateau. The area around the site is dotted with hillocks of more or less the same height, relieved by the rich alluvial plains. The river Digaru, a tributary of Brahmaputra flows about a kilometre on its northern side. The hillock itself is dome shaped and rather flat at the apex. The area is inhabited by the Karbis. S.N.Rao (1973) first reported seven numbers of shouldered celts and 2 numbers of round-butted axes along with a good numbers of pottery at Sarutaru and also at Maragdola located close to Sarutaru. The second excavation in 2012 was made by the Department of Anthropology of Gauhati University in 258

16 Maragdola and made a huge collection of pottery just beside and below a menhir. The site Maragdola lies in between N26 36 and E Pottery of this locality exhibits improper levigation, tempered with fine-grained sand and most of them are ill fired. These are largely wheel made; a few pottery are hand made. Almost all the pottery are highly weathered and dull red in colour. A very few are grey in colour. Pottery are neither slipped nor varnished. The thickness of the pottery varies from 0.4 cm to1.8 cm. The texture of most of the pottery is coarse and. From the available rim and base portions of the pots, the types that can be identified are, (1) Culinary Bowl, (2) Deep, (3) Shallow, (4) Pitcher, (5) Storage Jar, (6) Pitcher Base, (7) Pot, (8) Platter, (9) Lamp Stand,(10) Perforated Jar, (11) Perforated Bead, (12) Lid. Distribution of the identifiable pottery according to the thickness of the rim part and body has been shown in the following table- Table: 6.10 Percentile distribution of pottery in different range of rim thickness Sl. No. Thickness of Rim Nos of s PC cm cm cm cm cm cm cm cm cm cm cm cm cm cm cm cm Total The above table indicate that the main thrust on the thickness of the pottery rim comes within 0.6 to 0.8 cm (58 out of 92 pots i.e.63%). 259

17 Table: 6.11 Thickness of pottery-body and its percentile distribution Sl No Thickness of body (in cm) Nos of s PC Total Pots (45:26.95%) have the body thickness of 0.4 cm. and lowest frequency (2:1.19%) has the body thickness of 1.1 cm, 1.2 cm.1.3 cm and 1.4 cm respectively. Table: 6.12 Distribution of Pottery types in Locality-3 Sl No. Pottery Types Nos PC 1 Pitcher Platter Shallow Bowl Deep Bowl Culinary Bowl Storage Jar Lid Pitcher base Lamp Stand Perforated Jar Perforated Bead Total L-3 possesses highest number of culinary (69:41.32%). Platter, storage jar, perforated jar and perforated bead are lowest in frequency, occupying only 1:0.60% each. 260

18 Pottery from L-3 are analysed below- Table: 6.13 A glimpse of Pottery from Locality-3 Sl. No. Site/Acc.No. 1 BST/S/1/99, BST/S/5/99( Parts of the same ) Characters Colour Rim Texture Surface treatme nt Dull red Featureless budded rim Decoraation Type/ Shape Shallow 2 BST/S/2/99 Dull red Featureless Deep budded rim 3 BST/S/3/99 Dull red Featureless Deep budded rim 4 BST/S/4/99 Dull red Featureless budded rim Culinary 5 BST/S/6/99 Dull red Horizontal thicken rim Shallow 6 BST/S/7/99 Dull red Featureless in turn rim Coarse Shallow 7 BST/S/8/99 Dull red - Coarse Pitcher base 8 BST/S/9/99 Dull red Grooved outreached Coarse Shallow rim 9 BST/S/10/99 Dull red Culinary 10 BST/S/11/99 Dull red Culinary 11 BST/S/12/99 Dull red - Coarse Appliqué design. 12 BST/S/13/99 Dull red - Coarse 13 BST/S/14/99 Dull red - Coarse Incised circle designs. Remarks, If any sl.no. 4 sl.no BST/S/15/99 Dull red - Coarse Crisscross designs 15 BST/S/15/99 Dull red - Coarse Crisscross designs 16 BST/S/16/99 Dull red - ill 17 BST/S/17/99 Dull red - ill 18 BST/S/18/99 Dull red - ill 19 BST/S/19/99 Dull red - ill 261

19 Contd... Table: BST/S/20/99 Dull red - ill 21 BST/S/21/99 Dull red - ill 22 BST/S/22/99 Dull red - ill 23 BST/S/23/99 Dull red - ill 24 BST/S/24/99 Dull red - ill 25 BST/S/25/99 Dull red - ill 26 BST/S/26/99 Dull red - ill 27 BST/S/27/99 Dull red Budded rim ill with lip 28 PMH/S/1/99 Dull red ill 29 PMH/S/2/99 Dull red Horizontally ill flaring out internally thicken rim with lip 30 PMH/S/3/99 Dull red Splayed out lip, carrinated 31 PMH/S/4/99, PMH/S/11/99(Par ts of the same ) ill Combing pattern Deep Lid Pitcher Culinary Dull red Culinary sl.no PMH/S/5/99 Dull red Obliquely splayed out rim, carrinated Ill Culinary 33 PMH/S/6/99 Dull red Culinary 34 PMH/S/7/99 Dull red - ill - - Lid with solid flat topped knob with conical dome sl.no PMH/S/8/99 Dull red Lid sl.no34 36 PMH/S/9/99 Dull red Lid sl.no34 37 PMH/S/10/99 Dull red coarse Horizonta lly grooved elongated Lamp stand 262

20 Contd... Table: PMH/S/12/99 Dull red Internally slanting grooved rim 39 PMH/S/13/99 Dull red Internally slanting grooved rim ill ill Pitcher Pitcher 40 PMH/S/14/99 Dull red - ill Pitcher base 41 PMH/S/15/99 Dull red Topped Lid knob with conical designs 42 PMH/S/16/99 Dull red Pitcher sl.no38 43 PMH/S/17/99 Dull red - ill 44 PMH/S/18/99 Dull red - ill 45 PMH/S/19/99 Dull red Featureless coarse Pitcher budded rim, 46 PMH/S/20/99 Dull red - ill 47 PMH/S/21/99 Dull red - ill 48 PMH/S/22/99 Dull red - ill 49 PMH/S/23/99 Dull red - ill 50 PMH/S/24/99 Dull red - ill 51 PMH/S/25/99 Dull red - ill 52 PMH/S/26/99 Dull red Lid sl.no34 53 PMH/S/27/99 Dull red ill Pitcher base 54 PMH/S/28/99 Dull red Club headed rim ill Storage jar 55 PMH/S/29/99 Dull red Club headed rim, carrinated ill 56 PMH/S/30/99 Dull red - ill 57 PMH/S/31/99 Dull red - ill 58 PMH/S/32/99 Dull red - ill Culinary Cord impressed Perforated of Perforated jar 263

21 Contd... Table: PMH/S/33/99 Dull red - ill 60 PMH/S/34/99 Dull red - ill 61 PMH/S/35/99 Dull red - ill 62 PMH/S/36/99 Dull red - ill 63 PMH/S/37/99 Dull red - ill 64 PMH/S/38/99 Dull red - ill 65 PMH/S/40/99 Dull red - ill 66 PMH/S/41/99 Dull red Featureless budded rim ill Pitcher 67 PMH/S/42/99 Dull red Pitcher sl.no PMH/S/43/99 Dull red - ill 69 PMH/S/44/99 Dull red - ill 70 PMH/S/45/99 Dull red - ill 71 PMH/S/46/99 Dull red - ill 72 PMH/S/47/99 Dull red - ill 73 PMH/S/48/99 Dull red - ill 74 PMH/S/49/99 Dull red - ill 75 PMH/S/50/99 Dull red Featureless Pitcher budded rim 76 PMH/S/51/99 Dull red - ill Cord impressed 77 PMH/S/52/99 light grey - ill Culinary Sl.no PMH/S/53/99 light grey Horizontal ill Deep grooved rim 79 PMH/S/54/99 Dull red Budded rim, carrinated Well, ill fired. Culinary 80 PMH/S/55/99 Dull red - Well, ill fired. 81 PMH/S/56/99 Dull red Culinary 82 PMH/S/57/99 Dull red Culinary 83 PMH/S/58/99 Dull red - ill Sl.no 79 Sl.no

22 Contd... Table: PMH/S/59/99 Dull red - ill 85 PMH/S/60/99 Grey - Ill without slip. Pitcher base 86 PMH/S/61/99 Dull red Lid sl.no PMH/S/62/99 Dull red Featureless budded rim Ill Platter 88 PMH/S/63/99 Dull red - Ill 89 PMH/S/64/99 Dull red - Well. Horizontal topped knob with conical dome Cylindrical shaped Lid Perforated bead 90 PMH/S/65/99 Dull red - ill 91 PMH/S/66/99 Dull red Lid sl.no CPK/1/2009 Dull red Featureless budded ill Culinary rim with lip 93 CPK/2/2009 Dull red Culinary sl.no CPK/3/2009 Dull red Featureless budded rim ill Culinary 95 CPK/4/2009 light grey Deep type Sl.no CPK/5/2009 Dull red Culinary 97 CPK/6/2009 Dull red - ill Combing marks in criss-cross direction 98 CPK/7/2009 Dull red - ill 99 CPK/8/2009 Dull red - ill Combing marks as straight lines on the body Straight combing marks on the body sl.no

23 Contd... Table: CPK/9/2009 Dull red - ill 101 CPK/10/2009 Dull red - ill 102 CPK/11/2009 Dull red - ill 103 CPK/12/2009 Dull red - ill 104 CPK/13/2009 Dull red - ill 105 CPK/14/2009 Dull red - ill 106 CPK/15/2009 Dull red - ill 107 CPK/16/2009 Dull red - ill 108 CPK/17/2009 Dull red - ill 109 CPK/18/2009 Dull red - ill 110 CPK/19/2009 Dull red - ill 111 CPK/20/2009 Dull red - ill 112 CPK/21/2009 Dull red - ill 113 MGD/X/1/2012 Dull red Featureless budded outturn rim Coarse and Straight combing marks on the body Curved combing marks on the body Straight combing marks on the body Combing marks in criss-cross direction Combing marks in criss-cross direction Combing marks in criss-cross direction Straight combing marks on the body Straight combing marks on the body Culinary 114 MGD/X/2/2012 Dull red Culinary Variant sl.no 113 of 115 MGD/X/3/2012 grey Culinary Variant sl.no 113 of 266

24 Contd... Table: MGD/X/4/2012 Dull red Featureless budded outturn rim, Coarse and Culinary 117 MGD/X/5/2012 Dull red Culinary 118 MGD/X/6/2012 Dull red Culinary Bluntly carrinated Variant sl.no 116 Variant sl.no 113 of of 119 MGD/X/7/2012 Dull red Featureless budded outturn rim with a distinct groove on the inner surface of the rim, 120 MGD/X/8/2012 Dull red Horizontal rim Coarse and Culinary Coarse and Shallow 121 MGD/X/9/2012 Dull red Culinary 122 MGD/X/10/2012 Dull red Horizontal Coarse Culinary and rim 123 MGD/X/11/2012 Dull red Culinary 124 MGD/X/12/2012 Dull red Culinary 125 MGD/X/13/2012 Dull red Culinary 126 MGD/X/14/2012 Dull red Culinary 127 MGD/X/15/2012 Dull red Featureless Coarse Culinary budded and outturn rim with lip 128 MGD/X/16/2012 Dull red Culinary 129 MGD/X/17/2012 Dull red Culinary 130 MGD/X/18/2012 Dull red Culinary 131 MGD/X/19/2012 Dull red Featureless budded outturn rim 132 MGD/X/20/2012 Dull red Budded outturn rim with lip Coarse and Coarse and Nil Culinary Culinary Variant sl.no 119 Variant sl.no 113 Variant sl.no 119 Variant sl.no 113 Variant sl.no 113 Variant sl.no 119 Variant sl.no 113 Variant sl.no 113 of of of of of of of of 267

25 Contd... Table: MGD/X/21/2012 Dull red Budded outturn rim with lip Coarse and Culinary 134 MGD/X/22/2012 Dull red Dull red Culinary 135 MGD/X/23/2012 Dull red Culinary 136 MGD/X/24/2012 Dull red Culinary sl.no 133 sl.no 131 sl.no MGD/X/25/2012 Dull red Budded outturn rim Coarse and Culinary 138 MGD/X/26/2012 Dull red Budded outturn rim Coarse and Culinary with lip 139 MGD/X/27/2012 Dull red Culinary sl.no MGD/X/28/2012 Dull red Culinary sl.no MGD/X/29/2012 Dull red Culinary sl.no MGD/X/30/2012 Dull red Culinary sl.no MGD/X/31/2012 Dull red Culinary sl.no MGD/X/32/2012 Dull red Culinary sl.no MGD/X/33/2012 Dull red Culinary sl.no MGD/X/34/2012 Dull red Culinary sl.no MGD/X/35/2012 Dull red Culinary sl.no MGD/X/36/2012 Dull red Culinary sl.no MGD/X/37/2012 Dull red Budded rim Well Pitcher 150 MGD/X/38/2012 Dull red Pitcher sl.no MGD/X/39/2012 Dull red Pitcher sl.no MGD/X/40/2012 Dull red Culinary sl.no MGD/X/41/2012 Dull red Featureless budded outturn rim Well Culinary 154 MGD/X/42/2012 Dull red Culinary sl.no

26 Contd... Table: MGD/X/43/2012 Dull red Culinary 156 MGD/X/44/2012 Dull red Culinary 157 MGD/X/45/2012 Dull red Budded outturn rim with lip Well Culinary sl.no 153 sl.no MGD/X/46/2012 Dull red Pitcher sl.no MGD/X/47/2012 Dull red Featureless budded rim Ill Culinary 160 MGD/X/48/2012 Dull red Featureless budded rim Ill Culinary 161 MGD/X/49/2012 Dull red Culinary sl.no MGD/X/50/2012 Dull red Budded rim 163 MGD/X/51/2012 Dull red Budded rim Iill Ill Culinary Culinary 164 MGD/X/52/2012 Dull red Culinary 165 MGD/X/53/2012 Dull red Culinary 166 MGD/X/54/2012 Dull red Featureless Ill Culinary budded rim 167 MGD/X/55/2012 Dull red Featureless budded rim with lip Ill Culinary 168 MGD/X/56/2012 Dull red Culinary 169 MGD/X/57/2012 Dull red Culinary 170 MGD/X/58/2012 Dull red Culinary sl.no 159 sl.no 159 sl.no 167 sl.no 166 sl.no POTTERY IN ETHNOGRAPHIC PERSPECTIVE Pottery in ethnographic perspective refers to those earthenware, which are used by the contemporary ethnic groups living in the foothill region of southern Assam (see chapter-3). It includes both the varieties that are used in their day-to-day life as well as for occasional purposes. Some of these are hand made and some are wheel made. The ethnic groups acquire all these pottery from the markets or the vendors. The hand made pottery are made by the Hira potters and the wheel made potteries are made by the 269

27 Kumar potters. The pottery types and their uses among these ethnic groups are more or less similar. No distinct variation is found in respect of the pottery types. The types of pottery present among the ethnic groups and their purpose are illustrated below GARO POTTERY Plate:6.2a Rongdek Plate:6.2 b Rongbol Pottery type: Storage Jar Local name: Rongdek Utility: To store crops or unboiled rice Plate:6.2 c Medik Pottery type: Pitcher Local name: Rongbol Utility: to store water Plate:6.2 d Jonga Pottery type: Culinary Bowl Local name: Medik Utility: To cook food Pottery type: Storage jar Local name: Jonga Utility: To store country liquor 270

28 6.2.2 RABHA POTTERY Plate:6.3 a Tok Plate: 6.3 b Tok Pottery type: Storage jar Local name: Tok Utility: To store country liquor Plate:6.3 c Kumbai Plate:6.3 d Tok Pottery type: Pitcher Local name: Kumbai Utility: To store water Plate: 6.3 e Chaduk Pottery type: Culinary Bowl Local name: Tok Utility: To cook food as well as to prepare the Tokra (a kind of gourd spoon used to pour country liquor) Plate: 6.3.f Chaduk Pottery type: Spouted pot Local name: Chaduk Utility: To serve country liquor to the deities at the religious functions 271

29 ` Contd RABHA POTTERY Plate: 6.3 g Pungna Matek Plate:6.3 h Pungna Matek Pottery type: Baking Bowl Local name: Pungna Matek Utility: To bake rice cake of Bora rice Pottery type: Deep Bowl or Culinary Bowl Local name: Pungna Matek Utility: To bake rice cake of Bora rice Plate: 6.3 i Maitarung Rongtok Plate: 6.3 j Thali Pottery type: Storage jar Local name: Maitarung Rongtok Utility: To store crops or unboiled rice Pottery type: Big Bowl Local name: Thali Utility: To prepare country liquor 272

30 6.2.3 BODO POTTERY Plate:6.4 a Kharsi Plate:6.4 b Kharsi Pottery type: Culinary Bowl Local name: Kharsi Utility: To prepare country liquor Plate:6.4 c Tinkhli Plate:6.4 d Dugedet Pottery type: Pitcher Local name: Tinkhli Utility: To keep water Plate:6.4 e Maldang Pottery type: Storage jar Local name: Dugedet Utility: To store crops or rice Plate:6.4 f Jow Pottery type: Storage jar Local name: Maldang Utility: To store country liquor Pottery type: Culinary Local name: Jow Utility: To cook food items sometime used to prepare curd also. 273

31 Contd BODO POTTERY Plate:6.4 g Jhajhur Plate:6.4 h Dehu Pottery type: Perforated Big Bowl Local name: Jhajhur Utility: To wash rice before boiling the same and also used in roasting paddy to produce Mudi and Sira (a kind of foodstuff made out of paddy/rice) Pottery type: Pitcher Local name: Dehu Utility: To store water or other liquid substance KARBI POTTERY Plate:6.5 a Lungle afule Plate:6.5 b Dabar Pottery type: Culinary Bowl/ oven Local name: Lungle afule Utility: To bake rice cake of Bora rice Pottery type: Pitcher Local name: Dabar Utility: To store rice 274

32 Contd KARBI POTTERY Plate:6.5 c Dabar Plate:6.5 d Lungle afule Pottery type: Storage jar Local name: Dabar Utility: To store rice beer. Plate:6.5 e Jonga Pottery type: Shallow Local name: Lungle afule Utility: To prepare rice cakes, to fry rice, sesame etc. Occasionally used as platter to eat food Plate:6.5 f Fule Pottery type: Storage jar Local name: Jonga Utility: To store rice beer Plate:6.5 g Karik Pottery type: Culinary Bowl Local name: Fule Utility: To cook food items Occasionally used to prepare curd also. Plate:6.5 h Chaniatema Pottery type: Spouted pot Local name: Karik Utility: Used only for religious purpose, to offer country liquor to the deities Pottery type: Pot Local name: Chaniatema Utility: To keep liquid lime 275

33 6.2.5 TIWA POTTERY Plate:6.6 a Motong Plate:6.6 b Khola Pottery type: Culinary Bowl Local name: Motong Utility: To cook food items. Occasionally used to prepare curd also. Plate:6.6 c Medo Pottery type: Shallow Local name: Khola Utility: To prepare rice cakes, to fry rice, sesame, etc. Occasionally used as platter to eat food. Plate:6.6 d Medo Pottery type: Culinary Bowl Local name: Medo Utility: Used to prepare rice beer Plate:6.6 e Ju Muthia Plate:6.6 f Kholosh Pottery type: Storage Jar Local name: Ju Muthia Utility: To store rice beer Pottery type: Pitcher Local name: Kholosh utility: To keep water 276

34 Contd TIWA POTTERY Plate:6.6 g Thekeli Plate:6.6 h Sunthimi Pottery type: Pitcher Local name: Thekeli Utility: Used to prepare curd Pottery type: Pot Local name: Sunthimi Utility: To keep liquid lime Plate:6.6 i Puni Charu/Jap Charu/ Bara mai songa medo Plate:6.6 j Mola Pottery type: Culinary / oven Local name: Puni Charu/Jap Charu/ Bara mai songa medo Utility: To prepare Bora rice and rice cake Pottery type: Culinary Bowl Local name: Mola Utility: For cooking and curd preparing ` 277

35 6.2.6 KHASI POTTERY Plate: 6.7 a Khuiw khyndew Plate: 6.7 b Khuiew Supjapnah Pottery type: Culinary Local name: Khuiw khyndew utility: To fry and cook vegetables Pottery type: Culinary /oven Local name: Khuiew Supjapnah Utility: To prepare Bora rice and rice cake Plate: 6.7 c Uukhum Pottery type: Pitcher Local name: Uukhum Utility: To store water 278

36 Table: 6.14 Pottery types available among the contemporary ethnic groups Sl. No Types of Pottery Name of the tribes Garo Rabha Karbi Bodo Tiwa Khasi 1 Pitcher Present Present Present Present Present Present 2 Platter Present Present Present Absent Present Absent 3 Shallow Bowl Present Present Present Present Present Present 4 Deep Bowl Present Present Present Present Present Absent 5 Culinary Bowl Present Present Present Present Present Present 6 Lid Absent Absent Absent Absent Absent Absent 7 Storage Jar Present Present Present Present Present Absent 8 Pot Absent Present Present Absent Present Absent 6.3 INTERPRETATION Rim thickness of highest frequency of pots from all three localities ranges from 0.7 cm to 0.9 cm. Similarly body thickness of highest frequency of pots from all three localities ranges from 0.4 cm to 0.6 cm. High frequency of pots having a common range of both rim and body thickness indicates a common pottery pattern in the foothills region. This pattern is common and still in vogue among the inhabitants of this region. Presence of the highest numbers of platters in L-1 especially from the excavated site of Bambooti, the area was inhabitation for a long period of time. The earthenware that were clustered with the stone artifacts, stand as strong supporting evidences to understand the actual utilization of the stone artifacts. The context of its occurrence clearly indicates that the stone artifacts were definitely used as household implements. This definitely postulates an early phase of pottery culture as suggested by the OSL date. Decrease of the numbers of platters in the rest of two localities suggests uateral utilization of paddy, perhaps consumed only as boiled rice. The present ethnographic evidences can support this assumption. The use of platter is to some extent less among the present ethnic groups although the knowledge of its utilization is known to them. Use of culinary, shallow, storage jar, pitcher is very common. On the other hand, the presence of wheel made pottery, perforated jar, bead and lamp stand in the L - 3 suggest a late phase of pottery culture in this locality where use of platter has gradually decreased. The presence of high frequency of culinary in L-3 can be correlated with the maximum utilization of the earthen utensils for cooking and baking purpose by the present ethnic groups. 279

37 SKETCHES OF POTTERY Fig: 6.1 Pottery of L-1 280

38 Fig: 6.2 Pottery of L-2 281

39 Fig: 6.3 a Pottery of L-3 282

40 Fig: 6.3 b Pottery of L-3 283

41 Plate: 6.8 BBT POTSHERDS 284

42 Plate: 6.9 L-2 POTSHERDS 285

43 PLATE: 6.10 a L-3 POTSHERDS 286

44 Contd... PLATE: 6.10 b L-3 POTSHERDS 287