Dear editor and authors,
The article entitled “Ran-thok and Ling-chhom: indigenous grinding stones of Shertukpen tribes of Arunachal Pradesh, India” reports indigenous technology use and tradition on grinding stones where 2 instrumental stone technologies are described for food processing, particularly cereals which by this mean acquire specific characteristics and qualities. The study is very interesting from an anthropological, ethnographic and ethnoarchaeological point of view by reporting an endangered material culture.
Overall, the article is interesting and has potential but shows some logical reason problems. Some phrasing needs revision as the message it is trying to convey is not always clear. There are also methodological information gaps that I express below in the form of questions. For this reason, I propose major corrections which include adding more information in the results section and rewriting sections of the article, particularly the introduction and conclusion.
A - Major corrections
Introduction and background:
As it was my understanding, the authors are introducing the reader to grinding stones and nutting stones technology from Shertukpen tribes. It is easy for the reader to get lost in the section. Particularly in the first paragraph: there is a lack of connection between ideas and some sentences seem isolated in a paragraph that becomes circular and repetitive (see e.g. minor corrections) 3).
- it is not clear whether the grinding stones and nutting stones technology presented in the introduction refers to a global or particular form of technology or particularly to the one developed by the tribes under study. In this sense, are the raw materials referred to in the second paragraph (beginning in "Nutting stones have...") the ones used in the study region in India or Texas (from the cited author)?
- In the 3rd paragraph authors indicate there are 26 major tribes and proceed to name 15 of them – what is the criteria of choice? I suggest rephrasing this.
- (last paragraph of intro) Authors indicate that the Shertukpens are "good at wood carving and stone sculpting". Then carry on with "However, declining availability of raw materials such as wood and bamboo has encouraged Shertukpen artisans to adapt to their environment and become skilled experts in making stone tools". - It is not clear whether stone technology is a tradition or a more recent adaptation. Overall, this paragraph is confusing.
Going forward there is also a lack of information about the area of study which I suggest being moved to after the intro and before the methods.
This study is based on personal interviews, Focus group discussions and field observations.
- Authors indicate 120 households from 12 villages? Which?
- What questions were included in the interviews? What are the details of the interview population (gender, age, occupation)?
It would be interesting to see more details on the interviews described in the method section. Are there differences between villas in terms of raw material used; stone tool mean size; proportion of grinding tools and nutting tools.
Some of the problems with the introduction are present in the discussion – discourse needs to be reorganised to have a clear thread and to answer questions that are only implicit throughout the text.
- Suggest moving the first paragraph of the discussion to the introduction of the article.
- Not clear what “take care” means in this sentence. I suggest the authors rewrite the second paragraph – is confusing.
- Discussion focuses on women interaction during grinding activities. Some questions arise that could be answered in the results section such as: is this an activity performed only by women? What is the labour division – e.g. one group produces the tools, another group uses them?
- Are there differences or similarities between the households interviewed? If this is a first approach to the region technology from an ethnographic and anthropological point of view then it should be referred to in the introduction.
In this section, I suggest avoiding having references or new information not mentioned prior in the article.
- The conclusion focuses too much on modern mechanical technology. What are the conclusions drawn from the analysis on stone technology?
- This first sentence seems to be a cited conclusion from other authors and for this reason, I suggest it be moved to the discussion sections.
- Authors conclude the technology is “environmentally friendly” – I suggest exploring more this idea in the discussion and elaborate more on this sentence.
B - Minor corrections
1 – 3rd line of introduction section: “…to human survival during the past years” suggest remove the word “years”
2 – 6th line of introduction section: change order to “Upper Palaeolithic and Neolithic” (for chronological consistency).
3 - 8th line of introduction section: remove “these implements are often called grinding stones”.
4 – 4th paragraph of introduction section: remove “, etc.”
5 – 7th line in results section: typo in “gething” - should be getheng
6 – 12th line in results: “both the stones” – remove “the”
7 – 13th line in results: remove “by the stones”.
8 – 2nd paragraph in results: last sentence starting in “Further reports …)” seems to be missing a verb.
9 – 3rd paragraph in results: “So, they (…)” change to “interviewed villagers” or similar expression to detail who “they” is referring to.
10 – Nixon-Darcus, 2014 thesis should be cited in the discussion paragraph about Ethiopia and removed from the conclusion.