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PAPPU Shanti

  • Archaeology, Sharma Centre for Heritage Education , Chennai , India
  • Ancient Palaeolithic, Asia, Lithic technology, Mesolithic, Middle Palaeolithic, Palaeoanthropology, Raw materials, Upper Palaeolithic
  • recommender

Recommendation:  1

Reviews:  0

Educational and work
Shanti Pappu, is the founder/secretary of the Sharma Centre for Heritage Education (SCHE, Est.1999), based in India. She is a former Professor of Prehistory from the Deccan College, Pune, from where she completed her Ph.D. She is interested in pre-and proto-history, experimental and ethnoarchaeology, as also public outreach. Dr. Pappu and Dr. K.Akhilesh of the SCHE are directing a long-term interdisciplinary project, investigating Prehistory and Palaeoenvironments along the southeast coast of India, including excavations at Attirampakkam and Sendrayanpalayam, and surveys in parts of northern and southern Tamil Nadu. A combination of field based investigations, use of satellite remote sensing, GIS, combine goals for research, public outreach and advocacy for heritage management. They have published 2 books (S.Pappu) and over 30 research papers in peer-reviewed journals, including Science and Nature. The SCHE also organizes workshops on prehistory, lithic studies and experimental lithic knapping. Since March 2020, they are hosting ‘Down Ancient Trails’, an online archaeology forum, with lectures, discussion meetings and workshops, for a diverse audience. Dr.Pappu, has guided two Ph.D and two Master’s students, and is also a reviewer for several international archaeology journals. She is also a former Homi Bhabha Fellow,a Charles Wallace fellow, and has obtained several awards including Prof. H.D. Sankalia gold medal, Deccan College, and Young Scientist award, Earthwatch Institute, USA. Since 1999, the SCHE, through its children’s museum, runs workshops for children, teachers and students, on-campus, during fieldwork, and in parts of India, Sri Lanka and S.Korea. She holds a law degree with a dissertation on cultural heritage laws of India.

Recommendation:  1

11 Jan 2022
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Tektite geoarchaeology in mainland Southeast Asia

Tektites as chronological markers: after careful geoarchaeological validation only!

Recommended by and based on reviews by Sheila Mishra, Toshihiro Tada, Mike Morley and 1 anonymous reviewer

Tektites, a naturally occurring glass produced by major cosmic impacts and ejected at long distances, are known from five impacts worldwide [1]. The presence of this impact-generated glass, which can be dated in the same way as a volcanic rock, has been used to date archaeological sites in several regions of the world. This paper by Marwick and colleagues [2] reviews and adds new data on the use and misuse of this specific material as a chronological marker in Australia, East and Southeast Asia, where an impact dated to 0.78 Ma created and widely distributed tektites. This material, found in archaeological excavations in China, Laos, Thaïland, Australia, Borneo, and Vietnam, has been used to date layers containing lithic artifacts, sometimes creating a strong debate about the antiquity of the occupation and lithic production in certain regions.

The review of existing data shows that geomorphological data and stratigraphic integrity can be questioned at many sites that have yielded tektites. The new data provided by this paper for five archaeological sites located in Vietnam confirm that many deposits containing tektites are indeed lag deposits and that these artifacts, thus in secondary position, cannot be considered to date the layer. This study also emphasizes the general lack of other dating methods that would allow comparison with the tektite age. In the Vietnamese archaeological sites presented here, discrepancies between methods, and the presence of historical artifacts, confirm that the layers do not share similar age with the cosmic impact that created the tektites.

Based on this review and these new results, and following previous propositions [3], Marwick and colleagues conclude that, if tektites can be used as chronological markers, one has to prove that they are in situ. They propose that geomorphological assessment of the archaeological layer as primary deposit must first be attained, in addition to several parameters of the tektites themselves (shape, size distribution, chemical composition). Large error can be made by using only tektites to date an archaeological layer, and this material should not be used solely due to risks of high overestimation of the age of the archaeological production. 

[1] Rochette, P., Beck, P., Bizzarro, M., Braucher, R., Cornec, J., Debaille, V., Devouard, B., Gattacceca, J., Jourdan, F., Moustard, F., Moynier, F., Nomade, S., Reynard, B. (2021). Impact glasses from Belize represent tektites from the Pleistocene Pantasma impact crater in Nicaragua. Communications Earth & Environment, 2(1), 1–8, https://doi.org/10.1038/s43247-021-00155-1

[2] Marwick, B., Son, P. T., Brewer, R., Wang, L.-Y. (2022). Tektite geoarchaeology in mainland Southeast Asia. SocArXiv, 93fpa, ver. 6 peer-reviewed and recommended by PCI Archaeology, https://doi.org/10.31235/osf.io/93fpa.

[3] Tada, T., Tada, R., Chansom, P., Songtham, W., Carling, P. A., Tajika, E. (2020). In Situ Occurrence of Muong Nong-Type Australasian Tektite Fragments from the Quaternary Deposits near Huai Om, Northeastern Thailand. Progress in Earth and Planetary Science 7(1), 1–15, https://doi.org/10.1186/s40645-020-00378-4

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PAPPU Shanti

  • Archaeology, Sharma Centre for Heritage Education , Chennai , India
  • Ancient Palaeolithic, Asia, Lithic technology, Mesolithic, Middle Palaeolithic, Palaeoanthropology, Raw materials, Upper Palaeolithic
  • recommender

Recommendation:  1

Reviews:  0

Educational and work
Shanti Pappu, is the founder/secretary of the Sharma Centre for Heritage Education (SCHE, Est.1999), based in India. She is a former Professor of Prehistory from the Deccan College, Pune, from where she completed her Ph.D. She is interested in pre-and proto-history, experimental and ethnoarchaeology, as also public outreach. Dr. Pappu and Dr. K.Akhilesh of the SCHE are directing a long-term interdisciplinary project, investigating Prehistory and Palaeoenvironments along the southeast coast of India, including excavations at Attirampakkam and Sendrayanpalayam, and surveys in parts of northern and southern Tamil Nadu. A combination of field based investigations, use of satellite remote sensing, GIS, combine goals for research, public outreach and advocacy for heritage management. They have published 2 books (S.Pappu) and over 30 research papers in peer-reviewed journals, including Science and Nature. The SCHE also organizes workshops on prehistory, lithic studies and experimental lithic knapping. Since March 2020, they are hosting ‘Down Ancient Trails’, an online archaeology forum, with lectures, discussion meetings and workshops, for a diverse audience. Dr.Pappu, has guided two Ph.D and two Master’s students, and is also a reviewer for several international archaeology journals. She is also a former Homi Bhabha Fellow,a Charles Wallace fellow, and has obtained several awards including Prof. H.D. Sankalia gold medal, Deccan College, and Young Scientist award, Earthwatch Institute, USA. Since 1999, the SCHE, through its children’s museum, runs workshops for children, teachers and students, on-campus, during fieldwork, and in parts of India, Sri Lanka and S.Korea. She holds a law degree with a dissertation on cultural heritage laws of India.