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Stone Age Traditions of Meghalaya: A study of variation and continuityAbdullah Ali Ashraf
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Human adaptation in relation to northeast India is relatively unknown; various general aspects have been studied and usually interpreted within the conventional framework of prehistory. But in this volume, concentrating on Meghalaya, a hilly region stretching from east to west in the south-westernmost corner of northeast India, an endeavour has been made to go beyond the conventional limits to explore some new dimensions of the material under study. To have a better comprehension of the life and cultures during the archaeological past of this area, an anthropological evaluation proves more effective. The data incorporated in this study are obtained through archaeological explorations and excavations. This led the authors to identify three adaptive mechanisms. The variations in adaptive patterns in a particular time period operating within an area analogous to its eco-cultural setting are the results of subsistence variables among the bands. The contributing variables specific to the emergence of distinct and individual adaptive patterns could better be analyzed by the aforesaid approach. The present study leads us to elicit this picture that variations in 'Broad Spectrum Tradition' (discussed in the context of Hoabinhian traditions of this area) is not an outcome or result of a particular or specific factors, such as climate and ecological adjustment, population expansion or sudden exposure to a new technology. It is, rather, the outcome of an interaction of behavioral traits relating to technology, economy and other factors: this is the key to the understanding of the formations of cultures within a Culture. Three prehistoric sites of the region form the basis of the present study: Saw Mer in the east Khasi Hills, Makbil Bisik and Bibra Gre in the western Garo Hills.