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Harappan Civilization and Oriyo Timbo.

The exemplary partnership of the Gujarat State Department of Archaeology and the University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania, under the general direction of Gregory Possehl and M. H. Raval, has produced invaluable evidence on the character of prehistoric life of western India. The present volume in the series of forthcoming publications is a case in point. Survey in the Bhavnagar District of Gujurat produced some 57 sites of various periods, the majority of which were located close to the two principal rivers of the area (Ghelo, Kalubhar). Oriyo Timbo, however, was found in the upland between and distant from these rivers. The low-lying site covers more than 3 hectares. Excavation undertaken over a single season of about 6 weeks produced a body of faunal evidence which was analyzed by the authors. These remains were almost entirely bovid and confined to the upper levels of the site, which Possehl has determined to be of Rangpur III Lustrous Red ware date and affinity. The Rangpur sequence has provided an unbroken sequence from what can be called Classic Harappan to the provincial Lustrous Red ware horizon. Thus it is likely that this horizon at Oriyo Timbo is akin to the Jhukar in Sind as a manifestation of the Late Harappan. The architectural remains, while scanty, are definitive in that they represent the windbreaks and hearths of seasonal camps. Rissman, in an exquisite study and analysis of the associated fauna via concentration on mandibular eruption, teeth rings, and epiphysial fusion, was able to determine that the animals involved were slaughtered in the dry season, and most at ages from two to five years; with some animals kept to older ages and very few young killed. Though the intensive floral studies carried out by Gail Wanger via flotation did evidence the millets, the general conclusion is that Oriyo Timbo was a cattle pastoralist's camp occupied seasonally during the early or mid-second millennium B.C. Though sites of this order are known in Sind and the Cholistan, for example, this is the first definitive study of one of this type.

A surprise resulting from deeper excavation of one part of the site was the revelation of an underlying Microlithic horizon akin to the Gujarati Microlithic known widely in the region. The season was too short to determine if there was some relationship to the Later Lustrous Red ware stage.
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Author:Fairservis, Walter, Jr.
Publication:The Journal of the American Oriental Society
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jan 1, 1993
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