Anat Biol Anthropol.  2019 Jun;32(2):43-52. 10.11637/aba.2019.32.2.43.

Tales from Fragments: A Review of Indian Human Skeletal Studies

Affiliations
  • 1Department of AIHC and Archaeology, Deccan College Post Graduate and Research Institute Pune, India 411006. vmushrif@gmail.com

Abstract

India provides large number of skeletal data from the pre- and protohistoric levels covering a time span of almost 10,000 years. Major skeletal collection comes from the cultural phases ranging from the Mesolithic, Harappan, Neolithic, Chalcolithic and Iron Age levels. After the Early Historic phase cremation became the most common method for disposing the dead. Though the relevant documentation is far less than complete, recovery of human burials has been reported from more than 300 sites (Mushrif-Tripathy et al. 2016) and a conservative estimate would lead to imagine approximately 2000 human skeletons. The human skeletal analysis started around 1950s and initial focus of the study was to understand the racial classification of the skulls and to prove the Indo-Aryan invasion theory. Later from 1980s multidisplinary approach including socio-cultural anthropology, growth and nutrition and medical anthropology were considered. The recent development includes the use of new scientific methods like isotope, aDNA, DXA scans, and Scanning Electron Microscope studies etc. are consider to understand ancient inhabitants of Indian Sub-continent.

Keyword

South Asia; India; Human Skeletons; Archaeology; Aryan issue

MeSH Terms

Absorptiometry, Photon
Anthropology
Anthropology, Medical
Archaeology
Burial
Classification
Cremation
Humans*
India
Iron
Methods
Skeleton
Skull
Iron
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