Bone Technology from Late Pleistocene Caves and Rockshelters of Sri Lanka


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January 2017


The site of Batadomba-lena in the Wet Zone of Sri Lanka, yields osseous technologies in association with Homo sapiens back to c.36,000 cal years BP. Alongside isolated finds from the nearby site of Fa Hien-lena, these bone tools are the earliest of their kind in South Asia and can contribute to discussions of the adaptive context of osseous technology during Late Pleistocene human dispersals beyond Africa. Here we describe 204 bone points recovered from the Batadomba-lena rockshelter during excavations conducted in the 1980s and 2000s. Contextual analysis, alongside detailed stratigraphic and chronological information, indicates that Homo sapiens in Sri Lanka were using osseous technologies as part of a dedicated rainforest subsistence strategy by at least 36,000 cal years BP. Future work on the Sri Lankan material should acknowledge the importance of placing bone toolkits within their wider environmental and social context.


Batadomba-Lena, Bone Points, Bipoints, Rainforest, Bone Toolkit, South Asia

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