Analysis of a protohistoric net from Shahi Tump, Baluchistan (Pakistan)

  • Romain Thomas
  • Margareta Tengberg
  • Christophe Moulhérat
  • Vincent Marcon
  • Roland Besenval
Original Paper
  • 237 Downloads

Abstract

The fire that partly destroyed a 4th millennium BCE building at Shahi Tump in the Kech Valley of south-western Pakistan is responsible for the exceptional preservation by carbonisation of a net found on the burnt floor as a heap of entangled cords and knots. Macro- and microscopic observation has allowed a reconstruction of the techniques used to manufacture the net from a two-strand plied cord. The comparison of the phytoliths extracted from the archaeological net to those from a modern reference collection suggests the use of fibres that originate from the leaves of a local palm species: the desert palm or Nannorrhops ritchieana (Griff.) Aitch. Besides the technical and archaeobotanical aspects of the study, the paper discussed past and present uses of the desert palm in the arid regions of the Middle East as well as the possible utilisation (fishing, carrying etc.) of the protohistoric net.

Keywords

Cordage Net Fibre crafts Baluchistan Protohistoric period Phytolith analysis Nannorrhops ritchieana 

References

  1. Albert RM, Weiner S (2001) Study of phytoliths in prehistoric ash layers using a quantitative approach. In: Meunier J, Colin F (eds) Phytoliths: applications in Earth sciences and human history. A.A. Balkema Publishers, Leiden, pp 251–266Google Scholar
  2. Albert RM, Bamford MK, Cabanes D (2009) Palaeoecological significance of palms at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, based on phytolith remains. Quatern Int 193(1–2):41–48CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bamford MK, Albert RM, Cabanes D (2006) Plio-Pleistocene macroplant fossil remains and phytoliths from Lowermost Bed II in the eastern palaeolake margin of Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania. Quatern Int 148:95–112CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Besenval R (1997) Entre le Sud-Est iranien et la plaine de l’Indus: le Kech-Makran. Recherches archéologiques sur le peuplement ancien d’une marche des confines indo-iraniens. Arts Asiatiques 52:5–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Besenval R (2000) New data for the chronology of the Protohistory of Kech-Makran (Pakistan) from Miri Qalat 1996 and Shahi Tump 1997 field-seasons. In: Taddei M and De Marco G (eds) South Asian Archaeology 1997, Rome, pp 161–187Google Scholar
  6. Besenval R (2005) Chronology of Protohistoric Kech-Makran. In: Jarrige C, Lefèvre V (eds) South Asian Archaeology 2005. Editions Recherche sur les Civilisations, Paris, pp 1–9Google Scholar
  7. Besenval R, Didier A (2004) Peuplement protohistorique du Kech-Makran au 3e millénaire av. J.-C.: l’assemblage céramique de la période IIIc sur le site de Miri Qalat. Paléorient 30(2):159–178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. D’Harcourt R (2008) Les textiles anciens du Pérou et leurs techniques. Flammarion, Paris (re-edition from 1934)Google Scholar
  9. Delhon C, Orliac C (2008) Les palmiers disparus de l’Île de Pâques: Nouvelles données radiocarbones et phytolithiques. In: Valentin F (ed) Etudes pluridisciplinaires sur les sociétés anciennes du Pacifique Sud. CNRS, ParisGoogle Scholar
  10. Desse J, Desse-Berset N (2005a) Ancient exploitation of marine resources on the Makran Coast (Balochistan, Pakistan). In: Jarrige C, Lefèvre V (eds) South Asian Archaeology 2005. Editions Recherche sur les Civilisations, Paris, pp 85–93Google Scholar
  11. Desse J, Desse-Berset N (2005b) Les ichtyophages du Makran (Béloutchistan, Pakistan). In: Desse J, Desse-Berset N (eds) Past exploitations of aquatic ecosystems in south-west Asia: Environmental approaches. Special issue of Paléorient 31/1, pp. 86–96Google Scholar
  12. Desse J, Desse-Berset N, Henry A, Tengberg M, Besenval R (2008) Faune et flore des niveaux profonds de Shahi-Tump (Balochistan, Pakistan). Premiers résultats. Paléorient 34(1):159–171Google Scholar
  13. Doyon-Bernard SJ (1990) From twining to triple cloth: experimentation and innovation in ancient peruvian weaving (ca. 5000–400 BC). Am Antiq 55(1):68–87CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dransfield J, Uhl N, Asmussen-Lange CB, Baker WJ, Harley MM, Lewis CE (2008) Genera palmarum: the evolution and classification of palms, 2nd edn. Kew Publishing, KewGoogle Scholar
  15. Durand M, Saragoza F (2002) Egypte, la trame de l’histoire: Textiles pharaoniques, coptes et islamiques. Exhibition catalogue, Department Museum of Rouen, Somogy Art Editions, ParisGoogle Scholar
  16. eFloras.org (Floras online) Flora of Pakistan. Available at: http://www.efloras.org/flora_page.aspx?flora_id=5. Accessed 12 July 2011
  17. Good IL (1999) The ecology of exchange: textiles from Shahr-i Sokhta, eastern Iran. University of Pennsylvania, DissertationGoogle Scholar
  18. Hughes-Buller R (1906) Makran (text and appendices). Baluchistan District Gazetteer Series VII. Times Press, BombayGoogle Scholar
  19. Kamal A (1984) Palmae. In: Nasir E, Ali S (eds) Flora of Pakistan, Pakistan Agricultural Research Council, vol 153. Shamin Printing Press, Karachi, p 33Google Scholar
  20. Locquin M, Langeron M (1978) Manuel de microscopie. Masson, ParisGoogle Scholar
  21. Madella M, Alexandre A, Ball T (2005) International code for phytolith nomenclature 1.0. Ann Bot 96:253–260CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Marcon V, Lechevallier M (2000) Lithic industries of the Indo-Iranian border. Technological approach of blade debitage in the assemblages of Mehrgarh, Nausharo and Miri Qalat in Baluchistan, Pakistan. In: Taddei M and De Marco G (eds) South Asian Archaeology 1997, Rome, pp 215–235Google Scholar
  23. Médard F (2010) Le tissage au Néolithique sur les sites lacustres du Plateau suisse. Matières premières, techniques et contexte de production. Collection CRA monographies, CNRS éditionsGoogle Scholar
  24. Mille B, Bourgarit D, Besenval R (2001) Metallurgical study of the “Leopards Weight” from Shahi-Tump (Pakistan). In: Jarrige C, Lefèvre V (eds) South Asian Archaeology 2005. Editions Recherche sur les Civilisations, Paris, pp 237–244Google Scholar
  25. Miller AG, Morris M (1988) Plants of Dhofar. The southern region of Oman. Traditional, economic and medicinal uses. The Office of the Adviser for Conservation of the Environment, Diwan of Royal Court Sultanate of OmanGoogle Scholar
  26. Moore HE Jr (1980) Palmae. In: Rechinger K (ed) Flora des Iranischen Hochlandes und der Umrahmenden Gebirge. Akademische Druck-u, Verlagsanstalt, Graz, p 6Google Scholar
  27. Moulhérat C, Tengberg M, Haquet J, Mille B (2002) First evidence of cotton at Neolithic Mehrgarh, Pakistan. Analysis of mineralised fibres from a copper bead. JAS 29:1393–1401Google Scholar
  28. Mutin B (2007) La “Basket Ware”, une production céramique originale de la Protohistoire des confins indo-iraniens. Paléorient 32(2):175–193CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Parry DW, Smithson F (1958) Techniques for studying opaline silica in grass leaves. Ann Bot 22:543–549Google Scholar
  30. Prychid CJ, Rudall PJ, Gregory M (2004) Systematics and biology of silica bodies in monocotyledons. Bot Rev 69(4):377–440CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Richardson N, Dorr M (2003) The craft heritage of Oman, 2 vols. Motivate Publishing, DubaiGoogle Scholar
  32. Tengberg M (1999) Crop husbandry at Miri Qalat, Makran, SW Pakistan (4000–2000 BC). VHA 8(1–2):3–12Google Scholar
  33. Tengberg M, Moulhérat C (2008) Les “arbres à laine”. Origine et histoire du coton dans l’Ancien Monde. Les Nouvelles de l’Archéologie 114:42–46Google Scholar
  34. Thomas R (2008) Anatomie des palmiers (Arecaceae Bercht. & Presl) et identification: application à l’archéobotanique. Master dissertation, Natural History Museum of ParisGoogle Scholar
  35. Tomlinson PB (1961) Palmae. In: Metcalfe C (ed) Anatomy of the monocotyledons, vol 2. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Romain Thomas
    • 1
  • Margareta Tengberg
    • 2
  • Christophe Moulhérat
    • 3
  • Vincent Marcon
    • 4
  • Roland Besenval
    • 4
  1. 1.Natural History Museum of ParisUMR 7207 MNHN-CNRS-UPMC, Centre de recherche sur la paléobiodiversité et les PaléoenvironnementsParisFrance
  2. 2.Natural History Museum of ParisUMR 7209 MNHN-CNRS Archéozoologie, archéobotanique: Sociétés, pratiques et environnementsParisFrance
  3. 3.Quai Branly MuseumParisFrance
  4. 4.National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS)UMR 9993 CNRS Centre de recherches archéologiques Indus-Baluchistan-Asie centrale et orientaleParisFrance

Personalised recommendations