Until recently the scientific study of the prehistoric peoples of India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and the South Asian borderlands has been neglected, beyond some cursory comments in the popular literature about archaeological discoveries. Here is a book that offers much more: a broad survey of all prehistoric cultures of the Indian subcontinent from Paleolithic to Iron Age times.
Written in a style accessible to the general reader, the book pioneers a new approach involving the integration of data from archaeological, paleontological, ecological, and anthropological investigations to offer a comprehensive picture of the origins, diversity, and lifeways of southern Asian populations. Complex scientific ideas are clearly and carefully explained in early chapters as the author considers the theories of human origins in Asia and the significance of the fossils of anthropoid apes recovered from the Siwalik hills (the "God-Apes"). Thereafter the text carries the story of human life on the subcontinent through distinct cultural periods from the Paleolithic to the Iron Age.
Over the course of the book Kenneth A. R. Kennedy demonstrates that South Asian paleoanthropology has been formed by two intellectual forces: Western scientific traditions and native Vedic traditions. The interactions of Western and South Asian scholars have produced a unique approach to the study of ancient populations in this part of the world.
No other book exists today on this subject, and God-Apes and Fossil Men: Paleoanthropology of South Asia serves as a model for future studies of ancient peoples and places.
Kenneth A. R. Kennedy is Professor of Ecology, Anthropology, and Asian Studies in the Division of Biological Sciences, Cornell University. He has over thirty-five years of field and laboratory research in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and the borderlands.
Winner: American Anthropological Association's 2002 W.W. Howells Book Prize in Biological Anthropology