Sheri Khan Tarakai

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Sheri Khan Tarakai is an ancient settlement site located in the Bannu District of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, Pakistan. Bannu District makes up a part of the topographic region known as the Bannu basin, which sits adjacent to the hills of Afghanistan and Waziristan to the west and the Indus River floodplain on the east.

The site of Sheri Khan Tarakai was discovered in 1985 by members of the Bannu Archaeological Project,[1] and it is the oldest known village settlement in the Bannu region. Archaeological excavations were carried out at the site for five seasons between 1986 and 1990. These excavations have shown that the settlement at Sheri Khan Tarakai was a small village, populated at any one time by perhaps a few hundred people who lived in mud-walled houses, some of which had stone foundations and flat roofs made of wattle and daub.[2] It is unlikely that the whole area of the identified site was occupied at one time.

Life at Sheri Khan Tarakai[edit]

The past inhabitants of the village used a variety of utilitarian pottery vessels that were decorated with a range of geometric and figurative motifs,[3] and it is likely that these vessels were being made from raw materials collected close to the site.[4] The stone tools (lithic artefacts) that were used at the settlement were also produced from raw materials sourced close by,[5] and the majority of small-find objects, which include a diverse range of terracotta human figurines, were predominantly made from locally available materials.[6] The range of finished pottery vessels, lithic tools and small finds, and the associated production debris that was discovered, indicate the range of craft activities being carried out on-site, including pottery firing, bone working, lithic flaking, stone grinding and bead drilling. The diverse range of terracotta figurines and the motifs depicted on many of the ceramic vessels suggest that the lives of the inhabitants were enlivened by a rich iconographic tradition.

The inhabitants of Sheri Khan Tarakai deployed a range of subsistence strategies, including the cultivation of barley and wheat, the management of domestic sheep, goat and cattle, the collection of a range of wild plant and wood species, and the hunting of a wide variety of wild animals.[7] The abundance of grinding artefacts at the site and the presence of rachis internodes and chaff in some deposits suggests that several phases of grain processing were probably taking place on-site. Few young domestic animals appear to have been slaughtered at the site, and the fact that most lived on into adulthood suggests that they were primarily used as a source of meat, but possibly also to provide secondary products such as wool and milk, as well as work and dung.[7] The location of the settlement would have allowed use of the run-off from the ephemeral torrents that flowed from the hills of Waziristan to the west of the site, and the inhabitants are likely to have engaged in some type of flood-water farming. Storage structures imply that people might have lived at the site throughout the year, but there is also evidence that either a proportion of the population, or other people that they were interacting with, were engaging in some form of transhumant pastoralism.

Sheri Khan Tarakai in context[edit]

Sheri Khan Tarakai and several other contemporaneous sites in the Bannu basin and the Gomal plain present a relatively conservative cultural assemblage that shows limited technological change throughout much of the fourth millennium BC. The available dating evidence indicates that Sheri Khan Tarakai was occupied from the late fifth until the early third millennium BC.[8] This date range indicates that the occupation at Sheri Khan Tarakai was also contemporaneous with several other important early village sites in the borderlands at the northwestern edge of South Asia, including Mehrgarh (Periods III-V), Kili Gul Mohammad (Periods III-IV), and Rana Ghundai (Periods I-II). The earliest occupation at Sheri Khan Tarakai appears to slightly predate the earliest occupation at major sites on the plains of the Punjab, such as Harappa (Period Ia - Ravi phase).

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Bannu Archaeological Project,
  2. ^ Khan, F., Knox, J.R., Thomas, K.D., Petrie, C.A. & Morris, J.C. 2010. Sheri Khan Tarakai and early village life in the borderlands of north-west Pakistan, Petrie, C.A. (ed.). Bannu Archaeological Project Monographs - Volume 1, Oxbow Books, Oxford.
  3. ^ Petrie, C.A., Knox, J.R., Khan, F., Thomas, K.D., Morris, J.C. & Joyner, L. 2010. Ceramic vessels from Sheri Khan Tarakai, in Petrie, C.A. (ed.). Sheri Khan Tarakai and early village life in the borderlands of north-west Pakistan, Bannu Archaeological Project Monographs - Volume 1, Oxbow Books, Oxford: 71-193.
  4. ^ Petrie, C.A. & Morris, J.C. 2010. Ceramic and lithic production systems of the Sheri Khan Tarakai Phase, in Petrie, C.A. (ed.). Sheri Khan Tarakai and early village life in the borderlands of north-west Pakistan, Pakistan, Bannu Archaeological Project Monographs - Volume 1, Oxbow Books, Oxford: 399-406.
  5. ^ Morris, J.C. and Khan, F. 2010. Struck lithics from Sheri Khan Tarakai, In Petrie, C.A. (Ed.). Sheri Khan Tarakai and early village life in the borderlands of north-west Pakistan, Bannu Archaeological Project Monographs - Volume 1, Oxford, Oxbow Books: 195-210
  6. ^ Knox, J.R., Thomas, K.D., Khan, F. & Petrie, C.A. 2010. Small finds from Sheri Khan Tarakai, in Petrie, C.A. (ed.). Sheri Khan Tarakai and early village life in the borderlands of north-west Pakistan, Bannu Archaeological Project Monographs - Volume 1, Oxbow Books, Oxford: 211-303.
  7. ^ a b Thomas, K.D. and Cartwright, C. 2010. The biological remains from Sheri Khan Tarakai, In Petrie, C.A. (Ed.). Sheri Khan Tarakai and early village life in the borderlands of north-west Pakistan, Pakistan, Bannu Archaeological Project Monographs - Volume 1, Oxford, Oxbow Books: 305-342
  8. ^ Petrie, C.A., Thomas, K.D. & Morris, J.C. 2010. Chronology of Sheri Khan Tarakai, in Petrie, C.A. (ed.). Sheri Khan Tarakai and early village life in the borderlands of north-west Pakistan, Bannu Archaeological Project Monographs - Volume 1, Oxbow Books, Oxford: 343-352.

External links[edit]