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Jwalapuram (ज्वालापुरम) (meaning "City of fire" in Sanskrit) is an archaeological site in the Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh, southern India.


The location of Jwalapuram in context with other prehistoric sites in the region of river valleys of Krishna River and Tungabhadra River.


Jwalapuram shows hominid habitation before and after the Toba event (73 kya) according to the Toba catastrophe theory.[1][2]

It is unclear what species of humans settled Jwalapuram as no fossil remains have yet been found.[3][4]

Jwalapuram is of particular importance in understanding the emergence of microlithic technology in South Asia and the role of environmental change on lithic technological change. At Jwalapuram Locality 9, five stratigraphic units provide a record of technological change through time. Microblade technology dominates lithic assemblages from Stratum E to the top deposit. There are many different definitions for “microblade” and Clarkson et al. define microblade with a 40mm maximum length in the direction of striking and a length:width ratio greater than 2:1; they also include that the dorsal surface has nearly no cortex (less than 20 percent) and at least on dorsal ridge in the direction of striking as well as nearly parallel lateral margins.Using this definition of microblade, Clarkson et al. track the changing density of microblade technology throughout the strata. The changes in microlithic technology is speculated to have been caused by climate change, which made the area more arid and therefore groups of people had to become more mobile, causing changes in their technological tool kits.[5]

The archaeological site was visited by Dr. Alice Roberts, presenter of the BBC documentary The Incredible Human Journey.[6]

Southern Route dispersal of humans from Africa

By some 70,000 years ago, a part of the bearers of mitochondrial haplogroup L3 migrated from East Africa into the Near East. It has been estimated that from a population of 2,000 to 5,000 individuals in Africa, only a small group, possibly as few as 150 to 1,000 people, crossed the Red Sea.[7][8] The group that crossed the Red Sea travelled along the coastal route around Arabia and Persia to India, which appears to be the first major settling point.[9]

Alistair Moffat[10] writes.... By the time brands of people had moved along the coastal rim of Arabia and reached the Persian Gulf (which may have been a delta of the Tigris and Euphrates river system rather than a body of seawater), some carried on eastwards while others split off and travelled into what became the Fertile Crescent. Archaeological finds in Indian subcontinent confirm the recent African origin of the migrants. Stone tools from digs at Patna in western India, Jwalapuram in south-east India and Batadomba Lena in Sri Lanka are very similar in form and sophistication to those found in South Africa. The letter were discovered in the Blombos Caves on the Indian Ocean coast and at the Klasies River near the Cape. They were made by the southern migrants from Central Africa, people who probably carried the mtDNA of the earliest branches from mitochondrial Eve.

External links


  1. Patel, Samir S. (January/February 2008). "Paleolithic Tools, Jwalapuram Valley, India," Archaeology, 61 (1)
  2. Petraglia, Michael, et al. (6 July 2007). "Middle Paleolithic Assemblages from the Indian Subcontinent Before and After the Toba Super-Eruption," Science 317 (5834): 114-116
  3. Balter, Michael (5 March 2010). "Of Two Minds About Toba's Impact," Science 327 (5970): 1187-1188
  4. Haslam, Michael (1 May 2012), A southern Indian Middle Palaeolithic occupation surface sealed by the 74 ka Toba eruption: Further evidence from Jwalapuram Locality 22, Quaternary International Volume 258, Pages 148–164
  5. Clarkson, Chris; Petraglia, Michael; Korisettar, Ravi; Haslam, Michael; Boivin, Nicole; Crowther, Alison; Ditchfield, Peter; Fuller, Dorian; Miracle, Preston; Harris, Claire; Connell, Kate; James, Hannah; Koshy, Jinu (2009). "The oldest and longest enduring microlithic sequence in India: 35000 years of modern human occupation and change at the Jwalapuram Locality 9 rockshelter". Antiquity. 83: 326–348.
  6. Roberts, Alice (31 May 2009) The Incredible Human Journey - Part 4 - Australia
  7. Zhivotovsky; Rosenberg, NA; Feldman, MW; et al. (2003). "Features of Evolution and Expansion of Modern Humans, Inferred from Genomewide Microsatellite Markers". American Journal of Human Genetics. 72 (5): 1171–86.
  8. Stix, Gary (2008). "The Migration History of Humans: DNA Study Traces Human Origins Across the Continents".
  9. Metspalu M, Kivisild T, Metspalu E, Parik J, Hudjashov G, Kaldma K, Serk P, Karmin M, Behar DM, Gilbert MT, Endicott P, Mastana S, Papiha SS, Skorecki K, Torroni A, Villems R (August 2004). "Most of the extant mtDNA boundaries in south and southwest Asia were likely shaped during the initial settlement of Eurasia by anatomically modern humans". BMC Genet. 5: 26. doi:10.1186/1471-2156-5-26. PMC 516768 Freely accessible. PMID 15339343.
  10. Alistair Moffat: The British: A Genetic Journey, Birlinn, 2013,ISBN:9781780270753, p.37