ArchaeoCafé Podcast – Episode 2-26 – Chippin’ Away: An interview with Akash Srinivas

hosted by Otis Crandell

In this episode I talk with Akash Srinivas about lithics research and the Palaeolithic in India as well as podcasting for public education.

Listen to this episode online:



Some useful terminology and links

A period in prehistory distinguished by the original development of stone tools that covers c. 99% of the period of human technological prehistory.

Archaeology in India

Artefact typology
The result of the classification of things according to their physical characteristics. The products of the classification (in other words, the classes) are also called types. Most archaeological typologies organize portable artefacts into types, but typologies of larger structures, including buildings, field monuments, fortifications or roads, are equally possible. A typology helps to manage a large mass of archaeological data.

Chaîne opératoire
A methodological tool for analysing the technical processes and social acts involved in the step-by-step production, use, and eventual disposal of artefacts, such as lithic reduction (the making of stone tools) or pottery.

Lithic reduction
The process of fashioning stones or rocks from their natural state into tools or weapons by removing some parts.

Pressure flaking
A method of trimming the edge of a stone tool by removing small lithic flakes by pressing on the stone with a sharp instrument rather than striking it with a percussor (e.g., a hammer).

Stone tool technology
[A.K.A. lithic technology] Includes a broad array of techniques used to produce usable tools from various types of stone.

The shaping of flint, chert, obsidian, or other conchoidal fracturing stone through the process of lithic reduction to manufacture stone tools (among other modern products). For stone tools and flintlock strikers, chert is often first worked using a hammer (usually of stone, antler, or bone) to remove lithic flakes from a large piece of stone. Stone tools can then be further refined using wood, bone, and antler tools to perform pressure flaking. Knapping is distinguished from the more general verb “chip” (to break up into small pieces, or unintentionally break off a piece of something) and is different from “carve” (removing only part of a face), and “cleave” (breaking along a natural plane).

A hard, non-foliated metamorphic rock which was originally pure quartz sandstone. Sandstone is converted into quartzite through heating and pressure usually related to tectonic compression within orogenic belts. The term quartzite is also sometimes used for very hard but unmetamorphosed sandstones that are composed of quartz grains thoroughly cemented with additional quartz. Such sedimentary rock has come to be described as orthoquartzite to distinguish it from metamorphic quartzite, which is sometimes called metaquartzite to emphasize its metamorphic origins. As a knapped tool material, quartzite is generally very durable and usually produces a conchoidal fracture but is coarse grained and requires a lot of force to knap.


Selected media

The Missing Piece: A Review of Lower and Middle Palaeolithic Archaeology in Southern Karnataka
by Akash Srinivas
Heritage: Journal of Multidisciplinary Studies in Archaeology 5 (2017): 715‐734

Role of Social Matrices in the Preservation of the Archaeological Record: A Case Study of the Differential Preservation of the Archaeological Record in the Kibbanahalli Palaeolithic Complex, Southern Karnataka, India
by Akash Srinivas
In the book: Sustainability and Sociocultural Matrices: Transdisciplinary contributions for Cultural Integrated Landscape Management, Vol. 3, Editors: Luiz Oosterbeek, Benno Werlen, Laurent Caron. 2017. p. 26-37.

Palaeolithic archaeology at Kibbanahalli, Southern Karnataka, India
by Akash Srinivas
Antiquity, 2014, Vol. 88(342)

Chippin’ Away
A podcast on archaeology and anthropology of South Asia, hosted by Akash Srinivas and Durga Kale.


About Akash Srinivas

Akash is an archaeologist at the Indian Institute of Science Education & Research in Mohali, India. His research focuses in particular on the production and use of stone tools during the South Asian Palaeolithic, specifically in India. He also co-hosts the podcast Chippin’ Away.




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