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the passage of the soul of the deceased to the other world. It was intended that the evil spirit might lose its way in the jungle represented by the twigs and thus be unable to pursue the soul of the deceased. A number of pebbles coated with delicious grains were laid on the plank by way of food for the evil spirit. The Lāmā and his assistant and disciples now chanted song after song meant to allure the evil spirit by promises of tempting viands laid out for him. Some men were enthusiastically playing upon drums and cymbals and blowing conch-shells and one or two men were uttering a kind of peculiarly shrill musical sound by whistling. Suddenly the people became excited, and I was told that the evil spirit had arrived and was seated on the cat. The sound of music redoubled in shrillness. A number of men began to pelt grains and stones at the figures of animals on the plank. Some people drew out their swords which they brandished over the figures. Then the plank was taken up, and as it was being carried out of the house, the men followed it with frantic yells and some hit the figures with their sticks. When the plank was carried to an open space outside the house, burning torches were applied to the figures until they were all burnt to ashes. Thus was the soul of the deceased saved from pursuit by the evil spirit which killed her. Then we all went back to the room, and as we approached the door of the room, some women sprinkled us profusely with water so as to remove from us all evil influences that we might have contracted from contact with evil spirit. Then food was laid out for the soul of the deceased and further chanting of mantrams concluded the ceremony.

I. Relics of the Copper Age found in

Chota Nagpur.


By Sarat Chandra Roy, M.A. The earliest discovery of ancient copper articles in Chotā Nāgpur appears to have been made in the year 1870 in the Giridih (then Pachambā) subdivision of the Hazaribāgh district. These consisted of five rough and unfinished copper celts of which four are now in the Indian Museum, Calcutta. The next find was that of a great cache of copper implements in the neighbourhood of the old Bargunda copper mine in the Hazaribāgh district. 1 A broad heavy copper axe-head and a large copper armlet from this find came to the hands of the late Mr. Robert Bruce Foote in 1887, and was figured (figures 4106 and 4107 of Plate 19) and described by him in Vol. I (page 161) of “The Foote Collection of Indian Prehistoric and Protohistoric Antiquities” (Madras, 1916).

The next discovery was that of a copper axe-head found in September 1910 at village Saguna, thana Patan in the Palāmau district. This are subseq uently came to the hands of His Honour the President of the Society and was described at page 126, Vol. I, Part I of this Journal. Next in point of time was a find of twenty-one copper axe-heads of the same pattern as the Palāmau axe. This was discovered in 1915 at village Bartol a in the Basia thână of the Ranchi district and described at pages 127-128, Vol. I, Part I of this Journal.

Several years ago some copper axe-heads from the Mānbhum district accidentally came into the hands of the Hon'ble and

* Vide Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal for 1871, pages 231-231 and Anderson's Catalogue, Part II, pages 392-395.


Rev. Dr. A. Campbell who, being then unaware of their nature, put them by until last year when he saw the collection made by our Society and became aware of their importance and readily presented the Society with a few specimens. These were described at pages 83-6, Vol. II, Part I of this Journal.

A solitary copper axe-head of the same class as the Basia celts lay unheeded among a collection of mineral samples in the possession of Mr. P. N. Bose, late of the Geological Survey of India, and I secured it from him last year for the Society.

In the Khunti subdivision of the Ranchi district I found, in October 1915, two copper axe-heads which have been described at pages 239 and 212, Vol. I, Part II of this Journal. We next secured three copper battle-axes of a shape hitherto unknown which recently came to the hands of Mr. L. E. B. Cobden-Ramsay. These were found in the Mayurbhanj State of Orissa and were described in the last number of this Journal (pp. 386-7).

The latest discovery of copper celts was made a few months ago at village Hāmi in the Palāmau district and was brought to my notice by my esteemed friend the Rev. Father Ernes, who is a Member of the Society. From the description given by Father Ernes in his letter we had little difficulty in concluding that they must be copper celts; and through the kind offices of the authorities the whole lot was secured. They consist of six copper axe-heads and seventeen copper bar-celts which lay buried together on the bank of a small river.

Of the seventeen bar-celts, the longest measures 2 feet } inch in length, the shortest 1 foot 3 inches in length, and the rest are of various lengths from l foot 8 inches to 1 foot 4 inches. The blade in each of these celts is crescentic in shape, being formed by the upper face gradually sloping to an edge, and varies in length from half an inch to an inch. The greatest breadth is invariably at the edge, each celt tapering to a narrow rounded butt end. The axe-heads are similar in shape to the Basia axe-heads described in Vol. I, Part I, and on an average are of about the same dimensions, Mr, J. Coggin-Brown, to


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whom His Honour the President forwarded the celts for examination, writes :

The type of implements is a curious one but it is not unique. There are four examples of the same sort of thing in the Indian Museum-long 'bar celts' resembling huge chisels in form, with expanded lunette heads. One surface of these implements is convex and the other markedly concave, though as far as I remember on a much smaller scale than the example you send. They are from Gungeria in the Balaghat district of the Central Provinces and were found in 1870. Like your specimen their sides very gradually diverge and then expand suddenly into the edge. As far as I know, this is the second recorded occurrence of these types in India and I regard them as authentic copper-age pieces.

“I must confess that I do not know what use they were put to, and speculation does not fit in with all their peculiar characteristics. In my catalogue of the Calcutta collection I see the following note: "This instrument may have been used as weapon, and if so, it was probably hafted by being passed through a wooden handle and secured by a ligature'. It seems just as likely that they were put to more peaceful uses, such as the pickaxes as you suggest.”

No crucibles or moulds or other traces of any workshop for the manufacture of these articles have been discovered in the neighbourhood. There are no traditions in the locality as to who made them or how they came to be buried there.

Some copper ornaments that I discovered in ancient graves in the Ranchi district have been described in Vol. I, Part II (pp. 236, 233, 215, 248) of the Journal. We are thus in possession now of evidence for the past existence of a Copper Age culture in all the districts of the Chotā Nāgpur Division. Tradition in the Ranchi district attributes these relics of the copper age to an ancient people now extinct who are styled the Asuras and to whom tradition assigns the credit of having introduced the art of smelting iron in the Ranchi district.


Evidence in the shape of remains of smelting places and slags of iron, ornaments, implements and vessels made of copper, foundations of extraordinarily large but comparatively thin bricks, remains of pottery and burial urns, is gradually accumulating, and would seem to bear out the Munda tradition of the previous occupation of a large portion, if not the whole, of the Ranchi district by an ancient people who made and used copper and subsequently iron, and who had evolved a comparatively much higher culture than the Mundas who claim to have ousted them.

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