Author -Shanti Pappu
Illustrator - Ashok Rajagopalan
Publisher - Tulika Books
Ages - 8+
Dr.Shanti Pappu is a professional archeologist and this book is based on the actual excavations done by her team. The shining stones is a child friendly book on archaeology, which has the right mix of facts and stories, to keep a young reader engaged. The story unfolds in the village of Attirampakkam, which is a Lower and Middle Paleolithic site, located in Tamilnadu. Selvi a young girl in the village, is highly excited about the events that are to take place in the next few days. The archaelogists are back in the village again for that year and the entire village is buzzing with life.
As Shanti explains, the village people are roped in to help in all possible ways, so that the locals can take ownership and pride in the prehistoric sites of their village. As the excavation process starts, men with pickaxes and brushes sit in the trenches clearing the sand, silt, clay from the ancient stone tools. The women use big sieves to sort out the finds and bag them away neatly. The process of excavation is explained lucidly through the main story and a lot of other facts and information are presented in bubbles on the pages, which make for an interesting read.
The shining stones or the "chakka kal" which are discovered in these sites are actually the handaxes of the Homo Erectus, people belonging to a specific period in the prehistoric times. This is a symbol of highly advanced technology for that era. Exciting finds keep surfacing like - the footprints of a baby elephant, a tooth and few handaxes. With these, the author creatively visualises a story set in the pre historic times, the imprints of which are left undisturbed in the earth, only to be found millions of years later ! This story narrated by Selvi's grandfather keeps the village kids spellbound along with the readers.
Towards the end of the book, more information is provided on - the various Lower Paleolithic sites of India, the evolution of man along with the tools used by them and the tools used by an archaelogist for his work. This book has lot of photographs from the actual excavation site and Ashok Rajagopalan has provided a few simple but striking illustrations to supplement the story. The last page with the drawings of the various tools of an archaelogist, is very pleasing to the eye.
This kind of book would be perfect for a child to get interested in archaelogy and feel inspired to know more on the subject. For more information on the author and her organisation - Sharma Centre for Heritage Education, please click here.