This book was envisaged with the objective of making a visual presentation of the cultural profile of West Bengal through different archaeological cultural stages. This Atlas will serve as an instructional aid and also familiarize the public with the different periods through which Bengali culture has evolved. In publishing the Atlas, spatial expressions of the temporal dimensions of archaeological cultures is brought into a sharp relief. The approach is primarily historical where attempt has been made to delineate the cultural trajectories within the confines of the state of West Bengal from the Prehistoric past to AD 1858. In order to cover such a vast time frame the Atlas will be published in four volumes. The first volume highlights the Pre-and Protohistoric culture phases in West Bengal. Each map in this volume has been digitized using sophisticated software so that the archaeological sites can be accurately plotted with respect to their geographical coordinates. The Atlas has been annotated to facilitate understanding of the different cultural periods shown in the maps. For instance, the notes following the maps showing Stone Age sites include comments on type of stone used for making tools. This pattern has been maintained for all the cultural periods. This volume contains fifty digitized maps starting with the physical features, geology and geomorphology of West Bengal followed by general distribution of the Pre-and Protohistoric sites in different zones. The physical maps acquaint the user with the landforms and natural features of West Bengal. These maps are also accompanied by brief explanations and descriptions of the different morphological units. The important clusters of Paleolithic culture of West Bengal have been represented on eight maps showing the river valleys where such sites are located and photographic images of Paleolithic artefacts have been included. An overview of Paleolithic West Bengal and an index of the geographical coordinates of sites discovered so far has been added. The major clusters of sites with Microlithic artefacts and Neolithic cultural affiliations have been similarly shown along with texts and indexes. The Black and Red Ware culture, named so after the `type pottery\\' of the Chalcolithic phase in West Bengal, has been dealt with exhaustively in the Atlas by showing the distribution pattern of the excavated and explored sites. Excavations were conducted at Baneswardanga and Pandu Rajar Dhibi, two important Black and Red Ware sites in West Bengal. The findings have been outlined in the Atlas with the help of photographic images, drawings and notes. The important ceramic types from Pandu Rajar Dhibi; the Black and Red Ware and Red Ware, has been shown separately to familiarize the user with the ceramic industries of West Bengal during the Black and Red Ware Cultural phase. The distribution of limited number of copper hoards found in West Bengal and types found here are shown in two maps. The Centre for Archaeological Studies & Training, Eastern India, entrusted with the running of the project is planning the next volume of the Atlas which will focus on the early historic period.
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