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Test: Prehistoric Period & Sources of Ancient History - UPSC MCQ


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15 Questions MCQ Test History for UPSC CSE - Test: Prehistoric Period & Sources of Ancient History

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Test: Prehistoric Period & Sources of Ancient History - Question 1

Consider the following statements about Old Stone Age sites.

1. These sites are generally located near water sources.
2. Some of these sites were near the places where the stone was easily available and where the people could make stone implements.
3. Most of these sites are concentrated in Southern India except for Siwalik Hills and Bhimbetka.

Which of the above statement(s) is/are correct?

Detailed Solution for Test: Prehistoric Period & Sources of Ancient History - Question 1

The Correct Option is C: 1 and 2
Water sources were the lifeline of the Old Stone Age people; thus, the communities lived and hunted close to water sources.

Some of these sites were near where the stone was easily available and where the people could make stone implements.

Several rock shelters and caves used by the Paleolithic people are scattered across the subcontinent. Some of the famous sites of Old Stone Age in India are:

  • The Soan Valley and Potwar Plateau in northwest India.

  • The Siwalik Hills in north India.

  • Bhimbetka in Madhya Pradesh.

  • Adamgarh hill in Narmada valley.

  • Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh

  • Attirampakkam near Chennai.

Test: Prehistoric Period & Sources of Ancient History - Question 2

The chief characteristic features of the Neolithic culture are

1. Practice of agriculture

2. The technology of smelting metal ore

3. Domestication of animals

Select the correct answer using the codes.

Detailed Solution for Test: Prehistoric Period & Sources of Ancient History - Question 2

The Correct Option is C: 1 and 3
Characteristics of the Neolithic Culture
The Neolithic culture, also known as the New Stone Age, was a significant period in human history characterized by several key features that distinguish it from earlier Paleolithic cultures. The chief characteristic features of the Neolithic culture are:
1. Practice of Agriculture:

  • The most significant development during the Neolithic period was the shift from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to settled farming communities.
  • People began to cultivate crops such as wheat, barley, rice, and maize, which led to the establishment of permanent settlements.
  • Agriculture provided a stable food supply and allowed for surplus production, leading to population growth.

2. The Technology of Smelting Metal Ore:

  • While the Neolithic culture is primarily associated with the use of stone tools, some advancements in metalworking began to emerge during this period.
  • The technology of smelting metal ore, particularly copper, started to develop, paving the way for the later Bronze Age.
  • The ability to extract and work with metals revolutionized tool production, leading to more efficient and durable tools and weapons.

3. Domestication of Animals:

  • Another significant characteristic of the Neolithic culture was the domestication of animals.
  • Early humans began to tame and breed animals for various purposes, such as food, labor, and companionship.
  • Commonly domesticated animals during this period included cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, and dogs.
  • Domestication of animals provided a stable source of food, materials (such as wool and leather), and assistance in agricultural activities.

Therefore, the correct answer is C: 1 and 3 only, as the Neolithic culture is primarily characterized by the practice of agriculture and the domestication of animals. The technology of smelting metal ore, although emerging during this period, is more closely associated with later periods such as the Bronze Age.

Test: Prehistoric Period & Sources of Ancient History - Question 3

Which of the following describes Mesolithic ages
1. The use of larger stones as tools was the characteristic feature
2. People hunted smaller animals in general

Select from the following codes

Detailed Solution for Test: Prehistoric Period & Sources of Ancient History - Question 3

The Correct Answer is B
Mesolithic Age Characteristics
The Mesolithic Age, or Middle Stone Age, was a period of human development between the Paleolithic and Neolithic periods. It is generally characterized by the development of more sophisticated and smaller stone tools than those of the preceding Paleolithic Age, and by the beginning of settled communities in some areas.

  • Tool Making: Mesolithic people are known for their microliths, small stone tools that were typically used in composite tools, such as arrows and spears. The Mesolithic Age was marked by a shift from the large, rudimentary stone tools of the Paleolithic to smaller, finer tools. Therefore, the assertion that the use of larger stones as tools was a characteristic feature is incorrect.
  • Hunting and Gathering: People during the Mesolithic period were hunter-gatherers. While they hunted a wide range of animals, there was indeed a focus on smaller game, such as birds, fish, and shellfish, due to the development of more precise hunting tools and techniques. Therefore, the statement that people hunted smaller animals in general is correct.

Based on these points, the correct answer is B: 2 only.

Test: Prehistoric Period & Sources of Ancient History - Question 4

Which of these region(s) is/are well known for hosting prehistoric rock art paintings?
1. Vindhya ranges of Madhya Pradesh
2. Kaimurean extensions of Uttar Pradesh

Which of the above is/are correct?

Detailed Solution for Test: Prehistoric Period & Sources of Ancient History - Question 4

The Correct Answer is C : 1 and 2

Explanation:
1. Vindhya ranges of Madhya Pradesh:

  • The Vindhya ranges in Madhya Pradesh are famous for prehistoric rock paintings. These paintings are believed to be as old as 10,000 BC to 4,000 BC.
  • The Bhimbetka rock shelters, located in the Raisen District of Madhya Pradesh in the foothills of the Vindhyan Mountains, are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. They are known for rock paintings that span prehistoric paleolithic and mesolithic periods to the historical period.
  • The rock art of Bhimbetka depicts various scenes from prehistoric times including hunting, dancing, horse riding, animal fighting, honey collection, etc. They also show animals like bison, tigers, lions, elephants, antelopes, dogs, lizards, crocodiles etc.

2. Kaimurean extensions of Uttar Pradesh:

  • Similar to the Vindhya range, the Kaimurean extension, which forms the southern face of the Mirzapur district of Uttar Pradesh, is also known for rock art.
  • The rock art sites in the Kaimur range are believed to be contemporaneous with the Mesolithic period of the Vindhya range. The paintings are mostly in red and white depicting humans, animals, geometric designs and scenes of war, hunting, and festivities.
  • One of the famous sites in this region is the Lakhma rock shelter. The rock art here is estimated to be around 30,000 years old.


So, both the Vindhya ranges of Madhya Pradesh and the Kaimurean extensions of Uttar Pradesh are well known for hosting prehistoric rock art paintings. Therefore, the correct answer is C: Both 1 and 2.

Test: Prehistoric Period & Sources of Ancient History - Question 5

Consider the following statements concerning why hunter-gatherers moved from place to place in ancient times.
1. Fear of eating up all the available plant and animal resources if stayed in one place.
2. Because animals to be hunted move from place to place.
3. Plants and trees bear fruit in different seasons.

Which of the above statement(s) is/are correct?

Detailed Solution for Test: Prehistoric Period & Sources of Ancient History - Question 5

The correct answer is option D: All of the above statements are correct.
1. Fear of eating up all the available plant and animal resources if stayed at one place: Hunter-gatherer societies relied on the availability of plants and animals for their sustenance. If they stayed in one place for a prolonged period, they would deplete the local resources, making it difficult to survive. Therefore, they moved from place to place to ensure a sustainable supply of food.
2. Because animals to be hunted move from place to place: Animals, being mobile, often migrate or move from one location to another in search of food, water, or suitable habitats. Hunter-gatherers had to follow these animal movements to effectively hunt and secure their food source. This necessitated their nomadic lifestyle.
3. Plants and trees bear fruit in different seasons: Different plants and trees have varying fruiting seasons. To gather a variety of fruits and nuts, hunter-gatherers needed to move to different locations at different times of the year. By moving to areas where specific plants were in season, they could ensure a diverse and consistent food supply.

Overall, all three statements provide valid reasons for why hunter-gatherers moved from place to place in ancient times.

Test: Prehistoric Period & Sources of Ancient History - Question 6

The man transitioned from the food-gathering stage to the food-producing stage in the

Detailed Solution for Test: Prehistoric Period & Sources of Ancient History - Question 6

The Correct Answer is A: Neolithic Age

Neolithic Age: The Transition to Food Production
The transition from the food-gathering stage, where early humans relied solely on hunting and gathering, to the food-producing stage, where they began to cultivate crops and domesticate animals, is attributed to the Neolithic Age. Here's why:
Introduction of Agriculture: The Neolithic Age, which roughly spans from 10,000 BCE to 3,000 BCE, saw the advent of agriculture. This period is often referred to as the New Stone Age, and it was during this time that humans began to grow their own food, leading to a shift from nomadic hunting and gathering to settled agricultural communities.
Domestication of Animals: Alongside the cultivation of crops, the Neolithic Age also marked the beginning of animal domestication. Early humans began to raise and breed animals for food, labor, and other uses. This not only provided a steady source of food but also allowed for the development of new, more settled lifestyles.
Settlements and Societies: With the advent of food production, humans were able to settle in one place, leading to the formation of villages and eventually larger societies. This was a significant shift from the previous Mesolithic Age, where humans lived in small, nomadic groups.
Technological Innovations: The transition to food production brought about significant technological and cultural changes. Innovations in tool-making, such as the creation of more sophisticated stone tools, pottery, and weaving, became possible because people had more time to devote to tasks other than food procurement.

In conclusion, the Neolithic Age marked a significant turning point in human history, as it was during this time that humans transitioned from a lifestyle of hunting and gathering to one of agriculture and settlement, laying the foundation for the rise of civilizations.

Test: Prehistoric Period & Sources of Ancient History - Question 7

The Neolithic period is followed by the Chalcolithic period. In the Chalcolithic period, the use of which of the following started?
1. Copper and bronze
2. The technology of smelting metal ore
3. Crafting metal artefacts
Select the correct answer using the codes below.

Detailed Solution for Test: Prehistoric Period & Sources of Ancient History - Question 7

The Correct Answer is D: 1,2 and 3

Neolithic and Chalcolithic Periods

  • The Neolithic period, also known as the New Stone Age, was a period in human history characterized by the development of agriculture and the domestication of animals. It is believed to have started around 10,000 BCE and lasted until around 4,000 BCE. During this period, humans transitioned from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to settled farming communities.
  • The Chalcolithic period, also known as the Copper Age, followed the Neolithic period and marked the transitional phase between the use of stone tools and the use of metals. It is believed to have started around 4,000 BCE and lasted until around 3,000 BCE.

Use of Copper and Bronze

  • During the Chalcolithic period, the use of copper and bronze started to emerge. Copper, a soft and malleable metal, was the first metal to be used extensively by humans. It was easily accessible and could be shaped into tools and weapons. Bronze, an alloy of copper and tin, was also introduced during this period. Bronze was stronger and more durable than copper, making it a valuable material for tools, weapons, and other artifacts.

The Technology of Smelting Metal Ore

  • Smelting, the process of extracting metal from its ore by heating and melting it, was a significant technological advancement during the Chalcolithic period. Smelting allowed humans to obtain pure copper and tin from their respective ores, enabling the production of bronze. This advancement revolutionized metalworking and had a profound impact on human civilization.

Crafting Metal Artifacts

  • With the introduction of copper and bronze, humans in the Chalcolithic period began crafting various metal artifacts. These included tools, weapons, jewelry, and decorative items. The ability to work with metal opened up new possibilities for human creativity and craftsmanship.

Conclusion
In summary, the Chalcolithic period was characterized by the use of copper and bronze, the technology of smelting metal ore, and the crafting of metal artifacts. Therefore, the correct answer is option D: 1, 2, and 3.

Test: Prehistoric Period & Sources of Ancient History - Question 8

The first metal used by the man was

Detailed Solution for Test: Prehistoric Period & Sources of Ancient History - Question 8

The Correct Answer is Copper
The First Metal Used by Man: Copper

Copper is believed to be the first metal used by humans. It played a significant role in the development of human civilization and marked a major turning point in human history. Below is a detailed explanation of why copper is considered the first metal used by man.
I. Introduction to Copper

  • Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29.
  • It is a reddish-brown metal that has good electrical conductivity, excellent malleability, and high corrosion resistance.
  • Copper is commonly found in nature as copper ores, such as chalcopyrite, bornite, and malachite.

II. Historical Significance of Copper

  • Copper holds great historical significance as it marked the transition from the Stone Age to the Copper Age.
  • The advent of metallurgy, the science of extracting metals from ores and using them for practical purposes, began with copper.
  • The discovery and utilization of copper led to the development of tools, weapons, and other technological advancements.

III. Early Uses of Copper

  • The earliest evidence of copper usage dates back to around 9000 BCE in the Middle East.
  • Copper was initially used to make simple tools and ornaments, such as beads and pendants.
  • As humans learned to extract and shape copper, it became a valuable material for making more complex tools, including axes, knives, and spearheads.

IV. Advantages of Copper

  • Copper possesses several key properties that made it ideal for early human applications:
  • Electrical conductivity: Copper is an excellent conductor of electricity, making it suitable for electrical wiring and other electrical applications.
  • Malleability: Copper is highly malleable, allowing it to be easily shaped into various forms.
  • Corrosion resistance: Copper resists corrosion, ensuring its durability and longevity.

V. Copper's Role in the Bronze Age

  • Copper's significance further increased during the Bronze Age, which followed the Copper Age.
  • Bronze, an alloy of copper and tin, was developed during this period, providing even greater strength and versatility.
  • The advancement from using pure copper to bronze marked a major technological leap, leading to the development of more sophisticated tools, weapons, and architectural structures.

Conclusion
In conclusion, copper was the first metal used by humans due to its abundance in nature, ease of extraction, and favorable properties. Its early usage paved the way for the development of metallurgy, transforming human society and creating new possibilities for technological advancement.

Test: Prehistoric Period & Sources of Ancient History - Question 9

Which among the following Harappan sites is not located in Gujarat?

Detailed Solution for Test: Prehistoric Period & Sources of Ancient History - Question 9

The Correct Answer is D: Banawali

Explanation of the Harappan Sites Location

  • Surkotada: This Harappan site is located in the Kutch district of Gujarat, India. It is notable for the discovery of horse remains dated c. 2000 BCE; however, the interpretation of these findings is disputed.
  • Lothal: Lothal is one of the most prominent cities of the ancient Indus valley civilization. It is located in the Bhal region of the modern state of Gujarat and dates from 2400 BCE.
  • Dholavira: Dholavira is an archaeological site in the Kutch district of Gujarat. It represents a ruin of an ancient city of the Harappan civilization that was inhabited over a period of 1,200 years from 3000 BCE to 1800 BCE.
  • Banawali: Contrarily, Banawali is an archaeological site belonging to the Indus Valley Civilization period in Fatehabad district, Haryana, India, and is not located in Gujarat. It was a fortified town that flourished from 2600 BCE to 1900 BCE.

So, among the given options, Banawali is the Harappan site not located in Gujarat.

Test: Prehistoric Period & Sources of Ancient History - Question 10

Consider the following statements:
1. Bronze is an alloy of copper and iron.
2. The earliest cities in Mesopotamia date back to the Bronze Age, 3000 BCE.
Which of the above statement(s) is/are correct?

Detailed Solution for Test: Prehistoric Period & Sources of Ancient History - Question 10

The Correct Answer is B: 2 Only

Explanation:
Statement 1: Incorrect

  • Bronze is not an alloy of copper and iron. Instead, it is an alloy primarily made of copper and tin. Sometimes, other elements like aluminium, manganese, nickel or zinc are also added, not iron. Therefore, the first statement is incorrect.

Statement 2: Correct

  • The earliest cities in Mesopotamia indeed date back to the Bronze Age, around 3000 BCE. Mesopotamia, often considered one of the cradles of civilization, saw the rise of major cities like Uruk, Akkad, and Babylon during this period. The Bronze Age represents a period in human cultural development when the most advanced metalworking consisted of techniques for smelting copper and tin from naturally occurring outcroppings of ores, and then combining them to cast bronze. Hence, the second statement is correct.

So, the correct answer is B: 2 only.

Test: Prehistoric Period & Sources of Ancient History - Question 11

Bhimbetka caves show the continuity of human evolution from the Lower Palaeolithic period to the Mesolithic period to the Chalcolithic period. Why?
1. It contains evidence of the use of tools and implements from all these periods.
2. There are a large number of Shankhalipi inscriptions in the Bhimbetka cluster of rock shelters.

Which of the above is/are correct?

Detailed Solution for Test: Prehistoric Period & Sources of Ancient History - Question 11

The Correct Answer  is A: 1 Only

Explanation for the Correct Answer:
The Bhimbetka rock shelters are an archaeological site in central India that spans the prehistoric Paleolithic and Mesolithic periods, as well as the historic period. It exhibits the earliest traces of human life on the Indian subcontinent and evidence of Stone Age habitation starting at the site in Acheulian times.
1. Evidence of Use of Tools and Implements:

  • Bhimbetka caves indeed demonstrate the continuity of human evolution from the Lower Paleolithic period to the Mesolithic period to the Chalcolithic period. This is primarily because these caves contain a rich collection of archaeological findings.
  • The site has yielded tools and implements from all these periods, providing concrete evidence of human evolution and progress in tool-making techniques and survival strategies.
  • The artifacts found here include tools from the Old Stone Age (Lower Palaeolithic), tools from the Middle Stone Age (Mesolithic), as well as tools from the New Stone Age (Chalcolithic).
  • This shows a clear progression and continuity of human activities and evolution over a long period of time, which is why statement 1 is correct.


2. Presence of Shankhalipi Inscriptions:

  • While the Bhimbetka caves do contain ancient inscriptions, the presence of "Shankhalipi" inscriptions specifically is not a significant factor in demonstrating the continuity of human evolution from the Lower Paleolithic period to the Mesolithic period to the Chalcolithic period.
  • Shankhalipi, also known as shell-script, is a unique and lesser-known script found in India, and it is not associated with the Paleolithic, Mesolithic, or Chalcolithic periods.
  • Therefore, the presence of Shankhalipi inscriptions in the Bhimbetka caves does not directly support the evidence of continuity of human evolution over these periods. This is why statement 2 is not correct.

So, the correct answer to the question is option A: 1 only.

Test: Prehistoric Period & Sources of Ancient History - Question 12

The metal central to this age finds frequent mention in the Vedas and the age itself follows after the Chalcolithic Age. It can be

Detailed Solution for Test: Prehistoric Period & Sources of Ancient History - Question 12

The Correct Option is D: Iron Age

Explanation of the Iron Age
The Iron Age is a historical period that follows the Chalcolithic or Copper-Stone Age. This age is characterized by the widespread use of iron or steel.
Significance of Iron

  • Iron, the metal central to this age, is mentioned frequently in the Vedas, ancient Indian scriptures. The Vedas describe its use in various tools, weapons, and ceremonial items.
  • Iron's prevalence during this age indicates a shift in human society and technology. The discovery and mastering of iron smelting (the process of extracting iron from its ore) allowed for significant advancements in tool and weapon production.

Transition from Chalcolithic Age

  • The Iron Age follows the Chalcolithic or Copper-Stone Age in the three-age system, a system of classifying archaeological periods into Stone Age, Bronze Age, and Iron Age. This system is often used in human prehistory and protohistory.
  • The transition from the Chalcolithic Age to Iron Age is marked by the change in the material used for making tools and weapons, from copper and stone to iron.

Features of the Iron Age

  • The Iron Age is not a specific period that occurred at the same time worldwide. Instead, its onset varies depending on geographical location and cultural context. For instance, Iron Age in the Middle East began around 1200 BC, while in India, it started around 1200 to 1000 BC.
  • During the Iron Age, societies were typically organized into city-states or kingdoms. There was a marked increase in the complexity of social structures, trade networks, and warfare tactics.
  • In terms of art and culture, the Iron Age saw the rise of literate civilizations, the spread of alphabetic scripts, and the development of philosophical and religious thoughts.

Why not the other options?

  • The Palaeolithic Age, Copper-Stone Age, and Later Stone Age are not the correct answers because these periods are characterized by the use of stone and copper for tool production, not iron.
Test: Prehistoric Period & Sources of Ancient History - Question 13

Consider the following major archaeological sites ranging from the Mesolithic Age to the Iron Age in the Indian subcontinent. Match them with their respective regions in the present- day India:
1. Koldihwa: Madhya Pradesh
2. Mehrgarh: Haryana
3. Paiyampalli: Tamil Nadu

Select the correct answer using the codes below.

Detailed Solution for Test: Prehistoric Period & Sources of Ancient History - Question 13

The Correct Answer is B : 3 only 

Explanation:
The archaeological sites and their respective regions in present-day India are:

 

  • Koldihwa: This is an archaeological site dating back to the Mesolithic Age. It is located in the present-day Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, and not Madhya Pradesh. This site is notable for its evidence of early farming communities in the Indian subcontinent.
  • Mehrgarh: This site is one of the earliest sites with evidence of an agricultural and herding society in the world. However, Mehrgarh is located in the Balochistan province of Pakistan, not Haryana in India. The site is significant for understanding the Neolithic and early Bronze Age periods of the Indian subcontinent.
  • Paiyampalli: This is an archaeological site located in the present-day Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is known for its Mesolithic and Neolithic artifacts. This site is unique for its evidence of prehistoric human activity in the southern part of the Indian subcontinent.

So, the correct option is B: 3 only, as Paiyampalli is the only site that is correctly matched to its location in present-day India.

Test: Prehistoric Period & Sources of Ancient History - Question 14

The beginning of agriculture can be ascribed most suitably to which of these times?

Detailed Solution for Test: Prehistoric Period & Sources of Ancient History - Question 14

The Correct Answer is C:Nearly 8000-10000 years ago.

Origins of Agriculture

  • The beginning of agriculture can be traced back to nearly 8000-10000 years ago. This period is referred to as the Neolithic Revolution, a time when humans transitioned from being nomadic hunter-gatherers to settled farmers.

Reasons for the Neolithic Revolution

  • The shift towards agriculture was driven by a combination of environmental changes and the need for a more reliable food source. As the climate became warmer and more stable, it became possible for humans to stay in one place and cultivate crops.
  • Moreover, the growth of human population demanded a steady food source. Hunting and gathering could no longer sustain larger groups of people, leading to the need for domestication of plants and animals.

Agriculture and Civilization

  • The development of agriculture laid the foundation for the emergence of human civilizations. With a stable source of food, people were able to form permanent settlements, which eventually grew into villages, towns, and cities.
  • The surplus food produced through farming allowed for the specialization of labor. Not everyone had to be involved in food production, freeing people to take up other roles such as artisans, priests, and warriors. This led to the development of complex societies and cultures.

​​​​​​​Later Developments

  • The onset of the Magadha empire (around 2500 years ago) or the appearance of the first cities on the Indus (around 4700 years ago) were significant periods in human history, but agriculture had already been established by these times.
  • Similarly, the first Penistone glacial period (around 25000 years ago) predates the development of agriculture. During this time, humans were primarily hunter-gatherers.

So, the most suitable ascription for the beginning of agriculture would be nearly 8000-10000 years ago.

Test: Prehistoric Period & Sources of Ancient History - Question 15

Which among the following sites provide the earliest evidence of settled agriculture in the Indian subcontinent?

Detailed Solution for Test: Prehistoric Period & Sources of Ancient History - Question 15

The Correct Answer is D: Mehargarh

Earliest Evidence of Settled Agriculture in the Indian Subcontinent: Mehrgarh
Overview:

  • Mehrgarh, located in present-day Balochistan, Pakistan, provides the earliest evidence of settled agriculture in the Indian subcontinent. It dates back to the Neolithic era, around 7000 BCE, before the advent of the Indus Valley Civilization.

Agricultural Practices:

  • Evidence of farming in Mehrgarh includes remnants of wheat and barley, along with the tools used to grow and harvest these crops. Archeologists have also found evidence of the domestication of animals such as cows, goats, and sheep.

Settlements and Lifestyle:

  • The people of Mehrgarh lived in mud-brick houses that were often re-plastered. They stored their grain in granaries, indicating a surplus from agriculture. They also practiced pottery and metallurgy, suggesting an advanced level of civilization for that time.

Comparison with Other Sites:

  • While Dholavira, Inam Ghar, and Kalibangan are significant archaeological sites related to the Indus Valley Civilization, they do not predate Mehrgarh in terms of evidence for settled agriculture. These sites emerged later, around 2600 BCE, and while they display advanced urban planning and sophisticated craftsmanship, Mehrgarh remains the earliest known site for settled agriculture.
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