Do you know that earliest known evidence of man in our country was in Bori in Maharashtra and dates back to 1.4 million years ago? In this EduRev document, you will read about how humans evolved and wandered around the country in different periods. There are no written evidences to prove their existence but artefacts found in those locations will be considered as a proof.
The pre historic period is divided into 3 parts – Palaeolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic. Chalcolithic period which comes after this is nothing but Indus Valley Civilization which will be dealt in the upcoming documents
- At present it appears that India was settled later than Africa, although the technology of the subcontinent broadly evolved in the same manner as it did in Africa.
- Palaeolithic tools, which could be as old as 100,000 B.C., have been found in the Chotanagpur plateau.
- Such tools belonging to 20,000 B.C. 10,000 B.C. have been found in Kurnool district in Andhra Pradesh about 55 km from Kurnool.
- In association with them bone implements and animal remains have also been discovered.
- Animal remains found in the Belan Valley in Mirzapur district in Uttar Pradesh show that goats, sheep and cattle were exploited.
- However, in the earliest’ Palaeolithic phase man lived on hunting and food gathering.
- The old Stone Age or the Palaeolithic culture of India developed in the Pleistocene period or the Ice Age.
- Although human remains associated with stone tools found in Africa are considered 2.6 million years old, in India the first human occupations, as clearly suggested by stone tools, is not earlier than the Middle Pleistocene.
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 with the exception of Siwalik Hills and Bhimbetka.
Which of the above statement(s) is/are correct?
Water sources were the life line of the Old Stone Age people and thus the communities lived and hunted close to water sources.
Some of these sites were near the places 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.
The Palaeolithic Age
The Palaeolithic Age in India is divided into three phases according to the nature of the stone tools used by the people and also according to the nature of change in the climate.
- The first phase is called Early or Lower Palaeolithic, the second, Middle Palaeolithic and the third Upper Palaeolithic.
Living in Palaeolithic age
- The first phase may be placed broadly, between 250,000 B.C. and 100,000 B.C. The second between 100,000 B.C. and 40,000 B.C. The third between 40,000 B.C. and 10,000 B.C. on the basis of scientific dating available so far.
- The Early Old Stone Age sites are found in the valley of river Soan or Sohan in Punjab, now in Pakistan. Several sites have, been found in Kashmir and the Thar Desert.
- The Lower Palaeolithic tools have also been found in the Belamvalley in Mirzapur District in Uttar Pradesh.
- Those found in the desert area of Didwana in Rajasthan, in the valleys of the Belam and the Narmada, and in the caves and rock shelters of Bhimbetka near Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh roughly belong to 100,000 B.C.
- The Upper Palaeolithic phase was less humid. It coincided with die last phase of the Ice Age when climate became comparatively warm.
- In the world context it marks die appearance of new flint industries and of men of the modern type (Homo sapiens).
- In India, we notice the use of blades and burins, which have been found in Andhra, Karnataka Maharashtra, central Madhya Pradesh, southern Uttar Pradesh, south Bihar plateau and the adjoining areas.
- Caves and rockshelters for use by human beings in the Upper Palaeolithic phase have been discovered at Bhimbetka, 45 km south of Bhopal.
The Mesolithic Age
- The Upper Palaeolithic Age came to an end with the end of the Ice Age around 9000 B.C., and the climate became warm and dry. ln 9000 B.C. began an intermediate stage in stone age culture, which is called the Mesolithic Age.
- It intervened as a transitional phase between the Palaeolithic Age and the Neolithic or New Stone Age.
Mesolithic age group people
- The mesolithic people lived on hunting, fishing and food gathering: at a later stage they also domesticated animals.
- The first three occupations continued the palaeolithic practice, while the last was interrelated with the neolithic culture.
- The characteristic tools of the Mesolithic Age are microliths Themesolithic sites are found in good numbers in Rajasthan, southern Uttar Pradesh, central and eastern India and also south of the river Krishna Of them Bagor in Rajasthan is very well excavated.
- It had a distinctive microlithic industry, and its inhabitants subsisted on hunting and pastoralism. The cultivation of plants around 7000-6000 B.C. is suggested in Rajasthan from a study of the deposits of the former Salt Lake, Sāmbhar.
- The Mesolithic culture continued to be important roughly from 9000 B.C. to 4000 B.C. There is no doubt that it paved the way for the rise of the Neolithic culture.
- The people of palaeolithic and Mesolithic ages practised painting. Prehistoric art appears at several places, but Bhimbetka in Madhya Pradesh is a striking site.
- Situated in the Vindhya range, 45 km south of Bhopal, it has more than 500 painted rock shelters, distributed in an area of 10 sq km.
- The rock paintings extend from the palaeolithic to the Mesolithic period and in some series even up to recent times.
- Perching birds, which live upon grain, are absent in the earliest group of paintings, which evidently belongs to the hunting/gathering economy.
Question 2:Which of the following describes Mesolithic age
1. The use of larger stones as tools was the characteristic feature
2. Smaller animals were hunted in general
Select from the following codes
- Stone tools, hand-sized and flaked-off large pebbles were used for hunting animals in the Old Stone Age. Quartzite is the stone implements made up of hard rock. Different types of stone tools are found at the site Mesolithic Age, called microlithic due to their tiny size not more than five centimetres.
- A change in the pattern of hunting is seen during the Mesolithic period, as it seems to have been a shift from big animal hunting to small animal hunting and fishing with the use of bow and arrow in this era. A tendency to settle down in a particular area for a longer period of time also began along with domestication of animals, horticulture and primitive cultivation. The bones of animals like dog, ostrich, deer and beer are found in these sites.
The Neolithic Age
- In the world context the New Stone Age began in 9000 B.C.
- The only Neolithic settlement in the Indian subcontinent attributed to 7000 B.C. lies in Mehrgarh, which is situated in Baluchistan, a province of Pakistan. But generally neolithic settlements are found in south India are not older than 2500 B.C., in some parts of southern and eastern India they are as late as 1000 B.C.
- The people of this age used tools and implements of polished stone. They particularly used stone axes, which have been found in large numbers in a good part of the hilly-tracts of the country. This cutting tool was put to various uses by the people, and in ancient legends Parashurama became an important axe-wielding hero.
Based on the types of axes used by Neolithic settlers, we notice three important areas of Neolithic settlements- north western, north-eastern and southern.
The north-western group of neolithic tools represents rectangular axes with curved cutting edge.
The north-eastern group shows polished stone axes with rectangular butt and has occasional shouldered hoes.
The southern group is distinguished by axes with oval sides and pointed butt.
- In the north-west, the Kashmiri neolithic culture was distinguished by its dwelling pits, the range of ceramics, the variety of stone and bone tools, and the complete absence of the microliths.
- An important site is that of Burzahom, which means ‘the place of birth’ and is situated 16 km north-west of Srinagar.
- Neolithic tools are also found in the Garo hi in Meghalaya on the north-eastern frontiers India.
- Some of the important neolithic sites or those with neolithic layers that have been excavated include Maski, Brahmagiri, Hallur, Kodekal, Sanganakallu, T. Narsipur and Takkalakota in Karnataka, and Paiyampalli in Tamil Nadu. Piklihal and Utour are important neolithic sites in Andhra Pradesh.
- The neolithic phase in south India seems to have covered the period from about 2000 B.C. to 1000 B.C. The neolithic settlers were the earliest farming communities. They broke the ground with stone hoes and digging sticks at the end of which ring stones weighing one to half a kilogram were fixed. They produced ragi and horsegram (kulathi). The neolithic people of Mehrgarh were more advanced. They produced wheat, cotton, and lived in mud-brick houses.
- Neolithic celts, axes, adzes, chisels, etc., have also been found in the Orissa and Chotanagpur hill areas.
- The period between 9000 B.C. and 3000 B.C. saw a remarkable progress of technology in western Asia, because the people developed the arts of cultivation, weaving, pot making, house building, domestication of animals, etc. But the Neolithic Age in the Indian subcontinent began around the sixth millennium B.C.