Chapter 1 The Stone Age
The term ‘Stone Age’ is used to describe a period of human evolution where stone was used as the most hardest material for making tools. The stone age started around 2 to 2.5 million years ago. The transition out of the stone age occurred between 6000 BC and 2500 BC. Man is said to have appeared on the Earth (first in Africa) in the early Pleistocene, with true ox, elephant and horse. Bori in Maharashtra gives the earliest evidence of man in India, in the middle Pleistocene period.
• The age when the pre-historic man began to use stones for utilitarian purpose is termed as the Stone Age. The stone age is divided into three broad divisions:
Hunters and Food Gatherers (Upto 9000 BC)
• The term Palaeolithic was coined by archaeologist John Lubbock in 1865 and refers to a pre-historic era distinguished by the development of the first stone tools made of Quartzite. Hence, Palaeolithic men are also called as Quartzite Men.
• Traditionally, the Palaeolithic age is divided into three periods: the Lower Palaeolithic, Middle Palaeolithic and the Upper Palaeolithic; on the basis of the nature of stone tools made by human beings as well as due to the changes in the climate.
The Lower Palaeolithic Age (500000 – 50000 BC)
• It is the earliest sub-division of the Palaeolithic or Old Stone Age. The tools of this phase include mainly hand-axes, cleavers, choppers and chopping tools.
Lower Palaeolithic Age Sites
|Belan Valley||Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh|
|Bhimbetka, Jogdaha||Madhya Pradesh|
|Bagor, Budha Pushkar||Rajasthan|
|Renugunta, Kurnool Caves||Andhra Pradesh|
|Sohan Valley||West Punjab (Pakistan)|
The Middle Palaeolithic Age (50000 – 40000 BC)
• It’s tool pattern is based upon flakes and crude pebble industry. The dominant tool types being blades, points and borers.
Middle Palaeolithic Age Sites
|Bhimbetka,Narmada Valley||Madhya Pradesh|
The Upper Palaeolithic Age (40000 -10000 BC)
• It is characterised by burins, scrappers, flint industry and appearance of modern man (homo sapiens).
• Animal remains found in the Belan valley in Mirzapur district in Uttar Pradesh shows that goats, sheep and cattle were exploited.
Upper Palaeolithic Age Sites
|Kurnool Caves||Andhra Pradesh|
|Belan Valley||Madhya Pradesh and UP|
|Hathnora, Narmada Valley, Bhimbetka, Adamgarh||Madhya Pradesh|
|Kortallayar Valley||Tamil Nadu|
Hunters and Herders (9000 – 4000 BC)
• It was a transitional phase between the Palaeolithic age and the Neolithic age. Mesolithic period is technologically characterised by microliths or small pointed and sharp stone tools.
• Adamgarh in Madhya Pradesh and Bagor in Rajasthan provide the earliest evidence for the domestication of animals like cows, horses and other poultry and farm animals. Sites like Bhimbetka, Adamgarh, Partapgarh and Mirzapur are rich in Mesolithic art and paintings.
Mesolithic Age Sites
|Damdama, Chopani Mando||Uttar Pradesh|
|Pachmarhi, Bhimbetka, Adamgarh||Madhya Pradesh|
|Gauri Gundam||Andhra Pradesh|
Food Producers (4000 -1800 BC)
• The Neolithic age or the New Stone age was the last phase of the Stone age. It is characterised by the use of polished stone tools and the beginning of cultivation of crops. An important invention of this time was the making of the wheel and the discovery of fire.
• The four major characteristics traits that represent the Neolithic culture are as follows :
— Beginning of the practice of agriculture.
— Domestication of animals.
— Use of polished stone tools.
— The manufacture of pottery.
• Mehrgarh in Baluchistan (Pakistan) is the oldest Neolithic site in Indian sub-continent (7000 BC).
Some Important Features of Neolithic Sites
• Kashmir Only site where microlith is completely absent.
• Chirand and Kashmir Only sites which has yielded considerable bone implements.
• Burzahom Domestic dogs were buried with their masters in their graves.
• Allahabad District Cultivation of rice in the 6th millennium BC.
Neolithic Age Sites
|Mehrgarh, Kill Gul Muhammad||Baluchistan|
|Chopani Mando, Mahagarha||Uttar Pradesh|
|Tekkalakota, Sanganakallu, Narsipur, Hallur, Kupgal, Kodekal, Brahmagiri||Karnataka|
|Nagarjunakonda, Piklihal, Utnur||Andhra Pradesh|
Chalcolithic Age (1800 -1000 BC)
• These people used copper and bronze to make a range of utilitarian tools. This phase or period is termed as the Chalcolithic age. A number of such sites have been found in the Chota Nagpur plateau region, the upper Gangetic basin, Karnataka and near the banks of river Narmada. Neither plough nor has been found at Chalcolithic sites. They practiced Jhum cultivation.
Chalcolithic Age Sites
|Kayatha, Malwa, Eran||Madhya Pradesh|
|Nevasa, Daimabad, Nanyang||Maharashtra|
• Ahar Culture The sites of Ahar culture were Ahar (Rajasthan), Balathal, Gilund etc. The distinctive feature is black and red ware.
• Kayatha Culture Located in Chambal and its tributaries, the sturdy red slipped ware with chocolate designs is main feature.
• Malwa Culture Narmada and its tributaries in Gujarat. One of the largest Chalcolithic settlements.
• Savalda Culture The well-known sites are in Dhule district of Maharashtra.
• Prabhas and Rangpur Culture Both of them are derived from the Harappa culture. The polished red ware is the hall mark of this culture.