Prehistoric age in india

Prehistoric age in India divided into 3 periods i.e

Paleolithic age

Mesolithic age

Neolithic age

(5,00,000-10,000 BC)

(10,000-4,000 BC)

(6,000-1,000 BC)

  • Paleolithic age is also known as Pleistocene age or Ice age or Old Stone age.

  • Robert Bruce Foot was the first to discover a Paleolithic stone in India in 1863.

  • The Paleolithic research in India got a boost only with the coming of Yale Cambridge Expedition in 1935 led by Deterra and Patterson.

Paleolithic age again divided into:

Lower Paleolithic age

(5,00,000 – 100,00 BC)

  • Cleavers, Choppers, Axes were used
  • Hunting and food gathering.
Middle Paleolithic age

(100,000 – 40,000 BC)

  • Blades, Pointers, Borers & Scrapers were used.
  • Nearly 200 rock shelters and caves are located on Bhimbetka hills having thousands of paintings
Upper Paleolithic age

(40,000 – 10,000 BC)

  • Used bone tools, including needles, fishing tools, harpoons, blades and burin tools. 
  • Marked the appearance of new flint industries. 
  • Homo sapiens evolved in this age only

The tools were usually made of hard rock ‘quartzite‘ and therefore Paleolithic man in India is also called “Quartzite Man

Bhimbetka Rock Shelters

prehistoric age
Bhimbetka rock paintings in Vindhyachal hills,MP
  • Located in Raisen District of Madhya Pradesh, 45 km south of Bhopal at the southern edge of the Vindhyachal hills.

  • At least some of the shelters were inhabited by Homo erectus more than 100,000 years ago.

  • Some of the Stone Age rock paintings found among the Bhimbetka rock shelters are approximately 30,000 years old.

  • Declared as World Heritage Site in 2003.

  • Bhimbetka was first mentioned in Indian archaeological records in 1888 as a Buddhist site, based on information gathered from local adivasis.

  • Later V. S. Wakankar, while travelling by train to Bhopal, saw some rock formations similar to those he had seen in Spain and France. He visited the area with a team of archaeologists and discovered several prehistoric rock shelters in 1957.

Mesolithic Age (9000 – 4000 BC)

  • In this age, climate became warm and dry. Climate changes brought about changes in fauna and flora and made it possible for human beings to move to new areas.

  • Since then, there haven’t been major changes in the climate.

  • The characteristic tools of the Mesolithic Age are known as Microliths-pointed, cresconic blades, scrapers, etc, all made of stone.

  • The people mostly lived on hunting, fishing and food gathering.

  • The last phase of this age saw the beginning of plane cultivation and domestication of animals.

Neolithic age (6000 – 1800 BC): The beginning of settled life

  • In India Neolithic Age is not earlier than 6000 BC and at some places in South and Eastern India; it is as late as 1000 BC.

  • In this man began to cultivate land and grew fruits and corn like ragi and horse gram. They domesticated cattle, sheep and goat.

  • knew the art of making fire and making pottery, first by hand and then by potters wheel.

  • Lived in caves and decorated their walls with hunting and dancing scenes. They also knew the art of making boats. They could also weave cotton and wool to make cloth.

  • In the later phase of Neolithic phase people led a more settled life and began to construct circular and rectangular houses made of mud and reed.

  • Burzahom and Gufkral in J&K have the evidence of pit dwelling, stone tools and graveyard in house.

  • Hils in Meghalaya, Chirand and Senuwar in Bihar were known for remarkable bone tools.

  • Koldihawa in UP revealed a three fold cultural sequence: Neolithic, Chalcolithic and Iron age

Chalcolithic age (1800 – 1000 BC)

  • Copper was the first metal to be used in India. A culture based on the use of stone and copper is called Chalcolithic age. Apart from stone tools, hand axes and other objects made of copper ware also used.

  • People used different types of pottery of which black and red pottery was most popular.

  • People were not acquainted with burnt bricks and generally lived in thatched houses. It was a village economy.

  • They whorshiped the mother goddess and worshiped the bull.

  • Important sites of this phase are spread in Rajasthan, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Bihar, MP, etc.