September 03, 2014

Importance points about the study of the life journey of the early man in Pre-Historic Age

  • The name Bharata Varsha or the land of Bharata was given to the whole country, after the name of an ancient tribe called the Bharata's and the people were called Bharata santhati (The descendants of Bharata).
  • Bharata Varsha was said to be the part of larger unit Jambu Dvipa which was considered to be the inner most of the seven concentric island continents into which the earth was supposed to be divided.
  • The names India and Hindustan we owe to the early invaders of the country the Persians and the Greeks. The Greeks pronounced the word Sindu as Indus and hence India, Persians pronounced the letter 'S' and 'H' so, Sindu and Hindu and hence 'Hindustan'.
  • First Fossil Male - Rama pithecus Female - Shiva pithucus (10-14 million years ago).
  • These fossils were found in Shivalik and Salt Range.
  • Homo eractus: Found at Hathnora (Lower palaeolithic 10 lakh B.C.)
  • Homo sapiens: Found in upper Palaeolithic regions in Indian sub-continent somewhere between 2,00,000 B.C. to 40,000 B.C.
  • First evidence of human skeleton was found at Sarai Nahar Rai (near Allahabad), and Bagaikhor and Lekhania (both in Mirzapur District), also from Bagor (Bhilwara, Rajasthan)

The Pre-historic period dates back from 2,50,000 B.C. to about 3,500-2,500 B.C. which was the first manifestation of human civilization on the surface of the earth.

The period when these people were using stones for utilization purpose known as 'Stone Age', which is further divided into three broad divisions:
  1. Palaeolithic age or Old stone age (2,50,000 B.C. - 8,000 B.C.)
  2. Mesolithic age or Microlithis age (8,000 B.C. - 4,000 B.C)
  3. Neolithic age or New stone age (4,000 B.C. - 2,500 B.C.)
1. The Palaeolithic Age
  • Palaeo means old and lithic means stone (Old stone age)
  • The Palaeolithic culture of India developed in Pleistocene period.
  • People in Palaeolithic period were hunters and food gatherers.
  • Palaeolithic period in India can further be divided into three phases:
    • I. Lower Palaeolithic period (2,50,000 B.C. - 1,00,000 B.C.)
    • II. Middle Palaeolithic period (1,00,000 B.C. - 40,000 B.C.)
    • III. Upper Palaeolithic period (40,000 B.C. - 10,000 B.C.)
I. Lower Palaeolithic Culture

Covers the greater part of Ice and this period characterized by chooper or chooping culture and the tool techniques included block on block, cylinder, hammer clactonian and direct percussion etc., and their typology included pebble tools, cleavers, scrappers and hand-axes.

Important Sites

Sohan valley in Punjab (now in Pak), Belan valley in Mirzapur (U.P), desert area of Didwana in Rajastan, Narmada valley and caves and rock shelters of Bimbetka in M.P, Giddilaur and Karampudi in A.P are some important sites.

II. Middle Palaeolithic Culture

The Middle Palaeolithic industries are mainly based on flakes. The principal tools are variety of blades, pointed scrappers made of flakes.

Important Sites
  • Nevasa, suregaon, Belphandri and Nadur Madhmeshwar, Bankura and Purulia in W.B, Malaprabha and Ghataprabha, basins of North Karnataka and Renigunta in A.P.
  • The main credit goes to H.D sankalia for demonstrating the statigraphic context of this culture.
III. Upper Palaeolithic Culture
  • It marks the appearance of new flint industries and man of modern type (Homo sapiens).
  • Blades and burin tools were principal tools in Upper Palaeolithic age.
  • This culture sites were spread in particularly all parts of India expect the alluvial plains of Indus and Ganges.
  • The people of this age were food gatherers.
  • Man during this period used tools of unpolished, rough stoned and stones and lived in caves and rock shelters.
      • Homo habits (World Context) - Lower Palaeolithic
      • Homo Erectus (Indian Context) - Lower Palaeolithic
      • Nienderthan (World Context) - Middle Palaeolithic
      • Ancient Homosapiens (World Context) - Middle Palaeolithic
      • Homosapiens (Indian Context) - Upper Palaeolithic
  • The tools were usually made of hard rock quartzite and therefore Palaeolithic man in India are also called Quartzite Man.
  • They had no knowledge of agriculture, making potteries, lighting fire. They could not make houses and were ignorant of metals.
Important Sites

Belan valley (Allahabad), Renigunta (A.P), shorapur and Bijapur in Karnataka, Chotannagpur plateau in Jharkhand, Bhimbetka (Bhopal).

2. Mesolithic Age
  • It flourished between 8,000 B.C. - 4,000 B.C. This culture is known as Microlithic culture.
  • Grinding and polishing technique characterized it.
  • The tool typology included polished axes, chisel, ring-stone, saddle, quern and mullers.
  • This age the stone tools to be made more pointed and sharp.
  • The microlithics were first discovered by Carlyle in 1867 from Vindhyan Rock shelters.
  • The most important excavated sites of this period are Birbhanpur in West Bengal, Tirunelvely in T.N, Bagor in Rajastan, Langhraj in Gujarat, Bhimbetka and Adamgarh in M.P, Sarai Nahar Rai in U.P.
  • The Mesolithic people lived on hunting, fishing and food gathering.
3. Neolithic Age
  • Domestication of animals has been considered as one of the main characteristic feature of Neolithic Age.
  • The stone implements of Neolithic age were more skill fully made varied in from and often polished.
      • North - West                 7000 B.C. - 6000 B.C.
      • Vindhayan & Gangetic   6000 B.C.
      • Northern                       2500 B.C.
      • Southern                       2500 B.C.
      • Eastern                         2500 B.C.
      • North Eastern               2500 B.C.
  • Practice of agriculture, Grinding and polishing of stone tools, manufacture of pottery are main characteristics of this period.
  • The term 'Neolithic' settlements in India are not older than 4000 B.C. only Neolithic settlement in Indian subcontinent attributed to 7000 B.C. lies in Mehargarh (Baluchistan).
  • Pottery types known to Neolithic people Black Burished ware, Gray Ware, Mat impressed Ware.
  • The Dolmans of Meghalithic Tombs are characteristic features of Neolithic Age.
  • Tools used during Neolithic Age were Polished axes. Adze, chisel, Ring-stone, Saddle quern and Mullers etc.,
  • Major important sites of Neolithic age were Burza-hom, Gufkral (Kashmir), Deojali (North Cachar), Maski, Brahmasiri, Hallur in Karnataka, Raiyamapalli in T.N, Pikilihal and Utnur in A.P, Chopani-Mando, Koldihawa and Mahagara in Belan Valley (M.P).
  • Primitive communism, Pit dwelling, houses (Burzahom), evidence of dogs, circular hunts made of bamboo, hand made pottery, serpent cult (Chirand) etc., Characterized by Neolithic Age.
Chalcolithic Age
  • Chalcolithic Phase appeared towards the end of the Neolithic period. These people used bronze and copper tools.
  • The sites of this period are found in areas of Chota Nagpur Plateau to the upper Gangetic basin. Brahamagiri (near Mysore), and Navada Toli on the Narmada river are some other important sites.

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