Lesson 2 of 32

1. Prehistoric Age in India

Prehistoric Periods in India: According to Tools

Ancient history can be divided into different periods according to the tools used by people then

  1. Paleolithic Period: 2 million BC – 10,000 BC

  2. Mesolithic Period: 10,000 BC – 8000 BC

  3. Neolithic Period: 8000 BC – 4000 BC

  4. Chalcolithic Period: 4000 BC – 1500 BC

  5. Iron Age: 1500 BC – 200 BC

Prehistoric Period – Palaeolithic Period (Old Stone Age)

This is Further divided into three:

  1. Lower Palaeolithic Age: up to 100,000 BC

  2. Middle Palaeolithic Age: 100,000 BC – 40,000 BC

  3. Upper Palaeolithic Age: 40,000 BC – 10,000 BC

Lower Palaeolithic Age

  • Hunters and food gatherers; tools used were axes, choppers and cleavers.

  • Earliest lower Palaeolithic site is Bori in Maharashtra.

  • Limestone was also used to make tools.

  • Major sites of lower Palaeolithic age
    • Soan valley (in present Pakistan)

    • sites in the Thar Desert

    • Kashmir

    • Mewar plains

    • Saurashtra

    • Gujarat

    • Central India

    • Deccan Plateau

    • Chotanagpur plateau

    • North of the Cauvery River

    • Belan valley in UP
  • There are habitation sites including caves and rock shelters.

  • It was declared a World Heritage Site in 2003.

  • An important place is Bhimbetka in Madhya Pradesh.

Middle Palaeolithic Age

  • Tools used were blades, pointers, scrapers and borers.

  • The tools were smaller, lighter and thinner.

  • Important middle Palaeolithic age sites
    • Belan valley in UP

    • Luni valley (Rajasthan)

    • Son and Narmada rivers

    • Bhimbetka

Upper Palaeolithic Age

  • Emergence of Homo sapiens

  • Lot of bone tools, including needles, harpoons, blades, fishing tools and burin tools.

  • Major sites of Upper Palaeolithic Age

    • Belan

    • Son

    • Chota Nagpur plateau (Bihar)

    • Maharashtra

    • Orissa and

    • Eastern Ghats in Andhra Pradesh

  • Paintings at Bhimbetka site belong to this age.
Upper Palaeolithic age - Paintings at Bhimbetka

Prehistoric Period – Mesolithic Period (Middle Stone Age)

  • Major climate change happened.

  • Climate became warmer and more humid.

  • Rainfall increased and so more availability of flora and fauna.

  • Domestication of animals and plants were seen for the first time.

  • Started 12000 years ago.

  • First animal to be domesticated was the wild ancestor of the dog.

  • Sheep and goats were the most common domesticated animals.

  • Hunting and food gathering continued.

  • First human colonization of the Ganga plains.

  • Microliths have been excavated.

  • They are small stone tools that were probably stuck to stones to be used as saws and sickles.

  • Major sites:

    • Brahmagiri (Mysore)

    • Narmada

    • Vindhya

    • Gujarat

    • UP

    • Sojat (Rajasthan)

    • Bhimbetka

    • Godavari Basin

    • Sarai Nahar Rai

  • Tools used were blades, crescents, triangles, trapezes, spearheads, knives, arrowheads, sickles, harpoons and daggers.[/su_box]

Prehistoric Period – Neolithic Period (New Stone Age)

  • Starting of agriculture moving from nomadic to settled life.

  • Wheel discovered. Ragi, wheat and horse gram were cultivated.

  • They knew to make fire knew pottery.

  • Art was seen in cave paintings of dance.

  • Also show first intentional disposal of the dead.

  • Important sites:

    • Inamgaon

    • Burzahom (Kashmir)

    • Mehrgarh (Pakistan)

    • Daojali Hading (Tripura/Assam)

    • Hallur (AP)

    • Paiyampalli (AP)

    • Chirand (Bihar)

    • Evidence of houses[/su_box]

Prehistoric Period – Chalcolithic Period (Copper Age/Bronze Age)

Indus Valley Civilization (2700 BC – 1900 BC)

  • Other settlements at Brahmagiri Navada Toli (Narmada region).

  • Chirand (Ganga region) and Mahishadal (West Bengal)[/su_box].

Prehistoric Period – Iron Age

  • Arrival of the Aryans: Vedic Period, Jainism, Buddhism

  • Mahajanapadas: the first major civilisation on the banks of the river Ganga after the Indus Valley.