Only Fossils cannot be considered as an authentic element to know about prehistoric mankind. To unravel the ancient mystery, one usually has to rely on tools made of stone. From which it can be said that primitive humans originally proved their existence on earth from 2.50,000 BC.
At the other end of the spectrum, based on the current evidence from the village Bori of Maharashtra, the first mankind in India was extinct approximately 1.4 million years ago. Later, mankind made various types of tools (weapons) using stone around 3000 BC. As a result, that period is called the Stone Age.
Classifications of Stone Age
The Stone Age is further divided into three parts, namely,
- Paleolithic age (5,00,000 BC – 25,000 BC)
- Mesolithic age (10,000 BC – 5,000 BC)
- Neolithic age (5,000 BC – 2,500 BC)
However, Scholars have divided the ancient period into three parts based on the evolution of the script.
- Pre-History: Written materials are not found at this time.
- Proto-History: Written materials were found at this time but not possible to decipher them. Example: Harappa civilization.
- History: Written materials were found at this time and can be deciphered. Ex: Vedic civilization. Example: Vedic age.
Paleolithic age (5,00,000 BC – 25,000 BC)
≡ The Paleolithic age in India began with the Ice Age. The presence of humans in the primitive period of the motherland ended in 500,000 BC. In this age mankind used to collect food and hunt wild animals. They also used to take fruits and vegetables from the forest as food.
≡ The tools of stone used by mankind in this age were largely uneven. They lived in caves or simple huts. Besides, they had no idea about agriculture, fire, pottery, and other things.
≡ In this age mankind generally used tools/weapons like hand-ax, ax, chopper, blade, hoe, etc. Such tools they made mainly from stone or quartzite or bones. That is why the people of the Paleolithic Age are called ‘quartzite men‘.
According to Tim Dyson-
≡ In the last phase of this age, we first see the existence of the Homocepians in the human race. It can be said that the Paleolithic peoples of the Stone Age belonged to the Negrito tribe. The Paleolithic Age in India is basically divided into three parts.
≡ This division was dependent on the proximity of the tools of stone to climatic change. These three distinctions are — the Lower Paleolithic Age, the Middle Paleolithic Age, and the Upper or last Paleolithic Age.
≡ In this age mankind used hand-ax, ax, and chopper. All these tools were found from the Sayan Valley (now in Pakistan) and the Belan Valley (now at Mirzapur District in Uttar Pradesh).
≡ Some important places of this era are: Sayan valley, Narmada valley and Tungabhadra river valley.
≡ The climate of Paleolithic age was changed due to humidity. Later the climate become dry and worm.
≡ Lifter and needles were used during this period. These tools had been obtained from Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Bhopal, and Chota Nagpur Plateau.
Mesolithic age (10,000 BC – 5,000 BC)
≡ The climate of this era was basically dry and hot. The tools/weapons of this era were basically miniature. These tools were originally made from stone. In this age, mankind made a living by hunting, fishing, and gathering food.
≡ Later, however, mankind domesticated wild animals. In addition, they adopted agricultural plans. Some famous historical sites of this period are the Chota Nagpur Plateau, Central India, and the south bank of the Krishna river.
Neolithic age (5,000 BC – 2,500 BC)
≡ The Neolithic Age never occurred in India before 4,000 BC. The beginning of this period observed in some parts of South and East India around 500 BC. Even in the Neolithic Age, humankind generally made tools by stone; the tools were smooth, sharp, and lethal.
≡ In the Neolithic Age, humans had learned to cultivate. That was the beginning of agriculture. The grain they produced were Barley, buckwheat, ragi, oats.
≡ Mankind of this age also used to graze domestic animals such as sheep and goats.
≡ People of this age were the first to use the fire. They also learned to make pottery by potter’s wheel. In addition, they used to draw various pictures on pottery. In the caves where Neolithic humans lived, images of dancing and hunting were also observed.
≡ During this period they made cloth from cotton. Including this Neolithic people had the knowledge of the construction of boats.
≡ In the later stages of the Neolithic Age, they developed a more advanced human life. In addition, they built some round and rectangular houses with soil and plants.
≡ Some famous Neolithic historical sites are Burzahom in Jammu and Kashmir, Maski, Tekkalakota (Andhra Pradesh), Paiyampalli in Tamil Nadu, Chirand in Bihar and Senuar, Amri etc.
Comparison of Paleolithic Mesolithic & Neolithic age
|Paleolithic age||Mesolithic age||Neolithic age|
|The Paleolithic age in India raised during the Pleistocene or Ice Age.||The Mesolithic civilization in India arose from 25,000 to 5,000 BC.||Neolithic civilization developed in India between 5,000 and 3,000 BC.|
|People mainly practiced hunting and collecting food.||People hunted fish with their animals and food.||Neolithic people used to cultivate their own food.|
|People lived in caves and used uneven, blunt stone tools/weapons||The tools they used were more efficient than ever before.||Neolithic people used to draw & designs on the walls of the caves. Stone tools/weapons they used were smooth, delicate, and effective.|
|At this age, the climate was covered with snow.||The climate began to be relatively warm and dry. Flora and fauna originated at this time.||Climate is similar to the climate of the present age.|
Pre-history of India general knowledge notes for competitive government job examinations like UPSC, IAS, SSC, CGL, Banking, Railway public service commission PSC for state levels.