Copyright

The Paleolithic Age in India

Instructor: Joanna Harris

Joanna has taught high school social studies both online and in a traditional classroom since 2009, and has a doctorate in Educational Leadership

Travel with me if you will throughout prehistoric time, to the first part of the Stone Age called the Paleolithic Age to see what life was like on the subcontinent of India.

Paleolithic Age in India

The history of mankind is a very interesting story in terms of the way humans developed into what we are now. The earth is roughly 4.6 million years old, however, the earliest hominid (human-like) fossils that have been found in Africa date back to 4.2 million years old.

The first hominids were short, covered in hair, and had smaller brains than we do today-more ape-like than human. Nevertheless, these early humans contributed greatly to what we are now and we would likely be nowhere without their early evolutionary struggles to survive. Some 50,000 years ago, the first homo sapiens who were more akin to what we look like in the modern day appeared.

The Stone Age

The use of stone to create tools and weapons marks an important stage in our own human development and begins the era of prehistoric times we call the Stone Age, which consists of three distinct periods. The Neolithic (New Stone) Age of the Stone Age came last and was characterized by the first use of agriculture when humans left their hunter-gatherer days behind them. The Mesolithic (Middle Stone) Age preceded the Neolithic revolution when stone tools became more advanced, which in turn helped humans develop farming techniques.

The earliest part of the Stone Age was the Paleolithic Age (Old Stone) when mankind first began to use stone to create tools and weapons. This part of the Stone Age occurred at different times across the world. In China, stone tools have been found that date back to 1.7 million years ago, but in Indonesia, there were tools that date back 1.6 million years.

During these years humans were hunter gatherers who roamed from location to location in the pursuit of animals used for food and clothing. As these people lived nomadic lives, the sites that would characterize the era by the stone tools that have been found are liberally distributed throughout the world.

In places like India the beginning of the Paleolithic Age is harder to determine, especially in their southern region where stone wasn't plentiful. To look at this era in India, we need to dig a little deeper to see what life was like on the subcontinent.

Lower Paleolithic Age

The Indian Paleolithic Age has been broken down into three eras, the first of which is called the Lower Paleolithic Age which occurred during the years 600,000 through 60,000 BC. Indians who lived during this period used very basic hand tools made of stone and wood like axes and cleavers.

Indians also used minerals like quartzite and basalt to make their tools due to the scarcity of stone. Most of the homes Indians lived in during the period were also made of rock-like material and included industrial locations where raw materials would have been obtained and distributed.

Sites

Important cites of the period that have been excavated are located throughout the subcontinent. In the Punjab region there is the Shivalik site, and in the Uttar Pradesh region there was the Belan Valley site. There have also been areas of Upper Paleolithic activity found in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, and around Maharashtra.

Middle Paleolithic Age

The Middle Paleolithic Age began around 150,000 BC and ended in 40,000 BC. It was during these years that the tools and weapons used became a bit more advanced. Tools were made from flakes which were thin pieces of stone that had been sheared away from material using a striking method, probably with another piece of stone.

More hand tools have been found like moderately sized hand axes, but there have also been weapons like knives and scrapper tools as well. Again, materials like quartzite and basalt would have been used as well as stone being that they were more easily located.

Sites

Remnants of these tools have been found at different sites around India. In fact, a number of very important sites have been found that contained evidence of how much Indian technology had advanced passed the preceded period of the Paleolithic Age.

Here is a list of some of these important Middle Paleolithic Era sites in India:

  • Bhimbetka
  • Rohiri
  • Nevasa
  • Samnapur

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 160 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create An Account
Support