The earliest phase of human life in India is known as the Paleolithic age. It was the period of the emergence of primitive man and the manufacturing of splinter stone tools. These tools served a variety of purposes such as killing animals, skinning dead animals and splitting bones etc. Humans during this period were essentially food gatherers. They were invariably dependent on nature for their survival. It commenced about 1.5 million to 2 million years ago and had continued until about 10000 BC.
Paleolithic age is further divided into three periods:
- The Lower Paleolithic age
- The Middle Paleolithic age
- The Upper Paleolithic age
- Lower Paleolithic Age
- Period from 100000 B.C to 50000 B.C.
- This age marks the evolution of human life. During this period the earliest human being came down from trees and started living on the ground.
- Its characteristic feature was the use of hand axes, cleavers and choppers. The tools were made out of stone and the tools were used mainly for chopping dead animals, digging earth and skinning dead animals.
- The lower Paleolithic sites have been found in the valley of river Sohan in Punjab (now in Pakistan), Belan Valley in Mirzapur District in Uttar Pradesh, Singrauli basin in Uttar Pradesh, Chhotanagpur, Andhra Pradesh, Assam and Karnataka
- Some sites have also been found in the desert area of Didwana in Rajasthan, in the Valley of river Narmada and in the caves and rock Shelters of Bhimbetka near Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh.
- Middle Paleolithic Age
- Period from 50000 B.C to 40000 B.C.
- The Middle Palaeolithic Age was mainly based upon flakes tools these are the stone tools used during Stone Age. These Flakes have been found in different parts of India and show regional variations. The principal tools are varieties of blades, points, borers and scrapers.
- The geographical horizon of the Middle Palaeolithic sites roughly coincides with that of the Lower Palaeolithic sites. The artifacts of this age are also found at several places in the south of Tungbhadra River, Navasa (Maharashtra), Didwana (Rajasthan), Bhimbetka (MP), Bankura and Purulia (West Bengal), Narmada Valley
- Upper Paleolithic Age
- Period from 40000 B.C. to 10000 B.C.
- It was the age of The Neanderthal Mane. “Homo Sapiens”
- The Upper Palaeolithic phase coincided with the last phase of the great Ice Age when climate became comparatively warm and it marks the appearance of Homosapiens as well as the use of blades and burin, needles, bone tools.
- In India, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, central Madhya Pradesh, southern Utter Pradesh, south Bihar plateau and the adjoining areas are the prominent sites. Palaeolithic sites are found in many hilly areas and river valleys of the country but they are absent in the alluvial plains of the Indus and the Ganga.
- During the Upper Palaeolithic period, the concept of composite tools
- The most noteworthy discovery of the Upper Palaeolithic period is the rubble-made platforms and the Mother Goddess who was worshiped as female principle or Sakti in the countryside.
- The rubble platform with its unique stone was made by a group of final upper Palaeolithic hunter-gatherers. A piece of natural stone in the center of the platform is found on the top of the Kaimur
- Paintings found at Bhimbetka in Madhya Pradesh provide insights on the living conditions of the populace of the Upper Paleolithic Age. The drawings and paintings can be classified under different periods.
- Upper Paleolithic
- Early Historic
- The rock-shelters in India were mainly occupied by the Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic people.
- The rock-paintings depict a variety of subjects related to animals and the scenes including both people and animals. Besides animals and birds, fishes have also been depicted in the rock paintings.
- Following were the important rock-painting sites −
- Murhana Pahar in Uttar Pradesh
- Bhimbetka, Adamgarh, Lakha Juar in Madhya Pradesh
- Kupagallu in Karnataka.
- The rock paintings portrayed human-beings involved in various activities, such as dancing, running and hunting, playing games, and engaged in battle. The colors used in these rock paintings are deep red, green, white and yellow.
- The rhinoceros hunting scene from the Adamgarh rock-shelters reveals that large number of people joins together for the hunt of bigger animals.
Next in the Series: Mesolithic Age ↓
Period from 10000 B.C to 5000 B.C. It is considered as a transitional period between the Paleolithic Age and the