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Ancient India - A Bird's-eye View of Prehistoric Ages (#history)(#compete4exams)(#eduvictors)(#prehistory)

Ancient India - A Bird's-eye View of Prehistoric Ages

Ancient India - A Bird's-eye View of Prehistoric Ages (#history)(#compete4exams)(#eduvictors)(#prehistory)

Quaternary Age 

Evolution of the earth's crust shows four stages, 4th stage being Quaternary, which comprises of: 

▪ Pleistocene (2 Million BC – 10,000 years BC) 

▪ Holocene (10000 – Present)

Pleistocene Age or Paleolithic Age

▪ Roughly dressed stone tools 

▪ Crude chipping 

▪ No knowledge of Cultivation 

▪ Solely living on hunting

▪ Lived in rock-shelters

▪ Discovery of fire was a major event

Pleistoscene Age is also known as Paleolithic age or Ice age or Old Stone Age and is divided into three ages:

  1. Early/ Lower Paleolithic Age
  2. Middle Paleolithic Age
  3. Upper Paleolithic Age

Early/ Lower Paleolithic Age

▪ 2 Million BC – 50,000 BC 

▪ Tools → Cleavers, Choppers, Axes

▪ In India, Lower Paleolithic sites have been found on the banks of river Soan (in Punjab, now in Pakistan) and river Narmada.

Middle Paleolithic Age
▪ 50000 – 40000 BC
▪ Flakes Tools → Blades, Pointers, Borers & Scrapers
▪ In India, banks of river Luni (Rajasthan) and Narmada valley
▪ Noticeable aspect in community life is burial of the dead.

Upper Paleolithic Age
▪ 40,000 – 10,000 BC
▪ Climate became comparatively warm
▪ Marked the appearance of new flint industries
▪ Men of modern types (Homo-sapiens)
▪ In India, Bhimbetka in Madhya Pradesh

Holocene: Mesolithic Age (10,000 BC – 8000 BC)
▪ Marked by phenomenal changes in climate as climate became comparatively warm & dry which brought significant changes in flora & fauna and made it possible for humans to move to new areas. 

▪ Characteristic tools of this Age: Microliths 

▪ Transitional Phase between Paleolithic & Neolithic Age 

▪ People mostly lived on Hunting, Fishing & Food gathering; At later stage also domesticated animals 

▪ The dog became the first pet animal.

▪ Rock Paintings from Paleolithic & Mesolithic age have been found at Bhimbetka caves ( Painted birds, animals & humans)

Ancient India - A Bird's-eye View of Prehistoric Ages (#history)(#compete4exams)(#eduvictors)(#prehistory)
Bhimbetka Cave Painting (credits: Bernanrd Gagnon, Wikimedia CC 3.0)

About Bhimbetka Rock Shelters

▪  Bhimbetka Rock shelters were included in the world heritage list in 1970.

▪  Bhimbetka rock shelters are located in Raisen District of Madhya Pradesh, 45 km south of Bhopal at the southern edge of the Vindhyachal hills. 

▪  This is the most exclusive Paleolithic site in India which contains the rock carvings and paintings.

▪  These paintings belong to the Paleolithic, Mesolithic ages, Chalcolithic, earlyhistoric and even medieval times.

Holocene: Neolithic Age (8000 – 4000 BC)

▪ In some places, Neolithic culture continued until 1000 BC.

▪ Earliest farming communities → Characterized by cultivation of plants & domestication of animals

▪ Earliest evident of Neolithic culture have been found at Mehragarh on bank of river Bolan (Baluchistan) 7000 BC showing beginning of agriculture & domestication of animals.

▪ Pottery 1st appeared in this phase → Black burnished ware + Course Grey ware pottery for cooking

▪ The wheel was invented in this age. 

▪ Important Places : Gufkral ( Cave of Potters) & Burzahom ( Place of Birch)

▪ Dog burial with the master → Special feature of Burzahom

Sir John Lubbock coined the term 'neolithic' in 1865 in his book Pre-historic Times.

Holocene: Chalcolithic Age (4000 BC – 1500 BC) 

▪ Marked by use of copper → 1st metal used in India (Copper Age)

▪ Use of Lead for smelting copper also started.

▪ Cultivation & cattle rearing along with established the knowledge of crop rotation (Inamgaon), 

▪ Knowledge of Irrigation & Harvesting ▪ Excavation reveals structures like Granaries, Embankment & Fortification 

▪ Mud houses made of mud in circular & rectangular pattern along with mud chulha 

▪ Culture was limited from Udaipur to Malwa & Maharashtra ▪ Famous Pottery of this age → Black on Red ware

Iron Age (1500 BC - 600 BC)

▪  The Iron Age was a period in human history that started between 1200 B.C. and 600 B.C., depending on the region. 

▪  Indus Civilisation and Early Vedic Period belong to Bronze Age.

▪  Late Vedic period marked the advent of Iron Age in India.

▪  Iron working specifically use of Carbon Steel started.

▪  In India, use of Painted Gray Ware pottery started. 

▪  Sites at Ghaggar valley, the upper Ganga region and the western banks of Yamuna river marked the presence of Iron Age in India.

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