Indian Stone Age for Maharashtra PSC Exam 2021

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Indian Stone Age - Ancient History (Important for GS)


  • P. F. Suhm and Christian Thomsen: The idea of three-age system was put forward in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
  • Jacob Worsaae: proven the three- age system by excavations.
  • John Lobbock: in 1863 , divided the stone age into two parts, the palaeolithic and neolithic.
  • Edouard Lartet: suggested the division of the palaeolithic into lower, middle and upper palaeolithic. (based on changes in faunna)

Indian Stone Age

  • The Indian stone age is divided into the palaeolitic, mesolithic, and neolithic on the basis of geological age, the type and technology of stone tools, and subsistence base.
Title: Indian Stone Age
  • The Palaeolitic is further divided into lower, middle, and upper palaeolithic.
  • A general time range for the lower palaeolithic is from about 2mya to 100,000 years ago, the middle palaeolithic from about 100,000 to 40,000 years ago, and the upper palaeolithic from about 40,000 to 10,000 years ago.
  • There is great deal of variation in the dates for different sites.

Important Features of the Stone Age

Important Features of the Stone Age
TerminologyGeological AgeTypical Indian Stone Tool TypesMain Subsistence Base
Lower PalaeolithicLower PleistocenePebble and core tool like handaxes, cleavers, and chopping toolsHunting and gathering
Middle PalaeolithicMiddle PleistoceneFlake tools, including those made by prepared core techniques such as the Levallois techniquesHunting and gathering
Upper PalaeolithicUpper PleistoceneBlade tools made on flakes — e. g. , parallel-sided blades and burinsHunting and gathering
MesoliticHoloceneMicrolithicsHunting, gathering, fishing, with instances of animal domestication in a few places
NeolithicHoloceneCelts (ground and polished handaxes)Food production based on animal and plant domestication

Palaeolithic Age

  • Lower Palaeolithic
  • The Lower Palaeolithic or the Early old stone age covers the greater part of the ice age.
  • Bori, in Maharashtra is considered to be the earliest Lower Palaeolithic site.
  • People were food gatherers.
  • The early Palaeolithic tools were fairly large core tools made of quartzite or other hard rocks. They include chopping tools, handaxes, and cleavers.
  • The tools were all made by removing flakes from a block or core of stone until it reached the required shape and size.

Lower Palaeolithic tools

Title: Lower Palaeolithic Tools

Typical lower Palaeolithic Tools and related terminologies

  • Core
  • Flakes
  • Flaking
  • Flake scars
  • Handaxe: A handaxe is generally a core tool. It is also known as a biface, because it is usually worked on both sides. Generally made on a core, it is roughly triangular in shape, broad at one end and pointed at the other.
  • A chopping tool: A chopping tool is a tool made on a core or a pebble and is flaked alternately on both sides to produce a wavy cutting edge.
Title: Chopping Tools
  • Pebble tools: Pebble tools of different types made on pebbles, in which only the working edge is flaked, the rest of the tool remaining untouched.
Title: Pabble Handaxe
  • A chopper: A chopper is a large, unifacial tool, i.e.. worked on one side only.
  • A cleaver is a flattish tool made on a broad rectangular or triangular flake, on one end of which is a broad and straight cutting edge.
Title Cleaver

Lower Palaeolithic Sites

Title: Lower Palaeolithic Sites

In Rajasthan

  • In Rajasthan, lower, middle and upper Palaeolithic tools have been found around Ajmer and stary finds of lower Palaeolithic tools occur in the Luni valley.
  • There is detailed profile of the Didwana area of the Nagaur district in western Rajasthan, with a sequence extending from the early to the middle Palaeolithic.
  • The Mogara hill near Jodhpur was an another factory site where lower, middle and upper Palaeolithic as well as mesolithic tools have been found.

In Gujarat

  • In Gujarat, lower palaeolithic tools have been found in the valleys of the Sabarmati and also in the Bhadar valley in Saurashtra.
  • Lower Palaeolithic and later artefacts have been found all along the Konkan coast upto Goa.

In Maharashtra

  • In Maharashtra, Palaeolithic tools have been found in many places along the coast and in the Wardha- Wainganga valleys.
  • Lower and middle Palaeolithic tools have been found in stratigraphic contexts in the Dattawadi area of the Mutha river in Pune.
  • Lower Palaeolithic tools have been found in stratigraphic context in the Gangawadi area on the Godavari at Nasik.

Central India

  • Prehistoric remains occur in the various parts of the central India in Damoh, Raisen and Narmada, upper Son , and Mahanadi valleys.
  • Excavations at Adamgarh hill, near Hoshangabad, revealed a sequence of lower and middle Palaeolithic tools.
  • Rock shelter at Bhimbetka gives evidence of pre-historic settlement from the lower Palaeolithic to historic period.

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