Subjects >>Indian History >> Ancient History >>Pre-Indus Valley Civilization

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Formation of Earth
14 May 2020

The Earth was formed around 4600 million years ago (mya) or 4.6 billion years ago (bya).

Formation of earth took place in 4 stages:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evolution of Humans

  • Apes evolved into Hominids during the Pliocene Period (5 mya-1.8 mya).

  • First Hominid appears in Africa (East-Africa around Kenya).

  • Name of First hominid was: Australopithecus Africanus, which then evolved into

    • Homohablis

    • Homoeractus

    • Homosapiens (Anatomically Modern Man).

  • These are distinguished on the basis of brain size. Brain size of modern man is 1450 cranial capacity (1450 cc).

 

 


 

Paleolithic Age

Paleolithic Age

  • Pelistocene period marked the start of Ancient History.

  • Earliest part of Stone Age culture is called “Paleolithic Culture”.

  • During this phase there was no agriculture and no domestication of animals.

  • Hominids survived through Hunting and Gathering activities.

  • Bhimbetka  has the evidence of earliest Rock paintings and carvings. Paintings mainly depict the subsistence pattern and social life of the period.


Palaeolithic Tools

For hunting purposes Stone Tools were used. The earliest stone tools found in India during the Palaeolithic Age were:

  • The use of tools is one of the basic factor used for studying the evolution of the Palaeolithic Age.

  • On the basis of the tools used, Palaeolithic Culture has been divided into three stages:

    • Lower Palaeolithic phase -> Chopping tools (made of big stones like pebbles) -> Hand Axe tools - these were developed after the chopping tools and were unsocketed unlike modern socketed axes.

    • Middle Palaeolithic -> Flakes

    • Upper Palaeolithic -> Burins and scrapers.


Palaeolithic sites

  • The sites are mainly found near major rivers like Luni river in rajasthan, Sabarmati, Mahi, Narmada, Tapi, Godavari, Krishana and other rivers of India.

  • Bhimbetka located in the Vindhyan range is a site in which tools representing the Acheulian tradition were replaced at a later stage by the Middle Palaeolithic Culture.


 

 

 

Mesolithic Age

After the Paleolithic culture, Mesolithic Culture developed, whose characteristics were Microlith Tools. Other characteristics of Mesolithic Age are:

  • Mesolithic age coincides with the Halocene age, which is the end of Ice age and beginning of warm age.

  • Domestication of animals like goats and sheep had started.

  • Domestication started as there were grasses on the land. In Adamgarh (Madhya Pradesh) earliest domestication of animals started.

  • Slightly later domestication had also started in Bagor (Rajasthan).


Microlith Tools

  • These are small stone tools called microliths. Microliths are very small in size and their length ranges from 1 to 8 cm.

  • These were used as Bow and Arrow to hunt animals from distance. (i.e., Hunting became advanced).

  • Both stone and bone tools were used.

  • Some examples of tools are: blade, Core, Triangle, Lunate, Trapeze.


Mesolithic sites

  • The Godavari delta is rich in microliths. Apart from that, Bagor, Sarai-Nahar-Rai, Mahadaha and Adamgarh.

  • In Chirand, Bihar, a large number of microlith tools were excavated.


Paintings

  • Early evidences of paintings in India come from Rock-Shelters, used by Mesolithic people to live in.

  • Found in Bhimbetka caves near Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh).

  • These earliest paintings were thought to be used for “Magico-Religious” purposes.

  • Paintings were done mainly by Charcoal and for colors different colors rock were used.

  • Outline of these paintings were bold and thick.


 

Neolithic Age

 

By Neolithic Age, the culture of the humans had developed significantly. Let’s look into the detail:

  • The striking features of Neolithic Chalcolithic Age are:

    • The Manufacturing of Pottery.

    • Grinding and polishing of stone tools

    • Domestication of animals

    •  Discovery of new stone tools

    • Practice of Agriculture

  • Domestication of Plants and animals led to

    • The emergence of village communities based on sedentary life

    • The beginnings of agriculture technology

    • Greater control over nature by exploitation of natural resources.

  • Farmers and Agriculture
    • Cultivation of cereals gave rise to Neolithic revolution.

    • In West Asia, Jericho in Palestine, The first evidence of Agriculture is found. Also, Jericho has the first evidences of fortification in the world.

    • In India agriculture started around 7000 BC

    • Belan Valley emerged as the earliest rice cultivating community.

  • Sedantary life

    • The“Pit Dwelling” around Karewa steps. Due to extreme cold and nature of soil facilitated the pit.

    • Earliest evidence of pit dwelling came from Burzhom.

    • Round Dome with “reeds” coated with muds and Bamboo sticks were also used.

  • Pottery in Neolithic Age

    • Chopni-Mando provides the earliest evidence of the use of pottery in the world.

    • To make them of regular size and for mass production purpose – Wheel may be invented. Earliest name of wheel was also ‘Potter’s Wheel’.

    • These utensils were handmade, irregular shape and size and there was no mass production of them.

    • Pottery were used for making utensils for cooking purposes.

  • Neolithic Sites

    • The excavations at ancient site of Mehgarh have evidences of agriculture and cattle and sheep domestication.

    • Mehgarh was located in Mountain Pass, known as “Bolan Pass” between Kirthar and Sulaiman mountain ranges.

    • Earliest crop were Barley and Wheat in Mehgarh.

    • After Mehgarh, Neolithic culture spreads to Jammu and Kashmir area. Regions: Burzhom, Gufkaral (Near present Srinagar), Giac(in Ladakh).

 

All these changes, are the fundamental changes in the lifestyle of the homo sapiens and due to this, this age is called Neo-lithic revolution as these changes brought fundamental changes in the lifestyle of the humans.


 

South-Indian Neolithic Culture

Culture

  • Traces of pale reddish brown pottery and blade tools and ground stone tools are found at Nagarjunakonda.

  • Domestication of animals was also there.

  • Microlithic tools made of quartz crystals are also found.

  • Around 1500 B.C., evidences of grey ware pottery are found.


Subsistence Pattern

  • The transition from the stage of advanced hunting to that of food producing economy in South India has not yet been clearly established.

  • Abundance of cattle and other kinds of food articles suggests sedentary agriculture-cum-pastoral economy of Neolithic people.

  • Millets (Ragi) was the earliest crop cultivated by Neolithic farmers


Neolithic Sites

  • Three important places of this culture were Kodekal, Untur and Piklihal, located around present states of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. These are the places where agriculture started after Mehgarh.


Ash-mounds

  • It is a very unique feature of South-Indian Neolithic Culture.

  • Ash-mounds of burned charcoal and cow dung are found.

  • It indicates the grow th of Pastoralism in South India.

  • Sites – near Utnur, Kodekal and Kupgal.


 

Chalcolithic Age

By 2nd millennium B.C. several regional cultures sprang up in different parts of the Indian sub-continent. These were non-urban, non-Harappan and were characterized by the use of stone and copper tools. Hence, these cultures are termed as chalcolithic cultures.

  • Chal-co-lithic: ‘co’ means Copper

  • It is the first metal age.

  • Copper was the first metal which was used by human beings. But mining of copper was difficult due to primitive technology. Making of utensils by smelting was also difficult.

Chalcolithic age was also called as ‘Copper-Stone Age’.


Chalcolithic cultures

  • Banas Culture – developed around river Banas, which is a tributary of river Chambal, which in turn is a tributary of river Yamuna.

  • They got copper from ‘Khetri Copper Mine’ in Rajsthan.

  • Jorwe Culture – located along the banks of river Pravara, a tributary of Godavari (Maharashtra).

    • It is from the Jorwe culture that the earliest use of gold is discovered. They got gold from Kolar gold mines (Karnataka).

After Chalcolithic: People mix Copper and Tin and made Bronze.


 

Did You Know

  • Paleolithic age is the last or Great Ice Age.

  • Archeological Survey of India (ASI) started the first survey of India in 1861 initiated by the Britishers.

  • Alexander Cunningham was the first head of ASI

  • Cotton for the first time was cultivated in India in the world. That is why India is also known as the land of cotton.

  • Prior to India agriculture was started in Palestine (Present Israel).