The Danish scholar Christian J. Thomsen coined the term ‘Stone Age’ in the late 19th century on the basis of technological framework for the study of human past. The Stone Age is defined as the age when the pre-historic man began to use stones for utilitarian purpose. It is divided into three part- Palaeolithic Age or Old Stone Age, Mesolithic Age or Middle Stone Age and Neolithic Age or New Stone Age.
Here, we are giving the summary on the Stone Age India as a quick revision capsule for examinations like UPSC, CDS, NDA, State Services, PSC, Railways etc.
Palaeolithic Age (Up to 10000 BC)
1. It was developed in Pleistocene period.
2. Robert Bruce Foote was the first to discover a Palaeolithic Stone in India in 1863.
3. The Palaeolithic research in India got a boost only with the coming of ‘Yale Cambridge Expedition’ in 1935 led by Deterra and Patterson.
4. The tools were usually made of hard rock ‘quartzite’ (Hard metamorphic rock consisting essentially of interlocking quartz crystals) and therefore, the people of this age also called ‘Quartzite Man’.
5. It was basically hunting and food gathering culture ‘Palaeo’ means ‘old’ and ‘lithic’ means ‘stone’.
6. Early or Lower Palaeolithic Age covers greater part of the Ice Age and its characteristic feature is the use of hand-axe, cleaners and choppers.
7. Middle Palaeolithic Age is characterised by flakes. The principal tools are blades, points and scrappers.
8. Upper Palaeolithic Age marks the appearance of Homo sapiens and new flint industries; widespread appearance of a figurines and other artefacts reflecting art and rituals. The age is also characterised by bone tools including needles, fishing tools, harpoons, blades and burin tools.
Mesolithic Age (10000- 4000BC)
1. Transitional period between Palaeolithic and Neolithic ages.
2. Microliths tools are the main characteristics of the age.
3. The microliths were the first discovered by Carlyle in 1867 from Vindhyan Rock Shelters.
4. It is also known as Microlithic Age.
5. Hunting, fishing and food-gathering were the main occupation of the people of this age.
6. Earliest domestication of animals has also witnessed from Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
Neolithic Age (4000-1800 BC)
1. The discovery of tools and implements of Neolithic age was made by Le Mesurier in Uttar Pradesh in 1860.
2. The term ‘Neolithic’ was coined Sir John Lubbock in his book “Prehistoric Teme” which was first published in 1865.
3. V. Gardon Childe was the first who defined the Neolithic-Chalcolithis Culture as a self-suffient food economy.
4. The Neolithic Culture was characterised by agriculture practices, domestication of animals, polished and grinned stone tools and pottery manufacture.
Man is said to appear on the Earth in the early Pleistocene i.e. Australopithecus or Southern People (First in Africa). Bori in Maharashtra gives the earliest evidence of man in India during middle Pleistocene period.