Historical period 

Prehistoric period 

  • It is known as the period before history i.e. it is the time period before the emergence of writing.
  • The prehistoric period is divided into three ages:
  1. Stone age
  2. Bronze age
  3. Iron age


  • In India, the prehistoric period is divided into:
  1. Paleolithic (Old Stone Age)
  2. Mesolithic (Middle Stone Age)
  3. Neolithic (New Stone Age)
  4. Metal Age


Palaeolithic Age

  • This age was developed in the Pleistocene period.
  • The term Palaeolithic is derived from the Greek word meaning ‘ old stone’.
  • Palaeolithic men lead a savage life, using stone weapon for hunting. There was no agriculture, people use to hunt animal and gather edible plants and tubers.
  • There was no family life, people use to live in caves or wander in jungle.
  • Palaeolithic age has been divided into three phases on the basis of the nature of stone tools made by human beings
  1. Lower Palaeolithic – tools included were hand axes, cleavers, choppers.
  2. Middle Palaeolithic – tools largely included flakes.
  3. Upper Palaeolithic – tools included were burns and scrapers.


Mesolithic Age

  • This age was developed in the Holocene period.
  • This period witnessed a rise in temperature and the climate became warm and dry, which in turn affected human life and brought about changes in flora and fauna.
  • The beginning of the art of making clay pot is significant development of Mesolithic age.
  • The man was hunting and gathering food and domesticated dog.
  • In this period bones were used as tools and the use of bones along the stone marked the biggest change in the life of man from Palaeolithic period to Mesolithic period.
  • The technology of producing tools also underwent a change, now small stone tools were being used.
  • The Mesolithic man started using special kind of weapons known as microliths or pygmy tools made of jasper chalk or bloodstone.
  • The main tools included blade, core, point, scrapper, burin, chopper.


Neolithic Age

  • This is the age when people instead of depending entirely on resources of nature, they started producing their own food by cultivating cereals and started domesticating some species of animals.
  • Domestication of plants and animals led to emergence of village communities based on sedentary life.
  • The beginning of this stage of culture in India is revealed by a new types of stone tools called Neolithic tools or the tools of Neolithic age. The term Neolithic is derived from Greek word meaning ‘new stone’
  • The tools of Neolithic age were well shaped, sharp and polished and therefore more effective as compared to earlier period.


Chacolithic or metal age

  • At the end of the Neolithic Period, use of metals like copper along with stone started.
  • In this way, it is named as Chalcolithic which means the stone-copper phase.
  • Smelting of metal ore and creation of metal artefacts is the important development during this period.
  • Cultures during Chalcolithic phase grew in river valleys.
  • Probably, Gold was discovered earliest but it was used for ornaments only.
  • Some of the important sites of this phase are in:
  • Rajasthan
  • Maharashtra
  • West Bengal
  • Bihar
  • MP
  • Farming communities settled along the river valleys of Godavari, Krishna, Tungabhadra, Pennar and Kaveri in South India.
  • Black and red pottery is the most popular among the different types of pottery, used by the Chalcolithic people.
  • People generally lived in thatched houses as they were not acquainted with burnt bricks.


Iron age

  • Iron age follows the Chalcolithic age.
  • There is a frequent reference of iron in the Vedas.
  • Megaliths of this age are spread across the Indian subcontinent.
  • Bulk of them are found in peninsular India, concentrated in the states of Maharashtra (mainly in Vidarbha), Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.




Section : History & Culture

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