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Pre Historic India                       [400,000 BC - 1000 BC]


From 8000 BC, the Mesolithic age began and continued upto 4000 BC in India. During this time, sharp and pointed tools were used for killing fast-moving animals. The beginning of plant cultivation also appeared. Chotanagpur plateau, central India and south of the river Krishna are some of the various Mesolithic sites. Neolithic (New Stone Age) settlements in the Indian sub-continent are not older than 4000 BC. Man began to domesticate animals and cultivate plants, settling down in villages to form farming communities. The wheel was an important discovery.

The earliest traces of human existence in India, so far discovered, go back to the period between 400,000 and 200,000 BC. This is suggested by the large number of primitive stone tools found in the Soan Valley and South India.

Primitive man in the Palaeolithic (Stone) Age, which lasted till 8000 BC, used tools and implements of rough stone. Man was essentially a food gatherer and depended on nature for food.

He learnt to control fire, which helped him to improve his way of living. At the end of this age, the modern human being (Homo Sapiens) first appeared - around 36,000 BC.

Towards the end of the Neolithic period, metals like bronze and copper began to be used. This was the Chalcolithic phase (1800 BC to 1000 BC). Chalcolithic cultures extended from the Chotanagpur plateau to the upper Gangetic basin. Some of the sites of this era are Brahmgiri (near Mysore) and Navada Toli on the Narmada.

Around the beginning of the third millennium BC, a culture appeared to the south-east of Baluchistan, which evolved into what is now known as the Indus Valley or Harappan civilization.