Indian Stone Age Era

Indian Pre Historic Era

Archaeological evidence of anatomically modern humans in the Indian subcontinent is claimed to be as old as 78,000–74,000 years. Earlier hominids include Homo erectus from about 500,000 years ago. Isolated remains of Homo erectus in Hathnora in the Narmada Valley in central India indicate that India might have been inhabited since at least the Middle Pleistocene era, somewhere between 500,000 and 200,000 years ago. Tools crafted by proto-humans that have been dated back two million years have been discovered in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent. The ancient history of the region includes some of South Asia's oldest settlements and some of its major civilizations.

Cave Paintings at Bhimbetka

The earliest archaeological site in the Indian subcontinent is the Palaeolithic hominid site in the Soan River valley. Soanian sites are found in the Sivalik region across what are now India, Pakistan, and Nepal. The Mesolithic period in the Indian subcontinent was followed by the Neolithic period, when more extensive settlement of the Indian subcontinent occurred after the end of the last Ice Age approximately 12,000 years ago. The first confirmed semi-permanent settlements appeared 9,000 years ago in the Bhimbetka rock shelters in modern Madhya Pradesh, India. The Edakkal Caves are pictorial writings believed to date to at least 6,000 BCE, from the Neolithic man, indicating the presence of a prehistoric civilisation or settlement in Kerala. The Stone Age carvings of Edakkal are rare and are the only known examples from South India.

Traces of a Neolithic culture have been alleged to be submerged in the Gulf of Khambat in India, radiocarbon dated to 7500 BCE. Neolithic agricultural cultures sprang up in the Indus Valley region around 5000 BCE, in the lower Gangetic valley around 3000 BCE, represented by the Bhirrana findings (7570–6200 BCE) in Haryana, India, Lahuradewa findings (7000 BCE) in Uttar Pradesh, India, and Mehrgarh findings (7000–5000 BCE) in Balochistan, Pakistan and later in Southern India, spreading southwards and also northwards into Malwa around 1800 BCE. The first urban civilisation of the region began with the Indus Valley Civilisation.

The aceramic Neolithic (Mehrgarh I, Baluchistan, Pakistan, also dubbed "Early Food Producing Era") lasts c. 7000 - 5500 BCE. The ceramic Neolithic lasts up to 3300 BCE, blending into the Early Harappan (Chalcolithic to Early Bronze Age) period. One of the earliest Neolithic sites in India is Lahuradewa in the Middle Ganges region and Jhusi near the confluence of Ganges and Yamuna rivers, both dating to around the 7th millennium BCE.[11][12] Recently another site along the ancient Saraswati riverine system in the present day state of Haryana in India called Bhirrana has been discovered yielding a dating of around 7600 BCE for its Neolithic levels.

Rock cut carvings at Adichannalur

In South India the Neolithic began by 3000 BCE and lasted until around 1400 BCE. South Indian Neolithic is characterized by Ashmounds since 2500 BCE in the Andhra-Karnataka region that expanded later into Tamil Nadu. Comparative excavations carried out in Adichanallur in the Thirunelveli District and in Northern India have provided evidence of a southward migration of the Megalithic culture. The earliest clear evidence of the presence of the megalithic urn burials are those dating from around 1000 BCE, which have been discovered at various places in Tamil Nadu, notably at Adichanallur, 24 kilometers from Tirunelveli, where archaeologists from the Archaeological Survey of India unearthed 12 urns containing human skulls, skeletons and bones, husks, grains of charred rice and Neolithic celts, confirming the presence of the Neolithic period 2800 years ago. Archaeologists have made plans to return to Adhichanallur as a source of new knowledge in the future.

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