Life of Early Men

  • Early men as hunter gatherers: – The early men were called hunter-gatherers because they hunted wild animals, birds and fish and gathered fruits, roots, seeds and leaves from the plants around them.
  • Early man as nomads: – They had a nomadic life as they kept moving from one place to another in search of food and shelter.

Reasons for Movement of Hunter-Gatherers

  1. If they had stayed at one place for a long time, they would have eaten up all the available plant and animal resources. Therefore, they would have had to go elsewhere in search of food.
  2. Animals move from place to place in search of prey, grass or leaves. That is why those who hunted them had to follow their movements.
  3. Plants and trees bear fruit in different seasons. So, people may have moved from season to season in search of different kinds of plants.
  4. They moved from one place to another in search of water, as some of the rivers were seasonal.

Archaeologists have found tools used by early – man. They are made up of wood, stones and bones.

       Uses of tools: –

  1. To cut meat and bone.
  2. Scrape bark from trees and hides from animal skins.
  3. Chop fruits and roots.
  4. Some attached handles of bone or wood to make spears and arrows for hunting.
  5. Other tools were used to chop wood, that was used as firewood.

Techniques of making Stone Tools

  • Stone on Stone: – In this technique, the pebble form which the tool was to be made, known as core, was held in one hand. Another stone which was used as a hammer, was held in the other. The second stone was used to remove (strike off) flakes from the first, till the required shape was obtained.
  • Pressure Flaking: – In this process, the core was placed on firm surface. The hammer stone was used on a piece of bone or stone that was placed on the core to remove flakes, that could be shaped into tools.

Stone Age

            The Stone Age refers to the pre-historic period during which stone was widely used to make implements. It is divided into three different periods based on the type and quality of stone tools used by early humans: –

  1. Palaeolithic Age (500000 BCE – 10000 BCE)
  2. Mesolithic Age (10000 BCE – 8000 BCE)
  3. Neolithic Age (8000 BCE – 4000 BCE)

Palaeolithic Age

  • It is considered that evolution of mankind started in this period.
  • This is the largest Stone Age Period. In fact, this period covers almost 99% of the human history.
  • the word Palaeolithic comes from two Greek words, ‘palaeo’ meaning old and ‘lithic’ meaning stone.
  • It is known as Old Stone Age.
  • During this stage, many parts of the Earth were covered heavily with ice and the climate was extremely cold.
  • Presence of habitation sites such as caves and rock shelters and factory sites.
  • They made crude and unpolished stone tools. They made tools of stone, wood and bone. Most were made up of a rock called ‘flint’. Large pieces of stone were shaped into hammers, scrapers and axe – heads.
  • Techniques of making tools were Stone on Stone and Pressure Flaking.
  • The people of this period were hunter – gatherers.
  • Discovery of fire – archaeological sites of ash caves in Andhra Pradesh have traces of ash which indicates the use of fire.
  • Important sites were:  – 1.Bhimbetka – Madhya Pradesh

2. Hunsgi – Karnataka

3. Kurnool – Andhra Pradesh

Mesolithic Age

  • The Mesolithic age was also called Middle Stone Age.
  • It was a transition period and was followed by Neolithic age.
  • During this time, the climate of earth became warmer and rider. There was a rapid increase in grasslands with grain bearing grasses.
  • Early humans continued to be hunter – gatherers in the beginning of this period.
  • They used Microlith tools. They were smaller and sharper and lighter stone tools.
  • Use of bone and ivory for making tools.
  • Beginning of domestication of animals.
  • They got the idea of life cycle of plants that lead to the beginning of agriculture.
  • Important sites were: –

Bagor – Rajasthan

Tilwara – Adamgarh (Madhya Pradesh)

Langhnaj – Gujarat

Neolithic Age

  • The term Neolithic or New Stone Age is derived from two Greek words ‘neo’ meaning new and ‘lithos’ meaning stone.
  • People started producing their own food by cultivating cereals such as barley, wheat and rice.
  • It marked the beginning of domestication of animals.
  • The people of this period were food producers.
  • Emergence of village life.
  • Invention of the wheel and pottery making.
  • Important sites were: –

Mehrgarh – Baluchistan

Burzahom – Kashmir

Daojali Hading – near Brahmaputra Valley

Uses of Fire

  1. Source of light
  2. To cook meat
  3. To scare away animals
  4. It helped men to keep warm in winters

Rock Paintings

            Early humans lived in caves and they decorated them with paintings on the walls. These drawings were of running wild horses, bison etc. These paintings also show men hunting, either in groups or alone, riding, women grinding and preparing food and dancing. Red, green, white and natural colours are used in the paintings. Example: – Bhimbetka in Madhya Pradesh, Southern Uttar Pradesh.

Case Study – Hunsgi (South India)

  • Hunsgi is an important Palaeolithic site in the Deccan Plateau region.
  • The archaeologists have discovered several tools such as choppers, scrapers, knives made of limestone that was locally present in the region.
  • The presence of almost 15000 stone tools found near a site at limestone quarry at Isampur indicates that it was a factory site where the tools were manufactured. The tools were then carried to other regions.
  • Some of the sites were close to springs.


Nomads – People who travel from one place to another in search of food & shelter.

Sites – These are the places where remains of things were found.

Factory Sites – Places where stone was found and where tools were made.

Habitation-Cum-Factory Sites – These places were used by the early men to make stone tools as well as to live for a longer period.

Habitation Sites – These were the sites where early men lived. Most of these sites include caves and rock shelters.

Microliths – Small and sharper tools made during middle stone age. Flint – A type of stone used for making tools and weapons

Comments are closed.