Food Gathering Communities

Early man of the Stone Age

Early Stone Age tools have been found in different areas of the subcontinent the most notable among which are the Potwar plain in north-western Punjab; the Beas and Banganga valleys; Nevasa in the valley of Pravara, a tributary of the Godavary; Gudalur in Gundlakamma basin in Andhra Pradesh; Nagarjunakonda in the Krishna valley, a string of sites (Vadamadurai, Attirampakkam etc) in the coastal plain near Chennai and the districts along the north bank of the Mahanadi in Orissa. Primitive man used tools and implements of rough stone. Flint was commonly used as it is hard but flakes easily. Tools serve a variety of purposes such as skinning of dead animals, cutting their flesh and splitting bones etc. Man during this period was essentially a food gatherer. He was totally dependent on nature for his food supply; requirement of game animals and edible plants. In course of time he learnt to control fire which helped improve the pattern of living in many ways.

He used the skins of animals, barks of trees and large leaves as clothes. Men were organized in small wandering groups consisting of few men, women and children. It was towards the end of the Palaeolithic period that the modern human being (Homo Sapien) first appeared around 36,000 BC. The middle stone age cultures were around the date 33,000 BC to about 16,500 BC.

There are indications that in some regions like western Rajasthan and MP the flake making technique was of a more improved variety than in others. These regional variations in dates and the total cultural assemblage became more prominent in the Late Stone age heralded by the use of smaller tools the microliths. In MP, Gujarat, Rajasthan and several other areas a long time span of 8500 BC-1700 BC has been suggested for these cultures.

Microliths being compound tools suggest a substantial technological change being hafted in bone, wood or bamboo. Atleast in few areas along with the microliths the technique of pot making a technique of great significance in human history as it came to be closely associated with food production and settled life. Langhnaj in Gujarat and Adamgarh in MP suggest presence of domesticated animals and exchange of commodities between different areas and communities.