Mesolithic Age in India

What is the chronology of Mesolithic Period?

Mesolithic period was a transitional phase between the Palaeolithic Age and the Neolithic Age. Mesolithic period roughly spans from 1500-5000 years ago in Europe while 20000-8000 years ago in Asia.

How change in climate helped transition from Palaeolithic to Mesolithic Period?

The transition from the Palaeolithic period to Mesolithic period is marked by transition from Pleistocene period to Holocene and favourable changes in the climate. There was rise in temperature and the climate became warm and humid. The climatic changes affected human life and brought about changes in fauna and flora. The technology of producing tools also underwent change and the small stone tools were used. Man was predominantly in hunting/gathering stage but there was shift in the in pattern of hunting from big game to small game hunting and to fishing and fowling. These material and ecological changes are also reflected in rock paintings.

Why Mesolithic period marks a rise in human population?

The Mesolithic period is known for very distinct growth the population of human beings in comparison to other periods mainly because of the favourable climate and changes in the lifestyle. The warm climate, increased rainfall and adaptation to cultivation of plants and animals led to start of sedentary life. This led to availability of new resources to humans.

What were the most important changes in Life in Mesolithic Era?

The most important changes in life in Mesolithic era were as follows:

  • Domestication of Plants and Animals
  • Nomadism to Sedentary settlements
  • Disposal of dead and making of Graves
What were main features of the tools of Mesolithic Era?

Tools of Mesolithic age are smaller, polished and refined than the Paleolithic period and are called microliths. In India, microliths were first discovered by Carlyle in 1867 from Vindhyan rock shelters. Due to dominance of microliths, Mesolithic age is also known as Microlithic Age. The tools are generally one to five centimeters long and made of chert, crystal, chalcedony, jasper, carnelian, agate etc. These tools were used as components of spearheads, arrowheads, knives, sickles, harpoons and daggers. These changes in tools indicate that Mesolithic man was able to engaged in enhanced hunting and collection of food material.

How Mesolithic period stands out in development of art?

Mesolithic period is known for development of human rock art and the Mesolithic man was a lover of the art. He has left abundant evidence of both rock paintings (petrographs}) and rock engravings (petroglyphs). In India, various sites such as Bhimbetka, Adamgarh etc. have abundant rock paintings in which animals and human scenes have been depicted. These paintings have various theme such as dancing, running, hunting, playing games and quarrelling. The man used colours like deep red, gree, white and yellow in making these paintings.

What are the most Important Mesolithic Sites in India?

Bagor in Rajasthan appears to be largest Mesolithic site in India. Further, the Pachpadra river basin and Sojat area are two microliths rich regions in Rajasthan. Tilwara is another Mesolithic site in Rajasthan. In Gujarat, several Mesolithic sites include on Sabarmati river such as Akhaj, Valsana, Hirpur, Langhanj etc. In Uttar Pradesh, Sarai Nahar Rai, Morhana Pahar and Lekkahia are important Mesolithic sites. In Madhya Pradesh, Bhimbetka and Adamgarh are major Mesolithic sites. In Jharkhand Chhota Nagpur plateau is a major Mesolithic site in India. In Odisha, Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar, Sundergarh are major Mesolithic sites. In South India, Mesolithic sites are abundant in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

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