Ancient History: Paleolithic age in India

By Naveen Singh|Updated : September 12th, 2020

Ancient History is an important topic asked in General Awareness. It is asked in various Defence Exams such as CAPF (AC) CDS, AFCAT, Air Force Group X & Y etc.

Here we will enlighten you about the Palaeolithic Age in India here. Many questions are asked from Painting of Bhimbetka caves and some important sites.


Ancient History: Paleolithic age in India

From 500,000 B.C. spanned the Paleolithic Age or Old Stone Age in India. The Paleolithic Age in India is divided into three phases: Lower Paleolithic (500,000 BC to 50,000 BC), Middle Paleolithic (50,000 BC to 40,000 BC) and Upper Paleolithic (40,000 BC to 10,000 BC) according to the nature of the tools and climate change.

Timeline of Paleolithic age in India

In India, the Paleolithic Age is divided into three phases:

  1. Lower Paleolithic Age: It spanned from 500,000 B.C. to 50,000 B. C. In India its sites were discovered in Punjab, Kashmir, UP, Rajasthan etc.
  2. Middle Paleolithic Age: It spanned from 50000 BC to 40000 BC. The sites around Tungabhadra River Valley and Narmada River Valley were found in India.
  3. Upper Paleolithic Age: It extended from 40000 BC to 10000 BC. The sites were found in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Central Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, South Uttar Pradesh, and South Bihar Plateau in India.

Characteristics of the Paleolithic Age:

An archaeologist, Archibold Carlleyle, made the first discovery of rock paintings in the world in India (1867-68), twelve years before the discovery of Altamira in Spain (the site of the world's oldest rock paintings).

Paintings found are divided into three categories: Man, Animal, and Geometric symbols.

Some of the characteristics of these early paintings are:

  1. Human beings are depicted in a stick-like form.
  2. A fox, a multi-legged lizard are main animal motifs in the early paintings.
  3. Wavy lines, rectangular filled geometric designs and a group of dots.
  4. Superimposition of paintings – earliest is Black, then red and later White.

There are two major sites of excellent prehistoric paintings in India:
(1) Bhimbetka Caves, Foothills of Vindhya, Madhya Pradesh
(2) Jogimara caves, Amarnath, Madhya Pradesh

Indian Sites: 

Lower Palaeolithic

1. Valley of Sohan in Punjab (now in Pakistan)

2. Kashmir and Thar Desert

3. Belan Valley in Mirzapur district, UP

4. Bidwana in Rajasthan

5. Narmada Valley

Middle Palaeolithic

1. Narmada River Valley

2. Tungabhadra River Valley

Upper Palaeolithic

1. Andra Pradesh

2. Karnataka

3. Central MP

4. Maharashtra

5. Southern UP

6. South Bihar Plateau

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