Best Notes on the Prehistoric Period of Ancient India

The Knowledge of the prehistoric period is based on archaeological sources as there were no written records. The prehistoric period (30,00,000 BC – 3000 BC) is a period of human development or human evolution in which humans evolved from hunters and food gatherers to food producers. the earliest tool we found was stone so this period is also called the stone age or lithic age. Stone age (i.e. Lithic age) is subdivided into Paleolithic Age (Old Stone Age), Mesolithic Age (Middle Stone Age) and Neolithic Age (New Stone age).

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Prehistoric Period
prehistoric notes pdf

Prehistoric Period Human Evolution

Human Evolution and development are based on two theories –

Unitary Origin Theory –

This theory is based on the Out of Africa model and it says that Modern humans evolved originally from homo Erectus in Africa, and then spread throughout the world.

Parallel Origin Theory –

This theory says that Modern humans evolved in the world at the same time in a parallel manner.

Human Evolution Important Points under prehistoric period

Australopithecus AfricanusHomo Erectus Or, PithecanthropusHomo Sapiens NeanderthalHomo Sapien Sapien Cro-magnon
Earliest Ancestor of HumanEarliest Biped HumanThe first man that started burying their deadLatest Ancestor of Modern Man
Lucy – known as the mother of ManDiscovery of FirePresent almost everywhere on the earth
Free Use of Hands
Complete Indian History Notes for India’s Top Government and other Competitive Exams

Paleolithic Age or the Old Stone Age under prehistoric period

  • The term Paleolithic is the combination of two Greek Words, Paleo (which means old) and Lithic (means Stone). Thus the meaning of the Paleolithic Age is the old stone Age.
  • the period of the Paleolithic age is 30,00,000 BC – 10,00,000 BC.
  • Robert Bruce Foote is known as the father of pre-historic archaeology (India).
  • Paleolithic People largely depended on hunting and nature-giving things.
  • Foods were meat, fruit, or root.
  • At the time between 20,00,000 BC – 10,00,000 BC, fire was discovered.
  • People used to live as wanderers and there were no dwelling places to live.

Mesolithic Age or the Middle Stone Age under prehistory

  • The term Mesolithic is the combination of two Greek words, Meso (means middle) and Lithic (means Stone). Thus the meaning of the Mesolithic age is the middle stone age.
  • Period (9000BC-4000BC)
  • In India, the discovery of Mesolithic archaeological Materials goes to John Evans.
  • Taming (domestication) of animals started in this time period. Domesticating animals were Dog, Sheep goats, cow-ox, buffalo, wild horses etc.
  • People were aware of the burial of the dead bodies.
  • the size of tools and weapons of the mesolithic age is very tiny. these tools are called Microlith or Pigmy Implements.

Neolithic Age or the New Stone Age under prehistory

  • Neolithic is the combination of two Greek words Neo (new) and Lithic (stone) i.e. New Stone Age.
  • In India, the credit for the discovery of Neolithic archaeological materials goes to Dr Primrose.
  • Neolithic humans know Crop cultivation (Agriculture), Animal husbandry and Fixed abode.
  • The main cultivated crops of Neolithic men were – Wheat, Barley, Paddy, Millets, Various types of vegetables etc.
  • In the Neolithic Age, the invention of the Wheel happened.

FAQs on the prehistoric period

the latest ancestor of modern humans is ___?

the latest ancestor of the modern human is “Cro-Magnon” (Homo Sapien Sapien).

By which name was the early Homo Sapiens known?

Cro Magnon

when did Robert Bruce Foote discover Palaeolithic implements in India?


the main occupation of palaeolithic men was


The majority of early stone age tools in India were made of __


MCQs on the Prehistoric Period in India

  1. The Hominoid fossils of hath nor are-
    • Homo erectus
    • Homo habilis
    • Homo sapiens
    • None of these
Option 1 - Homo Erectus
In 1982, Arun Sonakia, a geologist in the Palaeontology Division of the Geological Survey of India, discovered a woman's skull from Hathnora (a place situated in Narmada river valley, Hoshangabad district, Madhya Pradesh) This is an important achievement because due to this India is placed on the global map of finding sites of hominid fossils. According to Arun Sonakia, this human skull belonged to the category of Homo Erectus.

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Last updated: August 20, 2023 Updated on 10:07 AM