Ancient Indian History: Pre-Historic Period

No written records are available. History is constructed by the use of plenty of archaeological remains such as stone tools, pottery, artifacts, metal implements, paintings, etc.

Stone Age

  1. Paleolithic or Old Stone Age (before 10,000 BC)
  2. Mesolithic or Middle Stone Age (10000 BC to 6000 BC)
  3. Neolithic or New Stone Age (6000 BC to 4000 BC)

Metal Age

  1. Chalcolithic or Copper age
  2. Iron age

Stone Age


  • Sites generally located near water sources
  • Hunter-gatherer society
  • Stone tools; hand sized flaked off; large size
  • made up of Quartzite
  • Hunting: large animals by a group of people
  • Attempt of domestication
  • Proliferation of painting as oldest art form in upper paleolithic age


  • Transition period
  • Tools: Tiny stone artifacts (Microliths)
  • Hunter-gathering continued
  • Shift from large to small animal hunting and fishing
  • Use of Bow and Arrow begun
  • Domestication of animal, horticulture, and primitive cultivation started


  • Practice of agriculture and domestication of animals --> Emergence of village communities
  • Crops: Rise, wheat, millets, barley, etc.
  • Polishing of stone tools
  • Pottery started; Use of wheels to make pottery; use: for storing grains, cooking, burials of dead in large urns
  • Mud brick houses instead of grass huts
  • Used cloths of cotton and wool
  • Mehrgarh- a neolithic site is considered as precursor to Indus Valley Civilization
  • It was one of the earliest example of farming and herding in S. Asia

Metal Age


  • Technological developments: Smelting metal ores, crafting metal artifacts, etc.
  • Copper and Bronze along with stone tools
  • Network of chalcolithic cultures due to long-distance travel for metal ores
  • Harrapa is considered to be chalcolithic
  • Generally, these cultures grew in river valley

Iron age

  • Iron age of southern peninsula is often related to Megalithic Burials.

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