Chapter 2

On the Trail of Earliest People

Palaeolithic Age:

  • Extends from 2 million years ago to about 12,000 years ago.

  • Divided into Lower, Middle, and Upper Palaeolithic.

Mesolithic Age:

  • Extends from 10,000 years ago to about 12,000 years ago.

  • Characterized by tiny stone tools called Microliths.

Neolithic Age:

  • Dates back to about 10,000 years ago, known as the New Stone Age.

Earliest People:

  • Hunter-gatherers who relied on hunting, collecting berries/fruits, gathering nuts, stalks, and eggs.

  • Nomadic lifestyle due to hunting requirements.

  • Needed knowledge of plant edibility and seasonal changes.

Archaeological Evidence:

  • Early man studied through objects analysis, e.g., stone, bone, and wood tools.

Tool Uses:

  • Stone tools for cutting, scraping, and chopping.

Stone Tool Techniques:

  • Two methods employed for making stone tools.

Choosing Dwelling Locations:

  • Early humans preferred dwellings near water sources and good-quality stone.

Rock Paintings:

  • Early art found in rock shelters, known as rock paintings.

Fire Usage:

  • Evidence of fire found at Kurnool caves in Andhra Pradesh.

  • Fire possibly used for light, cooking, and scaring animals.

Environmental Change:

  • Around 12,000 years ago, global climate shift to warmer conditions.

  • Led to the development of grasslands, prompting herding and animal rearing.

Habitation-cum-Factory Sites:

  • Locations with stones for tool-making, sometimes used for long-term habitation.


  • Located in Madhya Pradesh.

  • Contains habitation sites, natural caves, and rock shelters.


  • Inhabited the subcontinent about 2 million years ago.

  • Gathered plant produce and hunted wild animals for food.


  • Used various tools made of stone, wood, and bone.

  • Stone tools crafted using techniques like stone-on-stone and pressure flaking.

Fire Usage:

  • Early people used fire for light, cooking, and scaring animals.

Climate Change:

  • Around 12,000 years ago, climate change led to grassland development.


  • People began herding, rearing animals, and fishing.

  • Natural growth of grain-bearing grasses, and cultivation started.

Rock Art:

  • Many caves have paintings depicting accurate images of wild animals.


  • Site with early Palaeolithic artifacts, mostly made of limestone.


  • Locations where people made tools from stones.


  • Fertile areas suitable for crop cultivation.

Habitation-Cum-Factory Sites:

  • Combined sites where people lived and crafted tools.


  • Early inhabitants (~2 million years ago) who hunted, fished, and gathered food.


  • Historical period from 2 million to about 12,000 years ago.


  • Historical period from about 12,000 to about 10,000 years ago.


  • Small stone tools from the Mesolithic period.

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