In this article we will discuss about prehistoric age of human progress in India which has been divided into the following parts:- 1. Palaeolithic Age 2. Mesolithic Age 3. Neolithic Age 4. Copper and Bronze Age 5. Iron Age.

1. Palaeolithic Age:

It is now generally held that the earliest traces of human beings in India are found in Punjab and belong to the end of the First Inter-Glacial period and the beginning of the Second Ice Age. i.e., about 500,000 years ago. However, there are certain other scholars who hold that “Early Man” in India originated in south India and migrated towards Punjab at the close of the First Ice Age.

Men of this age did not know the use of metals, had no idea of cultivation and, probably, did not know how to produce fire. Their implements were of rough stone, mainly of quartzite. They lived on fruits of trees and animals and fish which they killed.

They lived in natural caverns and did not construct houses of any sort. In the beginning of this age, men did not know the use of cloth and remained naked, though, later on they started covering their bodies by tree-leaves or skins of animals. They neither buried nor burnt their dead ones but left them as they were. However, they lived in groups to protect themselves from wild animals. This age continued up to nearly 25,000 B.C.


The Palaeolithic age now has been divided into three parts:

1. The Lower Palaeolithic Age:

Its earliest remnants have been found in the Sohan’s area in the north-west (Sohan was once a tributary river to river Indus). Besides, remnants have been discovered from nearly half a dozen places in the valleys of river Narmada and its tributary rivers. Among these places, Narsinghapur in the valley of Narmada and Bhimvetka in Madhya Pradesh are important ones where remnants in a large number have been found;

2. The Middle Palaeolithic Age:


The remnants of this age have been discovered from several places in Sindh, Rajasthan, Madhya Bharat, Orissa, North Andhra Pradesh. North Maharashtra, Karnataka and Gujarat; and,

3. Upper Palaeolithic Age:

The remnants of this age have been found quite recently from near Allahabad at Belan-Valley, at Betamchali in Andhra Pradesh and from the districts of Shorapur and Bijapur in Karnataka.

2. Mesolithic Age:

By nearly 25,000 B.C. men were able to make some progress in the field of their implements as well as living. The men used jasper, chart, bloodstone and even bones of wild animals to make their implements and weapons.


Men yet depended on fruits, fish and animals for their living and built no houses for themselves. But, the men started to bury their dead and the dog became their tamed animal. Probably, during its later stage, man started to make clay-pottery. Men continued in this age up to nearly 5.000 B.C.

Remnants of this age were found at several places. Among them Virt hanpur in Bengal, Langhnaj in Gujarat, Tehri-group in Andhra Pradesh. Adamgarh in Madhya Pradesh and Nagaur in Rajasthan were the prominent ones. But between 1970-1974 A.D., remnants of this age have been discovered from several places in the Ganga-Valley as well.

3. Neolithic Age:

The period between 5.000 B.C. and 3000 B.C. has been accepted to be of this age. Evidences relating to this period have been obtained from almost all over India and kept in the museums of Calcutta, Madras, Mysore and Hyderabad. As yet, tools and weapons of men were of stone but these were sharpened and polished. Their variety had also increased.

The people who made them had progressed fairly They cultivated land, domesticated animals, built houses, buried or burnt their dead, used skins of animals as clothes, cooked their food, made good clay- pottery and, probably were acquainted with the art of painting, Probably, they built the potter’s wheel and wheel of wood as well. They had also started to think about religion and worship of gods and devils.

4. Copper and Bronze Age:

This age has been regarded to be during the years between 3.000 B.C. and nearly 1.000 B.C. Scholars believe that in south India this age did not exist. Rather, with the entry of the Aryans in south India, it entered the Iron Age after the Neolithic Age.

But new discoveries have proved that copper was in use at several places in south India as well prior to the entry of the Aryans in the South. Therefore, it is believed now that south India also passed through the copper age. Besides, there are certain scholars who believe that India did not at all enter the Bronze Age. From the Neolithic Age, it entered the Copper Age and then the Iron Age.

During the Copper Age, along with copper implements and weapons, men used stone-implements also for a long time. Therefore, this age has been regarded as the Chalcolithic Age as well. However, latest discoveries have proved that the Indus valley people produced bronze on a large scale and therefore, India, certainly, passed through the Bronze age as well.

By this time, men had progressed in every field. They cultivated land, lived in villages and cities, domesticated animals, used both cotton and woolen clothes, developed means of transport and communication, language and script, faith in religion and worship of gods and goddesses, rather, every means of livelihood which makes a group of people cultured and civilized.

5. Iron Age:

With the Iron Age, we approach the historical period. The Aryans did not know the use of iron during the early Vedic age but, certainly it became known to them during the later Vedic-age.

Therefore, it was believed that iron-age started in India from nearly 1,000 B.C. But now the latest discoveries have proved that, prior to the entry of Aryans in the interior of India, there were several village- civilizations in different parts of India whose people knew the use of iron. Therefore, it is now believed that iron-age started in India even earlier than 1,000 B.C. The iron-age is continuing at present also.

Thus, in India, man has fought against nature for his existence right from the beginning of the human race. This is also one of those countries where the story of man began. Not only this, rather the recent archaeological findings have proved that Indian culture and civilization has a proud place amongst the ancient cultures and civilizations of the world.