Neolithic Era (6000 B.C.–1000 B.C)

The stone of the tools is refined in this age. The weapons and tools are sharper and refined. These are scattered in north, south, east and western India. By this time the man had control over the supply of food. He cultivated and bred animals. The age was still called barbaric age. The spinning wheel, use of pottery, cotton woven into thread came into being. A large number of flint arrows heads, bone harpoons, blades and sickles are found in large number. The latter settlers of this age are agriculturists. The granaries or store houses for keeping wheat are also found.

  • In the world context, the Neolithic age began around 9000 B.C. but in the Indian context it began in 7000 B.C. Mehrgarh in Baluchistan is the only site belonging to that period.
  • Regular Neolithic attributes have been found from around 5000 B.C. and in South Indian context Neolithic settlements appeared around 2500 B.C.
  • The principal features of Neolithic culture are crop cultivation, animal husbandry and settled life. The last two coming into existence in the last phase of Mesolithic culture.
  • During this period people depended on stone implements but used stones other than quartzite for making tools which were more lethal, more finished and more polished. The phase is known for grinding and polishing of tools.

The stone tools can be studied under two groups:

(1) Ground and polished stone implements and

(2) Small and chipped stone tools

The ground and polished stone implements are associated with the Neolithic culture because of their links with food-producing stage and domestication of animals. Small and chipped stone tools had been continuing from earlier Mesolithic levels which are generally termed as microliths. The Neolithic people at certain point of time started making potteries. On this basis Neolithic culture has been divided into aceramic Neolithic and ceramic Neolithic ages. At certain Neolithic levels we get the evidence of use of metal (copper being the earliest metal). Such levels are termed as Chalcolithic level.

  • Important sites of this age are Burzahom and Gufkral in J&K (famous for pit dwelling, stone tools and graveyards in houses), Maski, Brahmagiri, Tekkalakota in Karnataka, Paiyampatti in Tamil Nadu, Piklihal and Hallur in Andhra Pradesh, Garo hills in Meghalaya, Chirand and Senuwar in Bihar (known for remarkable bone tools), Amri, Kot diji, etc.
  • In Baluchistan, sites of Neolithic age include Kili Ghul Muhammad, Rana Ghundai, Anjira, Siah- damb and Mundigak.
  • In the Indus system the most Neolithic site is at Mehrgarh in the Kacchi Plain regarded as the ‘bread basket’ of Baluchistan. The Neolithic stratum at Mehrgarh seems to have emerged from a locally established Mesolithic substratum.

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