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6th January 2024 (12 Topics)

Discovery of paleolithic quartzite tools


The recent floods in the Mulugu district of Telangana has led to a fresh discovery of paleolithic quartzite tools.

What were the findings?

The tools or hand axes were found in the sand bed of a stream that dried up after the flood. The stone axe measuring 15.5cm in length, 11cm in width and 5.5cm in thickness.

The hand axes were found in the stream between Gurrevula and Bhupatipuram villages in Mulugu district. The tools got exposed as the stream has dried up.

The new discovery pushes back the understanding about human habitations in Telangana and central India.

Dating of the tools and Palaeolithic Period

  • The stone axe belongs to the Lower Paleolithic period and is about 30 lakh years ago. Paleolithic Age is also known as or Old Stone Age or Early Stone Age. It dates back to about 33 lakh years BC. It lasted for 10,000 years.
  • Palaeolithic hunter gatherers used heavy quartzite and large tools. Similar hand axes as these have been discovered worldwide. The tools were used for cutting wood and killing animals for food.
  • In 1863, the East India Company’s Geological Survey team found a paleolithic site at Attirampakkam near Madras (present-day Chennai) with bifacial hand-axes made of stone by early humans.
  • The tools were about 15 lakh years old. Paleolithic culture has been labelled as Madras Hand-Axe Industry or Madrasian Culture. 

Palaeolithic Period

Also known as Old Stone Age. It has been divided into 3 parts: Lower palaeolithic, Middle and Upper Palaeolithic Age.

In this period early humans were roaming and they lived a life of hunter and gatherers. It is called Stone Age due to chief tool which was used by human were made of stone.

Sites in India

Bori in Maharashtra is considered the oldest one- dating 20 lakh years.

  • Bhimbetka Caves: Located in Madhya Pradesh, Bhimbetka is home to some of the earliest rock paintings, providing valuable insights into the life of Paleolithic humans.
  • Homo Erectus: Fossil evidence suggests the presence of Homo erectus in the Indian subcontinent. The Narmada Valley and the Soan Valley are significant sites associated with these early humans.
  • Tool Varieties: The tools used by Paleolithic humans were largely made of stone, but the sophistication increased over time. Handaxes, cleavers, scrapers, and blades were essential for their survival.
  • Hunting and Gathering: Paleolithic communities were predominantly engaged in hunting animals and gathering plant resources for sustenance.

The Paleolithic period laid the foundation for human evolution and adaptation, setting the stage for the subsequent cultural and technological developments in the Indian subcontinent.

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