Prehistory - Mesolithic Age

February 17, 2018


 Mesolithic Age:


  1. People started making and using very small tools referred as Microliths.

  2. Essentially based on hunting and gathering but some sites have given evidence of the domestication of animals.

  3. Sites:

    1. Patne in Maharashtra

    2. Sarai Nahar Rai:

      • Important Discoveries:

        1. Geometric microliths.

        2. Burials.

    3. Mahadaha

    4. Damdama

      • Important Discoveries:

        • Ivory pendant in a grave.

        • Domesticated rice.

    5. Lekhakia in Mirzapur (UP) show extended burials.

    6. Bagor in Bhilwara district of Rajasthan.

    7. Chopani Mando in the Belan valley gave evidence about Wild Rice.

    8. Microlith sites have been found in the valleys of Narmada, Tapi, Mahi and Sabarmati.

    9. Adamgarh near Hoshangabad.

  4. Pottery is absent at most sites, but it occurs at:

    1. Langhnaj in Gujarat.

    2. Kaimur region of Mirzapur (UP).

  5. Burials are prevalent. Bodies are mostly laid out in West-East direction.


Mesolithic Art



  1. Chandravati in Rajasthan:

    1. Chert cone with geometric designs.

  2. Sohagi Ghat in Kaimur hills, Mirzapur, UP:

    1. First rock painting found at this place.

  3. Bhimbetka:


    Founded by V.S. Wakankar. The subsequent discoveries at Bhimbetka site are: 

    1. 642 rock shelters out of which 400 are painted, engraved or bruised.

    2. Sixteen colours can be identified with white and light red being most often. White is from limestone and red from geru.

    3. Animals dominate the scenes at Bhimbetka with as many as 29 species of animals including tiger, leopard, rhino, panther etc. and many species of birds.

    4. No snakes are depicted in Indian Mesolithic paintings here or elsewhere.

    5. Hunting: Animals are represented on their own as well as a part of hunting scenes.Hunters hunt singly as well as in groups, sometimes wearing masks and headdresses crowned with antlers and horns. They carry sticks, spears, bows and arrows, slings and some are also unarmed.Sometimes hunters are accompanied by Dogs.

    6. X ray style image depicted with showing foetus in both human and animals.

    7. Depict men and women both young and old.

    8. Men wear their hair loose and women braided.

    9. Masked dancers are shown probably performing some ritual.

    10. Division of labour on the basis of gender, Men hunt and women are shown gathering and preparing food.

    11. No pottery is depicted.

    12. People collecting fruit and honey.

    13. Sexual activity is shown.

    14. Dances shown.

    15. Fishing shown.



  4. Orissa:

    1. Sundargarh and Sambhalpur district with 55 rock shelters.

    2. Lekhamoda groups in the reserve forests of Chhengapahad and Garjanpahad have 12 rock shelters.

    3. Feature:

      1. Co-existence of painting and engraving in the same shelter.

      2. Art is non-figurative mostly with emphasis on abstract patterns and decorative designs, both geometric and non-geometric. Animals occur infrequently and humans are ever rarer.

  5.  Kerala: Ezhuthu caves of Idukki district

    1. Animals depicted in early phase and no animals.

  6. At a rock shelter in Jaora (MP) a painting reflects a view of the world consisting of air, earth and fire. Although disputed.


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