History: The Geographical Setting and Pre-Historic Cultures of India: The Peninsular India, Influence of Environment and Paleolithic Cultures

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The Peninsular India

  • Peninsular India includes the Deccan plateau and the coastal plains of South India (Map 2.2). The plateau is situated to the south of the Vindhya mountains. It is divided into three major regions which largely correspond to the modern states of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

  • The coastal plains constitute the states of Tamil Nadu in east and Kerala on west. In Tamil Nadu the rivers are seasonal. As a result, the people of this region have depended more on the tank irrigation since the early times. However, Kaveri delta has been the major region of human attraction.

    Image result for peninsular plateau of india

    Image of Map

    Image result for peninsular plateau of india

Influence of Environment

A semi-arid region is advantageous to people for settlement purpose. For example, the Sind region having this type of climate in ancient period, resulted in the flourishing Harappan civilization. It also helped the growth of urban settlements. Similarly, the rise of Pataliputra and the importance of Magadha in Bihar can also be explained in relation to its physical features and environment. Pataliputra was surrounded by the rivers namely the Ganges, Son and Gandak which provided natural defence as well as internal communication.

Prehistoric Cultures

  • The earliest man living during this period made tools and implements of stone found in his surroundings. These tools helped him to hunt and gather food in order to satisfy his hunger. Since the earliest tools used by humans were made of stones, this phase of human development is known as the Stone Age.

  • On the basis of the different type of tools and techniques the stages of human development in prehistoric period are described as the Palaeolithic or Old Stone Age, the Mesolithic or Middle Stone Age, and the Neolithic or New Stone Age.

The Paleolithic Cultures

  • The term Palaeolithic is derived from the Greek word ‘palaeo’, which means old and ‘lithic’ meaning stone. The Pleistocene period is the geological period of the age when the earth’s surface was covered with ice, and weather was so cold that human or plant life could not survive.

  • On the basis of the nature of progress made in tool types and techniques the Palaeolithic cultures have been divided into three phases. These are –

(i) Lower or Early Palaeolithic:

(ii) Middle Palaeolithic:

(iii) Upper or Late Palaeolithic.

Tools of the Palaeolithic Period

Image of Stones

Image of Stones

Image of Stones

Image of Stones

Image of Stones

Image of Stones

Image of Stones

Image of Stones

Image of Stones

Image of Stones

Image of Stones

Image of Stones

  • The main tools of lower Palaeolithic phase were handaxes, cleavers and choppers. These are called chopping tools. These were rough and heavy and were made by chipping the sides of the stones.

  • The flake tools or chipped pieces were the chief tools during the middle Palaeolithic period. The tools of the upper Palaeolithic period primarily consisted of burins and scrapers.

  • The cleavers had a biface edge. These were meant for splitting objects like the trunks of trees. These tools served the purpose of obtaining barks of trees and skins of animals.

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