The inventions and discoveries of prehistoric period helped the early man to gain practical experience of life. During this period humans learned through the method of trial and error. This became the starting point for future growth in scientific and technological development. The technical skills used to solve the problems were similar throughout the world communities. This similarity gave rise to the concept called universal development of mankind.
People worshipped goddess earth. Priests were considered as the mediators between the man and god. The early man also believed in the life after death. And this was reason that they often buried the dead together with beads and other symbolic objects. The rituals and the methods of worship were kept secret. This in a way hindered the growth of scientific thinking in religious matters.
Art and music
By 40,000 years ago, humans were creating musical instruments and also two- and three-dimensional images of the world around them. They had developed all the major representational techniques including painting, drawing, engraving, sculpture, ceramics, and stenciling. Working on stone, ivory, horns and occasionally clay, they created imaginative and highly complex art work.
Animal, human and other figurines were created by modern humans. They used jewelry and other personal adornments to reflect their identity. These adornments could have been used to represent a particular group or age, sex and social status. Making music is a universal human trait that goes back to at least 35,000 years ago. The following are the highlights of art and music during the pre-hisoric period.
- Rock paintings were distinct feature of Mesolithic people though this art began in Paleolithic period.
- Maximum rock paintings are found at Bhimbetka in Madhya Pradesh.
- Main Subject of Paintings are Hunting, Fishing and Food gathering.
- Animals like Boar, buffalo, monkey and Nilgai are often painted.
- Social activities like child birth, rearing of child and burial ceremonies are also depicted.
- Scenes of hunting in groups suggest that Mesolithic people lived in groups.
Thus the crude and blunt tools of Paleolithic period were developed into sharper and polished ones by Neolithic period. Mesolithic period was characterized by very small stone tools called Microliths. In other words, the hunters and gatherers of Paleolithic period evolved into the food producers of Neolithic period.
As the time progressed the early humans started to live at a place in small communities. This resulted in social relationship. Consequently community rulers came into existence. The ruler was believed to have super natural powers. His main duty was to protect the community form the enemies. Also the ruler was responsible to maintain the social order in the community.
Mixed economy with agriculture and cattle rearing was prevalent in the last half of the Stone Age. Both men and women played a key role in building the economic life. Professional communities like farmers, weavers, carpenters etc. came into existence.
The surplus production helped in commercial activities like trade. The invention of wheel brought revolution in production and transport.
Chalcolithic Age and Iron Age
- Mesolithic age is followed by chalcolithic (Copper Stone) period when metals like copper and bronze are used.
- New technology of smelting and crafting metals was an important development. But use of stone tools was not given up.
- People began to move to long distances to obtain metal ores and this led to network of chalcolithic cultures across Indian subcontinent
- Harappan culture is also a part of chalcolithic culture.
- In south, River valleys of Krishna, Godavari, Tungabadra, Pennar and Kaveri were inhabited by people of this period.
- Chalcolithic age is followed by Iron Age. There is frequent mention of Iron in Vedas too.
- Iron Age of southern peninsula is related to megalithic burials. Megalithis are large stones. The burials during this age were covered with large stones. These megalithic sites are found extensively in south India.
- Black and red pottery, iron articles such as Hoes and Sickles and small weapons were found in burial pits.
- Some of the important megalithic sites are,
- Hallur and Maski in Karnataka
- Nagarjuna konda in Andhra Pradesh
- Adhichanallur in Tamil Nadu
Iron + Chromium = Stainless Steel
Copper + Tin = Bronze
Copper + Zinc = Brass
Iron + Manganese = Steel
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