Phases of Pre-Historic Age

History can be divided into three parts:

300,000 BC – 2,500 BC2,500 BC – 600 BC600 BC till Date
Prior to the availability of the written /literary sources of study.Events with literary sources but which cannot be used/understood. E.g., IVCWith literary sources which can be understood.
  • History of human settlements in India goes to Prehistoric Times. No written records/literary sources are available, however, plenty of Archaeological sources (like stone tools, pottery, artefacts, and metal implements used by the Prehistoric people) are found in different parts of India to reconstruct the history of this period.

Pre-History or Prehistoric age is divided into the following ages mainly based on the nature of tools used by the people:

 Archaeological AgeTimelineStone/toolsPeople 
1Palaeo – lithic age (Old – Stone)3,00,000 BC – 10,000 BCPrimitive rough stone tools, e.g., a hand axe, and choppers. Stones mostly used are:Hunters & food gatherers 
QuartziteFlakeFlake & blade 
2Meso – lithic age (Middle – Stone)10,000 bc – 4000 bcSharp, pointed, and very small tools (microliths). Stone mostly used is Agate.Hunters & food gatherers + animal domestication 
3Neo – lithic age (New – Stone)4000 BC – 1800 BCPolished Stone Tools. Stones mostly used – Dyke, Basalt, DolomiteFood producers and animal husbandry 
4Chalco – lithic (Copper – stone)3500 bc – 1000 bcCopper (metal) started getting used followed by Bronze (alloy of copper). 
5Iron Age1000 BC – 500 BCIron  
  • In the history of the use of metal, Iron followed Copper and bronze in India. Throughout the Indian subcontinent, Iron lead slowly but perceptibly to the transition from the pre and proto-historical to the historical culture.
  • However, these periods/ages are not uniform across the Indian subcontinent. The dating of these ages is done scientifically – commonly done using the process of radiocarbon dating, i.e., measuring the loss of carbon in organic material over a period of time; and dendrochronology, i.e., studying the annual growth increments, or tree rings, in the wood.
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