changes of the Pleistocene epoch, and the search for the elusive fossil of the
earliest man in India and his habitat continues.
Meanwhile, Early Stone Age tools have been found in different areas of
the subcontinent, the most notable among which are the Potwar plain bisected
by the Soan river in northwestern Punjab; the Beas and Banganga valleys;
Nevasa in the valley of Pravara, a tributary of the Godavari; Gudalur in
Gundlakarnma basin in Andhra Pradesh; Nagarjunakonda in the Krishna
valley, a string of sites (Vadamadurai, Attirampakkam, etc.) in the coastal
plain near Chennai, and the districts along the north bank of the Mahanadi in
In fact, if our knowledge of the earliest man is limited to his crude tools,
one thing is certain, and that is that there must have been an undeniable
attraction for these early men in the hills and valleys of the subcontinent, for
every survey produces their implements and underlines the ubiquity of their
Recent research suggests that not earlier than 35,000 years from now a
new technology, possibly deriving from that of the Early Stone Age, emerged
in India. Not only were the tools different, being made out of flakes or flake-
like nodules from such fine-grained material as flint, jasper, chalcedony, etc.,
the environment of the Middle Stone Age man seems to have been different
too, being less wet than in the Early Stone Age. In regions such as
Maharashtra, remains of the contemporary fauna have also been found.
The Middle Stone Age cultures were, however, not of similar antiquity or
duration in different parts of the country; the known dates range from about
33,000 BC to about 16,500 BC. There are, besides, indications that in some
regions like Western Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh the flake-making
technique was of a more improved variety than in others.
These regional variations in dates and the total cultural assemblage
became more prominent in the Late Stone Age heralded by the use of smaller
tools, the microliths. In Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan and several
other areas, a long time span of 8500 BC– 1700 BC has been suggested for
Microliths, being compound tools, suggest a substantial technological
change; being hafted in bone, wood or bamboo they foreshadowed the forms
and functions of later-day metallic implements.