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Paleolithic (Old Stone Age)

Telangana History
3,00,000 BC - 50,000 BC : The Paleolithic Era (Old Stone Age) began when hominins first made tools. These tools were used to make there lives easier.

50,000 BC - 25,000 BC : Mesolithic Age (Middle Stone Age)

Hominins, comprises all members of the human clade after the split from the chimpanzees.
Humans living during this period were hunter-gatherers living in small groups. This means they moved around hunting animals and gathering plants to eat.

Paleolithic people lived in temporary shelters like tents or caves because they were nomads. A nomad is a person who does not have a permanent home and moves around a lot.

Prehistoric period of human history distinguished by the development of the most primitive stone tools discovered (Grahame Clark's Modes I and II), and covers roughly 95% of human technological prehistory. It extends from the earliest known use of stone tools, probably by hominins such as australopithecines, 2.6 million years ago, to the end of the Pleistocene around 10,000 BP.

Early Stone Age tools were found at Naspur in Luxetipet Taluk, District Adilabad and Godavari-khani (localities 1 and 2), Medpalli-Malkapur, Ramgundam-Buchiahpalli and from Anthergaon to Manthani, a stretch of 35 km from west to east and 20 km north to south touching the Ramgiri hills (Raki ranges), along the southern bank of the Godavari in Peddapalli Taluk, District Karimnagar.

The tools are mostly made on quartzite and rarely on chert. The tool-types include a variety of handaxes, including arrow and spear-pointed tools and picks, cleavers, ovates, discoids, flakes and scrapers on flakes. Occasionally, rostrocarinates and unifacial and bifacial pebble tools were also found. The length of the handaxes range from
8 to 20 cm.

The pattern of wet and dry periods for a considerable part of India was suggested by Burkitt and later confirmed by Zeuner, It was noticed, by the study of stone implements, that the climatic changes
that have taken place in south India are, to a large extent, linked up with the origin of the laterite, the peculiar subaerial alteration product and a widely occurring geological formation.

The earliest relics of prehistoric man, in the shape of stone implements of Palaeolithic type, are found embedded, in large numbers, in the low lying laterites. The formation of laterite, a decayed clayey mass, consisting largely of hydrated silicate of alumina and iron, can only take place where there is considerable rain fall, In fact, it is only in tropical areas, and that too in the areas of very heavy rainfall, the laterite was formed. It would appear that the water logging of the soil is an important condition for its formation. It is likely that there might have been an alternation of distinct wet and dry seasons in south India. The presence of extensive deposits of laterite may indicate that the pluvial or wet period must have been very protracted.

After the formation of the laterite a dry spell seems to have set in, causing the breaking up and weathering of upper part of the laterite previously formed, It is in this or underneath decayed laterite, either in situ or washed down and re-deposited, the implements of the Early Stone Age (Lower Paleolithic) occur. During the dry period the surroundings have become more congenial and the earliest inhabitants lived on the laterite.

Again during the period of torrential rains the relics of ancient man were swept partly into the river gravels and partly into shallow detrital beds, When a second dry period followed, areas which
were deserted earlier were repopulated. Finally, a wet phase deposited an alluvium, which covered the remains of the inhabitants of the proceeding dry phase. During this and succeeding periods, in which rainfall decreased to the present day quantities more advanced stone industries made their appearance. In general it can be said that during dry periods aggradation or a general rise took place, and during wet ones weathering of surface or down-cutting of the rivers, flowing with greater force through a narrower channel, occurred.

The above phenomena are clearly noticeable along the right bank of river Krishna to the east of Bhimavaram village in the Alampur taluk of Mahaboobnagar District. The riverine shingle, mostly of quartzite, deposited during a wet period, is found at as high a contour as 244 m. M.S.L. The ancient deposit is more than 30 m. higher than the present river bed and 2km. away from it. It can be inferred that during the Pleistocene the bed of the river was more than 3 to 4 km. wide, The quartzite shingle over the terraced and now abandoned flood plain was made use of by the earliest inhabitants for making their tool kits. 

AMARABAD (Mahboobnagar District)
The Early Stone Age site lies on the sloping mounds at the foot
of the hill range to the west of the village. The range, with no
specific name but known only by some approach paths, runs to a length of 6 to 8 km. m the east-west direction and takes a southward turn the main road from Mannanur to Srisailam. The road from
Mannanur to Amarabad, which is almost perpendicular to the above
main road, runs exactly parallel to the above said range.

The above hill range, which is 749 metres high, is covered with thick jungle and scattered with quartzite pebbles.The flat surface over the top of the hills is covered with red soil There is a small lake of about 100 sq. m. which found always filled with water

A few nullahs, originated at the foot of the hill, merged into a single stream known as kathvavagu at the lower reaches, which is a tributary to Mandavagu.

The sloping mounds, at the foot of the hill, were eroded at several
places by the nullahs, which, at a few places, are as deep as 2 to 8 m. There are very few spots where a complete stratigraphical sequence could be obtained. The section noticed above the nullah bed is basalt disintegrated and weathered granitic rock, upon which a deposit of quartzite pebbly bed, associated with Acheulian hand-axes, cleavers, choppers, and flakes is found. The pebbly deposit was overlain by a well-cemented weathered laterite of pale brownish colour and of granular composition. This was covered by red alluvial clay, of a thickness of about 40 to 80 cm., which was carried down from the hills and deposited,

Most of the tools were found slightly below the pebble deposit. At a few places both the raw material and the implements were mixed-up. As the nullahs have cut the deposit deep at many places, the tools, mixed-up with pebbles, were found over the beds of the nullahs. In fact most of the best specimens collected are those found over the beds.

During the examination of deeper sections, at the lower reaches of the Kathvavagu, it is found that the weathered and cemented laterite deposits arc very thin, and the overlain red silt is more than a metre thick,

Typologically the tools (Plate 7) found here belong to the early and late Acheulian Stages. The collection (of about 120 tools and flakes) includes excellent specimens of hand-axes, cleavers, chopping tools, scrapers, points and flakes, etc. The cleavers constitute more than 50 percent of the total collection while the hand axes foim only 18 per cent, and small axes of biconvex points and scrapers account for 3 per cent only. The rest are flakes or worked flakes. These points, scrapers and flakes are of the Acheulian industry.

In view of the finding of raw material, i.e. quartzite pebbles and
flakes, and finished tools at the site, and the natural agencies abounding, it must be an undisturbed factory site of the Lower Palaeolithic period, and must have been inhabited by the Palaeolithic man for a considerably long period. The surface exploration, no doubt, revealed almost a complete sequence of typology, but other associated finds, such as fossils or chopping tools, etc., may possibly be gleaned only through excavation.

Karimnagar Region
The Karimnagar region is ill-explored but for the pioneering work, along the upper reaches of river Godavari, by the Deccan College under the able guidance of Dr, Sankalia.

Early and Middle Stone Age artefacts, like hand-axes and flakescrapers, were reported by Munn from Allur and Jangoan villages in the Peddapalli taluq. In association with these artifacts he also found a few fossilised bones like humerus of Bos Frontalis, possibly radius of the same species, and fragment of an antler of Cervus Sp. Ind. Cores and flakes, etc., belonging to Neolithic culture (probably Microlithic), were noticed at Gunjapadiga (Manthani taluk), Parlapalli, Koheda and Sanigaram (Karimnagar taluk) and Vemulavada 13 (Sirsilla taluk).

From Adilabad Haimendorf collected a large number of scrapers and blades (now in London University). Flake artefacts were noticed by S. Nagabhushana Rao at Asifabad in Adilabad district.

Dr. Nandikeswara Rao reported the occurrence of Early Stone
Age tools in the Pranahita valley of the Adilabad District. He not iced that the lower and middle pebble horizons containing Chello-Acheulian artifacts and the upper zone of Early and Middle Palaeolithic technologies respectively. He also found the Early Stone Age artifacts in soil terraces of residual mounds, ridges and scrap foot zones within the altitude of 137-150 m. The lower gravel horizon contained a few artifacts which are entirely composed of choppers and hand-axes, The middle gravels consisted of core and flake tools. The intermittant gravel lenses, overlying the middle gravels, showed some Upper Palaeolithic elements which are composed of side scrapers, scrapers and a few flakes worked on chert. The second quaternary unit of old alluvium consisted of microlithic blades and scrapers, etc,, chipped from agates and chalcedony. This occurrence, near flood basin which is in the vicinity of the river at 120 m. high, is of significance as it points out to the migration of Late Stone Age Man to fertile alluvium.

Dr. Rao also noticed some organic remains, such as dentition of
Bos, Hystrax, Equus Crocuta, which are associated with Early Palaeolithic cultural levels.

In the recent years Thakur Raja Ram Singh had explored many Early, Middle and Late Stone Age sites. He also discovered Upper Palaeolithic elements at many places. Some of the Early and
Late Stone Age sites have been discovered on eroded or bed rock surfaces, or in the nullah beds, which may not help to know their true horizon. Most of the tools have been noticed from the factory or open air sites.

The Middle Stone Age artefacts too were found from factory or open air sites and eroded bed rock surfaces. The nullahs in the area to the west of Godavari Khani in the Peddapalli taluk, locally known as 5th, 6th and 8th Inclines, cut across gravel sections, denuding Middle Stone Age artefacts. A few trenches excavated by road contractors near Ramagundam, Godavari Khani, Medipalli and Malkapur villages, all of them in the Peddapalli taluk, reveal implementiferous gravel sections, ranging in thickness from 3 to 4 metres. The MSA artefact bearing gravel sections are capped by clayey silt, 15 cm. to 2,50 metres thick and lying directly on the weathered sandstone.

The blade burin industry was noticed at Chittiyalpalli in Peddapalli taluk in i gravel section of 20.35 cm. width. Sites Recently Discovered Most of the Stone Age sites so far discovered, except those at pocherra and chittialapalli, situated between parallels of 79 and 79.45 Long. E and 18 & 19 Lat. N., are found in between 450-500 lines along river Godavari from Dharmapuri in , Jagtyal taluk to Khanapur in Manthani taluk. The hand-axes, cleavers and flake also believed that the Late Stone Age had directly evolved from Middle Palaeolithic. Occasional discoveries of blade cores, blades and even blade tools were announced now and then. Recent studies showed that the blade and burin industry existed sandwiched between the Middle Palaeolithic and the Mesolithic in India.

As already noted the blade and burin industry was first noticed in Godavari Khani and Ramagundam in the Peddapalli taluk and later at Gollakota in the Laxettipet taluk. Very recently, in 1976, Raja Ram Singh discovered two important sites near Pocheia waterfalls and Chittialapalli, on river Suvarna in the Adilabad District.

The site at Pochera (78.22 1/2 Long.. E. 19.20 Lat, N.) yielded Suted cores and blades exactly in the nature of microliths, but much bigger in size (3.5 to 5 cm. long, 1.9 to 3.2 cm. broad). The blade tool kit includes side and end-scrapers, notches, noses, points, borers, and a good number of burins. Among these blades, a collection of Middle Stone Age cores, flakes and flake tools are mixed up, reminiscent of theearlier industry existing at the region, Chittialpalli is situated on the right bank of river Suvarna on the
Ninnal-Bhainsa road in Adilabad district. The site is much exposed due to cultivation and erosion. The silt, capping the morrum gravel, is now eroded away. Here the blade-burin industry is associated with Middle Stone Age artifacts.

The Late Stone Age sites are noticed in Ramagundam and Godavari Khani areas and also in Karimnagar, Jagtiyal, Manthani taluks of the Karimnagar district and Luxettipet taluk of the Adilabad district. The L.S.A. people lived and worked not only on the height of red sandy soils but also on the top of the hills and foot hills, wherever a water source like rivulet, or spring was available in the vicinity. A few. sites are also noticed over the rocky outcrops, in the midst of black soil.

The important L.S.A. sites in the Peddapalli taluk are Bugga (around a spring) at the foot hills of Takkellapalli range, Devunipalli, Rangapur (foot hills), Gopiahpalli, Kasulapalli (hamlet of Palthem),
Sultanabad (among the rocky outcrops), Kadhem Kangarthy, outcrops and foot hills in red or brown soils, around Peddapalli outcrops.

Dharmabad (a springin the hills) and on top of the hills, Mutharam, near a rock shelter in Mallannagutta hill, Puligundam, Gudisalapet (foot hills), Rachapalli (foot hills), Vemnur (nullah) and Sabbitam village facing the Gourigundam waterfalls and also on the hill top.

The site at Gaurigundam 26 (Plate 2) jointly visited by the author and Raja Ram Singh, is unique and most prolific of all the sites so far discovered. The site, situated over a sandy silt plateau and facing the Gaurigundam waterfalls, literally yielded hundreds of cores, blades, blade tools and waste flakes. The cores found here are of three kinds, viz. flat, pointed and obliquely based. The tools are blunted backs.

The assemblage also includes primary flakes, chips, parallel-sided blades, lunates, a variety of points, obliquely blunted backs and occasionally trapezes and triangles. No scrapers are noticed.

Apart from the surface collection a 3 xS'metie wide trench, cut to a depth of only 12 centimetres, yielded the following material: cores-160, blades and primary chips-2,8 13, tools-4 16 and waste flakes-579, totalling 3968 artefacts. The site spreads to an area of 60 x 48 metres.

A Late Stone Age site, discovered by Raja Ram Singh and later visited by the author, is situated between Buchayyapalli and Narsampalli, both of them hamlets of Medipalli village in the Peddapalli taluk of Karimnagar district. The site is situated among the sandstone outcrops on the right bank of the rivulet, which meets river Godavari within 4 km, The outcrops are of brownish sandstone of Sullavai series of Purana rocks. A hundred metres away is found a full-fledged Microlithic site, over sandy bed rocks. The plain bed-rock was incised with graffitti marks such as triangles, enclosing a rayed circle, a bow, a fish, squares and rectangles with dots inside, probably representing the way of life and the nature of tool kit of the Microlithic people.

Slightly away, at about 90 metres from the Microlithic site, is noticed a loosely cemented breccia, formed of the angular fragments of sandstone, besides rounded quartzite pebbles and cobbles, quartzite cores, flakes; blade flakes and tools of M.S.A. or Late M.S.A., pebbles of chert and chalcedony, L.S.A. cores with flakes, blades and tools. The cementing agent is sandy earth. The mass is not fully cemented but is in the process of.

Raw Material Used
The Lower and Middle Palaeolithic tools were mostly made on quartzite, coarse to finegrained but occasionally on chert too. The sites, where Middle and Upper Palaeolithic tools were made exclusively on chert, are noticed at Gollakota, Pochera and Chittialpalli, The material mostly used for Upper Palaeolithic tools is chert and chalcedony, while agate, jasper and cornelian were also employed.

Next comes Neolithic (New Stone Age)

The Proto And Early Historical Cultures Of A.P
by V.V.Krishna Sastry
Indian Archaeology - A Review


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