Paleolithic Age or Old Stone Age


Palaeolithic Age or Old Stone Age

  • This is the first stage in the evolution of human civilization.
  • Period between 500,000 BCE – 10,000 BCE.
  • Around 36000 B.C. back human had become in form. It is also known as Homo Sapians.
  • The term Paleolithic derived from the Greek word ‘Palaeo’ which means old and ‘lithic’ means stone therefore the age refers to Old Stone Age.
  • This is the earliest period of Stone Age which is developed in the Pleistocene period or Ice Age.
  • Palaeolithic age peoples were the hunters and gatherers who lived on hunting and gathering wild fruits and vegetables.
  • In 1863, archaeologist Robert Bruce Foote discovered the first Paleolithic tool of India Handaxe from Pallavaram, Tamil Nadu and also established the first institute of Stone Age culture in 1863 in India.
  • The Palaeolithic men of India belonged to the Negrito race and lived in valleys, caves, rivers and rock shelters.
  • The peoples of this age had no knowledge of agriculture, pottery, house building.
  • The also had no knowledge of any metal but in later age they attained the knowledge of fire.
  • Tools used by peoples in this age were unpolished and rough stones like hand axes, cleavers, choppers, blades, and scrapers.
  • Palaeolithic age men are also called Quartzite men in India because they used stone tools made up of hard rock called quartzite.
  • Hunting was the main living source of Palaeolithic age
  • Human also known about fire from Old Stone Age (but it had become in use by new Stone Age.)


  • Palaeolithic age was divided into three phases:
1. Early or Lower Palaeolithic: Tools that were used during this period were hand axe, choppers and cleavers mainly for chopping skinning and digging.  

Important sites:  Soan and Sohan valley in Pakistan(now), Thar desert in Rajasthan, Hiran valley in Gujarat, Bhimbetka and Belan valley in Mirzapur Uttar Pradesh, Bidwana in Rajasthan     

 2. Middle Palaeolithic: Tools that were used during this period are flaky tools. These tools were made up of flakes mainly scrapers, bores, and blade like tools.

Important sites of middle Palaeolithic age: Soan, Narmada and Tungbhadra river valleys Potwar Plateau, Sanghao Cave.

 3. Late and Upper Palaeolithic: The period is marked by innovation in tools and technology like parallel –sided blades, bone tools, and burins.

Important sites of late and upper Palaeolithic

The sites are in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Southern UP Chottanagpur Plateau Karnataka and Central MP.

Important founding:

Bone tools from Kurnool caves.

Ostrich egg shells from Muchchatla Chintamani Gavi in Andhra Pradesh.

Stone Beads have been found in Andhra Pradesh and Patne in Maharashtra.


  • Important Sites of Palaeolithic age
1. Soan valley and Sohan valley now in Pakistan


2. Narmada and Tungabhadra valley in Deccan


3. Pallavaram and Attirapakam in Tamil Nadu


4. Didwana in Rajasthan


5. Bhimbetka Caves in Madhya Pradesh


6. Sangho Caves near Peshawar