Palaeolithic Cultures

The term Palaeolithic is derived from the Greek word ‘palaeo’, which means old and ‘lithic’ meaning stone. Therefore, the term Palaeolithic age refers to the old stone age. The archaeologists have dated this culture to the Pleistocene period about two million years ago.

The Pleistocene period is the geological period of the age when the earth’s surface was covered with ice, and weather was so cold that human or plant life could not survive. But in the tropical region, where ice melted, the earliest species of men could exist.

The people lived near the hillocks and used only stone tools for hunting and their protection. However, the choice of raw material used for tool-making varied from region to region and depended upon its availability. The material used was quartzite available in hilly areas of different regions, basalt found in Maharashtra region and limestone in Karnataka region.

On the basis of the nature of progress made in tool types and techniques the Palaeolithic cultures have been divided into three phases. These are:

  1. Lower or Early Palaeolithic
  2. Middle Palaeolithic
  3. Upper or Late Palaeolithic

These phases covered a long period ranging broadly from 5,00,000 to 10,000 B.C.