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Hunting and gathering: Mesolithic

Hunting and gathering: Mesolithic

Mesolithic (Middle Stone) CULTURE (8000 BC-4000 BC)

  • The Mesolithic Age began around 8000 BC. It was the transitional phase between the Palaeolithic Age and the Neolithic Age.
    • The transition from the Palaeolithic period to Mesolithic period is marked by transition from Pleistocene period to Holocene and favourable changes in the climate and changes in tools.
  • The Pleistocene geological era made way for the Holocene about 10,000 years ago. Many environmental changes took place during this transition.
    • There was rise in temperature and the climate became warm and dry and in some places humid.
      • For instance, soil from the site of Birbhanpur in West Bengal shows a trend of increasing aridity.
      • Salt lake sediments and pollen grains at Didwana in Rajasthan suggests higher rainfall at this point of time.
    • The climatic changes affected human life and brought about changes in fauna and flora.
      • With the onset of Holocene Age, Mesolithic culture began and icecaps melted forming Rivers as an effect of global warming.
      • There was expansion of flora and fauna contributed by increased rainfall.
      • This led to availability of new resources to humans and thus the human beings moved to new areas.
      • This period is marked with increased population, though core economy of this period continued to be based on hunting and gathering.
  • Towards the end of the Pleistocene or beginning of the Holocene, there were certain changes in the stone tool kits of prehistoric people.
    • The technology of producing tools underwent change and the small stone tools were used Man was predominantly in hunting/gathering stage but there was shift in the pattern of hunting from big game to small game hunting and to fishing and fowling.
    • People started making and using very small tools caled microliths.
    • Changes in tool kits must have been related to changes in environmental factors.
    • These material and ecological changes are also reflected in rock paintings.
  • One of the features of the Indian mesolithic phase is the spread of settlements to new ecological niches.
    • This is generally seen as a result of an increase in population due to more favourable environmental conditions as well as technological innovations.
  • Note:
    • The term epi-palaeolithic is sometimes used for the transitional stage of tools that are smaller than those typical of the upper palaeolithic, but larger than microliths.

Mesolithic tools

  • The tools in Mesolithic Era are smaller in size and better in finishing (more geometric) than the Palaeolithic age and are called Microliths or small stone tool.
    • Microliths are very small in size and their length ranges from 1 to 8 cm. Some microliths have even geometric forms.
    • A microlith is usually made of flint or chert.
  • Blade, core, point, triangle, lunate and trapeze are the main types of Mesolithic tools.
    • Besides these, Palaeolithic tools like scraper, burin and even choppers also continue during the Mesolithic Age.
  • Some of the microliths were used as components of spearheads, arrowheads, knives, sickles, harpoons and daggers.
  • Use of the bow and arrow for hunting had become common in this period, which is evident from many rock paintings.
  • Bored stones, which had already appeared during the upper Palaeolithic, became common during this, and the Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods. These are believed to have been used as weights in digging sticks and as net sinkers. Similarly, shallow querns and grinding stones also occur at several sites
  • These new technological elements led to enhanced efficiency in hunting, collection and processing of wild plant foods.
microliths
Mesolithic Microliths
  • Blade:
    • Blade is a specialized flake.
    • It might have been used for cutting purposes.
    • The techniques of Mesolithic blade production is called fluting.
    • We also find some retouched blades which are broad, thick and long. The retouching process sharpens the blade and make it more sharp and effective.
  • Core:
    • Core is usually cylindrical in shape and a flat striking platform at the distal horizontal end.
  • Point:
    • Point is a broken blade in a triangular form.
    • The points were used as arrowheads and spearheads.
  • Triangle:
    • The border is retouched.
    • These were used for cutting purposes or as arrowheads.
  • Lunate:
    • Lunate is like a blade and looks like a segment of a circle.
    • It could be used to obtain concave cutting edge or two of these could be halved back to back to form an arrowhead.
  • Trapeze:
    • Trapeze looks like blade.
    • Trapezes would have been used as arrowheads.

Mesolithic Sites

  • One more important fact about the Mesolithic era in India is that the first major human colonization of the Ganga plains took place during this period. There are more than two hundred Mesolithic sites found in Allahabad, Pratapgarh, Jaunpur, Mirzapur and Varanasi districts of Uttar Pradesh.

Mesolithic Site

  • Rajasthan:
    • The Pachpadra basin and the Sojat area (Rajasthan) are rich in micoliths.
      • The significant habitation site discovered is Tilwara which has two cultural phases,
        • Phase-I is Mesolithic and is characterized by the presence of microliths.
    • Bagor (Rajasthan):
      • On the river Kothari is the largest Mesolithic site in India.
      • It is one of the best documented mesolithic sites.
      • In Bhilwara district of eastern Rajasthan.
      • It is located on a sand dune close to the Kothari river.
      • The three occupational levels: Period I: mesolithic, Period II: chalcolithic, and Period III: evidence of iron.
      • Tools:
        • The microliths were mostly made of locally available chert and quartz.
        • Most of them were made on blades and they included a large number of geometric microliths such as triangles and trapezes.
      • Habitation:
        • House floors paved with stone slabs were found, and in some places, there was evidence of roughly circular arrangements of stone that may have marked the outlines of shelters.
        • Certain stone-paved areas with a large number of animal bones were probably butchering areas.
      • Burial:
        • Only one burial was unearthed and there was no definite evidence of grave goods.
      • Other discoveries included ring stones (perhaps used as hammer stones to make microliths), pieces of red ochre, querns, and rubbing stones (for grinding food).
      • Animals:
        • Bones of wild animals included those of wild cattle, two kinds of deer, pigs, jackals, rats, monitor lizards, turtles, and fish; bones of domesticated sheep/goats and cattle were also reported.
      • Pottery:
        • There is a possibility that small bits of pottery found at the site may belong to the mesolithic phase.
  • Gujarat:
    • The rivers Tapti, Narbada, Mahi and Sabamti (Gujarat) has also yielded many Mesolithic sites.
    • Sites like Akhaj, Valasana, Hirpur and Langhnaj are situated east of the river Sabarmati.
    • Langhnaj has been extensively studied and it has revealed three cultural phases.
      • It has produced microliths, human burials and animal bones and some potsherds.
      • The microliths are mostly blades, triangles, cressenis, scrapers and burins.
  • Uttar Pradesh:
    • The Satpuras are rich in Mesolithic sites.
    • The three excavated sites of Sarai Nahar Rai, Mahadaha, and Damdama lie very close to each other.
      • Sarai Nahar Rai (in Pratapgarh district, UP):
        • In Allahabad-Pratapgarh area
        • It is located on the banks of a dried oxbow lake which marks an old course of the Ganga.
        • Tools and animals:
          • Geometric microliths were found here, along with shells and animal bones (of bison, rhinoceros, stag, fish, and tortoise).
        • Burials:
          • Within the habitation area, there were 11 human burials in oblong pits—those of 9 men, 4 women, and a child.
          • One of the buried skeletons had an arrow embedded in its ribs.
          • A multiple burial contained the remains of four persons.
          • Microlithic tools, animal bones, and shells were placed in graves as grave goods.
          • An analysis of the skeletal material revealed that the dental health of the people was on the whole good, but that some of them suffered from osteo-arthritis.
      • Mahadaha:
        • It is also on the banks of an oxbow lake.
        • Distinct areas associated with habitation and butchering.
        • Tools:
          • The microliths were made of chert, quartz, chalcedony, crystal, and agate, all of which must have been brought over fairly long distances across the river from the Vindhyas.
        • Burials:
          • Twenty-eight burials of thirty individuals, including two instances of a man and woman buried together, were found within the habitation area.
          • The burials were elliptical and their base sloping.
          • The grave goods included microliths, shells, burnt pieces of animal bones, bone arrowheads and rings, and ochre pieces.
        • Animals:
          • The bones found in the butchering area included those of wild cattle, hippopotamus, deer, pigs, and turtles. Thousands of animal bones were found in the lake area.
        • Health:
          • The mesolithic people of Mahadaha were tall.
          • Their dental health was good, but many of them suffered from osteo-arthritis.
          • Average life expectancy was less.
      • Damdama:
        • Excavators discovered microliths, bone objects, querns and mullers, anvils, and hammer stones.
        • There were hearths, patches of burnt floor plaster, charred wild grain, and animal bones.
        • Burials:
          • There were 4 multiple burials among the 41 human burials.
          • In one of the graves, an ivory pendant was found among the grave goods.
        • Recently, domesticated rice has been reported from mesolithic levels at this site.
    • Morhana Pahar (Uttar Pradesh) and Lekhahia (Uttar Pradesh) in Kaimur range. 
      • Lekhakia:
        • Rock shelters excavated at Lekhakia (in Mirzapur district of southern UP) have yielded blade tools and microliths.
        • Burials were found, and so was pottery.
      • Baghai Khor:
        • It is another rock shelter site in the same area.
        • This has a pre-ceramic and a ceramic microlithic phase.
        • Two extended burials were identified, the first belonging to the pre-ceramic phase and the second to the ceramic phase.
    • Chopani Mando in the Belan valley
      • Occupational deposit, divided into three periods.
      • The first was epi-palaeolithic, while the second and third were clearly mesolithic.
      • Tools:
        • Period II was divided into two phases:
          • Period IIA had non-geometric microliths such as blades, points, scrapers, and borers, mostly made ofchert.
          • In Period IIB, there were a large number of geometric microliths.
        • The microliths continued into Period III, which was also marked by handmade pottery with cord-impressed patterns, anvils and hammer stones, querns and mullers (used for grinding and food processing), and ring stones.
      • Animals:
        • There were bones of wild cattle and sheep/goats.
      • Habitation:
        • Pieces of burnt clay with reed impressions showed that the mesolithic people of Chopani Mando lived in wattle-and-daub round huts.
      • Wild rice is reported from late mesolithic levels at this site.
  • Madhya Pradesh:
    • The Vindhyas are rich in Mesolithic sites.
    • Bbimbetka (Madhya Pradesh):
      • It has a favourable ecological set up.
      • Tools:
        • Mesolithic tools include blades and geometric microliths like triangles, trapezes, and crescents.
      • Quartz was used a great deal in the palaeolithic stage, but in the mesolithic phase there was a shift to chalcedony.
      • Bhimbetka is famous for its mesolithic paintings.
    • Adamgarh hill near Hoshangabad:
      • lying to the south of Bhimbetka.
      • Its upper layers represented a mesolithic level, which in turn made way for a neolithic–chalcolithic one.
      • Tools:
        • Microliths were found here, mostly made of chert, chalcedony, jasper, and agate, raw materials which are available in the riverbed of the Narmada about 2 km away.
        • Geometric microliths (triangles and trapezes) were very common.
        • Mace heads or ring stones and hammer stones were also found.
      • Animals:
        • The wild animal bones comprised those of the hare, lizard, various kinds of deer, horse, and porcupine.
        • Bones of domesticated cattle, sheep, goat, dog, and pig have also been reported.
      • Pottery:
        • This site has given evidence of pottery at mesolithic levels.
    • Baghor II in the Son valley:
      • Palaeolithic sites as well as mesolithic phase.
      • Tools:
        • The tools are of chert and chalcedony, and geometric microliths occur.
        • Fragments of grinding stones, one hammer stone, and pieces of red ochre
          were found.
        • There were very few finished stone tools, and most of the total mesolithic lithic material that was excavated consisted of waste material of stone tool working. This suggests that the tools were made here and taken away to other places.
      • Habitation:
        • The location of five or six large shelters can be identified by a series of post-holes. 
  • Eastern India:
    • The Chhota Nagpur plateau, the coastal plains of Orissa, the Bengal delta, the Brahmputra valley and the Shillong plateau have yielded microliths.
    • Pre-Neolithic and Neolithic associated microliths have been reported from Chhota Nagpur plateau.
    • Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar and Sundergarh in Orissa have microlithic assemblage.
      • Kuchai in Orissa
    • Sebalgiri in Garo hills of Meghalaya has yielded pre-Neolithic microliths.
    • Paisra in Bihar:
      • Apart from microliths, there was evidence of large and small fireplaces positioned very close to each other.
      • The thinness of the deposit suggests a short period of mesolithic occupation.
    • Birbhanpur in West Bengal:
      • located on the River Damodar in Burdwan district in West Bengal.
      • Mesolithic stone tools made of quartz, some of chert and chalcedony, were found here.
      • This seems to have been both a habitation and a factory site.
      • Climate during the mesolithic phase at Birbhanpur was drier than in the immediately preceding phase, which was more wet and humid.
    • Microliths occur at many places along the east coast of India and seem to mark camps of mesolithic fishing communities.
  • The Krishna and Bhima rivers have produced my microliths.
    • The microliths in many cases survive to the phase of Neolithic Cultures.
    • Sangankallu situated on the western fringe of the Karnataka plateau has produced cores, flakes, points.
  • South India and Deccan:
    • In peninsular India, microlithic sites found in the vicinity of Mumbai seem to represent coastal mesolithic communities who exploited marine resources for food.
    • Mircroliths have been reported from coastal Konkan and the inland plateau Sites like Janyire, Babhalgo and Jalgarh have been reported from Konkan.
    • The Deccan basaltic plateau has many Mesolithic sites and microliths have been reported from Dhulia district and Poona district.
    • The Godavari delta is rich in microiths. Here the micoliths are associated with the Neolithic Culture.
    • Andhra Pradesh:
      • The Kurnool area has many microliths.
      • Microliths have also been reported from Nagarjunakonda (in southern AP), and Renigunta (in Chittor district, AP).
      • On the Visakhapatnam coast, stone tablets and ring stones have been found at sites such as Chandrampalem, Paradesipalem, and Rushikonda.
        • Similar stones are used today by local fishermen in the area as net sinkers.
    • Karnataka:
      • Microliths have been found at Jalahalli and Kibbanhalli near Bangalore in Karnataka.
    • Further south, the microliths are mostly made out of milky quartz.
    • South of Chennai, tiny stone tools, mostly of quartz and chert, have been found on old sand dunes known as teris.

Since the Mesolithic age covers a long span of time and there are many mesolithic sites in India, an attempt has been made to classify different sites chronologically and on the basis of material remains. Some sites are real Mesolithic sites because of the abundance of microliths and chronological sequence and some sites are chronologically of later time and reflect the influence of Mesolithic culture and these sites fall in the category of the sites of Mesolithic tradition. Sites like Bagor, Sarai Nahar Rai, Mahadaha, Adantgarh are truly Mesolithic sites because of their early dates and associated material Culture.

Habitation and living environment

  • Habitation:
    • Mesolithic sites reflect different levels of sedentariness. Some seem to have been permanent or semi-permanent settlements, or at least settlements that were repeatedly inhabited over long periods of time.
    • There are many instances of temporary mesolithic camp sites in various parts of the subcontinent, but sites such as Sarai Nahar Rai, Damdama, Mahadaha, and Chopani Mando were inhabited continuously.
  • Mesolithic people lived in the following environment:
    • Mesolithic people inhabited coastal areas, rock shelters, flat hilltops, river valleys,  lakesides, sand dunes, alluvial planes.
    • Sand-dune:
      • In Gujarat and Marwar hundreds of dunes of varying sizes are found on the alluvial plain.
      • Some of them enclose a shallow lake or pond, which were the great sources of getting aquatic creatures.
      • The dunes themselves were covered with thorny scrub bushes; many animals used to live there. Naturally the Mesolithic inhabitants in sandy dune faced no difficulty in collection their food.
    • Rock-shelter:
      • The Vindya, Satpura and Kaimur hills of Central India are very rich in caves and rock-shelters. The place was therefore favorite to the Mesolithic people.
      • Not only that, as Central India received ample rainfall, the hills had grown a thick deciduous forest, which provided a variety of plants and animals.
      • Some of the rock-shelters have been found to be occupied as early as the Acheulean times.
    • Alluvial plain:
      • From early Palaeolithic period man has preferred to live in riverbanks because of the availability of water and games.
      • Numerous Mesolithic sites therefore have been recovered from the alluvial plains. The Birbhanpur site, for example, is located at Damodar’s alluvial plain in West Bengal.
    • Rocky plain:
      • On Deccan Plateau, many microlithic sites are found. Some are on the hilltops and others are on flat rocky soil.
      • Such occupations must be the seasonal or of short duration, except where there is no river nearby.
    • Lake-shore:
      • A few Mesolithic settlements are centered round the shore of the lakes as found in the Gangetic Valley of District Allahabad and Pratapgarh.
      • The settlers perhaps used to get the food supply from the respective lake and the dense primeval forest of the fertile alluvial land.
    • Coastal environment:
      • A large number of microlithic sites have been recovered from coasts, for example, from the Salsetle Island and from the teri dune in District Tirunevelli. The inhabitants used to feed upon the marine resources.
      • Since Mesolithic produced the micro-blades by pressure technique, beautifully fluted cylindrical or conical cores as well as thin parallel-sided blades are common in the sites.

Subsistence Pattern and Social life

  • The mesolithic economy, like the palaeolithic, was still essentially based on hunting, fishing and gathering, but some sites have given evidence of the domestication of animals.
    • Animal bones have been reported from sites of the Mesolithic settlements, and an analysis of these bones indicated that the bones of the domesticated varieties of animals like cattle, sheep and goat.
    • The earliest evidence of domestication of animals has been provided by Adamagarh in Madhya Pradesh and Bagor in Rajasthan.
    • The Mesolithic culture paved the way for the Neolithic, where pastoralism and agriculture supplemented hunting-gathering as the prevalent mode of subsistence.
  • The early Mesolithic sites have yielded the faunal remains of cattle, sheep, goat, buffalo, pig, dog, boar, bison, elephant, hippo, jackal, wolf, cheetah, sambal, brasingha, black-buck, chinkara, hog deer, hare, porcupine, mongoose, lizard, tortoise and fish.
    • Many of these species continued during the range of Mesolithic tradition. However, wild sheep, wild goat, ass, elephant, bison, fox, hippo, sambar, chinkara, hare, porcupine, lizard, rat, fowl and tortoise are absent at the sites falling in the category of Mesolithic tradition.
    • But wild buffalo, camel, wolf, rhinocero and nilgai are present in the sites of Mesolithic tradition but these species are absent in the early Mesolithic period.
    • The appearance and disappearance of the animals has to be understood in the context of changing climatic and environmental conditions.
  • The diet of the people during Mesolithic Age included both meat and vegetal food.
    • The remains of fish, tortoise, hare, mongoose, porcupine, deer and nilgai have been found from different Mesolithic sites like Langhanaj and Tilwara and it seems these were consumed as food.
    • Besides hunting and fishing, the Mesolithic people also collected wild roots, tubers, hits, honey etc. and these constituted important elements in the overall dietary pattern.
    • The plant food seems to have been more easily available than the hunted animal food. Some areas seem to have been rich in grass, edible roots, seeds, nuts and fruits, and people would have used them as food resources.
    • It is argued in the context of surviving hunter-gatherers that the major portion of the food comes from plant sources supplemented by hunting.
    • It is difficult to establish relation between the animal meat and vegetal food in the context of Mesolithic age because the plant remains are perishable in nature. It can be suggested that hunting provided significant portion of the food resource.
  • The paintings and engravings found at the rock shelters which the Mesolithic people used give idea about the social life and economic activities of Mesolithic people. Sites like Bhimbetka, Adamgarh, Pratapgarh and Mirzapur are rich in Mesolithic art and paintings.
    • Hunting, fishing and other human activities are reflected in the paintings and
      engravings.
    • Bhimbetka is extremely rich in paintings.
    • Many animals like, boar, buffalo, monkey and nilgai are frequently depicted.
    • The paintings and engravings depict activities like sexual union, child birth, rearing of child, and burial ceremony.
    • All these indicate that during the Mesolithic period, social organization had become more stable than in paleolithic times.
    • It seems that the religious beliefs of the Mesolithic people are conditioned by ecological and material conditions.
  • The evidence from mesolithic sites from different parts of the subcontinent suggests movement and interaction among communities.
    • Factory sites located at sources of raw materials must have been meeting grounds for different groups.
    • The fact that mesolithic tools found north and south of the Ganga are made of the same kinds of stone indicates that either the raw materials or the tools themselves were moved across the river.
    • The mesolithic people of Sarai Nahar Rai, Damdama, and Mahadaha would have had to travel over 75 km to reach the stone resources of the Vindhyas.
    • Clearly, the communities living in the northern alluvial plain and the hill people of the northern fringes of the Vindhyas must have been interacting with each other.
    • In later times, mesolithic communities must have interacted with early agriculturists who lived in their neighbourhood.
  • The evidence from several sites of formal, ceremonial burials, with the bodies usually laid out in a west–east direction with grave goods suggests rituals associated with death.
    • The presence of grave goods is often taken as an indication of some sort of belief in afterlife. Or certain belongings of the deceased may be considered to bring bad luck to the living, and these are therefore buried along with the body.
    • Instances of jewellery found on the body suggest a custom of adorning the body before burial, and may indicate high-rank individuals within the community.

Changes in Life- Mesolithic Era

  • From nomadism to sedentary settlements:
    • There were some more interesting changes in lifestyle of the Mesolithic era humans.
    • The favourable climate, better rainfalls, warm atmosphere and increased food security led to reduction in nomadism to seasonally sedentary settlement.
  • First disposal of dead and making of graves:
    • The sedentary settlements lead to beginning of the tradition of various ways of intentional disposal of the dead.
    • Mesolithic human burials have been found at Bagor in Rajasthan, Langhnaj in Gujarat, Bhimbetka in Madhya Pradesh etc.
    • The dead were occasionally provided with grave offerings which include meat, microliths, animal bone and antler ornaments, and pieces of haematite.
    • The evidence from different sites indicates that four types of burials were prevalent.
      • Extended burial
      • Flexed (folded) burial
      • Fractional (secondary) burial
      • Double Burials (two individuals were buried in a single grave): Probably the double burials indicate the development of family units, consisting of male and female.
  • Emergence of arts:
    • The Mesolithic man was a lover of art, evident from the paintings in several thousand rock shelters in the Vindhyan sandstone hills in central India.
    • The paintings have been found in both inhabited and uninhabited shelters.The rock painting of Mesolithic period is found in Adamgarh, Bhimbetka of Madhya Pradesh and Pratapgarh, Mirzapur of Rajasthan.
    • The paintings are made mostly in red and white pigments, made form the nodules found in rocks and earth. (Red made by minerals of iron oxide and white by limestone).
    • We can have an idea about the social life and economic activities of the Mesolithic people from the art and paintings. It also tells us about division of labor on the basis of sex.
    • The subject matter of the paintings are mostly wild animals and hunting scenes, though there are some related to human social and religious life such as sexual activity, child birth, rearing of children, burial ceremony, gathering plant resources, trapping animals, eating together, dancing and playing instruments.
    • Animals are the most frequent subjects. Other subjects include animal headed human figures; squares and oblongs partly filled in with hatched designs which may represent huts or enclosures and what appears to be pictures of unusual events, such as the chariots waylaid by men armed with spears and bows and arrows at Morhana Pahar group of rock shelters near Mirzapur.
    • Clothing and ornaments:
      • The human figures in the rock shelter paintings are shown wearing a loin cloth.
      • Some of the figures are elaborately decorated with ornaments, headgear, feathers and waistbands, shell, ivory and bone beads also are evident from sites.
    • Recreation:
      • Mesolithic man in rejoicing moods is to be seen in the paintings at Bhimbetka.
      • Some of the dances may be of ritual significance. The musical instruments depicted are the blowpipes and horns.
    • Hunting Methods:
      • The use of composite tools revolutionized hunting, fishing and food gathering.
      • The Mesolithic paintings at Bhimbetka throw interesting light on the contemporary hunting practices and the kinds of weapons used in hunting.
      • The bow and arrow, barbed spears and sticks were used in hunting. Ring stones were used as stone clubs.
      • Masks in the form of animal heads such as of rhinoceros, bull, deer and monkey were used as disguises to deceive the game.
      • In one of the scenes animals are shown falling down a cliff. Probably animals were driven down a cliff and done to death.
      • The paintings show men carrying dead animals suspended on a wooden bar.
    • A fantastic animal,called Bhimbetka Boar has the body of a boar, but a snout like a rhinoceros, the underlip of an elephant and horn of buffalo.
    • No painting or engraving of snake is found in any Mesolithic site.
    • A very interesting and abstract painting has been found in a rock shelter at Jaora (MP) perhaps meaning that world consisting of air, earth ad fire.
    • Interesting feature of the rock art of Orissa is the co-existence of painting and engraving in the same shelter.
    • Note: More about Mesolithic Painting is given in separate chapter
  • Food Production:
    • The core economic activities were now included hunting, fowling, fishing and wild plant food gathering.
      •  A study has suggested cultivation of plants around 7000-6000 years back near Sambhar lake in Ajmer, Rajasthan. But agriculture had not fully developed.
    • The first animals to be domesticated were dog, cattle, sheep and goat and the first plants to be cultivated were wheat and barley. The cultivation of yams and taro also took place in this region.
      • Domesticated animals proved to be useful not only for meat but also for milk, hide, agricultural operations, and transport.
    • This new subsistence economy based on food production had a lasting impact on the evolution of human society and the environment.
    • In the humid lands, later on rice cultivation and domestication of pig was accomplished because rice and pig existed in wild form in this region.
  • Pottery:
    • Pottery is absent at most mesolithic sites, but it occurs at some sites such as Langhnaj in Gujarat,  Kaimur region of Mirzapur (UP) etc.
    • Pottery came to be associated with the Mesolithic culture after the introduction of geometric tools.
    • At most of the sites the sherds were very small and it was very difficult to make out shapes. Shallow and deep bowls with featureless rim are the most popular types.
    • Pottery was wholly hand-made and usually coarse grained with incised and impressed designs rarely.
  • Structural Activity:
    • Evidence of structural activity in the form of hutments, paved floor or wind screens come from a number of Mesolithic sites.
    • The houses were roughly circular or oval on plan with postholes around them. Some hutments had stone paved floors.
    • Paved floors and wattle have been noticed at Bagor.
    • The Mesolithic folk at Bhimbetka too made floors with flat stone slabs.

16 thoughts on “Hunting and gathering: Mesolithic”

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