There are four reasons why hunter-gatherers moved from place to place.
First, they had to go elsewhere in search of food after finishing the food of one place.
Second, animals move from place to place. So they had to follow their movements.
Third, plants and trees bear fruits in different seasons. So people may have moved from season to season in search of different kinds of plants.
Fourth, people living on their banks would have had to go in search of water during the dry seasons.
We know about these because Archaeologists have found some of the things hunter – gatherers made and used like tools of stone, wood, and bone in which stone tools have survived best.
Tools were used for hunting, chopping fruit and roots, and make spears and arrows for hunting.
Many sites were located near sources of water. People tried to find places where good quality stone was easily available. Places where people made tools are known as factory sites.
Archaeologists found blocks of stones and tools which may discarded because they were not perfect. And some chips of stone left behind at these sites. People lived here for longer time that’s why these sites are called habitation-cum-factory sites.
Traces of ash have been found here. This suggests that people were familiar with the use of fire.
Around 12000 years ago, there were major changes in the climate of the world with a shift to relatively warm conditions. In many areas grasslands developed. By this the animals like deer, sheep, goat, cattle etc. increased that survived on grass. Now people started herding and rearing animals with them.
In this time also grain bearing grasses like wheat, barley and rice grew naturally. People started learning to how grow crops on their own.
Many of the caves in which these early people lived have paintings on the walls. Some of the best examples are from Madhya Pradesh and southern Uttar Pradesh. These paintings show wild animals, drawn with great accuracy. We do not know whether women or men painted and gathered fruits and nuts. But it is possible that some tasks were done only by women and others only by men.
A number of early Palaeolithic sites were found in Hunsgi. There was probably habitation-cum-factory sites. Most tools were made from limestone, which was locally available.
Archaeologists have given lengthy names for the time that we are studying. They call the earliest period the Palaeolithic. This comes from two Greek words, ‘palaeo’, meaning old, and ‘lithos’, meaning stone. The name points to the importance of finds of stone tools. The Palaeolithic period extends from 2 million years ago to about 12,000 years ago. This long stretch of time is divided into the Lower, Middle and Upper Palaeolithic. This long span of time covers 99% of human history.
The period when we find environmental changes, beginning about 12,000 years ago till about 10,000 years ago is called the Mesolithic. Stone tools found during this period are generally tiny, and are called microliths. Microliths were probably stuck on to handles of bone or wood to make tools such as saws and sickles. At the same time, older varieties of tools continued to be in use.
The next stage, from about 10,000 years ago, is known as the Neolithic.
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