Mesolithic Age

Mesolithic age is between Paleolithic and neolithic age. the term Mesolithic is derived from the Greek word meso means middle and lithic means stone In Mesolithic age, the climatic conditions – in terms of atmospheric temperature, humidity etc - improved compared to Palaeolithic Age. With the improvement in weather and climatic conditions, human inhabitation also started to improve in Mesolithic Age.  This  Age corresponds between Palaeolithic Age and Neolithic Age.  This period is also referred to as middle Stone Age. Unlike people in Palaeolithic Age, people in this age started to live in groups and were working for a permanent settlement.  Unlike in Paleolithic Age, people in this age were not hunter-gatherer.  

The transition from Palaeolithic to Mesolithic is marked by transition from Pleistocene period to Holocene period.   The climate became warmer and humid and hence expansion of flora and fauna contributed to increase in rainfall.  People of this age started to live in groups nearer to rivers, which led to increase in food production.   People started to improve their tools to gather more food.  In early period of Mesolithic age heating, fishing and food gathering was started.  Animal bones have been excavated from various Mesolithic sites.  Domesticating crops and animals was initially practiced in this age.  Earlier proof of domestication of animals has recently been excavated at Adamgarh in Madhya Pradesh, Bagor in Rajasthan.  The first animals that were domesticated are dog, cattle, sheep, goat.  Plants cultivated were wheat and barley.

Another important fact is that first human colonisation took place at the plains of Ganges. There are more than two hundred Mesolithic sites found in Allahabad, Pratapgarh, Jaunpur, Mirzapur and Varanasi district of Uttar Pradesh.  As people of Mesolithic age started to settle at one place, this led to the problem of disposal of dead. There are grounds that have been excavated at Bagor in Rajasthan, Lanthanum in Gujarat, Bhimbetka in Madhya Pradesh etc.

Burials of the dead

The dead were buried with knees bent and upper part of the body was brought forward down.  They also believed in life after death and hence they also buried the dead with food items, jewellery etc.  Mesolithic people started to wear clothes made of animal skin.  With the advent of fire, they started to eat cooked food.  One of the major contributions of Mesolithic people is farming and living in communities, which necessitated them to move from hills/ jungles to fertile plains.

Tools used by Mesolithic people

Tools used by Mesolithic people:

The tools used by people were small and tiny better finished than paleolatic people and were called as microliths.  These microliths were tiny tools of one to five centimetres length made by blunting one or more side with steep retouch.  The main type of tools used were blacked blades obliquely truncated blades with crescent, triangles and trapezes shapes. Some microliths were speared arrowheads, knives, sickles, harpoons and daggers. These were fitted into grooves in bone wood and reed shafts and joined together by natural adhesives like gum and resins.  Hunting and gathering was given to food productions hence use of bow and arrow came into existence. The new technology (bow and arrow) increased the efficiency in the hunting and collection of foods

Art in Mesolithic Age

Mesolitic Art

The Mesolitic people were art lovers. This can be understood by the paintings which were mostly in red and white pigments.  The subject matter of these paintings were mostly wild animals and hunting scenes and sometimes gathering plant resources, trapping animals, child birth, dancing etc.  In paintings we can see humans wearing dress and wearing ornaments like head gear, waistband, shell, Ivory etc.  The Rock paintings of Mesolitic period are found in Adamgarh, Bhimbetka of Madhya Pradesh and Pratapgarh , Mirzapur of Rajasthan.

Mesolithic sites in India

Bagor in Rajasthan, Sarai Nahar Rai in Allahabad, Jharkhand, Chhota Nagpur plateau. In Orissa Mayarbbhanj, Keonjhar, Sundugarh are major Mesolithic sites in India. In south India Godavari bases is rich in microliths

microliths  Bagor in Rajasthan is the biggest Mesolithic site in India. Bagor in on River kotari were microliths along with animal bones and shells have been excavated.  Bones of Bison, Rhinocerous, fish tortoise 11 human burials have been found in Sarai Nahar Rai in Allahabad. The vast distribution of Mesolithic sites in India show that people of this age covered almost whole of India except few places. Microliths have also been found in some important valleys of River Tapi, Sabramati, Narmada and Mahi. Blades, microliths are also found in Bhimbaketa. The other two important Mesolithic sites in India are Langhnaj in Gujarat and Biharnpur in West Bengal. Bones of wild animals that include mongoose, rhinoceros, blackbuck, wild boar have been excavated from Langhnaj. Seven human skeletons and large number of microliths have also been recovered from the place.

Slowly the Mesolithic age gave way to Neolithic era or New Stone Age period.

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