The history of human settlements in India goes back to prehistoric times. The archaeological remains are found in different parts of India to reconstruct the history of this period.
In India, the pre-historic period is divided into the Palaeolithic (Old Stone Age), Mesolithic (Middle Stone Age), Neolithic (New Stone Age), and the Metal Age.
Palaeolithic or Old Stone Age
The Old Stone Age sites are widely found in various parts of the Indian subcontinent. These sites are generally located near water sources.
Man invented fire by rubbing two pieces of flint. A man used leaves, barks of trees, and skins of animals to cover his body.
A few Old Stone Age paintings have also been found on rocks at Bhimbetka and other places.
Mesolithic or Middle Stone Age
The next stage of human life is called Mesolithic or Middle Stone Age, which falls roughly from 10000 B.C. to 6000 B.C.
The hunting-gathering pattern of life continued during this period.
The use of bow and arrow also began during this period. Also, there began a tendency to settle for longer periods in an area. Therefore, the domestication of animals, horticulture, and primitive cultivation started.
Neolithic Age or New Stone Age
During this period, the wheel was invented. It was a turning point in the life of man.
The chief characteristic features of the Neolithic culture are the practice of agriculture, domestication of animals, polishing of stone tools, and the manufacture of pottery.
Large urns were used as coffins for the burial of the dead.
The people of the Neolithic Age used clothes made of cotton and wool.
The Neolithic period is followed by the Chalcolithic (copper-stone) period when copper and bronze came to be used.
The Chalcolithic age is followed by the Iron Age.
In the Iron Age, plows and daggers were made of iron. It led to the overall development of mankind.