Introduction to Mesolithic age and Its Tools
Regards to my elders
Greetings ladies and gentlemen
Mesolithic age or the old stone age can be considered as the transition state from Paleolithic age to the Neolithic age. Man moved on from hunting and gathering to the time of a settled life. According to the carbon dating at Indian sites Mesolithic age started from 8,000 BC to 5,000-4000 BC but was later extended to 2000 BC.
Features of the Mesolithic Age
- There was a drastic change in the Climate from Mesolithic age. Climate changed from cold and dry to warm and wet. Warm environment led to the melting of glaciers.
- Due to melting of glaciers there was abundance of water and with abundance of water, flora and fauna of that time grew in number. By the end of Ice age( thought to be the paleolithic age) large animals which dominated the earth vanished and other swifter animals like goat, sheep deer appeared. Obviously this took a lot of time. A T-Rex did not turn in to a goat the very next day. Fishes were in abundant as there was plenty of water. So to improve his conditions as he saw a chance upon a better life, the Mesolithic man thought of improving his tools further.
- The chief tool of the Mesolithic man were ‘ Microliths ‘. These were small tools which could be hafted upon bone or wood to make tools such as spears and arrows or a saw. Are we yet coming to missiles ?
- Greater availability of food, provided with superior weapons helped the Mesolithic man to live longer and healthier.
- A healthier life resulted in growth of population. Earlier the man from the Paleolithic age didn’t settle in the alluvial plains on Ganga . But growing population expanded the barriers of human in-habitation. There were some thinking of the historians that the Gangetic plains had abundance of meat. This allowed the man living there to exchange meat for tools from other region giving the evidence of Barter system.
- The evidence of Burials also appeared for the first time in Mesolithic age. Goods such as beads, rings, tools were also buried with the dead. This showed us that the concept of ‘life after death’ can be dated back long age. The rock Paintings at site such as Bhimbetka let us know the socio-economic behavious of the early man.
Tools of the Mesolithic Age
- Microliths, blades or blade-lets were the main tool used by the Mesolithic man.
- Microliths were carved out of well prepared rectangular or cylindrical cores. Unlike the direct or indirect percussion techniques used in Paleolithic age, the Mesolithic man favored the pressure technique. Pressure technique was practiced on soft stones such as chert, jasper, and chalcedony and quartzite was still favored in South India.
- The pressure technique allowed the man to make more tools in lesser time. the tools could be retouched or re-trimmed later. The tools were made of ‘ geometric ‘ shape like trapeze,lunates and triangles. These tools were then mounted upon to make a composite tool using natural gum to make spears and arrows. Microliths were also arranged in straight series to make a Saw like weapon.
- Apart from Microliths the Mesoloithic man also used stone hammer as used in the paleolithic age to crush bones or split of animals. Querns and rubbers was also used to process plant and animal food.
- There is also evidence of tools made out of bones of animals such as the antler from the deer.
So this wraps up the tools and salient features of the Mesolithic age. In the next post from historical milestones we will talk about subsistence and culture of both Paleolithic and Mesolithic age.
Ok bye… I hope I continue in future