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The Lower Paleolithic Tamil Nadu
The Hominins who wandered and settled in many parts of the world from Africa to Asia were also found in parts of Tamil Nadu who settled and made tools from stones. These tools of Hominins were founded from Athirampakkam(Chennai) by the archaeologists.
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Homo Erectus
Other ancestors of humans, Homo Erectus, also settled in parts of Tamil Nadu who were briefly found on the banks of Kosasthalaiyar river, which was once considered the cradle of Tamil civilization. The archaeologists employed various methods like “cosmic ray exposure dating” to excavate the sites.
Cosmic ray exposure dating: This method uses the interaction between Cosmic rays and nuclide present in rocks to determine the age.
The Arrival of Robert Bruce Foote:
The entry of Robert Bruce Foote changed the archaeological scene in Tamil Nadu . His methods of excavation and the findings from the sites garnered national attention, which indirectly placed Tamil Nadu as an important Paleolithic site.
The Quartzite Stones
The Groundbreaking discovery was made in Pallavaram near Chennai in 1863. This incident happened on a parade ground where he picked a “hand-axe” made with Quartsite, a Paleolithic tool that had never been seen before in India. Four months later, he and his friend founded various other tools of the Paleolithic period, like cleavers and Flake tools at Attirampakkam.
Numerous pieces of evidence showed that the people who inhabited the regions of Tamil Nadu also knew hammer stones and spheroids, where the cobbles and pebbles found over riversides were used as raw materials.
Some sites where the Lower Paleolithic tools are founded have been listed below:
  • Athirampakkam
  • Vadamadurai
  • Pallavaram
  • Parikulam
  • Erumaivettipalayam
  • North Arcot
  • Dharmapuri
Basalt rocks: These rocks are formed when the molten lava explodes from a volcanic eruption and settles down on the ground surface. Some tools found in the northern part of Tamil Nadu are made of these rocks known to the Paleolithic people..
Middle Paleolithic in Tamil Nadu:
  • The Middle Paleolithic evolved in Tamil Nadu, with the change marked by the appearance of tools that were found over some parts of Tamil Nadu. There was a lack of fossil evidence, but some tools found near Athirampakkam clearly shows the differences.
  • These tools have obtained a shift in the way they were made. From Acheulian methods, the middle Paleolithic period shifted to the Stone-knapping technique named Levallois technique.
The Knapped Stone
  • Another marked difference was the size of the tools, which became smaller over time.
  • Most of the Middle Paleolithic tools were found from the southern part of Tamil Nadu, namely Thanjavur, Ariyalur, and Sivarakottai.
Homo Erectus: frantic00 / Shutterstock