Lower Palaeolithic Culture in Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu Palaeolithic culture is one of the oldest stone ages found so far in the world. It is a lower Palaeolithic period, occupied by hominine species. During archaeological excavations at Athirampakkam, the stone tools were collected and preserved. These artefacts were exposed in cosmic-ray test results the hominine lived 1.5 to 2 million years ago.
Homo erectus, the first human ancestor to spread throughout the old world, lived in The Kosasthalaiyar River. Some other evidence was also found are stone tools, pottery, animal bones and pollens. With this evidence, their lifestyle and culture were understood. The cosmic ray exposure results the findings dating back to 2 millions of years.
Sir Robert Bruce Foote, a geologist, who also considered “father of Indian prehistory,” spent most of his time performing archaeological surveys in India. In 1863, he discovered Palaeolithic tools at Pallavaram near Chennai, the earliest findings of such tools in India. Hence, the hand axe parts were considered the Madras Stone Tool Industry. The tools he found are now on display at the Chennai Museum.
The Palaeolithic people were unaware of iron and pottery making; hence they highly depend on stones for converting into a tool. Hand axes and cleavers have been used as main tools in various activities like wild animal hunting and gathering naturally available fruits, nuts, roots, etc. They also used hammerstones and spheroids. For handling these tools, they fixed wood and bones as a handle on the stones. These tools discovered in river basin flood plains, hilly areas, caves, and rock shelters in sediment deposits. The quartzite is a rock stone made of quartz, and cobbles were chosen as raw materials to make handles. Both stones and pebbles have high strength and hardness, so they have been widely used as a raw material to make impact tools. These evidence of stone artefacts found at Pallavaram, Gudiyam cave, Athirampakkam, Vadamadurai, Erumai Vetti Palayam and Parikulam.
In North Arcot and Dharmapuri districts, the basalt rocks are used as a raw material for manufacturing the stone tools. Insufficient proof of lower Palaeolithic found in southernmost parts of Tamil Nadu and neighbouring Sri Lanka. But, in other parts such as Athirampakkam, findings seem to be dating back to 2 million years ago. This cultural phase carried out in other parts of our country up to 300,000 years ago.
Lower Palaeolithic tools used with wooden handle
Middle Palaeolithic Culture in Tamil Nadu
Middle Palaeolithic Culture is seen from 3,85,000 – 1,72,000 years ago in Tamil Nadu. The Middle stone age shows significant levels of human development, characterized by the use of processed stone tools. The tool types are comparatively fine-tuned, and material alteration also found; like Cores, flakes, scrapers, knives, borers, Levalloisian flakes, hand axes and cleavers are made into smaller sizes compared to the previous age. In some parts of Tamil Nadu, Middle Palaeolithic Culture artefacts spotted at T. Pudupatti, Sivarakkottai, Thanjavur and Ariyalur.