The Early Cultures
The traces of man in his primitive state are as yet few and confused in India. This is both on account of the size of the country and the restricted nature of the search. Archeologists are further hampered by lack of data with regard to climatic changes. In America and Europe the last geological age, the Pleistocene, from about 1,000,000 B.C., has been climatically charted by a series of ice ages, whose glaciers have left indelible marks. But in India something similar has only been discovered in the northwest corner (now West Pakistan), in the valley of the river Sohan. Even where we have traces of human occupation, nothing is known of the people themselves. We only have their tools, and the language of tools is limited. From the evidence that we possess it can be said that there are traces of human occupation from perhaps 400,000 B.C., when man everywhere was going through the long "kindergarten" stage of the race known as the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age. Tools found extending over a period of perhaps 300,000 years in the Sohan Valley have given their name to the pre-Sohan, Sohan, and evolved Sohan industries. Alongside the Sohan tools of flaked stones have been found shaped cores which are both more sightly and more efficient. Traces of both types have been found in Gujarat and south India. The users of these tools were hunters and food gatherers, moving about in small groups, in constant fear of the animal kingdom and the forces of nature.
At some date which is uncertain in India but is put after 10,000 B.C. in northern and western Europe, man passed into the Mesolithic stage, when implements of bone and flint supplemented those of stone, the dog was domesticated, and pottery appeared. There are traces of this stage in India in Mysore, the Vindhya Mountains, the Narbada Valley, and in Gujarat, but we cannot date them exactly or relate them to previous cultures. We do not know how one passed into the other.