Lives of earliest people and hunters and Gatherers

People started establishing in the subcontinent some 2 million years ago. They led their lives as hunters and Gatherers. They used to hunt wild animals, collected roots, fruits, nuts, farm produce and survived on these collections. Although they need to move from one place to another. They were wanderers. However there are many reasons behind this.

  • If hunters Gatherers would have stayed at one place only then they would have used up all the resources and food plants available there. And then there would not have left anything for future use. This is the reason they need to moved to another place in search of food.
  • Animals wander in search of their prey. Animals like deer and cattle wanted to find area for grazing. Hunters follow their footsteps to trap them.
  • Different plants bear different fruit in different seasons. So people wandered to have those season fruits.
  • Water is essential for everybody’ssurvival, may it be people, animals or plants. Sources of water is rivers, lakes and streams. Some rivers and lakes are perennial*, while others are seasonal. People living on the banks of seasonal water bodies need to wander to areas with water especially during winter season or summer season.

N.B. perennial- having water all throughout the year.

Knowing the earliest people

Hunters and gatherers were skilled enough to make tools for their use. They used stone, metal, bone, wood to make tools for hunting. Stone tools were the best which were used for the following:

  • Cut scrape bark ( from trees) Hides* ( animals skin)


  • Fruits and roots
  • Meat and bones
  • Digging the ground in search of edible roots*
  • Stitching clothes made of animals skin ( worn by hunters and gatherers)

Other than stone tools, wooden tools were also of great use . Wooden tools were used as firewood, to make huts and ofcourse tools.

Sometime stone tools were attached to handle made of bones and wood to give it a look of Spears and arrows.

N.B: edible: that can be eaten

Hides: animal's skin

Wooden tools

Sites of  hunters and gatherers

Archaeologists have found that the places like bhimbetka hunsgi and kurnool claves are the places where hunters gatherers have existed in the past.Bhimbetka is now in Madhya Pradesh. It is the oldest site known to have caves and rockshelters.People used to prefer rockshelters as it protected them from wind rain and heat. These rockshelters were found in the vicinity of the Narmada valley.

Stone tools were of great importance to early people so they preferred residing in  places where good quality stones were found.

Caves were the places where early people used to live and in the these cave one could find wall paintings. These wall paintings depicted the lives of early people as to how they lead their lives. These paintings were basically of wild animals as to how they were hunted. They were drawn with great skills and accuracy.

Sites are the places where ancient remains are found. These ancient remains are pots, utensils that were used by the early people. Jewelry, clothes, tools which were used by early people in hunting or in their daily lives were buried under the earth surface or sometimes under the water surface.



  • The evidence of human survival on the subcontinent was dated back about 2 million years ago.
  • They described as Hunters – Gatherers as their lives depended on hunting the wild animals and gathering the forest produce such as fruits, roots, nuts, seeds, leaves, stalks and eggs.

  • But they could not stay too long at one place.

The reasons for their movement:

  1. In search of food, move to another place – Staying long at one place means eaten all the available resources (forest produce and animals) and unavailability of food at that place.

  1. Trace the path of animals' movement – Hunters followed the movement of the animals.

  1. Seasonal fruits/ flowers on plants and trees – People had to move from season to season in search of different kinds of plants.
  2. Availability of water: Water is essential for the survival of people, plants and animals and it found in lakes, streams and rivers. Early people lived around these places. If these water bodies were not perennial (water throughout the year), they moved in search of water to another place.


Archaeological findings tell us -

  • The things used by hunters –gatherers.
  • People made tools of wood, bone and stone.
 Made of bones
 Made of stones
  • Stone tools have survived best and used
    •  to cut meat and bone
    • scrape bark(from trees) and hides(animal skin)
    • chop fruits and roots
    • to make spears and arrows (bone/wooden handle attached ) for hunting
    • to chop wood used as firewood

  • Wood was used to make huts and tools.



  • The places where the remains of things (tools, pots, buildings etc.) were found, which were used and left behind by people.
  • May be found
    • on the surface of the earth
    • buried under the earth
    • under water

Archaeologists have found sites of hunter – gatherers:

    • Bhimketka
    • Hunsgi
    • Kurnool caves

Some important archaeological sites

Location of the sites:

  • Near sources of water
    • rivers
    • lakes

  • Places where good quality stones available(as stone tools were important)

Bhimbetka ( Madhya Pradesh):

 Rock shelters of Bhimbetka
  • An old site with caves and rock shelters.
  • Close to the Narmada river
  • Natural caves chosen by the people as they provided shelter from rain, heat and wind.
  • People did paintings on the walls of these caves.
 Bhimbetka Rock Paintings