Assam in the Pre Historic Period: The Different Ages


‘Pre-history' tells us the story of human evolution, both physical and cultural, and defines humans as a tool-making animal. According to historian K.L.Barua, relics of Paleolithic man were not discovered in Assam. He identified the Neolithic people of the Assam as the speakers of the ‘Mon-Kher' language of the Austro-Asiatic family. The earliest record of the relics of the palaeothic culture of Assam is embodied in Pre- history and Proto-history of Eastern India by A.H. Dhoni. He noticed a stone tool which he classified an Acheu lean hand-axe in the collection of pre-historic antiquities found in the Garo hills, now preserved in the Pitt-Rivers Museum, Oxford. A large number of tools of this period were discovered in the Ron gram valley in Garo hills. The sites are located on an altitude ranging between 460 and 615 meters above sea level. The sites were chosen according to the availability of water and the raw material i.e. a special kind of rock needed to make tools by the early humans.


Mesolithic Age

Mesolithic stone tools have been discovered in the Rang am Valley of the Garo hills. The microlithic people of these hills appear to have used hand-made pottery. The tools and equipments suggest that the people were hunters and food-gatherers.


Neolothic Age

Early Neolithic culture is found in the Garo, Naga, and North Cachar hills. Although it spreads throughout the length and breadth of Assam, the main concentration of this populace was in the hill districts. They preferred to live in the hills or high grounds above the flood plains. They did shifting cultivation which is considered to have been originated here. They opted for this mode of shifting ‘Jhum' cultivation, probably due to floods. They ate wild animals like deer, goats and fish; made cloths from bark of trees and cultivated rice and millets. This region was the confluence of Indian and South-East Asian culture.


Iron Age

The Iron Age site of this region is still undiscovered; there is no archeological evidence found so far.


Megalithic Age

Megalithic culture began to appear in Assam earlier than 1st millennium. The culture is still present in some of the tribal communities as a living tradition and heritage especially in the Khasi-Jaintia hills. The culture is found along the borders of Garo hills, Kamrup and Karbi hills.