Pre history of Karnataka

Pre history of Karnataka

The history of Karnataka dates back to pre-historic times. Karnataka is said to be one of the four Dravidian States associated with Indus-Valley Civilization. Aryans from Central Asia invaded the Dravidic city State civilization and colonized it. Iron weapons dating back to 1200 BC have been found at Hallur in Dhaward district. The use of iron for implements much before the metal was introduced in the Northern India proves that Dravidian Civilization was far advanced and Aryans evolved their civilization through interaction with the Dravidian people.

The Old Stone Age culture of Karnataka viz., the Hand-axe culture, compares favourably with the one that existed in Africa and is quite distinct from the Pre-historic culture that prevailed in North India. Places like Hunasagi,Gulbal,Kaladevanahal li, Tegginahalli, Budihal, Piklihal, Kibbanahalli, Nittur, Anagavadi, Kaladgi, Khyad, Nyamati, Balehonnur and Uppinangadi (Lower Palaeolithic Culture); Herakal,Tamminahal, Savalgi, Salvadgi, Menasagi, Pattadakal, Vajjala, Naravi and Talakad (Middle Palaeolithic Culture); Kovalli, Ingaleshvara, Yadwad and Maralabhavi (Upper Palaeolithic Culture); Begaumpur, Vanamapurahalli, Hingani, Ingaleshwara, Tamminahal, Sringeri Jalahalli, Kibbanahalli, Sanganakal, Brahmagiri, Uppinangadi, Mani and Doddaguni (Mesolithic Culture); Maski, T. Narasipur, Banahalli, Hallur, Sanganakal, Hemmige, Kodekal, Brahmagiri, Kupgal, Tekkalkote, Kurnal, Srinivasapura, Beeramangala, French rocks (Pandavapura) and Uttanur (Neolithic and Chalcolithic Culture); Rajana Kolur, Bachigudda, Aihole, Konnur, Terdal, Hire Benakal, Kumaranahalli, Tadakanahalli, Maski, Banahalli, Badaga-Kajekaru, Belur, Borkatte, Konaje, Kakkunje, Vaddarse, and Hallingali (Megalithic Culture) are some of the important sites representing the various stages of Prehistoric culture that prevailed in Karnataka. The ragi grain is found commonly in the Prehistoric sites of Africa and Karnataka. The early inhabitants of Karnataka knew the use of iron, far earlier than the people of North India. The Iron weapons and tools dating back to circa 1500 B.C, found at Hallur in Hirekerur Tq. of Haveri district, too supplement it.


Megalithic culture of Karnataka

Having spent time researching and touring Karnataka over the last few years, I realized how rich the state is in terms of heritage. The state’s history goes back to the times of Chalukya and the areas of Karnataka were active right much earlier. Archaeologists have discovered artefacts dating back to 5000 BCE. Evidences of prehistoric activity are in various forms such as megalithic burial chambers, rock-paintings, petroglyphs, stone tools, pottery, ash-mounds,

The credit for doing early extensive study of prehistoric Karnataka goes to Robert Bruce-Foote and this work was later continued by many other scholars. The pre-historic culture of Karnataka (and South India in general) is called the hand-axe culture, as opposed to the Sohan culture of North India. Paleolithic hand axes and cleavers in the shape of pebbles made with quartz and quartzite which have been found in places such as Lingadahalli in Chikkamagaluru district and Hunasagi in Yadgir district, and a wooden spike at Kibbanahalli in Tumkur district are examples of old stone age implements. There are reports that a polished stone axe was discovered at Lingasugur in the Raichur district Neolithic sites (new stone age) of importance are Maski in Raichur district, Brahmagiri in Chitradurga district etc., with abundance of evidence that man begun to domesticate animals such as cows, dogs and sheep, use copper and bronze weapons, wear bangles, rings, necklaces of beads and ear-rings and have burial chambers. To the end of the Neolithic era, during the Megalithic age, people in Karnataka began to use long swords, sickles, axes, hammers, spikes, chisels and arrows, all made of iron.

Scholarly hypothesis postulates contacts between the Indus Valley (3300 BCE – 1300 BCE) cities of Harappa and Lothal, citing the discovery of gold found in the Harappan sites that was imported from mines in Karnataka. Evidence of Neolithic habitation of areas in modern Karnataka and celts dating back to the 2nd century BCE were first discovered in 1872. There are reports that a polished stone axe was discovered at Lingsugur in the Raichur district; however the authenticity of these reports remains unverifiable. Megalithic structures and burial grounds were discovered in 1862 in the regions of Kodagu and Moorey Betta hills, while Neolithic sites were discovered in north Karnataka. Scholarly hypothesis postulates of contacts between the Indus Valley city of Harappa in 3000 BCE, citing the discovery of gold found in the Harappan sites that was imported from mines in Karnataka.

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