Sometimes around 300,000 years ago, our human ancestors ventured out of Africa. It was also during this time that our early ancestors started making small sharp tools using flakes of stones that created a technique called Levallois. This technology was named after a suburb of Paris where these kinds of tools were first discovered.
These were much upgraded tools from the previous less refined and bulkier tools of previous era. This also marks the Middle Stone Age in Africa, the Middle Paleolithic Era in Europe and Western Asia. These tools were found to be in used in Europe around the same periods by Neanderthals. It was said that these modern methods didn’t catch on India until much later after around 140,000 years ago. However, stone tools recovered from Attirampakkam, an archaeological site in Tamilnadu, India by archaeologists of Sharma Centre for Heritage Education speaks a different story. Of the 7200 stone tools analyzed these to be the Levalloisian technique, which replace the more bulky and more primitive stone tools. They found big hand axes and cleavers that date back to 1.5 million years ago. There were more recent tools between 385,000 to 172,000years ago. These were small and of Levallosian technique where a starter stone is created in the shape of a turtle shells which is used to create new stone flakes with sharp edges. These sharp flakes were used as knives and scrapers. This finding places India prominently on the map of human innovation and tool making.
By: Madhuchanda Saxena