Indian Stone Age Sequence Question 8: Middle Palaeolithic – Acheulian continuity

Indian Stone Age Sequence Question 8: Middle Palaeolithic –  Acheulian continuity

The continuity between the Acheulian and the Middle Palaeolithic is generally accepted among Indian Prehistorians.  This is seen in widespread occurrence of retouched flake tools (scrapers, borers, etc) prepared cores which are typical of the Middle Palaeolithic along with handaxes and cleavers typical of the Acheulian.  The best documented site for this is Bhimbetka:–

Misra (1978b) states:

“The Bhimbetka Acheulian industry is characterized by a very low percentage of bifaces, high standard of workmanship in bifaces, especially cleavers, predominance and great diversity of non-biface tools, high percentage of end scrapers and levallois flakes and complete absence of chopper-chopping tools…It is to be noted that layer 5 which overlies the Acheulian deposit is stratigraphically and culturally a continuation of the Acheulian culture except for the disappearance of the biface element….”

The gradual transition from Acheulian to Middle Palaeolithic seen at Bhimbetka is also seen in other localities where “Late Acheulian” is identified.  This includes the Orsang valley in Gujarat (Ajithprasad 2005), the Malaprabha Basin, (Joshi 1955), and Andhra Pradesh (Raju 1985, 1989, Reddy 2003, Reddy & Bhaskar 1983).  The references cited are not exhaustive (uncited scholars, please don’t be offended!!).  The continuity between Acheulian and Middle Palaeolithic has never been seriously disputed in the Indian context.

Anyone who has an argument for discontinuity between the Acheulian and Middle Palaeolithic please comment!


Ajithprasad, P. 2005. Early Middle Palaeolithic:A Transition Phase between the upper Acheulian and the middle Palaeolithic Cultures in the Orsang Valley, Gujarat. Man and Environment 30:1-11.

Joshi, R. V. 1955. Pleistocene Studies in the Malaprabha Basin. Poona Dharwar: Deccan College

Karnataka University.

Misra, V. N. 1978a. The Acheulian Industry of Rock Shelter III F- 23 at Bhimbetka, Central India. Australian Archeaology 8:63-106.

—. 1978b. The Acheulian Industry of Rock Shelter III F- 23 at Bhimbetka, Central India – A Preliminary Study. Bulletin of the Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association 1:130- 171.

Raju, D. R. 1985. Handaxe Assemblages from the Gunjana Valley, Andhra Pradesh : A Metrical Analysis. Bulletin of the Indo- Pacific Prehistory Association 6:10-26.

—. 1989. The Lower Palaeolithic Culture in the Gunjana Valley on the Southeast Coast of India. Bulletin of the Deccan College Postgraduate and Research Institute 47/48 283- 300.

Reddy, K. T. 2003. “Lower Palaeolithic cultures,” in Pre-and Protohistoy of Andhra Pradesh upto 500 BC Vol1 Comprehensive History and Culture of Andhra Pradesh. Edited by M. L. K. Murty, pp. 29-38. New Delhi: Indian History Congress in association with Dravidian University Orient Longmans.

Reddy, V. R., and S. Bhaskar 1983. “Maralipalem and Chintalapalem : Two Late Acheulian Sites in Southeast Andhra Pradesh,” in Rangavalli : Recent Researches in Indology. Edited by A. V. Narsimha Murty and B. K. Gururaj Rao, pp. 19-43. Delhi: Sandeep Prakashan.




This entry was posted in Indian stone age sequence. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Indian Stone Age Sequence Question 8: Middle Palaeolithic – Acheulian continuity

  1. Bishnupriya Basak says:

    Am in complete agreement!

  2. Asok Datta says:

    There is no doubt that the Indian Middle Palaeolithic is succeeded from the Lower Palaeolithic, but the question which needs to be clarified is that the spatio-temporal context is not well defined.

Comments are closed.