Class 12 Anthropology Chapter 2 Prehistoric Archaeology

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Class 12 Anthropology Chapter 2 Prehistoric Archaeology, HS 2nd year Anthropology notes, Anthropology Class 12 Question Answer to each chapter is provided in the list so that you can easily browse throughout different chapters SCERT Class 12 Anthropology Chapter 2 Prehistoric Archaeology and select needs one.

Class 12 Anthropology Chapter 2 Prehistoric Archaeology

Also, you can read the SCERT book online in these sections Solutions by Expert Teachers as per SCERT (CBSE) Book guidelines. NCERT Solution of Class 12 Anthropology Chapter 2 Prehistoric Archaeology is part of AHSEC All Subject Solutions. Here we have given Assam Board Class 12 Anthropology Chapter 2 Prehistoric Archaeology Notes for All Subjects, You can practice these here.

Prehistoric Archaeology

Chapter – 2


Very short type questions

1. What is the earliest metal used by man?

Answer: Copper is the earliest metal used by man.

2. What is the technical name of the tools made out of river pebbles?

Answer: The technical name of the tools made out of river pebbles is Conglomerate.

3. In which prehistoric culture the microliths were used? 

Answer: The Microliths were used in the mesolithic or middle stone age.

4. What was the tool _ making technique of the Neolithic period? 

Answer: Large axes was the tool _ making technique of the Neolithic period .

5. What is the typical tool of oldowan culture.

Answer: The typical tool of oldowan culture is pebble tool.

Short questions 

6. What is bulb of percussion? Where is it found? 

Answer: The bulb of percussion is the primary feature that identifies the ventral surface of a flake or blade artefact. The anvil technique is the most convenient and wide spread techniques for making tools in the early part of the Palaeolithic times. By using this technique the people of lower Palaeolithic period made core tools, hand axe, chopper- hopping etc.

It is found in visible on the ventral face as opposed to the dorsal face and considered to be on the “inside” of the parent core.

7. What is microliths? How these tools were used? 

Answer: A microliths is a small stone tool usually made of flint or chert and typically a centimetre or so in length and half a centimetre wide. They were made by humans from around 35,000 to 3,000 years ago, across Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia.The microliths were used in spear points and arrowheads.  Microliths are produced from either a small blade or a larger blade-like piece of flint by abrupt or truncated retouching, which leaves a very typical piece of waste, called a microburin.

These tools were used in spear prints and arrowheads.

8. Draw and label a neat sketch of a core tool.

Answer: Do yourself.

9. Mention some stone tools of the Neolithic period and describe the techniques of their manufacture.

Answer: Some stone tools of the Neolithic period are:

i) Celt: Celts are the most important tools used in Neolithic people for the purpose of cutting, scraping, skinning etc. Grinding and polishing techniques are involved to make the tool smooth and sharpening the cutting edge.

ii) Adze: The shape of this tool is like a triangular form and made on a square but flat flake. The cutting edge is straight, sharp and broad.

iii) Chisel: This type of Neolithic chisel is similar to that of the modern metal chisel with small, narrow, cylindrical or rectangular piece and the broad cutting edge at one side. This type of tool is used for cutting and smoothing, 


iv) Ring stone or mace head: This category of tool is made on a thick, rounded or rectangular stone with a hole placed in centrally. The surrounding border of the ring stone is gradually sloped and rounded. This type of ring stone was utilised as weight for digging stick.

10. What is graver? For what purpose was it used? 

Answer: Graver are small cutting tools used for stone setting, texturing, de- burring and applying decorative embellishments and traditional hand engraving. In French languages the term ‘graver’ is known as burin. These tools are occupied mainly in upper Palaeolithic times. These are made on narrow and parallel sided blade flakes or simple flakes.

It is used  to prepare new gravers include mounting, sizing, shaping, sharpening and proper storage.

11. What is pressure flaking technique? In what types of tools this technique was used? 

Answer: Pressure flaking technique is the most sophisticated method of flaking soft stone used by the people throughout the period of upper palaeolithic for finer retouching work. In the  pressure  flaking technique the maker removed some chips or small flakes from a prepared thin flat soft stone by applying of pressure at specific point at the edge of the implement with a particular suitable object made of stone or bone or wood. After removal of the small thin flakes, the appearance of the resulting surfaces of the tool looks like fish scale design.This special pressure flaking technique is mostly used in the Solutrean culture of the upper Palaeolithic period for making laurel leaf point and willow leaf point.

This technique was used to make stone tools.

12. What is Neolithic Revolution? Who coined this term first?

Answer: The Neolithic Revolution, also called the Agricultural Revolution, was the wide scale transition of many human cultures during the Neolithic period from a lifestyle of hunting and gathering to one of agriculture and settlement, making an increasingly large population possible. An important effect of the Neolithic Revolution was temperatures cooled and this helped new plants grow. As glaciers melted, river valleys with fertile land were carved out. The land became wetter so people could build on the land.

Gordon Childe coined this term first 

13. What is a flake tool? Show its differences with a core tool.

Answer: When a tool is made from a removed flake of core it is called as flake tools. The flake tools which are included in the family known as flake tool family. For better understanding, the flake tool family is categorised into two major industries. 

These are:

a) Flake tool industry.

b) Blade tool industry.

The differences between  a flake tool and a core tool are: when the core has further got designed and fashioned by knocking off flakes either from one side or from both sides of the core as a desired shape is known as core tool whereas the large detached flakes are used to make an implement by further removing of chipps either from one surface and from the periphery of the flakes are known as flake tools.

14. Write short notes on.

i) Striking platform.

Answer: In lithic revolution, the striking platform is the surface on the detachment blow falls, this may be natural or prepared.A prepared flat surface at right angles to the axis of a stone from which flakes are struck for the production of stone tools. The technique involved struck off flakes from the upper surface of the core in such a way that flake sears are usually left in the centre of the core forming a well dressed and rounded platform. So the shape of the core generally looks like a tortoise. These prepared flake surface is called a striking platform or prepared striking platform. Sometimes it is called facetted platform. After the preparation of the core the maker gives a blow by hammering at the striking platform vertically. As a result, a tiny, long flake of desired form is detached from the core which can be used as a tool without further trimming or retouching at the working edge of the flake. After detaching the flake an 90° angle is formed by the striking platform and the axis of the flakesear.

ii) Baton- de- commandment.

Answer: These tools are made on a longer portion of antler. One or more oval or rounded shape holes are pierced through the longer portion of the antler. This type of tool first appeared in the Magdalenian period. The tools consisted one or more circular or oval holes, which are often decorated with animal figures, as well as natural in around the body of the tool. Different opinions are forwarded by different scholars regarding the uses of this type of tool. Some of the opinions are as follows. It has been used as arrow straightener, for making pliable thongs or reins cut from reindeer hide, and it was used as brooches. The similar types of these tools are used by the aborigins of Africa, Australia, Greenland as arrow- straighteners, brooches for holding together heavy skins, or as sceptres.

Essay type questions

15. Bring out the differences between Palaeolithic and Neolithic ways of life.

Answer: The differences between Palaeolithic and Neolithic ways of life are: 

Palaeolithic: i) Palaeolithic culture belongs to Pleistocene epoch.

ii) 4- glacial and 3- inter glacial periods prevailed during the Pleistocene epoch. During glacial period climate was much colder and during inter glacial period climate became warmer.

iii) During palaeolithic period trees and animal could not survive due to cold climate.

iv) Palaeolithic man made their tool on stone by applying the techniques of stone hammer, chipping, flaking, pressure flaking and fluting etc. Except tool making no other crafts are found in palaeolithic period.

v) The palaeolithic people were food gatherer. Collecting, hunting, fishing were their mode of subsistence.

vi) The people of palaeolithic period were nomadic. They have to move frequently from one place to another in search of natural food. No permanent settlement place to live. Generally, the food gatherer people lived in natural shelters like cave, rock- shelter, and sometimes in open places.


i) Neolithic culture belongs to Holocene Epoch.

ii) Climate was moderate, i.e present day Climate.

iii) Trees and animals are to be found extensively due to moderate climate.

iv) Neolithic man made their stone tools by applying grinding and polishing. In addition to these, they are also made pottery, basketry.

v) Neolithic people were food producer. Agriculture, domestication of animals, and plants were the sources of subsistence.

vi) The people of Neolithic period lived permanently at one place. As they were agriculturist, they need not move for searching of food. They constructed their own shelter using different materials brought from market. The people of Neolithic period are settled in the villages permanently. 

16. Show the differences between naturally broken pieces of stone and tool.

Answer: The differences between naturally broken pieces of stone and tools are:- The small pieces of stone is pebble. This type of tool is found at the very beginning of the Pleistocene.These type of tools are made on pebbles that have been crudely flaked so as to give one rough cutting edge. These tools are commonly termed as pebble tools because most of the tools are made from river worn pebbles. In these type of tools, flakes are removed from one side only to make a roughly cutting edge and the remaining part of the tool is left untouched. The untouched portion is known as cortex surface which is the  main identical characteristic of the pebble tool. The pebble tool is used for cutting, chopping and scraping purpose. These tools are made and utilised by the earliest man of kafuan and oldowan culture of Africa, Sohan culture of India, Choukoutien culture of China, Anyatheian culture of Burma belonging to the Palaeolithic period.

17. In what ways the upper Palaeolithic industries were more advanced than those of previous periods?

Answer: The upper Palaeolithic industries were more advanced than those of previous periods because this is the last phase of Palaeolithic culture. At the end of the Pleistocene, a new evolved but quite different culture appeared in Europe. In Europe, the first time about 40,000 years ago ‘Homo Sapiens’ modern human like physical appearance is seen. They are the people who first had constituted the upper Palaeolithic culture by introducing quite different and new evolved industries. The time span of the upper Palaeolithic culture was very short. Still, within the short period they tremendously developed and progressed their tool industries.

18. What is Neolithic Revolution? Explain.

Answer: The Neolithic Revolution, also called the Agricultural Revolution. During ancient civilization, there were many events that led to the Neolithic Revolution. This included climate change, the need for food, cultivation of crops, and domestication of animals. The period from the beginning of agriculture to the widespread use of bronze about 2300 bce is called the Neolithic period. An important effect of the Neolithic Revolution was temperatures cooled and this helped new plants grow. As glaciers melted, river valleys with fertile land were carved out. The land became wetter so people could build on the land.

Gordon Childe coined this term first.

19. Briefly describe the characteristics of Neolithic culture.

Answer: The characteristics of Neolithic culture are:

i) The food procuring process is started by domestication of animals and plants.

ii) Permanent village settlements are started.

iii) Making of stone tools by grinding and polishing instead of flaking are introduced.

iv) Making of ceramic pottery is started.

v) First weaving and spinning practices are started.

vi) Making of basketry, matting technique are started.

vii) Carpentry works are introduced.

viii) Trade and commerce are started.

ix) Transport facilities are started.

x) Megalithic monuments practices are started.

20. Give a short description of the Mesolithic cultures of Europe.

Answer: In Europe the first cultural remains of Mesolithic period was discovered in 1879.On the basis of tool types and functions the Mesolithic culture is classified in to the following sub- cultural groups:- 

i) Azilian: The name of this culture came from a site named Mas-d-Azil in France. The cultural remains of this stage discovered in 1809. Chronologically the position of Azilian culture lies between the Magdalenian and the Neolithic culture. The main characteristics of stone tools of this culture was disc- shaped micro scrapers, flakes, blunted knives, bone harpoons with perforated base along with the painted pebbles with red ochre are to be found in this culture. Still this type of colored pebbles are used by the Australian aborigines. From the evidence it is fact that the people belonging to this culture took shelter, in cave and rock-shelter.

ii) Tardenoisian: The name of this culture is derived from a site named Fere-En-Tardenois. The Tardenoisian culture was characterised by the occurrence of various types of microliths such as triangles, trapezes, lunates etc, and these are used as knife blades. It is important to note that such types of microliths are found in sandy and surface associated with some Neolithic tools and implements. Undoubtedly, it is sure that the Tardenoisian culture persisted in Mesolithic period before appearing the Neolithic development. The micro- burin and backed blades are also included in Tardenoisian.

iii) Maglemosean: The culture maglemosian is first discovered from Maglemosean site on the Island of Zealand. So the name of this culture came from Maglemosean. The tools and weapons of this culture are made from bone, antler and flint.

iv) Asturian: The name Asturian has derived from the name of Asturias province in North Spain. From Portugal, some cultural remains belonging to the Asturian has been unearthed. This culture was younger than the Azilian culture. It is very interesting to note that the cultural remains are unearthed from dust-bin. It is to be believed that the strand loppers-a population, who lived on the sea-shores and they constituted the culture known as Asturian.

v) Campignian culture: The name Campignian came from a site in the sein Inferieure hill in France excavation was carried on in a pit-dwelling. The cultural remains of Campignian are unearthed just from the lower strata of the Neolithic cultural layer. Probably the Neolithic culture is evolved from the Campignian culture. It is fact that some items like Neolithic pattern as coarse pottery, bones of domestic animals found in capignian layer. Undoubtedly Campignian culture is established prior to the Neolithic culture. The dominant lithic industries of campignian are comprised of hand-axe a typical type tool, picks, arrow-heads, awls, scrapers, blades, flakes, burins etc. The campignion culture was distributed within the area of North-Western Europe.

vi) Kitchen-Midden: The Kitchen-Midden culture was discovered from a shell mound formed by the deposition of waste food or kitchen objects thrown away by the people of those days. As the remains of this culture are unearthed from garbage like mound formed by waste kitchen objects, so this culture is designated as Kitchen-midden.

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