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Limestone Cave in Asifabad Forest


The discovery of pre-historic tools in a limestone cave in Asifabad forest is set to further advance the understanding of human habitation in Telangana region.


Prelims, GS-I: Art and Culture, History, GS-III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Paleolithic Period in India
  2. About the limestone cave in Asifabad forest
  3. About Kawal Wildlife Sanctuary
  4. Gondi people

About Paleolithic Period in India

  • Ancient history can be divided into different periods according to the tools used by people then.
    • Paleolithic Period (Old Stone Age): 500,000 BCE – 10,000 BCE
    • Mesolithic Period (Late Stone Age): 10,000 BCE – 6000 BCE
    • Neolithic Period (New Stone Age): 6000 BCE – 1000 BCE
    • Chalcolithic Period (Stone Copper Age): 3000 BCE – 500 BCE
    • Iron Age: 1500 BCE – 200 BCE
  • The stone age is the prehistoric period before the development of the script. The main source of information for this period is archaeological excavations.
  • On the basis of geological age, the type and technology of stone tools, and subsistence base, the Indian stone age is classified primarily into three types-
    • Palaeolithic age (old stone age): Period – 500,000 – 10,000 BCE
    • Mesolithic age (late stone age): Period – 10,000 – 6000 BCE
    • Neolithic age (new stone age): Period – 6000 – 1000 BCE
  • The term ‘Palaeolithic’ is derived from the Greek word ‘palaeo’ which means old and ‘lithic’ meaning stone. Therefore, the term Palaeolithic age refers to the old stone age.
  • The Indian people of the Palaeolithic age are believed to have belonged to the ‘Negrito’ race, and lived in the open air, river valleys, caves and rock shelters.
  • They were food gatherers, ate wild fruits and vegetables, and lived on hunting and there was no knowledge of houses, pottery, agriculture.

About the limestone cave in Asifabad forest

  • The cave in which pre-historic tools were discovered is located deep inside the Kawal Tiger Reserve and only portions of it have been explored.
  • The cave was possibly inhabited due to the discovery of prehistoric tools including a hand-axe and a cleaver that can be dated to early paleo-lithic period years.
  • The stalagmite inside the cave, known locally as Arjun Loddi, were being worshipped by Gond and Gordi tribes on celebratory occasions like harvest and other festivals.
  • The cave sediment with volcanic ash as evidence shows that it dates back to 2,50,000 years.

About Kawal Wildlife Sanctuary

  • Kawal Tiger Reserve is located at Jannaram mandal of Mancherial District in Telangana.
  • This sanctuary is catchment for the rivers Godavari and Kadam, which flow towards the south of the sanctuary.
  • The River Godavari flows through this area and the sanctuary is one of the richest teak forests in the state, with dense pristine areas free of human disturbance.
  • Dry deciduous teak forests mixed with bamboo, terminalia, pterocarpus, anogeissus and cassias can be found here along with animals such as tiger, leopard, gaur, cheetal, sambar, nilgai, barking deer, chowsingha, peacock and sloth bear.

Gondi people

  • The Gondi are a Dravidian ethno-linguistic group and one of the largest Adivasi groups in India.
  • They are spread over the states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Odisha.
  • For the past few decades, they have been witnesses to the Naxalite–Maoist insurgency in the central part of India.

-Source: The Hindu

December 2023