Stone Age Sites in Pakistan
Old Stone Age Sites in Pakistan
By Mubarak Ali
Like in many other countries there are a number of sites in Pakistan that go back to the Old Stone Age. Archaeologists found a site of this period in the Soan Valley which is estimated to be nearly 115,000 years old. That was the period when ‘Homo Sapiens” or wise man emerged on the scene. When this area was excavated, experts found a number of different kinds of stone tools and ornaments. They also discovered workshops where tools were made.
Another stunning discovery was of caves at Sanghao in 1964. There they found stone tools which were made from 45,000 to 20,000 years ago. People used those tools and weapons for hunting as well as to collect fruits and roots for their food.
Besides these two places, there are other sites which are still to be excavated. There is a need to excavate such sites in different parts of Pakistan and assess the evolutionary process of human civilisation.
People of Old Stone Age were nomads. They wandered from one place to the other in search of food. As wandering people they did not have settlements or permanent residence. However, in the opinion of some experts, they used to stay for some time in caves which were to them like home.
There is also evidence, that they built hut-like houses for protection against wild animals or cold or hot weather. These huts have not survived because of their weak structure; but at the sites of such huts, experts have found stone tools which were used for hunting. Besides these, they also found bones of animals and traces of fire in the hearths. These show the lifestyle of the Old Stone Age people.
Development of human intellect is reflected when man created art and literature because the two contain his observations and experiences. As there was no writing system in the Old Stone Age, so our knowledge about their literature is nil. But we have a number of paintings from the period which show intellectual calibre of the artists.
Experts have found these painting in caves. These were saved because of the surrounding rocks where weather could not damage them. The paintings on the walls of the caves are marvelous. Colours which were used back then are still bright and lively and looking fresh.
The caves which were selected for these paintings were those where there was complete darkness. It is assumed that the artists painted them in the light of burning fire. The topics of the paintings are generally scenes of hunting animals.
Experts are puzzled as to the motives of these paintings. In the opinion of some, perhaps, these were painted for some religious rituals. Or, showing hunting scenes, their purpose was to train young generations to hunt animals. One can say that creativity is inherent in human beings and they want to express it in some form of art. The cave paintings show that Old Stone Age people had a sense of beauty and expressed it in art form.
Experts have also found different pattern of arts on pottery and ornaments. Pottery no longer remained simple but decorated with flowers or or some designs. Ornaments were made either of ivory or animals’ bones. There was a concept to decorate the human body. It shows that man, as a result of making stone tools, got enough food supply. He had some leisure time to concentrate on activities such as art.