Change is a way of life, the evolution of the human race is a prominent example of development and adaptability with the changing surroundings. The term anthropology defines the study of human origin, development with time, relations with surroundings, social and cultural adaptability. The study of human history has been divided into two groups, Stone Age (palaeolithic, mesolithic, and neolithic age) and metal age (copper, bronze, and Iron Age). The introduction of metals led to many inventions and improved human calibre to work better with pre-existing materials like stone, wood, etc.
Copper Age or Chalcolithic Age
After the neolithic age, the last age of the Stone Age copper was the first-ever metal used with stones for agriculture and other tools. The dominance of copper was found in Mesopotamian civilisation during 4000 BC extending to Egypt, to parts of Central and North Europe and Asia. In India, the era of the pre-Harappan age around 2000 BC is termed as the starting of the copper age, which extends till 700 BC. The village settlements found during this age were majorly near rivers and hills with farming groups like Kayatha, Malwa, Banas, Jorwe, etc.
Important Copper Age Sites in India
- Ahar (Banas Valley Settlement): It was located in the Southeastern part of Rajasthan, providing tools to neighbouring settlements, metallurgy and smelting were the major occupations.
- Daimabad (Ahmednagar, Maharashtra): One of the largest Jorwe settlements of Godavari Valley. The major excavations were bronze rhinos, elephants, two-wheeled chariots with horsemen, etc.
- Kayatha (Madhya Pradesh): The settlement which had traits of Harappan civilisation, excavated with various potteries and sharp copper tools. The settlement was found near Chambal River valley with houses of mud plaster.
- Malwa (Madhya Pradesh): One of the largest and richest copper age settlements with evidence of ceramic potteries and spindle whorls.
The settlements of the copper age had distinctive nature and were excavated with various other architectural features like mud ovens, pits, and granaries to use microlithic tools combined with metals like copper and bronze.
Characteristics and developments of Copper Age
- The first tools were big and hammered tools, later developed to small, polished, and sharp
- The flat axes and daggers were developed into knives, fishing hooks, etc. through smelting and moulding
- People were food gatherers, living on hunting and rearing animals for meat and milk; goats, sheep, buffaloes were major cattle found
- The evidence of rice was found in eastern settlements whereas barley in the western region of settlement
- The cotton was cultivated, linseed and ber were found in the Navdatoli settlement
- Evidence of camels and pigs was found
- The houses were of rectangular planning with one room and kitchen
- The houses of the village head were found with a circular hall in the centre attached with rectangular rooms
- No traces of burnt bricks whereas few houses had oven pits
4. Art, culture, and pottery
- The most famous red and black pottery were found with remains of a few cultivated grains
- The reflection of art and culture, the motifs of flowers, birds, and vegetation were painted on potteries
- The dominant artists of the copper age were coppersmiths, masters of making jewellery using stones and beads
- The ivory carving was seen as ceramic potteries
- The silk thread and cotton proved the knowledge of weaving
5. Burial Practices
- The adults were buried in a north-south direction with precious ornaments and potteries
- The children were buried with necklaces
The successor age to the copper age led the human race to find alternative methods for making tools and other survival equipment. Bronze is an alloy of tin and copper that aids copper tools with more rigidity. The rise of the Bronze Age is claimed during 3000 BC in the regions of Egypt which spread over the regions of Northern Europe and Asian settlements. The growth of the use of bronze rose rapidly as people moved to various places in search of raw materials i.e. tin to make bronze materials.
Inventions during the Bronze Age
- Wheel: The Mesopotamian civilisation was the region of the invention of the wheel during 3500 BC.
- Tongue sword: The tool was majorly used in the region of Europe by the military.
- Locks: The evidence of the first locks was found by Bronze Age people securing their valuables.
The various other inventions of the age were ropes, umbrellas, socketed axes with sharp bronze fronts, etc.
The copper and Bronze Age are the two ages that connect us to our latest past. We can find prominent evidence of the age through remains found between the period of these two metal ages. The prehistoric period before the copper age is vast and vague with less or no evidence. The copper and the Bronze Age were the period of inventions and development of humans which reflects the prosperity of the human race with less available resources. The study of anthropology led us to understand the traits and evolution of the past, which justifies our present existence.