The Madrasian culture is a prehistoric (aka Paleolithic) culture of South India. It flourished in the Lower Paleolithic, the earliest subdivision of the Stone Age, about 2.5 million years ago. It is called the Madrasian culture because artifact tools thought to be related to this culture were first found at sites in Attirampakkam, which is located near Chennai (formerly known as Madras). Thereafter, tools related to this culture have been found at various other locations in this region. Bifacial handaxes and cleavers are typical assemblages recovered of this culture. Flake tools, microliths and other chopping tools have also been found. Most of these tools were composed of the metamorphic rock quartzite. The stone tool artifacts in this assemblage have been identified as a part of the second inter-pluvial period in India.
These particular stone industries were initially discovered at the Attirampakkam site, by British archaeologist and geologist Robert Bruce Foote, in 1863. This site has been a rich source of Lower Paleolithic artifacts since Foote's first discovery. The site has yielded a variety of artifacts, including handaxes, trihedrals, cleavers, unifaces, and lithic flakes of both small and large sizes. The oldest tools found at this particular site date back as far as 1.5 million years ago, according to a 2011 excavation and testing of materials via cosmic-ray exposure dating. This new time record revealed that bifacial technological advances in the region had actually occurred earlier than previously believed.
The Madrasian culture people were hunter gatherers and did not engage in the farming or domestication of animals. During this time period, Lower Paleolithic peoples in this region typically made homes from rock shelters and thatched-roof huts.
- Soanian Culture
- Recent African origin of modern humans
- Multiregional origin of modern humans
- South Asian Stone Age
- Synoptic table of the principal old world prehistoric cultures
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