The Indian Subcontinent was an important geographic region for faunal and hominin evolution in Asia. While the Oldowan as the earliest technocomplex continues to be elusive, the oldest Acheulean is dated to ~1.5 Ma and the early Middle Paleolithic is ~385 ka (from the same site). New Late Pleistocene dates have been reported for the Middle Paleolithic which continues up to 38 Ka in southern India. The Upper Paleolithic remains ambiguous and requires critically multidisciplinary investigations. The microlithic evidence appears to spread rapidly across the subcontinent soon after its emergence at ~48 Ka (though its origin is debated) and continues into the Iron Age. The timeline of the initial arrival of Homo sapiens continues to be debated based on the archaeology (advanced Middle Paleolithic vs. microlithic) and genetic studies on indigenous groups. Other issues that need consideration are: interactions between archaics and arriving moderns, the marginal occurrence of symbolic behavior, the absolute dating of rock art and the potential role of hominins in specific animal extinctions and ecological marginalization. The region does not appear to have been a corridor for dispersals towards Southeast Asia (although gene flow may have occurred). Instead, once various prehistoric technologies appeared in the Subcontinent, they possibly followed complex trajectories within relative isolation.
Part of the book: Pleistocene Archaeology