Over 191 Middle Palaeolithic localities have been discovered in the Kalagdi basin of the district. The discovery of settlements in the village of Lakhamapura near the Malaprabha valley yielded the identification of quartzitic artefacts such as handaxes and cleavers. A pre-Chalukyan brick temple was discovered at the foothills of Bachinagudda, in Pattadakal, where an idol depicting the bust of Chaturmukha Shiva was discovered. Evidence of megalithic habitation was also discovered at the foothills of Bachinagudda, as were Marahathi and Satavahana coins of a later period.
The first documented evidence of the existence of Bagalkot district dates back to the 2nd century CE, when the taluks of Badami, Indi and Kalkeri were mentioned in the works of the Greek astronomer Ptolemy. In the 6th century CE, the Hindu Chalukya rulers ruled over much of present South India. The Chalukyan king Pulakeshin I established Bagalkote as his administrative headquarters; the district retained its prominent status until the Chalukyan empire was sacked by the Rashtrakutas in 753 CE. The Chinese explorer Hieun-Tsang visited Badami and described the people as “tall, proud,…brave and exceedingly chivalrous”. He estimated the kingdom to be approximately 1,200 mi in circumference.