EarlySettlements By:- Bhakti Dhoria Amit Sharma Shalin Patel Koosh Vyas Jeel Shah
Stone Age• The Stone Age is a broad prehistoric period during which stone was widely used to make implements with a sharp edge, a point, or a percussion surface.• The period lasted roughly 3.4 million years, and ended between 4500 BC and 2000 BC with the advent of metalworking.
Stone Age artifacts include tools used by humansand by their predecessor species in thegenus Homo, as well as the earlier partlycontemporaneous genera Australopithecus and Paranthropus.Bone tools were used during this period as well,but are more rarely preserved in thearchaeological record. The Stone Age is furthersubdivided by the types of stone tools in use.
Historical Significance The Stone Age is nearly contemporaneous with the evolution of the genus Homo, the only exception possibly being at the very beginning, when species prior to Homo may have manufactured tools. According to the age and location of the current evidence, the cradle of the genus is the East African Rift System, toward the north in Ethiopia
The rift served as a conduit for movement into southern Africa and also north down the Nile into North Africa and through the continuation of the rift in the Levant to the vast grasslands of Asia. The grasslands of the rift, the ancestors of man found an ecological niche as a tool-maker and developed a dependence on it. Homo erectus, the predecessor of modern humans, became a "tool equipped savanna dweller.―
Louis Leakey examining skulls from Olduvai Gorge
Family tree showing the extant hominoids: humans (genus Homo), chimpanzees andbonobos (genus Pan), gorillas (genus Gorilla).
The Stone Age in archaeology In 2010, fossilised animal bones bearing marks from stone tools were found in the Lower Awash Valley in Ethiopia. Discovered by an international team led by Shannon McPherron, they are the oldest evidence of stone tool use ever found anywhere in the world.
The species who made the Pliocene tools remains unknown. Fragments of Australopithecus garhi, Australopithecus aethiopicus and Homo, possibly Homo habilis, have been found in sites near the age of the oldest tools.
The oldest known stone tools have been excavated from several sites at Gona, Ethiopia, on the sediments of the paleo-Awash River, which serve to date them. One of the most striking circumstances about these sites is that they are from the Late Pliocene, where previous to their discovery tools were thought to have evolved only in the Pleistocene.
A reconstruction of afemale Australopithecus a farensis
The major subdivisions of the Three-age StoneAge cross two epoch boundaries on thegeologic time scale:The geologic Pliocene—Pleistocene boundary (highlyglaciated climate)The Paleolithic period of archaeologyThe geologic Pleistocene—Holocene boundary(modern climate)Mesolithic or Epipaleolithic period of archaeologyNeolithic period of archaeology.
End of the Stone Age Innovation of the technique of smelting ore ended the Stone Age and began the Age of Metals. The first most significant metal manufactured was bronze, an alloy of copper and tin, each of which was smelted separately.
The transition from the Stone Age to the Bronze Age was a period during which modern people could smelt copper, but did not yet manufacture bronze, a time known as the Copper Age, or more technically the Chalcolithic, "copper-stone" age.
The Chalcolithic by convention is the initial period of the Bronze Age and is unquestionably part of the Age of Metals. The Bronze Age was followed by the Iron Age. During this entire time stone remained in use in parallel with the metals for some objects, including those also used in the Neolithic, such as stone pottery. The transition out of the Stone Age occurred between 6000 BCE and 2500 BCE for much of humanity living in North Africa and Eurasia.
MesolithicThe period starting from theend of the last ice age, 10,000years ago, to around 6,000years ago was characterized byrising sea levels and a need toadapt to a changingenvironment and find new foodsources.
Microliths were used in the manufacture of more efficient composite tools, resulting in an intensification of hunting and fishing and with increasing social activity the development of more complex settlements, such as Lepenski Vir. Domestication of the dog as a hunting companion probably dates to this period.
NeolithicThe Neolithic, New Stone Age, wasapproximately characterized by theadoption of agriculture, the shift from foodgathering to food producing in itself is oneof the most revolutionary changes inhuman history so-called NeolithicRevolution, the developmentof pottery, polished stone tools and morecomplex, larger settlements such as ÇatalHüyük and Jericho.
Some of these features began in certain localities even earlier, in the transitional Mesolithic. The first Neolithic cultures started around 7000 BCE in the fertile crescent and spread concentrically to other areas of the world. However, the Near East was probably not the only nucleus of agriculture, the cultivation of maize in Meso-America and of rice in the Far East being others.
Skara Brae, Scotland.Europes most complete Neolithic village
The Earlier or Early Stone Age (ESA)This period is not to be identified with "OldStone Age", a translation of Paleolithic, orwith Paleolithic, or with the "Earlier StoneAge" that originally meant what became thePaleolithic and Mesolithic.In the initial decades of its definition by thePan-African Congress of Prehistory, it wasparallel in Africa to the Upper and MiddlePaleolithic. However, since then Radiocarbondating has shown that the Middle Stone Ageis in fact contemporaneous with the MiddlePaleolithic.
The Early Stone Age therefore is contemporaneous with the Lower Paleolithic and happens to include the same main technologies, Oldowan and Acheulean, which produced Mode 1 and Mode 2 stone tools respectively.A distinct regional term is warranted, however, by the location and chronology of the sites and the exact typology.
Acheulean biface from Lake Langano area, Ethiopia
The Middle Stone Age (MSA)The Middle Stone Age was a period of Africanprehistory between Early Stone Age and LateStone Age.It began around 300,000 years ago and endedaround 50,000 years ago. It is considered as anequivalent of European Middle Paleolithic.It is associated with anatomically modern oralmost modern Homo sapiens.Early physical evidence comes from Omo andHerto, both in Ethiopia and dated respectively atc. 195 ka and at c. 160 ka.
The Later Stone Age (LSA) The Later Stone Age (LSA, sometimes also called the Late Stone Age) refers to a period in African prehistory. Its beginnings are roughly contemporaneous with the European Upper Paleolithic. It lasts until historical times and thus includes cultures corresponding to Mesolithic and Neolithic in other regions.
Material culture Tools Stone tools were made from a variety of stone. For example, flint and chert were shaped (or chipped) for use as cutting tools and weapons, while basalt and sandstone were used for ground stone tools, such as quern-stones. Wood, bone, shell, antler (deer) and other materials were widely used, as well. During the most recent part of the period, sediments (such as clay) were used to make pottery. Agriculture was developed and certain animals were domesticated.
Some species of non-Primates are able to use stone tools, such as the Sea Otter, which breaks Abalone shells with them. Primates can both use and manufacture stone tools. This combination of abilities is more marked in apes and men, but only men, or more generally Hominans, depend on tool use for survival. The key anatomical and behavioral features required for tool manufacture, which are possessed only by Hominans, are the larger thumb and the ability to hold by means of an assortment of grips.
2. Food and drink Food sources of the Palaeolithic hunter- gatherers were wild plants and animals harvested from the environment. They liked animal organ meats, including the livers, kidneys and brains. Large seeded legumes were part of the human diet long before the agricultural revolution, as is evident from archaeobotanical finds from the Mousterian layers of Kebara Cave, in Israel.
Moreover, recent evidence indicates that humansprocessed and consumed wild cereal grains as farback as 23,000 years ago in the Upper Paleolithic.Near the end of the Wisconsin glaciation, 15,000 to9,000 years ago, mass extinction of Megafauna suchas the Wooly mammoth occurred inAsia, Europe, North America and Australia. This wasthe first Holocene extinction event. A number offactors have been suggested for the extinction:certainly over-hunting, but also deforestation andclimate change.
During the last glacial, clans hunted herds of bison, horses, reindeer and mammoths that roamed the tundra and grasslands. At first they used stone axes and wooden spears. Later, spears with bone or flint barbs were developed, and spear-throwers were used to throw the spear further and harder. Animals were attacked directly or caught in pitfall traps or snares. Alternatively, a whole herd might be chased over a cliff or into an ambush. This was a good way to build up a large supply of meat. Every part of a kill was used. The meat was cooked for food or dried to preserve it.
3. Shelter And Habitat Around 2 million years ago, Homo habilis is believed to have constructed the first man-made structure in East Africa, consisting of simple arrangements of stones to hold branches of trees in position. A similar stone circular arrangement believed to be around 380 thousand years old was discovered at Terra Amata, near Nice, France. (Concerns about the dating have been raised, see Terra Amata). Several human habitats dating back to the Stone Age have been discovered around the globe, including:
A tent-like structure inside a cave near the Grotte du Lazaret, Nice, France. A structure with a roof supported with timber, discovered in Dolni Vestonice, The Czech Republic, dates to around 23,000 BCE. The walls were made of packed clay blocks and stones. Many huts made of mammoth bones were found in Eastern Europe and Siberia. The people who made these huts were expert mammoth hunters. Examples have been found along the Dniepr river valley of Ukraine, including near Chernihiv, in Moravia, Czech Republic and in southern Poland.
An animal hide tent dated to around 15000to 10000 BCE, in the Magdalenian, was discoveredat Plateau Parain, France.Megalithictombs, multichambered, and dolmens, single-chambered, were graves with a huge stone slabstacked over other similarly large stone slabs; theyhave been discovered all across Europe and Asiaand were built in the Neolithic and the Bronze Age.
An artists rendering of a temporary wood house,based on evidence found at Terra Amata (in Nice, France)and dated to the Lower Paleolithic (c. 400,000 BP)
4. Rock paintings In paleolithic times, mostly animals were painted, in theory ones that were used as food or represented strength, such as the rhinoceros or large cats (as in the Chauvet Cave). Signs such as dots were sometimes drawn. Rare human representations include handprints and half-human/half-animal figures. The Cave of Chauvet in the Ardèche département, The Altamira cave paintings in Spain were done 14,000 to 12,000 BCE and show, among others, bisons. The hall of bulls in Lascaux, Dordogne, France, dates from about 15,000 to 10,000 BCE.
The meaning of many of these paintings remains unknown. They may have been used for seasonal rituals. The animals are accompanied by signs that suggest a possible magic use. Arrow-like symbols in Lascaux are sometimes interpreted as calendar or almanac use, but the evidence remains interpretative. Some scenes of the Mesolithic, however, can be typed and therefore, judging from their various modifications, are fairly clear. One of these is the battle scene between organized bands of archers.
A rock painting at Bhimbetka,India, a World heritage site
A modern interpretation of the bison from the Altamira cave ceiling,one of the most famous paintings in the cave.
5.Technology Paleolithic humans made tools of stone, bone, and wood. The earliest Paleolithic stone tool industry, the Olduwan, was developed by the earliest members of the genus Homo such as Homo habilis, around 2.6 million years ago. It contained tools such as choppers, burins and awls. It was completely replaced around 250,000 years ago by the more complex Acheulean industry, which was first conceived by Homo ergaster around 1.8 or 1.65 million years ago.
The most recent Lower Paleolithic (Acheulean)implements completely vanished from the archeologicalrecord around 100,000 years ago and were replaced bymore complex Middle Paleolithic/Middle Stone Age toolkits such as the Mousterian and the Aterian industries.Lower Paleolithic humans used a variety of stonetools, including hand axes and choppers. Although theyappear to have used hand axes often, there isdisagreement about their use. Interpretations range fromcutting and chopping tools, to digging implements, flakecores, the use in traps and a purely ritualsignificance, maybe in courting behavior.
Choppers and scrapers were likely used forskinning and butchering scavenged animals andsharp ended sticks were often obtained for diggingup edible roots. Presumably, early humans usedwooden spears as early as 5 million years ago tohunt small animals, much as theirrelatives, chimpanzees, have been observed to doin Senegal, Africa. Lower Paleolithic humansconstructed shelters such as the possible wood hutat Terra Amata.Period.
Fire was used by the Lower Paleolithichominid Homo erectus/Homo ergaster as early as300,000 or 1.5 million years ago and possibly evenearlier by the early Lower Paleolithic (Oldowan)hominid Homo habilis and/or by robustaustralopithecines suchas Paranthropus. However, the use of fire onlybecame common in the societies of thefollowing Middle Stone Age/Middle Paleolithic
Use of fire reduced mortality rates and provided protectionagainst predators. Early hominids may have begun to cooktheir food as early as the Lower Paleolithic (c. 1.9 millionyears ago) or at the latest in the early Middle Paleolithic(c. 250,000 years ago). Some scientists have hypothesizedthat Hominids began cooking food to defrost frozen meat,which would help ensure their survival in cold regions.
Modern popular culture and the Stone Age The image of the caveman is commonly associated with the Stone Age. For example, the 2003 documentary series showing the evolution of humans through the Stone Age was called Walking with Cavemen, although only the last programme showed humans living in caves. Other depictions of the Stone Age include a group of neanderthals searching for their lost fire.
Paleolithic The Paleolithic (also spelt Palaeolithic or Palæolithic) Age, Era or Period, is a prehistoric period of human history distinguished by the development of the most primitive stone tools discovered (Modes I and II), and covers roughly 99% of human technological prehistory. It extends from the earliest known use of stone tools, probably by Hominins such as Australopithecines, 2.6 million years ago, to the end of the Pleistocene around 10,000 BP. The Paleolithic era is followed by the Mesolithic. The date of the Paleolithic—Mesolithic boundary may vary by locality as much as several thousand years.
• During the Paleolithic, humans grouped together in small societies such as bands, and subsisted by gathering plants and hunting or scavenging wild animals.
The Paleolithic is characterized by the use of knapped stone tools, although at the time humans also used wood and bone tools. Other organic commodities were adapted for use as tools, including leather and vegetable fibers; however, due to their nature, these have not been preserved to any great degree. Surviving artifacts of the Paleolithic era are known as paleoliths. Humankind gradually evolved from early members of the genus Homo such as Homo habilis – who used simple stone tools – into fully behaviorally and anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens sapiens) during the Paleolithic era. During the end of the Paleolithic, specifically the Middle and or Upper Paleolithic, humans began to produce the earliest works of art and engage in religious and spiritual behavior such as burial and ritual.
The climate during the Paleolithic consisted of a set of glacial and interglacial periods in which the climate periodically fluctuated between warm and cool temperatures.
The hominoids are descendants of a common ancestor.
The Paleolithic is characterized by the use of knapped stone tools,although at the time humans also used wood and bone tools. Otherorganic commodities were adapted for use as tools,including leather and vegetable fibers; however, due to their nature,these have not been preserved to any great degree. Survivingartifacts of the Paleolithic era are known as paleoliths.Humankind gradually evolved from early members of thegenus Homo such as Homo habilis – who used simple stone tools –into fully behaviorally and anatomically modern humans (Homosapiens sapiens) during the Paleolithic era.
During the end of the Paleolithic, specifically theMiddle and or Upper Paleolithic, humans began toproduce the earliest works of art and engage inreligious and spiritual behavior such as burial andritual. The climate during the Paleolithic consisted of a setof glacial and interglacial periods in which the climateperiodically fluctuated between warm and cooltemperatures.
This cranium, of Homo heidelbergensis,a Lower Paleolithic predecessor to Homo neanderthalensis and possibly Homo sapiens, dates to sometime between 500,000 to 400,000 BP.
Paleogeography And Climate The climate of the Paleolithic Period spanned two geologic epochs known as the Pliocene and the Pleistocene. Both of these epochs experienced important geographic and climatic changes that affected human societies. During the Pliocene, continents continued to drift from possibly as far as 250 km from their present locations to positions only 70 km from their current location.
The formation of the Isthmus had major consequences on global temperatures, because warm equatorial ocean currents were cut off, and the cold Arctic and Antarctic waters lowered temperatures in the now-isolated Atlantic Ocean. Central America formed completely during the Pliocene, allowing fauna from North and South America to leave their native habitats and colonize new areas.
Africas collision with Asia created the Mediterranean Sea, cutting off the remnants of the Tethys Ocean. During the Pleistocene, the modern continents were essentially at their present positions; the tectonic plates on which they sit have probably moved at most 100 km from each other since the beginning of the period. Climates during the Pliocene became cooler and drier, and seasonal, similar to modern climates. Ice sheets grew on Antarctica. The formation of an Arctic ice cap around 3 Ma is signaled by an abrupt shift in oxygen isotope ratios and ice-rafted cobbles in the North Atlantic and North Pacific ocean beds. Mid-latitude glaciation probably began before the end of the epoch. The global cooling that occurred during the Pliocene may have spurred on the disappearance of forests and the spread of grasslands and savannas.
1. The Paleolithic climate consisted of a set of glacial and interglacial periods
Many great mammals such as wooly mammoths, wooly rhinoceros, and cavelions inhabited places like Siberia during the Pleistocene
Paleoindians hunting a glyptodon. Glyptodons were hunted to extinction within2 millennia after humans arrival to South America.