Theme: The Mesolithic Period



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THEME: The Mesolithic Period

The Mesolithic Period, or Middle Stone Age, is an archaeological term describing specific cultures that fall between the Paleolithic and the Neolithic Periods. While the start and end dates of the Mesolithic Period vary by geographical region, it dated approximately from 10,000 BCE to 8,000 BCE.

The Mesolithic Period, or Middle Stone Age, is an archaeological term describing specific cultures that fall between the Paleolithic and the Neolithic Periods. While the start and end dates of the Mesolithic Period vary by geographical region, it dated approximately from 10,000 BCE to 8,000 BCE.

  • The Paleolithic was an age of purely hunting and gathering, but toward the Mesolithic period the development of agriculture contributed to the rise of permanent settlements.
  • The later Neolithic period is distinguished by the domestication of plants and animals. Some Mesolithic people continued with intensive hunting, while others practiced the initial stages of domestication. Some Mesolithic settlements were villages of huts , others walled cities.

During the Mesolithic period, humans developed:

ceramics

engravings

cave paintings
  • The type of tool used is a distinguishing factor among these cultures. Mesolithic tools were generally composite devices manufactured with small chipped stone tools called microliths and retouched bladelets.
  • Art from this period reflects the change to a warmer climate and adaptation to a relatively sedentary lifestyle, population size, and consumption of plants—all evidence of the transition to agriculture and eventually the Neolithic period.
  • A number of notable Mesolithic rock art sites exist on the Mediterranean coast of Spain. The art consists of small painted figures of humans and animals, which are the most advanced and widespread surviving from this period in Europe and possibly worldwide
  • The native Mesolithic populations were slow in assimilating the agricultural way of life, starting solely with the use of ceramics . It took a thousand years into the Neolithic period before they adopted animal husbandry (which became especially important to them) and plant cultivation.

When they eventually developed interest in the more fertile areas utilized by the late Danubian cultures, they compelled the Danubian farmers to fortify their settlements.

  • Excavation of some megalithic monuments in Britain, Ireland, Scandinavia, and France has revealed evidence of ritual activity, sometimes involving architecture, during the Mesolithic Period.

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