- Upper Paleolithic
The Upper Paleolithic (or Upper Palaeolithic) is the third and last subdivision of the
Paleolithicor Old Stone Ageas it is understood in Europe, Africa and Asia. Very broadly it dates to between 40,000 and 10,000 years ago, roughly coinciding with the appearance of "high" culture ( behavioral modernity) and before the advent of agriculture. The terms " Late Stone Age" and "Upper Paleolithic" refer to the same periods. For historical reasons "Late Stone Age" usually refers to the period in Africa, whereas "Upper Paleolithic" is generally used when referring to the period in Europe. In 19th century archaeology, the Upper Paleolithic was also known as the "Reindeer Age".
Modern humans("i.e. Homo sapiens sapiens") are believed to have emerged at least 130,000 years ago in Africa. Though these humans were modern in anatomy, their lifestyle changed very little from their contemporaries such as " Homo erectus" and the Neanderthals. They used the same crude stone tools. Archaeologist Richard G. Klein, who has worked extensively on ancient stone tools, describes the stone tool kit of archaic hominids as impossible to categorize. It was as if when the Neanderthals went to make a stone tool they weren't really concerned about its final form. He argues that almost everywhere, whether Asia or Africa or Europe, before 50,000 years ago all the stone tools are very much alike and unsophisticated. However after 50,000 years ago there is sharp increase in the diversity of artifacts. For the first time bone artifacts, and the first art appear in the fossil record in Africa. The first evidence of human fishing is also noted from artifact in places like Blombos cavein South Africa. After 50,000 years ago, firstly in Africa, it was found that he could easily sort the human artifacts into many different categories, such as projectile points, engraving tools, knife blades, and drilling and piercing tools. These new stone tool types have been described as being distinctly differentiated from each other as if each tool had a specific name. 3000 to 4000 years later this technology spread to Europe resulting in a population explosion of modern humans and also the extinction of the Neanderthals. The invaders commonly referred to as the Cro-Magnonsleft many sophisticated stone tools, cave artand Venus figurines. [ [http://www.accessexcellence.org/BF/bf02/klein/bf02e3.html Biological origins of modern human behavior part3] ] [ [http://www.accessexcellence.org/BF/bf02/klein/bf02e1.html Biological origins of modern human behavior part 1] ] [ [http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/07/980707073901.htm Modern' Behavior Began 40,000 Years Ago In Africa] ] This shift from Middle to Upper Paleolithic is called the Upper Paleolithic Revolution. The Neanderthals continued to use Mousterian stone tooltechnology.
The earliest remains of organized
settlementsin the form of campsites, some with storage pits, are encountered in this period. These were often located in narrow valley bottoms, possibly in order to make hunting passing herds of animals easier. Some sites may have been occupied year round though more generally they seem to have been used seasonally with peoples moving between them to exploit different food sources at different times of the year.
Technological advances included significant developments in
flint toolmanufacturing with industries based on fine blades rather than simpler and shorter flakes. Burins and racloirs attest to the working of bone, antlerand hides. Advanced darts and harpoons also appear in this period, along with the fish hook, the oil lamp, rope, and the eyed needle.
Artistic work also blossomed with
Venus figurines, cave painting, petroglyphs and exotic raw materials found far from their sources suggest emergent trading links. More complex social groupings emerged, supported by more varied and reliable food sources and specialized tooltypes. This probably contributed to increasing group identification or ethnicity. These group identities produced distinctive symbolsand rituals which are an important part of modern human behaviour.
The reasons for these changes in human behavior have been attributed to the changes in
climateduring the period which encompasses a number of global temperaturedrops, meaning a worsening of the already bitter climate of the last ice age. These may have reduced the supply of usable timberand forced people to look at other materials while flint becomes brittle at low temperatures and may not have functioned as a tool.
It has also been argued that the appearance of (complex or abstract)
languagemade these behavioural changes possible. The complexity of the new human capabilities hints that humans were less capable of planning or foresight before 40,000 years and that speech changed that [http://cas.bellarmine.edu/tietjen/images/anthropology(NoLastWordOnLanguageOrigins.htm] . This suggestion has no wide acceptance, since human phylogeneticseparation dates to the Middle Paleolithic(see Pre-language). Still, it must be remembered that while the latter view is better supported by phylogenetic inference, the material "evidence" is hard to explain thus.
*c. 50000 BP: start of the
Mousterian Pluvialin North Africa
Ksar Akilin Lebanon, ornaments and skeletal remains of modern humans are dated to this period.
*35000 BP: Zar, Yataghyeri, Damjili and Taghlar caves
*30000 BP: Invention of the bow and
arrow. [ [http://books.google.com/books?id=aJgp94zNwNQC&printsec=frontcover#PPA11 McClellan, pg 11 ] ]
*c. 30000 BP: end of the Mousterian Pluvial in North Africa
*c. 30000 BP–26000 BP: Lion-Human, from
Hohlenstein-Stadel, Germanycreated. It is now in Ulmer Museum, Ulm, Germany.
Venus of Dolní Věstonice. It is the oldest known ceramic in the world.
*c. 24000 BP: start of the second
Mousterian Pluvialin North Africa.
*c. 23000 BP:
Venus of Petřkovice("Petřkovická venuše" in Czech) from Petřkovicein Ostrava, Czech Republic, was made. It is now in Archeological Institute, Brno.
*c. 22000 BP: Neanderthals become extinct in Europe.
*c. 22000 BP:
Last Glacial Maximum: Venus of Brassempouy, Grotte du Pape, Brassempouy, Landes, France, was made. It is now at Musee des Antiquites Nationales, St.-Germain-en-Laye.
*c. 22000 BP–21000 BP:
Venus of Willendorf, Austria, was made. It is now at Naturhistorisches Museum, Vienna.
*c. 20000 BP: end of the second Mousterian Pluvial in North Africa.
*c. 18000 BP-15000 BP:
Last glacial period.
*c. 16500 BP: Paintings in
Cosquer cave, Cap Margiou, Francewere made.
*c. 18000 BP: Spotted Horses,
Pech Merlecave, Dordogne, Franceare painted. Discovered in December 1994.
*c. 18000 BP–11000 BP: Ibex-headed spear thrower, from
Le Mas d'Azil, Ariege, France, is made. It is now at Musee de la Prehistoire, Le Mas d'Azil.
*c. 18000 BP–12000 BP:
Mammoth-bone village in Mezhirich, Ukraineis inhabited.
*c. 17000 BP: Spotted human hands,
Pech Merlecave, Dordogne, Franceare painted. Discovered in December 1994.
*c. 17000 BP–15000 BP:
Hall of Bulls, Lascauxcaves, is painted. Discovered in 1940. Closed to the public in 1963.
*c. 17000 BP–15000 BP: Bird-Headed man with bison and Rhinoceros,
Lascauxcaves, is painted.
*c. 17000 BP–15000 BP: Lamp with ibex design, from
La Mouthecave, Dordogne, France, is made. It is now at Musee des Antiquites Nationales, St.-Germain-en-Laye.
*c. 16000 BP-12000 BP: Pregnant woman and deer (?), from
Laugerie-Basse, Francewas made. It is now at Musee des Antiquites Nationales, St.-Germain-en-Laye.
*c. 15000 BP: Bison,
Le Tuc d'Audoubert, Ariege, France.
*c. 14000 BP:
Paleo-Indianssearched for big game in what is now the Hovenweep National Monument.
*c. 14000 BP: Bison, on the ceiling of a cave at
Altamira, Spain, is painted. Discovered in 1879. Accepted as authentic in 1902.
*c. 14000 BP:
Domesticationof Reindeer. [Lloyd, J & Mitchinson, J: " The Book of General Ignorance". Faber & Faber, 2006.]
*13000 BP: Beginning of the
Holocene extinction event.
*11500 BP: Oldest temple complex of the world (
*11500 BP–10000 BP: Wooden buildings in South America (
Chile), first potteryvessels ( Japan).
*11000 BP: First evidence of human settlement in Argentina.
*11000 BP: The
Arlington Springs Mandies on the island of Santa Rosa, off the coast of California.
*11000 BP: Human remains deposited in caves which are now located off the coast of Yucatan [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5955043/]
The Upper Paleolithic in the
Châtelperronianculture was located around central and south western France, and northern Spain. It appears to be derived from the earlier Mousterianculture, and represents the period of overlap between Neanderthalsand Homo sapiens. This culture lasted from approximately 33000 BC to 27000 BC.
Aurignacianculture was located in Europe and south west Asia, and flourished between 32000 BC and 21000 BC. It may have been contemporary with the Périgordian(a contested grouping of the earlier Châtelperronian and later Gravettian cultures).
Gravettianculture was located around France, though evidence of Gravettian products have been found across central Europe and Russia. Gravettian sites date between 26000 BC to 20000 BC.
Solutreanculture was located in eastern France, Spain, and England. Solutrean artifacts have been dated to around 19000 BC before mysteriously disappearing around 15000 BC.
Magdalenianculture left evidence from Portugal to Poland during the period from 16000 BC to 8000 BC.
Synoptic table of the principal old world prehistoric cultures:
*central and east Europe:
**20000 BC, Pavlovian, Aurignacian cultures
*north and west Africa, and Sahara:
*central, south, and east Africa:
**3000 BC, beginning of hunter-gatherer art in southern Africa
*West Asia (including Middle East):
*south, central and northern Asia:
*east and southeast Asia:
**10000 BC, pre-Jōmon ceramic culture
Hovenweep National Monument
Modern human behaviour
1 E11 s
* [http://www.newarchaeology.com/articles/uprevolution.php The Upper Paleolithic Revolution]
* [http://www.iabrno.cz/agalerie/aagalery.htm Picture Gallery of the Paleolithic (reconstructional palaeoethnology)] , Libor Balák at the Czech Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Archaeology in Brno, The Center for Paleolithic and Paleoethnological Research
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Upper Paleolithic — noun the time period during which only modern Homo sapiens was known to have existed; ended about 10,000 years BC • Instance Hypernyms: ↑time period, ↑period of time, ↑period • Part Holonyms: ↑Paleolithic Age, ↑Paleolithic, ↑Palaeolithic … Useful english dictionary
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Upper Paleolithic. — See under Paleolithic … Useful english dictionary
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